Calderdale Council cross party group to oversee Brexit action plan

Calderdale Council has prepared an action plan to deal with changes resulting from the EU referendum vote to leave the EU. It will be overseen by a cross-party EU Action Plan group that will meet in public, although the Council hasn’t yet finalised membership or a timetable for meetings.

If members of the public witness or experience any racist or xenophobic backlash, either call the police on 101 (for non-emergencies) or report it to Calderdale Council’s community worker

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If you have been the victim of behaviour you felt was inappropriate by a police officer or member of police staff you can report a police complaint.

Impact on “community cohesion”

If there is any local backlash against EU citizens, migrants or ethnic minorities – what Calderdale Council calls “an impact on community cohesion” – the Council said it’s important that it deals swiftly with any signs of tension and that it:

“may need to support non-UK citizens who may be directly affected by an EU exit.”

Plain Speaker asked the Calderdale Council to explain what this means – for example:

  • If the government decides EU Citizens no longer have the right to live and work here, would the Council would take action to stop the deportation of EU citizens working in Calderdale Royal Hospital?
  • Is the Council working with CHFT on this issue, which could badly affect the hospital?
  • Where does the Council’s cross party group on the EU Action plan stand on the issue of continued free movement of people, post Brexit?

Calderdale Council replied:

“At the moment, discussions on the impact of the EU referendum result are at an early stage, and until clearer decisions are made nationally, it’s difficult to predict how the result may impact on Calderdale.

“The details of how the UK will operate in future in terms of trading, legislative and other relationships with EU countries is yet to be determined and such detail will be needed in order to inform our future action. The prepared initial action plan will be updated regularly as more information becomes available, with the cross-party working group overseeing this.

“As part of our response, we will have discussions with sector employers most likely to have significant numbers of EU staff, including the NHS and care sector providers, and provide support for any impact on this.”

The General Medical Council says that Brexit will not affect doctors on the UK register of doctors, who are EU citizens. However the GMC Chair, Professor Terence Stephenson, says that they have to work out how in future doctors from the European Economic Area will be able to register as doctors in the UK.

At this stage it doesn’t seem clear what the effect on nurses and other NHS and social care staff will be.

Impact on Council’s finances

Calderdale Council says that the decision to leave the EU is likely to affect the Council’s finances, and not in a good way. There is uncertainty about levels of government support following the referendum result.

A big question for Plain Speaker is, will the Tory government take advantage of the economic and financial crisis that seems to be shaping up as a result of the decision to leave the EU, by driving down public spending even further than it already has?

This would be in line with neoliberals’ “Shock Doctrine”, described by Naomi Klein in her book of the same name.

Effects on Council services

Calderdale Council says the vote to leave the EU could also affect a number of Council services, independently of whether the Tory government cuts its grants to local government even more than they already plan to.

The Council’s EU action plan covers seven themes

  • Political voice and leadership – its important that the Local Government has a big part to play in the Government’s planning and negotiations. Through local and national discussions Calderdale Council will ensure it has a strong voice to represent local residents and businesses.
  • Community relationships – in some areas of the country, the referendum result has had animpact on community cohesion, and it’s important that the Council deals swiftly with any signs of tension locally. There may also be a need for the Council to support non-UK residents who may be directly affected by an EU exit.
  • Support for businesses and key institutions- although the impact of the EU exit on businesses is still unclear, the Council would ensure that advice and support is available for businesses if needed.
  • Investment and employment – the Council wants to make sure that planned investment in the borough is protected, so will monitor any impact on plans relevant to Calderdale and look for alternative sources of investment funding if necessary.
  • Promoting Calderdale – promoting the borough as an international tourist destination is a major ambition for the Council. The existing tourism strategy will be revised to develop “staycation” opportunities and build on the profile of Calderdale during this period of change.
  • Internal impact – the short term impact of the referendum is uncertainty and therefore instability on financial markets. The Council will monitor these changes and re-evaluate financial plans if necessary.
  • Communication and Information – the Council will ensure that any changes or issues arising as a result of exit negotiations will be communicated effectively.

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