Brexit cash for councils ‘better off spent on tinned food and paraffin stoves’

James Brokenshire said the funding 'will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services'
James Brokenshire said the funding 'will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services'

Every district and borough council in West Sussex is to receive thousands of pounds from the government to help them deal with Brexit.

However, one leader has said councils would be better off spending the money on ‘tinned food and paraffin stoves’.

In a written statement to Parliament, local government secretary James Brokenshire announced a  £56.5m pot to be divided among county and district councils over the next two years.

County councils will receive £175k, while district and borough councils will receive £35k over the same period.

Unitary authorities, such as Brighton & Hove City Council, will receive £210,000, while an extra £1.5m will be split between councils facing an impact from local ports.

Mr Brokenshire said: “This funding will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services.”

Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, was less than impressed with the announcement.

Taking to social media, he said: “When divvied up, it’s not even enough to fund one additional environmental health officer for dealing with the added checks at Gatwick – better off spending it on tinned food and paraffin stoves.”

None of the councils in West Sussex have yet been told when they will receive the money, so have no idea how it will be used.

When asked, a spokesman for Horsham District Council said: “As soon as further details are available we will review the terms of the grant funds before making any decisions about how we can put this money to best use to protect local services and keep people informed post Brexit.”

Mr Brokenshire said: “Local government will play a critical role in making a success of Brexit at the local level.

“My department is committed to ensuring councils have the support and the funding they need to prepare for an orderly exit from the EU and do appropriate contingency planning.”