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Oxford,
03
October
2019
|
21:56
Europe/London

Oxfordshire public services have been preparing for potential impact of Brexit

Agencies across Oxfordshire have been working together to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October.

Although there is national uncertainty about the short-term impact of Brexit, the Government has asked Oxfordshire councils to highlight that they are prepared to respond to any foreseeable potential impact on public services for which they are directly responsible.

Short-term risks to public safety and normal daily life have been assessed by emergency planners in Oxfordshire and remain ‘low’.

Public bodies continue to work closely together, including councils, the emergency services and NHS. Potential risks are being monitored and information shared, and where necessary plans updated.

Oxfordshire councils have noted the new information campaign by the government, including advice to businesses and will be publicising the information locally and where appropriate tailored for specific Oxfordshire circumstances. Government information for individuals and businesses is available at www.gov.uk/brexit

Rob MacDougall (pictured), Chief Fire Officer and Oxfordshire County Council lead Brexit planner, said: “All the councils and other agencies have been working well together to plan  for Brexit, including leaving the EU without a deal. There are already plans in place to cover foreseeable types of short-term disruption to public services that are delivered by local partners in Oxfordshire.

“Overall we believe the risks to public service delivery are low. The biggest risk of disruption is to transport and the supply chain, for instance managing lorry traffic to or from the south coast ports.

“In fact, plans for this kind of disruption had already been made. The Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum role includes managing the impact of major disruption to strategic roads in the area which are being reviewed in the context of Brexit.

“The government has asked to closely monitor potential impacts of Brexit on local businesses. We recognise concerns expressed by local employers. Oxfordshire councils stand ready to provide any practical support within their powers to local businesses. This could include identifying specific Oxfordshire impacts and relaying those to the government.”

Giles Hughes, Head of Paid Service for West Oxfordshire District Council, said:

“We continue to work with our partners from across the county to monitor the situation and stay abreast of developments as more information about the Brexit process becomes available. The strong relationship between the agencies involved and our joined-up approach to planning gives us confidence that there is no significant risk posed to council services, whatever outcome is agreed by central government.”

Graeme Kane, Chief Operating Officer for Cherwell District Council, said: “Oxfordshire communities should be reassured their local councils and agencies are working together to prepare for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Thanks to our strong and vibrant local economy, any disruption to Oxfordshire as a result of Brexit has been assessed as being low risk. Nevertheless, we are working together to ensure plans are in place to support our communities and businesses through this period of change.”

Mark Stone, Chief Executive of South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils, said: “We’re not expecting any significant impact on our part of the country, but we hope our residents are reassured that we have been working together across Oxfordshire to ensure the councils here are well prepared.”

Oxford City Council Assistant Chief Executive, Caroline Green, said: ““While there is much uncertainty about Brexit, we do know that Oxfordshire is in a good position to respond to any issues that may occur. The county’s councils and other public services have a long history of working together sufficiently and effectively and this is also true with Brexit. I am confident that we are well-placed to minimise any disruption.”

About the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum’s role

  • Multi-agency planning for emergencies is a longstanding part of the work of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF)
  • The emergency services, councils, businesses and voluntary organisations that make up the LRF have been working since last summer to prepare for the impact of a no-deal EU Exit.
  • LRFs have been advised to plan locally for a range of possible risks and threats, known as ‘reasonable worst-case scenarios’, which are assessed and a set of planning assumptions are drawn up.
  • More broadly, the LRF regularly plans, tests and exercises its emergency plans and response to the locally identified community risks so that all agencies can respond quickly if needed.

Brexit information and advice

Leaving the EU means a number of changes that will affect businesses and individual citizens. The government information below explains how to prepare and the steps you may need to take.

Oxfordshire County Council can help EU nationals living here to apply for the EU settlement scheme, including an identity checking service. Find out more here.

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