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Kent councils get more than £600,000 to prepare for Brexit

Councils in Kent are together getting more than £600,000 from the government to prepare for Brexit - even though some say they are not making any contingency plans to head off possible problems.

And the government’s handout has left Kent County Council getting less than the neighbouring Medway Council.

Under a Brexit fighting fund, KCC will get £175,000 from the government - the same as every other county council - and £35,000 less than Medway, which as a unitary council will qualify for £210,000.

Kent County Council HQ (7011806)
Kent County Council HQ (7011806)

Medway has played down the possible consequences of Brexit and says its focus is on continuing providing services to residents.

In contrast, KCC has drawn up detailed plans to cope with a range of possible issues in a 17-page report on the impact Brexit may have on its services and contingency plans in the event Operation Brock is triggered

The grant scheme will see district and borough councils qualify for a more modest £35,000 each but that will be spread over two years.

One small consolation for KCC is that it could get additional money from a separate £1.5m fund for areas with ports although that has yet to be allocated.

Cllr Rob Bird, opposition Liberal Democrat group leader on the county council, said: “It is a little surprising and disappointing that KCC which has unique pressures stands to get the same as every other county and less than unitary authorities.”

Cllr Vince Maple, the opposition Labour group leader on Medway council, said it was “too little, too late” and queried how the authority might spend the money.

“I don’t think that it will go very far although anything that helps Medway prepare for Brexit is welcome.”

But council leader Alan Jarrett said last month that he would not be publishing any reports related to the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

He said: “Quite frankly, no-one knows what Brexit will look like and indeed if there will be one. What we have been focused on is business as usual and growing the Medway economy.”

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of Brexit in their areas. I’m determined to ensure councils have the resources they need, which is why I’m releasing £56.5 million of extra finance to help them to deliver essential services and keep residents well-informed.”

KCC was recently allocated £29m by the government to help prepare the road network should Operation Brock be implemented.

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