Brexit poses a ‘major risk’ to Hyndburn and could have a huge impact on local companies and business rates, Labour council leaders have warned.
The council has set aside £3 million in reserves to combat financial risks over the next three years and bosses claim the biggest risk facing the borough is Brexit.
Government forecasts show that the region could be hit by negative growth of between 2.5pc and 12pc depending on what relationship the UK has with the European Union after March 2019.
Speaking at a recent scrutiny meeting, council leader Miles Parkinson said it is ‘a big worry’.
He added: “It’s a major risk and it’s not quantifiable. It’s very important for us in this area that businesses aren’t affected by Brexit because business rates are very important.
“The areas that voted to leave may be affected by leaving the EU worse than those which voted to remain because of their dependency on manufacturing and industrial output in those areas.”
Coun Parkinson added: “Of course the Brexit progression is still in its due process.
"We would expect some sort of impact when the final resolution is known, maybe by March 2019 or maybe some announcement before that.
"Most governments and heads of state in the EU expect it to be resolved by October. A lot in this country don’t expect that and that it will go to the 11th hour.”
Gareth Molineux, cabinet member for resources, said the council has £3m in reserves for a ‘wide variety of risks’.
He said: “We have no direct financial implications from EU grants, however we do have to bear in mind that the council flourishes when the economy is good and struggles when it isn’t.
“Obviously we are still waiting to see what financial impact Brexit will have on central government and the economy. We are not in a position to make an estimate.”
Coun Tim O’Kane said the government have produced a ’set of very gloomy forecasts’ and that they are in a ‘no-win situation’.
Speaking at a council budget meeting, he said: “While Theresa May and the rest of the cabinet argue long into the night on how to get out of the mess the Conservative Party are in, we are left here to make the best guess from a list of bad options.
"This is mushroom management of the highest order.”
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