Brexit is just eight months away but North East councils aren’t doing any studies about how it might impact the region.
Earlier this week, Sky News reported some councils have carried out detailed assessments of how they could be affected by the UK’s departure from the European Union.
But Freedom of Information requests have revealed no such studies are being carried out in the North East.
Newcastle City Council’s deputy leader Joyce McCarty and MEP Jude Kirton-Darling have claimed a lack of clarity from central Government has made it impossible for local authorities to plan.
While North East councils have contributed to a report by the North East Local Economic Enterprise looking at the relationship between the EU and the region, the FOI responses show no further detailed assessments are planned.
The only substantial piece of research currently being compiled is a study into how the rural economy might be affected which has been commissioned by Northumberland County Council.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “In-depth Brexit impact assessments – especially at local and regional level – are important and it is useful for Councils to plan as much as possible.
“However, why are local authorities expected to conduct the research without being properly resourced to do so?
“North East councils are cash strapped as it is, having been hammered by Tory cuts for years, and the work involved in analysing the effect of Brexit on our region is not an easy feat.”
Explaining why no assessments are being carried out, Newcastle’s deputy leader Joyce McCarty said: “ Right now many councils are unable to plan for the future as a result of the Government’s Brexit chaos.
“While some councils obviously have Brexit-specific issues in their area, no one really knows what exit deal the Government will finally manage, and what the impact of this will be.
“To make matters worse, the Government is spending in the region of £2bn to make Whitehall ready for Brexit but none of that money has gone to help local authorities prepare for Brexit."