First Minister meets with councillors and emergency service workers to discuss Brexit fallout
First Minister Mark Drakeford will meet council leaders on Thursday 10th January to discuss their plans for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
With less than 80 days until the UK leaves the EU and with Westminster at deadlock, the First Minister has warned of the 'unmistakable crisis' of a no deal Brexit and the Welsh Government has intensified its planning for such a scenario.
The First Minister will be joined by the Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles and Local Government Minister Julie James at an extraordinary meeting of the Local Government Partnership Council today to discuss Brexit.
The partnership council includes local authority leaders, representatives from community and town councils, the WLGA, police and fire and rescue authorities and the national park authorities.
Welsh Government's main concerns
The risks to local government services, including the loss of employees - many non-UK EU citizens - who are involved in providing vital public services in Wales
The loss of funding for future projects, including regeneration and job creation projects
The imposition of border controls, which would impact the ports at Holyhead and Pembrokeshire.
The Welsh Government has established a £50m EU Transition Fund to help organisations, businesses and the public sector prepare for Brexit.
Local government has received funding to support its preparations.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the First Minister said:“Leaving the EU without a deal would be catastrophic and must be avoided. It could cause significant disruption and damage to our economy, jobs, trade and public services.
“Every sector would be affected in some way and while it is not possible to completely mitigate the effects, we must prepare and work to achieve the least damaging form of Brexit possible.
“All public sectors in Wales should now be well involved in contingency planning for a no deal scenario.
“Today’s meeting is another opportunity to discuss the potential impacts of a no deal Brexit and discuss how we can reduce the impact this scenario will have on local services.”
The First Minister added:“It is extremely frustrating that we have been brought to this positon by a UK Government that has continued to put the interests of its party ahead of the country it is supposed to serve.
“There is still time to turn this around – our White Paper, Securing Wales’ Future, provides an approach that would protect jobs and services.
"We continue to urge the UK Government to work with us to secure a deal which provides the best possible outcome for the whole of the UK.”
Local Government Minister Julie James added:
“We are fortunate to have experience of working closely across the public sector in Wales and I am confident this will puts us in a strong position to deal with the challenges ahead.
“Now, more than ever, we need to work together for the good of our citizens to ensure we are as well prepared as possible ahead of EU exit on March 29.”
Meanwhile, UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is to reiterate his call for a general election - arguing it's the most "practical" and "democratic" way to "break the deadlock" over Brexit.
In a speech in West Yorkshire later, the Labour leader is also expected to repeat that his party will vote down Theresa May's deal next week.
If the PM loses it, she'll have to find a "plan B" within three days.