Brexit ‘ready as we can be’ pledge from council

Pippa Milne takes up her new post in December.
Pippa Milne, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council

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Argyll and Bute is as well prepared as it can be for the next stage of Brexit, according to a council chief.

Pippa Milne, who heads Argyll and Bute Council, has said in a report that the authority and the area’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) would work with communities to minimise any impact.

Following the 2016 referendum, the UK formally withdrew from membership of the European Union (EU) on January 31 this year.

But the clock is now ticking on the ‘transition period’ which is due to end on December 31 – barring any last minute extension.

Ms Milne said the council and the HSCP are as ‘well prepared as they can be’ and are actively engaged with partners through local and national resilience frameworks.

Ms Milne wrote: ‘Negotiations for a longer-term UK-EU27 free trade and partnership agreement continued throughout the summer of 2020 and into October and it remains to be seen if these discussions continue or if they have ended without an agreement.

‘It appears at this stage that any free trade deal will be limited, with significant changes on trade in goods, services, border controls, mobility, transport and fisheries.

‘If a trade deal is not in place between UK-EU, the UK will fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, resulting in tariffs on goods and little practical cooperation to smooth border checks.’

The council established a ‘tactical team’ to ensure that the council and the HSCP was prepared for all risks and opportunities arising from the withdrawal, she added

Ms Milne concluded: ‘The UK Government’s withdrawal from the EU raises a number of risks and opportunities and the council and the HSCP continue to liaise with all partners to ensure we remain ready to ensure business continuity whilst monitoring impacts on our communities.’

CAPTION: Pippa Milne, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council.