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Cambridgeshire County Council gives stark Brexit warnings including shortages of fuel and medicine

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There are warnings about the potential impact Brexit could have on Cambridgeshire, with possible fuel and medicine shortages, as well as the likelihood of a lack of care workers, cleaners, and other key staff.

A “cross-departmental taskforce” is now being formed to ensure the region is prepared to respond to Brexit developments. (6606769)
A “cross-departmental taskforce” is now being formed to ensure the region is prepared to respond to Brexit developments. (6606769)

The UK is set to leave the European Union on March 29, and the terms of that exit are still largely unknown.

Cambridgeshire County Council has now published its Brexit impact assessment, laying out some of the potential implications for the council, its staff, and residents.

The assessment has been informed by research, technical notes produced by Government, workshop sessions with officers, and meetings with services, senior leaders, members and other partners.

As well as this, a “cross-departmental taskforce” has been set up to make sure the region is ready to respond to any issues.

According to the Impact assessment, there is a possibility there will be limited availability of medicinal drugs. The report warns this would have a “very high” impact on the county should it occur.

The report reads: “We will prioritise national government and NHS led response (including prioritisation of medicine imports and extra six weeks of supply to overcome any import disruption) through local communication and engagement, particularly around the need for local people and health and social care providers not to stockpile medicine.

The report says it is “likely” there will be an increase in “community tensions” causing damage to community cohesion. This would have a “high” impact on the community.

There are also warnings there may be “complications on rights and status of EU citizens and workers”, which would have an impact on vulnerable people who “may not understand requirements”.

This, the report says, means there may be a shortage of workers, especially in hard to fill roles such as in adult social care, children’s social care, and education. On top of this, the report says it is “very likely” there will be shortages of care workers, cleaners, security staff, and construction personnel.

Staff in the health and social care sector can apply for settled status now and, according to the report, will be encouraged to do so.

The report says it is “very likely there will be changes to rules for recruiting staff from outside the UK”. This, it says, would have a “very high” impact on the area.

The report does, however, say it is “unlikely” there will be any loss of EU funding for projects, or loss of government funding. It also says it is “unlikely” there will be any reduction of income from business rates as a result of EU-owned businesses closing.

Despite this, the report does acknowledge it is “very likely” there will be pressures on budgets from other sectors, such as increase in cost of workforce in services, as well as cost of products and materials.

The report warns it is “possible” there could be “potential shortage of fuel supplies” which would impact on staff travelling to deliver services. This, the report says, would have a “very high” impact on the region.

The report notes that “national government arrangements are in place to address disruption to supply of fuel”. Despite that, a possibility remains that transport problems could arise due to the knock-on impact of border checks or barriers to trade.

According to the council: “This is a rapidly changing situation, and the impact assessment will need to be kept under very frequent review to reflect this.”

A “cross-departmental taskforce” is now being formed to ensure the region is prepared to respond to the developments that emerge over the coming weeks.

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