Local Authority and LEP Responses to Brexit

Local Authority and LEP Responses to Brexit

Soon after the vote to leave the EU in June 2016 we spoke to around 20 of our clients who are stakeholders in economic development – across the public and private sectors. In these early weeks after the referendum there was a huge amount of uncertainty about what Brexit involves and its impact on economic development – and this remains the case. People were seeing both positive and negative impacts, and huge risks, particularly to the future funding of economic development.  They were also keen to hear about what others were doing in response.

By October 2016 the economic development world had had four months to digest the result of the referendum and contemplate the impacts and their potential responses. We decided, in partnership with the Institute of Economic Development (IED), that this was a good time to get a clearer picture of the impacts and responses from public sector organisations involved in economic development in the South West of England. We identified just over forty such organisations, and got responses from 22, including Counties, Districts, Unitary Authorities, LEPs and delivery bodies.

Key messages include:

  • 80% reporting some form of impact in the economy
  • More than 40% reporting a slow down in investment
  • Reports of direct approaches from other EU countries to local businesses
  • More than 60% are already responding in some way
  • At this stage the majority are listening and gathering evidence
  • 80% are planning to take some form of action
  • But 20% are not!
  • 50% of those planning to make a response will be reactive as issues arise

Whilst uncertainty remains a major challenge the accompanying practitioner workshop highlighted the need for leadership and a concern that waiting until there is clarity will mean waiting too long.

The full report of this survey can be found here.