Government ask Hull council officials for advice as they 'don't know Brexit impact themselves'
Mark Jones, Hull City Council regeneration director
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 14 Jul 2017
Government departments are "constantly" asking council officials in Hull about the likely impact of Brexit without knowing themselves, it has been revealed.
Earlier this week the government published its bill aimed at turning decades of European Union legislation into UK law.
But, according to senior city council officer Mark Jones, most London-based civil servants still appear to be in a muddle over what to expect when Britain leaves the EU.
Speaking at a scrutiny committee, the authority's director of regeneration said: "Government departments are constantly asking us what the impact of Brexit will be. The only people who aren't asking are the Treasury.
"You would like to think they would know more than we do but we keep saying: 'Tell us what Brexit will look like and then we can give you some idea.'
"My impression is that the best brains in London, aided by the Treasury are trying to secure the best possible deal for the City of London.
"All the work is going in to stop London going bust. That is the priority."
Mr Jones was awarded an MBE in last year's Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition for his 17-year career spearheading the council's regeneration and economic development policies.
He is widely credited as being one of the leading figures behind securing the £310m investment by Siemens and ABP in the Greenport Hull project.
He told councillors the only firm pledge issued so far by ministers was an intention to replace EU financial support for regional development projects with a new government-backed fund.
A current example of the EU development funding in Hull is a £20m contribution towards the cost of the new Energy Works power plant being built in Cleveland Street.
The Energy Works power plant
Mr Jones added: "My big worry is what happens to co-funding for skills in the work programme.
"We have asked for the figures but we are not getting answers."
He said another concern was the impact of Brexit on European nationals living and working in the area.
"A large number of European nationals make up our economy and reflect the culture of Hull as a welcoming city.
"Making sure we can support that community to make sure they feel part of the city is a piece of work we need to be looking at doing."
Councillors agreed to set up a wide-ranging review of all possible Brexit-related impacts on the council through its scrutiny process.
Councillor Claire Thomas said: "This is going to be the biggest challenge of our generation. We need to be proactive and we need to be going to the government and telling them what the priorities for Hull are."