Pope calls for special case pre-Brexit funding for border Councils

Alliance Councillor Brian Pope has called the announcement of pre-Brexit funding for Councils “entirely inadequate” and has called for special case funding for border councils in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Pope was speaking after the UK Government announced £9 million to ‘get ports and local areas ready’ for Brexit, with £5 million being given to Councils in England which either have or are near to a major air, land or sea port. However, only £1.7 million of that is being given to the devolved institutions through Barnett consequentials, with no direct money being given to Councils here.

“This announcement is totally inadequate,” said Councillor Pope.

“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has a substantial border with the Republic and therefore faces unique Brexit challenges. Along with other border Councils it should be considered for special case funding.

“ABC Council officers work extremely hard, but they can’t be expected to deal with a substantial increase in demand for support from local businesses without adequate funding. It is vital the planning for this awful no-deal Brexit scenario does not affect the provision of current Council services.

“I have previously called for urgent funding so traffic and infrastructure, and customs related studies can be undertaken. I am particularly concerned about the impact this would have on the agri-food sector and small businesses in the area.

“Today’s funding allocations have partly been made on the expected impact on the local area, with Kent County Council receiving a special payment due to its busy port. Border councils in Northern Ireland must also be considered for special case funding.”