Responding to the NAO report ‘Exiting the EU: Consumer Protection, competition and state aid’, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s Brexit Taskforce, said:
“This report highlights a number of concerns the LGA has already raised about the impact of Brexit on local regulators, particularly in port areas. It is positive that additional funding is being allocated to the Competition and Markets Authority by the Government to help prepare for the UK to leave the EU in these important regulatory areas. However to ensure a smooth exit, it is important that funding and capacity is also provided to local authorities carrying out this important work on the ground.
“Without UK access to European-wide databases which provide much of the intelligence for assessing risks, due to no longer being an EU member, more checking of imports by local government is inevitable – and valuable protections risk being weakened. While this report focuses on consumer goods and product safety issues, there could be a much wider impact on valuable health protections linked to food and feed goods, impacting a range of other services as well as trading standards.
“Without substantial extra resources for councils, more checks are likely to lead to delays at ports, particularly where there is limited space to process them.
“A UK successor to state-aid represents an opportunity to reform and improve the current process, which could help small businesses, charities and local voluntary groups benefit from direct financial support from councils, when they undertake activities of benefit to the local community. The LGA is keen to work with government on the design of any future system post Brexit.”