‘We are as prepared as anyone can be’: House building and school meals at risk according to Barking and Dagenham Brexit report
PUBLISHED: 17:55 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:04 08 October 2019
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The council has highlighted almost a dozen risk areas in a report into Brexit preparedness it released today (Tuesday, October 8).
But the report added there are too many areas that are vulnerable to a supply chain disruption to cover them all.
"Disruption to food supplies could threaten the ability of schools to provide school meals that comply with national nutritional standards," one line in the report reads. It adds increased prices and interest rates could lead to increased demand for those meals.
In preparation, a stockpile of frozen and non-perishable foods has been made and a plan for a 12-week period of changed menus drawn up.
The council's £700million programme to build 2,700 new homes in the next five years is another vulnerable area.
Labour shortages, increased material costs or an economic slowdown that affects the housing market could affect the authority's ability to follow through on those plans.
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Assessing contractors on their Brexit readiness and reviewing possible stockpiling are part of how it's trying to manage the risk.
The government's leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents also suggest small adult care providers could fail within two to three months if there's disruption on the border. The council said it uses many smaller providers and they would have to be monitored to mitigate that.
While it's not totally clear what's coming on October 31, council leader Darren Rodwell said the council is as prepared as possible.
"We can make sure all our services operate without any disruption," he said.
"We are as prepared as anyone can be in light of the fact that we don't know what, if any, disruption will happen.
"We'll have to look and see what happens."
Uncertainty has been the problem for planning for October 31. The Brexit cabinet members for all London's councils speak weekly to share information. Those meetings and meetings with government departments are the described as the "most significant sharing of valuable intelligence" by the report.
On what government can do to help authorities, Cllr Rodwell said: "We need more money, to be honest. We're trying to do all this stuff when austerity is clearly [still] with us."
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