Care workers would be given special access to petrol if a no-deal Brexit leads to fuel supply problems when the UK leaves the EU at the end of October, the council’s Cabinet heard.
Milton Keynes Council’s ruling group held a meeting behind closed doors on Monday to disuss emergency planning if the worst happens, leader Pete Marland (Lab, Wolverton) revealed in public yesterday (Tuesday).
“Unfortunately, I can’t give the assurance that council planning in the event of a no deal Brexit is going to assure absolute continuity and that no-one will be harmed,” said Cllr Marland at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. He was responding to a question from Lib Dem Cllr Robin Bradburn (Bradwell).
“Particulary around the import and export of medicines, atomic and energy supplies and things like that I cannot give the assurance that one small council can completely mitigate the effects of a no-deal Brexit.
“What I can do is give him the assurance that, in the event of lack of fuel for instance that we are making sure that ourselves, and the emergency services are making sure that, any limited fuel supply is directed towards those services that need it the most.
“Namely the emergency services and those providing adult social care etcetera, or are looking after children or vulnerable people.
“We are making sure that our emergency planning is as proactive as it can be and we are working with all the other agencies to make sure that things like people who are applying for settled status are able to do so in the small time we have available between now and the end of October.”
Cllr Rob Middleton (Lab, Wolverton), the council’s finance and resources chief, said the council is in a “strong financial position” but added: “nevertheless, if there are dire consequences from Brexit it’s going to be very difficult.”
The council leader also responded to a question from a member of the public, Sheila Dias, who asked what assistance or advice could be offered to EU passport holders who live in Milton Keynes about their rights.
Cllr Marland said there were at least 16,000 registered EU nationals living in Milton Keynes and they are all welcome in the city. He said the council is providing advice on its website and to applicants applying for settled status in the UK.
“The council is well aware of the anxiety caused and the difficulties encountered and have staff who have first-hand experience of some of the systemic failings and are ready to advise if necessary,” said Cllr Marland.
“But the Government has provided us with no assurance for after October 31 if there is no deal.”