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Postal Address

Shropshire Council
Abbey Foregate

Agenda item

Brexit Task and Finish Group Report

To receive a report from the Brexit Task and Finish Group.


The Council’s statutory Scrutiny Officer reminded Members that the Brexit Task and Finish Group had been established to consider the implications of Brexit on the Shropshire economy.  This included both risks and opportunities.  It aimed to establish a clearer understanding of what would be required locally from Government to enable Shropshire to achieve the ambitions of the Economic Growth Strategy.  The key messages and requirements would then be available to Cabinet to inform the Council’s response to the expected Shared Prosperity Fund White Paper on the UK Funding approach to replace European Union funding initiatives. He continued that it had been anticipated that the White Paper would be published in December 2017, but it had not yet been received.


Members noted that the Task and Finish Group report before them was a stage report and the Task and Finish Group had suspended further work until the contents of the White Paper were disclosed, and the Government provided greater clarity on its proposals. 


The Council’s statutory Scrutiny Officer summarised the work undertaken by the Task and Finish Group as outlined in the report.  Much of this had been desk-based research although a range of representatives from different organisations had been invited to give evidence to the Group.  Contact had also been made with the Welsh Government and information shared.  He observed that Shropshire appeared to be the only Local Authority working on this issue in this detail. 


Members noted that the Task and Finish Group had identified two areas that they considered to be of particular importance and had suggested that the terms of reference be revised to enable them to give greater consideration to:


·         Agriculture and land based industries:  different environmental benefits and the potential impact of Brexit on the rural economy.


·         Skills and the labour force:  the group had identified that the working age population was declining and did not offer the skills required by employers. 


Members discussed the need to share the findings of the Task and Finish Group.  It was suggested that the Head of Economic Growth should share the Group’s report with the Shropshire Business Board, training organisations based in Shropshire, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, neighbouring local authorities and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.  The Chairman confirmed that a presentation would be made to the next MPs’ meeting at Shirehall.


The Head of Economic Growth confirmed that the links made with the Welsh Affairs Department of the Welsh Government would be maintained.  The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport commented that cross border working with the Welsh Government on business and road was improving, which was welcomed. 





i.              The Task and Finish Group paused its wider work on Brexit and Shared Prosperity Fund until the Government provides greater clarity which the Group can use to shape recommendations and responses to consultation;


ii.            The Place Overview Committee confirms that the Task and Finish Group refreshes the scope and focus of its Terms of Reference to incorporate more detailed consideration of

·         Agriculture and Land Based Industries; and

·         Skills and Labour Force;


iii.           That the Council continues to work on cross-border opportunities with the Welsh Government and Neighbouring Local Authorities to identify and progress economic growth and wider benefits; and


iv.           That the Council should lobby MPs and Government about concerns over the lack of clarity over Brexit negotiations and how the future will look for Shropshire and its neighbours in order to reduce speculation and improve business confidence.

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