Irish local authorities prepare for Brexit – ours lag behind

“Local authorities face a number of uncertainties due to Brexit but are focussed on building resilience in their areas to prepare.

Addressing the recent conference ‘Local Authorities – Implications for Local Authorities and their Areas,’ Jackie Maguire, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) said Brexit has been to the forefront of local authority considerations since the UK vote to leave the EU.

‘Preparing for the unknown is a huge challenge. In the local authority sector, our approach has been to consider all our plans and actions through the lens of Brexit, while maintaining close contact with Government and relevant departments throughout the negotiation period,’ she said.

The conference heard that as well as the potential impact on local business and economic development, there are a number of practical implications for local authorities, particularly in border regions.

Citing the current arrangement, where the Northern Irish Fire Service provides first response to call outs in parts of Donegal and giving the further example of an ongoing cross-border greenway project, she said:

‘While both the Republic and Northern Ireland have been members of the EU, we have been able to work collaboratively on shared infrastructure development and shared service provision. We now face into an unknown situation as to whether that can continue.’

The CCMA Chair also highlighted the impact Brexit may have on environmental standards, ‘Currently we apply relatively consistent environmental policies north and south; this is the best way to achieve results. The Water Framework Directive, for example, is implemented in both jurisdictions to manage river basins and improve water quality but rivers don’t stop at borders.’

‘Local authorities will do what we can to proactively mitigate against the worst impacts of Brexit and capitalise on any opportunities.’

‘This will involve not only our economic development and tourism teams but teams across our organisations – in planning, roads, housing, infrastructure and other areas. We will ensure efficient, responsive services and ambitious plans that will encourage enterprise, entice visitors and allow our areas to thrive.'”

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/argus/news/local-authorities-prepare-for-brexit-uncertainty-37611830.html

Brexit worries hit housing market and developers

Owl says: you can see why penalising local authorities for not getting enough new houses built just doesn’t work.

“… Simon Rubinsohn, Rics’ chief economist, said: “It is evident … that the ongoing uncertainties surrounding how the Brexit process plays out is taking its toll on the housing market. I can’t recall a previous survey when a single issue has been highlighted by quite so many contributors.

“Caution is visible among both buyers and vendors and where deals are being done they are taking longer to get over the line. The forward-looking indicators reflect the suspicion that the political machinations are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.”

He said a weakening property market could prompt a slowdown in housebuilding: “The bigger risk is that this now spills over into development plans, making it even harder to secure the uplift in the building pipeline to address the housing crisis.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/13/uk-property-market-at-weakest-since-2012-as-brexit-takes-toll-rics

Swire stays on fence in May vote – waits to see which side wind blows him!

He SO needs that Foreign Office job to take him off the back bench!

“… A spokesman for Sir Hugo said he would not be making any comment until after tonight’s secret ballot.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/hugo-swire-leadership-vote-theresa-may-1-5815966

“State-sponsored dissident” Swire at it again!

Swire and May… Swire and Rudd … Swire and … just about anyone who might get him out of the hell of being a backbench MP!

“… What the government wants

A crucial insight into Downing Street’s thinking lies in an amendment put forward to the “meaningful vote” by the Tory MP Sir Hugo Swire. The government’s fingerprints were all over it.

Beyond parliament directing the government on whether to seek an extension of the transition period to avoid the backstop, Swire more significantly proposed to place “a duty” on the government to agree a future relationship, or alternative arrangements, within one year of the Northern Ireland backstop coming into force.

It was essentially an attempt to give parliament a putative date by which the government would make all “best endeavours” to get out of the backstop, or have a very good reason for failing to do so.

The withdrawal agreement already says that the EU will make those “best endeavours” to have a free trade deal in place by 2020 – the end of the 21-month transition period. The government may well seek for the reiteration of that commitment, plus an additional statement of the EU’s intention to get out of the backstop by 2021. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/11/brexit-what-can-may-hope-to-achieve-in-her-dash-to-the-continent

Swire continues to plot … but for whom? and why?

Daily Express article today – heck that fence must be pretty uncomfortable!

“Under the terms of the deal Mrs May agreed with the EU that the UK will automatically fall into a ‘backstop’ EU customs union should the Government fail to agree a new trading relationship with Brussels during the transition period. The transition period is currently set at 21 months, though Mrs May has hinted it could be extended. Should the UK enter a customs union with Brussels it would struggle to sign comprehensive trade deals with third parties, and will still have to obey a significant proportion of EU legislation.

Tory loyalists Sir Hugo Swire and Richard Graham have tabled the amendment, which would give MPs a vote on whether the UK joins the customs union backstop or extends the transition period if a new trading relationship with the EU can’t be agreed.

It also requires the Government to push for “further assurances from the EU that the backstop would only be a temporary arrangement”.

Should the UK enter a customs union the amendment requires the Government to make plans to exit within a year.

Nikki da Costa, formerly the Prime Minister’s director of legislative affairs, suggested Ministers could be behind the move.

He told the Daily Mail: “I know a Government amendment when I see one”.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1055563/Brexit-news-Theresa-May-EU-exit-deal-Parliament-amendment-Conservative-MP

Swire and Rudd – a marriage made in …

Multiple sightings of our esteemed MP lurking in the background – almost seeming to try to duck out of shot – of early TV news items featuring Amber Rudd spouting today’s riff on Brexit.

Swire has already been described as “a state sanctioned dissident” and Rudd is known to be quite prepared to do May’s dirty work:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/12/07/swire-state-sanctioned-dissident/

So, are they dirty working today WITH May or AGAINST her?

Be careful Mrs May – keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer has its failings. And Owl thinks he has never forgiven you for ousting him from his “job” at the Foreign Office, cosying up to the sheiks of the Saudi Arabian peninsula and his favourite islands, The Maldives. Which he still does but in the very much less prestigious ‘job” of Chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council.

Swire: “state-sanctioned dissident”!

Owl loves the description of Swire!

“The plain fact is that the Brexiteers and the DUP are unbiddable, unshakeable and unpersuadeable. The usual tricks of last minute concessions just aren’t working. Last night was a case in point, as the new amendment to give Stormont and MPs a say over the customs ‘backstop’ was tabled by state-sanctioned dissidents Hugo Swire, Richard Graham and Bob Neill. …”

Source: WUgh Zone, Huffington Post