THE Government’s high profile campaign Get Ready for Brexit has been running since last month ­— urging everyone from businesses to holiday makers to be prepared for the separation from the European Union.

This month concerns were raised in the Bolton’s council chamber on how it was preparing for Brexit. SAIQA CHAUDHARI reports.

FROM helping healthcare workers from the EU obtain settlement status, to gearing up to support those who lose their jobs are some of actions being taken in the event of a no-deal Brexit in Bolton and throughout Greater Manchester.

Questions were recently raised asking if Bolton Council had an emergency plan for a no-deal Brexit ­— and if there is one, why it has not been shared with council members.

Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of Bolton’s Lib-Dems, said: "The leader will be very aware the position of the Prime Minister is the UK will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, do or die, no ifs no buts.

“I’m sure the leader has as much trust in the veracity of the Prime Minister as I do.

“Two thirds of chief executives engage with Brexit planning once a day or more and over half regard it as one of their top priorities.

“The majority feel more concerned about the effect of Brexit on their council than they did a year ago.

“Given that it is rated as so important and that any plans will have to implemented in less than a month, I would have expected any responsible council to make plans and communicate those plans to the council members.

“I’m concerned as a member of this council and also as a group leader that I have heard nothing about any plans that this council may have, I therefore ask the leader the following question.

“I understand all councils have been required to make emergency plans for the event of a possible exit from the EU at the end of October without a deal.

“Can the leader confirm whether that the council has done so and if the answer is yes, when these plans will be shared with councillors or at least with leaders of the groups?”

It emerged that Bolton Council has drawn up plans to cover the many eventualities that could result if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead on Halloween.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council said: “The council has set up a Brexit core group which represents all departments and is working closely with the GM local resilience forum to receive and provide local information upwards to a regional and national level.

“Bolton is signed up to receive all notifications coming from the government.

“A briefing paper was taken to the GM scrutiny committee on Brexit preparedness.

“It was not the level of doom and gloom I think is perceived out there. It was one that was very measured.

“A link to this I will make sure is shared with members.”

Bolton Council was given a £210,000 to prepare for an “orderly” exit from the European Union and used for contingency planning.

This will not be the only resource councils receive to fund Brexit costs, according to the government. Other departments will assess and, if appropriate, fund any potential new burdens arising on councils as part of EU Exit work they are undertaking.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “In light of recent developments in the Brexit negotiations, we have reviewed our contingency strategies to ensure plans are sufficiently robust to cope with a variety of potential outcomes.”

Bolton Council has a Brexit Lead Officer, who is also a part of the wider Greater Manchester Brexit Preparedness Group.

An economic resilience taskforce has been set up to manage the ongoing uncertainty and potential no deal exit from the EU.

It brings together key GM bodies to try to ensure a coherent and comprehensive package of support as possible is provided to businesses and individuals facing any threat of redundancy should the country exit under a no deal scenario or an economic downturn occurs.

The membership of the taskforce includes GMCA and Local Authority representation, the Growth Company, Jobcentre Plus, the Cities & Local Growth Unit, Business representative organisations Citizens Advice and Trade Union representatives.

Preparation for the health sector is being led nationally by NHS England and Department for Health. The reliance on EU workers in the health and social care sector is said to be a particular risk.

And work has been undertaken to support health and care workers to complete the EU settlement scheme. In the higher education sector work has been undertaken to understand the possible impacts on the numbers of EU students and lecturers ­— and support continues to be provided to ensure EU citizens apply for settled status.

The council says that advice is available to residents, businesses, UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.

The government website includes information about trading good with the EU, visiting the EU, continuing to live and work in the EU and what EU citizens living in the United Kingdom need to do.