COUNCIL chiefs are “pressing” the government to ensure St Helens is protected against any negative outcomes caused by a no-deal Brexit, it has been claimed.

Last week the Local Government Association published a briefing to councils up and down the country detailing the “knowns” and “unknowns” under a no-deal scenario for local government.

Following that, St Helens Council leader Derek Long said the authority is “working hard” to make sure the borough is well-placed in the event of no-deal.

Cllr Long said: “Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we have been working hard in St Helens to make sure our residents and businesses are in the best place to deal with the future.

“So that’s why we’re attracting so many new jobs and so much new investment into the borough.

“Obviously, we will be pressing government to ensure the borough is protected against negative outcomes like import price rises.”

As previously reported by the Local Democracy Reporter Service, council officers have been instructed by deputy leader Andy Bowden to compile a series of Brexit impact assessments looking at a no-deal scenario.

The LGA briefing says the government is making it clear that it would be “prudent” for all public and private organisations to ensure they were making preparations for a no-deal scenario.

“Brexit planning by councils comes at a time of great pressures on services and finances,” the briefing adds.

“We have raised this issue with government and will continue to press the point strongly.

“We would like to understand where additional advice or capacity is already being utilised or may still be required to help prepare for all the work anticipated in the no deal technical papers.”

The paper says one of the most important “unknowns” at present is the nature of any deal that may be agreed between the EU and the UK.

Currently the two sides are at an impasse over how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland.

The LGA says it will likely “twin-tracking” no-deal preparations along with Brexit negotiations and offering advice on how any draft deal may impact on councils.

“Government has indicated that no-deal preparation should continue up to the point at which any deal is ratified by the UK and EU Parliaments,” the LGA report says.

“As the details of any deals are developed, the LGA will be briefing on the implications for councils.”