THE people of St Helens can’t afford to take an economic hit caused by a no-deal Brexit, the leader of St Helens Council has said.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram recently wrote to Michael Gove, who is in charge of the government’s no-deal preparations, to invite him to the city region to discuss the UK’s exit from the EU.

The UK is set to leave the EU on October 31, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly insisting he is prepared to do so "with or without a deal".

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Analysis from the University of Sussex says the Liverpool City Region could see around 15,000 job losses as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

Around 60 per cent of the city region’s exports go to the EU.

Mr Rotheram told the combined authority last month it is their responsibility as elected leaders to do “everything we can to protect the people of our city region from such economic harm and the aftershocks of Brexit”.

St Helens Star:

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram

St Helens Council leader David Baines welcomed the decision to invite Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to meet with elected members, business leaders and trade union representatives.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Baines said he is “really concerned” about a no-deal Brexit.

Cllr Baines said: “Nobody voted for a no-deal Brexit. Those who say they did are not being completely honest.

“The Leave campaign said we would leave with a deal. We were told by prominent Leave campaigners that it would be the ‘easiest deal in history’.

“Nobody voted to leave with no deal and I’m really concerned of the possible impact of no-deal on the people of St Helens.

“Some people may be able to afford taking an economic hit.

“People in St Helens, who I represent, can’t afford to take an economic hit.”

St Helens Star:

St Helens Council leader David Baines

Over the weekend details from a dossier detailing the government’s no-deal Brexit contingency plan, code-named Operation Yellowhammer, was published in the national press.

The dossier says leaving the EU without a deal could lead to food and medicine shortages and price increases for utilities, fuel and food.

It also warns that a no-deal Brexit could see a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland introduced.

The Sunday Times, which received a copy of the leaked dossier, said Operation Yellowhammer was based on the “most likely aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit”.

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This has been refuted by Mr Gove, who said the dossier is an “old document” and details the “worst case scenario”.

The former environment secretary added that the government had stepped up no-deal planning over the past month.

A spokesman for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said it is awaiting a response from Mr Gove regarding the Metro Mayor’s invitation.