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Councils Joint Report on Opportunities and Challenges Post Brexit

Councilspublish joint report exploring challenges and opportunities of Brexit

Derry City andStrabane District Council in conjunction with Donegal County Council haspublished a research document on the potential impact of Brexit on the NorthWest City Region.

The reportentitled: “Initial Analysis of the Challenges and Opportunitiesof Brexit for the Derry City and Strabane and Donegal County Council areas -The North West City Region, February 2017”   is the result of collaborativework by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council andUlster University Economic Policy Centre with assistance from Queen’sUniversity Belfast and Trinity College Dublin.

The document,which brings together the views of a broad spectrum of experts in theeducation, health, business, agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, retailing,financial services, logistics and construction sectors, considers the wideranging implications of a land border between an EU member state and a non-EUmember state, taking into account the high levels of integration unique to thisregion.

While theresults of Brexit will have differential geographical impact across theseislands, the effect on the North West Region, the fourth largest City Regionwithin Ireland, may be significant and sustained unless coherent, decisive,mitigating actions are put in place. The report enables the Councils toconsider the socio-economic characteristics of the region, identify gaps in theknowledge base, consult with key stakeholders and evidence-share with agencies,voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors and the business community.

The report alsoexplores the broader impact on the UK and Ireland and some initial estimates ofthe economic effects, particularly during the transitional period as the Brexitarrangements are finalised.

Chief Executiveof Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, said that while thereport looks at some major issues, the research provides strong foundations forthe city region’s pre-emptive strategy in tackling the Brexit issue goingforward.

He said as partof the consultation the consensus was that there should continue to be freemovement of goods, services and people across the region.

“Our researchdemonstrates that it is imperative to ensure that our strategic priorities arerealised in relation to connectivity, skills development and infrastructureprovision to strengthen our competitive position in what is likely to be apotentially more challenging environment in a post-Brexit era. Key concernsinclude the loss of the European Regional Development Fund and European SocialFund – from which N. Ireland receives twice as much the UK average per head.This will particularly effect the local community, voluntary and social sectorwith implications for the continuation of services, and one of the strong messagesour councils will be conveying is the need for guarantees that equivalentfunding will be provided from other sources.

“The impact ofleaving the Single Market and the implications of trade losses with the UKunder World Trade Organisation tariffs will be significant. There will also beadditional pressure on enterprise and export with any level of additional redtape associated with a hard border, so we will be making a robust case forseamless movement between jurisdictions. This report provides a platform forour two councils to strongly voice our shared concerns. Moving forwards theteam will continue to revise the report as more information becomes availableto ensure that the area is in a position to present a unified case to bothgovernments on the specific actions required to both mitigate the impact ofthis challenge and maximise the opportunities resulting from it as thesituation develops.

He added: “As acouncil we will also be proactively working to address existing issues throughour Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan to strengthen our infrastructure, skillsbase and economy and our ability to absorb any of the coming changes. Thisjoint work will be on-going as the nature of the UK’s exit from the EU becomesclearer.  We are beginning to explore opportunities emergent from Brexitincluding a number of localised solutions such as the development of a Cross-BorderFree Trade Zone within the North West City Region to mitigate the potentialimpact of Brexit while maximising any benefits of the UK’s exit from the EU. Wewill continue to engage with all of those who live and work in the region andwould welcome any further comments that you may have in response to thisreport.”

The report isavailable to download HERE

Anyone who hasfeedback or comments on the report is urged to email them to strategicgrowth@derrystrabane.com or  strategicgrowth@donegalcoco.ie