How will Suffolk’s public sector cope with Brexit?

The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group met at East Suffolk House in Melton on Friday, September 27

The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group met at East Suffolk House in Melton on Friday, September 27 Picture: ANDREW ST LEDGER/SCC - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s Brexit business advisers have briefed the county’s public sector leaders on their strategy as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

Brexit advisors Koyas Miah and Michael Chapman Picture: ANDREW ST LEDGER/SCC

Brexit advisors Koyas Miah and Michael Chapman Picture: ANDREW ST LEDGER/SCC - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group met yesterday at East Suffolk House to hear the plans, having granted money to the county's Chamber of Commerce to manage the roles - a first in the UK.

Koyas Miah and Michael Chapman gave an update on the work they had been doing to ensure the transition went as smoothly as possible.

Mr Miah told the board they had set up a business hotline number as well as setting up a host of events to help firms with issues that may arise.

He said they had also undertaken a survey to gauge how businesses were feeling about Brexit planning.

According to the survey, 68% of businesses in Suffolk say workforce will be an issue while 50% say they need advice on import and export documentation.

He said 100% of businesses had said they need more clarity on what is going to happen but 65% had not yet visited the gov.uk/brexit website.

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Mr Miah added many firms needed help trawling though the mass of information published.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Megicks, chair of the Local Resilience Forum, said the region's emergency services were doing risk assessments on worst case scenarios detailed in Operation Yellowhammer.

He said: "Some of this has been challenging as we are working through a degree of ambiguity about what will happen."

He said although it was important to plan ahead, he added it was important not to create panic - as this could bring issues of its own.

He said: "We have to make sure we don't create a problem that doesn't exist."

He used the example of a rush on petrol pumps - that a rumour of a fuel shortage can spark a shortage itself.

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "What is reassuring is Suffolk is doing all it can to be focused on possible outcomes, so whatever happens, we have things in place.

"It is critical that we are prepared but what we must not do is alarm the public."

To contact the Brexit business advisors call the hotline on 01473 694803.

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