Stockport council leader Alex Ganotis said local authorities had been told to prepare for leaving the EU ‘without telling us what to plan for’.
Speaking at a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, he said, ‘it’s not a happy story at the moment by any stretch of the imagination’.
Local leaders were meeting with the countdown clock to March 29 ticking ever more loudly while there is still no clear plan in Westminster about what will happen.
Councillor Ganotis said government had been very clear that councils were expected to plan, however, just not what they were planning for:
“There are six weeks left until we are due to leave the EU and the government clearly has no plan over crucial, crucial areas of the way this country is run and the way this country works.
“And yet they are being very clear with local authorities that local authorities need to plan for Brexit.
“We need to make sure our council supports our communities after Brexit, but without telling us what to plan for, exactly what resources will be required, and exactly what the impact will be on our areas.
“We as councils have to take our responsibilities to residents seriously – and in a way that this government is not taking its responsibilities towards British citizens seriously, because it’s in hoc to a group of fanatics that do not care about ordinary people and the way they go about their lives.”
Mr Ganotis said government had announced a funding package for town halls, but that it was ‘far, far less’ than would be needed:
“So we are going to have to find funding within our own councils that we would have otherwise put to other uses in terms of frontline services to provide for and fund Brexit.
“But in terms of exactly what we do, we still don’t know.
“Civil resilience, our regulatory responsibilities, especially in term of product regulation, the services we provide to people from EU countries who don’t know where they will stand, the support we provide for people in terms of employment, as well as keeping things going in the event of Brexit.
“We are going to have to plan for all of this as local authorities and it’s causing chaos.
“And I think the government needs to understand the hypocrisy of what they are putting on local authorities.”
Greater Manchester leaders have been receiving regular updates since June 2016 about the potential effects Brexit is having – or will have – on the local economy, including local efforts to support businesses worried about the impact.