Leeds council CEO makes Brexit warnings on food and fuel

Leeds’s top civil servant has warned there would be “tough work” to do if Brexit had a negative impact on food and fuel availability in the city.

The comments came during a Leeds City Council executive board discussion on how the city is preparing for Britain’s planned departure from the European Union, currently expected to be October 31.

Tom Riordan said there would be "tough work" to do in Leeds if Brexit impacted on food and fuel availability.

Tom Riordan said there would be "tough work" to do in Leeds if Brexit impacted on food and fuel availability.

The authority’s chief executive Tom Riordan told the meeting that the authority had been working on how to respond to a range of different scenarios, as the UK was still no closer to knowing whether it would be leaving the EU without a deal.

He added: “We can only be as well-prepared as possible within the information and the resources we have got available.

“The potential impact on food prices and fuel availability is a very, very big risk factor for us, given the number of people who are accessing food banks and the impact on household budgets if things like that started to kick in.

“That is not trying to make people fearful or trying to flag up something that we do just for the sake of it, it is a genuine issue that if things did escalate in that area, then we would have some really tough work to do on the ground.

“We need to make sure we are as prepared as possible on things like that.

“We are trying to operate on a basis of a whole range of different scenarios here.”

Members of the board were discussing a document entitled “Update on Leeds City Council’s preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union”.

It stated: “The council’s continued preparations centre on the strategic response plan which has been put together to provide a framework to deal with the uncertainty in the build up to and the response phase after the UK’s exit.

“The plan is structured around five key themes, considering key issues for the city and the council. The key themes are: infrastructure and supplies; business and impact; citizens and communities; media and communications; and organisational impact.

“The response plan can be scaled up or down depending on the nature of the UK’s final exit from the EU and it is linked to the planning at a West Yorkshire level through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and national plans led by government.”