North Yorkshire political leader warns Brexit could affect vital frontline service

North Yorkshire County Council offices
North Yorkshire County Council offices

Political leaders in North Yorkshire have called for government certainty in the aftermath of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union last week.

The Harrogate district narrowly voted to remain after the UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The Conservative leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Coun Carl Les told the Harrogate Advertiser he was ‘disappointed’ with the outcome but stressed the need for positivity moving forward.

However, with the pound falling to its lowest level in more than 30 years, Coun Les said he was concerned what impact this may have on the region.

He said: “I do have concerns about the future because we don’t know what situation we will find ourselves. But, this will happen in any period of uncertainty.

“It’s not helped by a change in Prime Minister, uncertainty in the Labour party and the potential divide of the United Kingdom, let alone the EU.

“I’m also concerned that the County Council is now dependent going forward on growth in the economy, the housing market and sustainable funds.

“We seem to be moving away from grants from central government to collecting business rates. So, if we had a downturn in the economy, this could potentially impact on our ability to provide local services.”

Residents across the district were split by less than 2,000 votes but the Vote Leave campaign said they were pleased with the outcome, believing the remain majority would be higher.

Despite being ‘delighted’ that Harrogate voted to remain, the Britain Strong IN Europe group said the country had now been left in a ‘shambles’.

Coun Les said he didn’t believe there was a difficulty in leading a split county but said a ‘balanced approach’ was now needed from a new government.

He said: “We need a new government in place with a new Prime Minister.

“They will have to piece a team together that realises the benefits that local government can deliver and the issues for rural economies.

“The people have spoken but there has to be a balanced approach to this going forward. But we have to deliver the get out of Europe they voted for.

“What we need now is certainty rather than uncertainty.”