UKIP leader blasts Norfolk County Council Brexit impact report for its ‘doom and gloom’

Toby Coke, UKIP leader at Norfolk County Council.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Toby Coke, UKIP leader at Norfolk County Council.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A County Hall report into the impact the UK's exit from the European Union could have on Norfolk has been blasted as 'biased'.

Toby Coke, leader of Norfolk County Council's UKIP group, said the paper contained solely 'doom and gloom' and called for fellow councillors to reject the report.

He wanted officers to write it again to reflect Brexit's plus side.

The report, brought before the council's policy and resources committee yesterday, outlined uncertainty surrounding the future of European funding.

It said Norfolk had benefited to the tune of millions of pounds from funding streams, such as the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.

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The report said the council employs about 35 full-time equivalent staff to manage and deliver the programmes.

But Mr Coke said: 'In my view, this report could have been written by George Osborne. It is little more than projected doom and gloom.

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'The tone needs to be changed to reflect the immense opportunities which lie ahead and to reassure our staff that European nationals that work for us are not going to be chucked out of the country.'

He said the exit would mean £10bn would not disappear into the 'black hole of European Union coffers' and that the 'so-called European funding is our own taxpayers' money'.

He said the council would benefit from 'onerous' rules around the environment on construction and development projects being scrapped.

Councillors voted not to reject the report, but to note it and to get regular updates on Brexit's likely impacts.

Conservative leader Cliff Jordan said: 'We have got an opportunity to run our country how we want.

'That's what caused the Brexit. 'The public, for whatever reason, believed the government was not in control of our country.

'But I would hate to think this country would become a Little Englander country. I think it will still look to Europe and have Europeans working here.'

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