The Prime Minister’s announcement this week on his intention to renegotiate the terms of the country’s relationship with the EU is, of course, welcome. It should, however, also be seen as a major opportunity for local government to think through what it wants out of these discussions and to influence the UK’s negotiating position accordingly.
More than 50% of locally implemented legislation originates in the EU and will have a direct impact and cost to councils. Indeed, my own council is currently in the High Court as we speak disputing an EU interpretation that could potentially end up costing Westminster taxpayers’ millions each year.
It is therefore clear that there are certain local government policy areas where interference from a supra-national body such as the EU does more damage to local services and communities than good.