FAMILIES across East Renfrewshire are being warned to brace themselves for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

Concerns have been raised after a report highlighted the risk of “significant disruption” to council services in the Barrhead area if Britain leaves the European Union without an exit agreement.

East Renfrewshire Council’s risk register has been updated and now ranks the prospect of a no-deal Brexit as “high risk.”

It describes the potential consequences as “significant disruption to council operations and the services we provide, including frontline and support services.”

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A number of measures have already been put in place to reduce the impact if no deal is agreed before the end of this month.

These include making arrangements with current EU nationals applying for settled status, which will allow them to continue to work here after withdrawal from the EU, and a crisis resilience management team liaising with national organisations to minimise potential disruption and ensure a smooth exit in all scenarios.

It also involves establishing a cross-departmental working group to ensure a co-ordinated approach to all aspects of Brexit work.

In addition, there are plans to appoint a Brexit co-ordinator.

The council’s latest update states: “Brexit leads to economic uncertainty and detrimental impact on the council budget, operations and services.”

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Barrhead’s MSP Tom Arthur has warned it is “impossible” to prepare for all the problems a no-deal Brexit would cause for East Renfrewshire residents.

The SNP man told the Barrhead News: “Any departure from the European Union will have a detrimental impact on the people and economy of East Renfrewshire and Scotland as a whole, but a no-deal would be especially damaging, as is visible in the potential disruption faced by East Renfrewshire Council.

“This afternoon, a report detailing work done to mitigate effects on Scotland if the UK leaves the European Union on October 31 without a deal was published.

“This report helps further understand the risks Scotland faces, the efforts being made by the Scottish Government to mitigate those risks and where responsibility lies with the UK Government.

Mr Arthur, who represents Renfrewshire South, continued: “It details steps to protect food and medicine supplies, support businesses and safeguard vulnerable citizens, as well as a commitment to create a £7 million Rapid Poverty Mitigation Fund in the event of a ‘no deal’.

“However, it is impossible to prepare for all the problems a no-deal Brexit would cause.

“Even at this late stage, the Scottish Government is urging the UK Government to rule out such a course. The only way to stop the impact of ‘no deal’ is to take such a disastrous policy off the table.”

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East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton said council chiefs are “absolutely right” to identify and seek to mitigate any potential impact caused if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

“The UK Government has provided over £138million in funding to the Scottish Government specifically for no-deal preparation work but only around £1.6m of this has been passed down to local authorities,” added the Tory politician.

“I am not aware whether East Renfrewshire Council has asked for, or been given, any of this money to assist with their local planning.

“I have always been clear that I do not believe a no-deal Brexit is either a necessary or acceptable outcome. The short-term disruption and economic impact are, in my view, too big a risk to take and will hurt those in East Renfrewshire with small businesses and on low incomes.

“That is why I have consistently argued for compromise and will continue to do so until this process is complete.”

“The only way forward with any hope of healing the worrying divisions in our country is to deliver Brexit with a deal that provides for a close future economic, trading and security partnership with the EU.”

A no-deal Brexit is one of four new risks added to East Renfrewshire Council’s register.

Others include the potential for a successful judicial review into lawfulness of charging for instrumental music tuition for children, which would lead to additional budget pressures, as well as increased service demand. This is rated as medium risk.

Meanwhile, the impact of vacancies and absence on service delivery and quality within the council and the area’s Health and Social Care Partnership is ranked as high risk.

And failing to ensure adequate insurance cover, including cyber, employer, engineering, motor, property, public liability and travel insurance, is in place, which could result in financial loss and reputational damage to the council, is classed as medium risk.

A report to councillors states: “The strategic risk register sets out the key strategic risks to be considered by East Renfrewshire Council and details the actions that management has put in place to manage these risks.

“Each service has an operational risk register to record day-to-day and service specific risks.”