Cornwall Council has appointed Paul Masters as its Brexit lead to help prepare the authority ahead of the planned October 31 leave date.

Mr Masters, the council’s strategic director for neighbourhoods, said he was “honoured” to be given the role.

He explained that councils all over the country had been asked to appoint a Brexit lead by Robert Jenrick, recently appointed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The minister held a telephone conference on Monday with council chief executives, leaders and Brexit leads to discuss what was expected of councils ahead of October 31.

Mr Masters said: “He laid out that the government was upping its ante on preparations for Brexit. There is going to be a daily meeting in Whitehall with Cabinet and a requirement on us to provide communication weekly on progress.”

That progress will be fed through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) which covers Devon and Cornwall.

Any concerns at local level will be fed into the LRF so that they can be included in any Brexit plans.

Mr Masters said that the council was working to ensure that businesses in Cornwall are prepared for Brexit and particular those that might be impacted by changes to exports which might come about.

He explained that the council had trained staff in food export certification to ensure they would be ready if needed.

The council has also been working to ensure that any EU nationals in Cornwall who might want to become permanent UK citizens have the information they need.

Mr Masters said that the minister had explained that a big push on communications would be launched by the Government this week which would be targeting particular groups which might be affected by Brexit and ensuring that people are prepared.

He explained that a lot of the information that will be sent out will be “a little bit of ‘calm down, it is going to be OK'” type of publicity along with practical advice about what people need to do.

Mr Masters said that the council had found that while big businesses are preparing for Brexit some small businesses were not quite as prepared.

He said that the government had been talking about what subsidies could be put in place to “protect farming” with concerns about tariffs on products.

The council officers said that the government was expecting the Local Enterprise Partnership to play a key role in ensuring that local businesses are prepared.

Mr Masters said that the minister had announced that £20million would be given to local councils for Brexit, but said that no details had been provided for how that could be distributed or when.

“They said that everybody will get something but the priority will be those areas which have things like ports. Local councils don’t have a budget to cover these costs.

“This is considered to be a “new burden” and that kind of cost is supposed to be covered by the government or government departments. They think that £20m is about right to get ready for Brexit.

“But in terms of new burdens, if we have to conduct food certifications, for example, they expect that the department, which would be Defra, to pass on the funds for us to do that.”

Mr Masters said that he would be making sure that any issues that are raised by the council or any local businesses would be passed to the Government and he would get answers to questions that people have about Brexit and the impact it could have.