As Brexit continues to dominate headlines globally, it has now been blamed for delaying talks on Greenwich Council’s budget.

Council leader Danny Thorpe said that conversations over how the authority balances its books were pushed back until the government announced its handouts to councils – which was put on the backburner due to the EU split.

Greenwich’s consultation had just over 300 respondents after starting in January, compared to Bexley Council’s which had more than 4,000 having kicked off before Christmas.

Cllr Thorpe told a scrutiny panel last night: “We had a public consultation on the budget but sadly final settlements came through extremely late. As we all know Brexit dominates the agenda, so we didn’t have as much time to talk to people about this, but we did an online Twitter project and got feedback online about the budget.”

Opposition leader Matt Hartley wasn’t sold on the idea that Brexit pushed back talks.

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He said at the panel: “I can’t let the leader get away with saying Brexit delayed the consultation given that Bexley started theirs before Christmas.”

Cllr Thorpe said: “I’m afraid it is an absolute fact that Brexit was cited by the secretary of state as the sole reason for the delay in settlements. Until you’ve got a settlement you can’t start.

“I think we have done well to get our consultation under way and we have been open and honest in what we are doing.”

Of the 329 respondents, 59 per cent supported a council tax hike to fund frontline services, with 82 per cent of people getting in touch wanting to see a crackdown on youth violence.

The leader said support had “reaffirmed” the council’s priorities of social care and getting people back into work.

Local councils have been given an extra pot from the Government to deal with the impact of Brexit.

Greenwich was given £210k by communities secretary James Brokenshire, along with a checklist calling for impact assessments.

Cllr Thorpe said earlier this month: “It very much feels like the burden to resolve the pressures of Brexit has been passed to local councils because the government has so abjectly failed to do it.

“Whilst we are doing our best to prepare, clearly we face enormous risks and challenges moving into a very uncertain period.”