'We're prepared for Brexit,' says Sheffield City Council ahead of UK's withdrawal from EU tonight
Sheffield Council says it is prepared for the country to leave the European Union today and is prioritising help for EU citizens who want to stay in the city.
In the lead up to January 31 - Brexit day - the authority had a number of concerns about how it will affect businesses and residents and there is still uncertainty about what the impact will be.
But Eugene Walker, executive director of resources at the council, said their main priority was helping as many people as possible register under the EU settlement scheme - which is for residents who want to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021.
It has supported 800 people in the past four months.
He said: “During the transition period up to December 31, Sheffield Council has plans in place to make sure we are ready for Brexit. As such we do not anticipate any impact on our services. Our focus is to support EU citizens living in the city to apply for settled status.
“In readiness for this we are supporting citizens with their government registration online process via locally run sessions delivered across the city with support from Sheffield Citizens Advice Bureau, First Point and Darnall Wellbeing who are running a project to provide additional help to citizens where needed."
There are also weekly sessions in Firth Park Library, Darnall Library, Central Library, Firvale Community Hub and Tinsley Forum to help people register under the scheme.
The team helping those sign up are all experienced translators.
The country will officially leave the EU at 11pm and a number of events are being staged nationally.
In Sheffield, a number of pubs are hosting parties and happy hours and the nationwide chain Wetherspoons - run by pro-Brexit campaigner Tim Martin - is reducing the price of its drinks.
Pro-EU campaigners Sheffield for Europe will gather for a candlelit vigil just before the Brexit deadline. They will be outside the Town Hall at 10.30pm and urge people to show solidarity by hanging the EU flag in their window.
The council confirmed it would not be doing anything to mark the moment.