Brexit preparations in Harrow will continue though councillors admitted they will be affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Graham Henson, leader of Harrow Council, stressed that “things have not changed” with regards to Brexit in spite of the outbreak.

This is in line with government policy – prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday (March 18) that current deadlines remain in place.

Cllr Henson said: “With all the changes around health at the moment, the clock is still ticking down to Brexit and there is still work to be done.”

He explained that most work will be around ensuring that people apply for settled status, particularly given the large number of EU nationals in the borough.

“The issue of settled status has not changed with whatever else is going on and we must make people aware of that,” he said.

“People are not signing up at the same rate as before – perhaps due to covid-19 – but the dates are still the same.”

He said the council would review the situation later in the year and would perhaps seek additional funding from central government to combat any delays.

Cllr Adam Swersky, responsible for finance at Harrow Council, agreed that it was important to support the borough’s residents but urged the Government to take a clearer and firmer stance on the issue in light of recent developments.

He said: “There is no way that [these deadlines] are going to happen and we should all be very honest about that.

“Maintaining this charade is damaging and the Government needs to realise that.”

He added the council will continue to provide services during this period of uncertainty, but that essential ones, such as those around adult social care, will be prioritised.