Extra funding to help councils deal with Brexit is a ‘drop in the ocean’, the leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC) has warned.

Unitary councils like RBC will be given £210,000, spread over two years. ‘to prepare for an orderly exit from the EU’ and carry out ‘contingency planning’.

James Brokenshire, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said local government will play a “critical role” in making a success of Brexit at the local level.

RBC leader Joe Lovelock said the council had concerns over how Brexit will impact on services if people feel that they need to return home.

Cllr Lovelock said: “It is a drop in the ocean in our budget considering the money they have taken away over the years.

“It seems like a panic move from a government that hasn’t got a clue what it is doing itself about Brexit.

“It is a bit of a reach to expect local authorities to plan for something when they cannot even tell us what is going to happen.

“At the moment it is not obvious what the government expect us to do with it.”

A total pot of £56.5 million was announced on Monday to help councils carry out preparations, with further funding to come after Britain leaves the EU.

The government has already set aside £10m in 2019/20 for specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after Brexit

James Brokenshire MP, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government, added: “This funding will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services.

“Government has been clear that departments will assess and, if appropriate, fund any potential new burdens arising on councils as part of EU exit work they are undertaking.”

Theresa May will attempt to renegotiate the withdrawal deal with EU leaders, after parliament voted to seek alternative arrangements to the backstop.