A COUNCIL has hired a Brexit communications officer to encourage EU residents to stay in the city.

Brighton and Hove City Council is paying the officer £35,000 of Government money to “ensure they feel welcome and supported” and promote the city as “open and welcoming” following the UK’s departure from the EU on January 31.

In a job advert, which has already been filled, the candidate was asked to provide public relations advice to help Brexit planning, communicate the impact of Brexit in the city and organise briefings about the country’s European exit.

They will also be responding to public queries received through social media and will be commissioning graphic design, audio, filming, and paid for advertising to communicate news and information.

A council spokeswoman said: “The main focus of our Brexit communications at the moment is on encouraging EU residents to stay in the city, ensuring they feel welcome and supported.

“And, of course, supporting our visitor economy by promoting Brighton and Hove’s reputation as an open, welcoming, diverse and inclusive destination for EU visitors.”

The Government’s Brexit bill has completed its passage through the House of Commons following Boris Johnson’s General Election victory in December.

The Brexit date is set for January 31, which is when the UK formally leaves the EU.

The UK will then go into a transition period that is scheduled to end in December 31.

The UK will be negotiating a trade deal with the EU but wants to leave the customs union, single market and the jurisdiction of the European Courts.

Brighton and Hove’s political leaders have issued an “open letter of unity” as the Brexit deadline approaches.

It is signed by Nancy Platts, leader of the Labour group and the council, Phelim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green Group and Steve Bell, leader of the Conservative Group.

It reads: “Our city is well-known for its free thinking, open and inclusive nature.

"We promote acceptance and respect for difference and we are an internationally recognised City of Sanctuary.

"These things are at the heart of what we do and will remain central to our future journey. We value the contributions of all our residents who have made their home here and contribute to our vibrant city life.

"We hope our EU citizens will stay in the city and are working together with local and national partners to ensure we prepare responsibly to support them through any potential changes caused by Brexit.”