THE county council has refused to reveal whether it has completed Brexit impact assessments because it claims doing so would "prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs".

The council’s own fire service is leading on Oxfordshire’s Brexit preparations. It predicts a low impact.

The UK’s departure from the EU had been pencilled in for March 29, though it appears the UK will extend its membership until the end of June, subject to other EU countries’ agreement.

The authority said although providing any details about an impact assessment would "contribute to public understanding" over Brexit, any confirmation or denial over any report would ‘have a precipitative and speculative impact’.

That, the council judged, and the timing of the freedom of information request – which was initially submitted in January – would have a "prejudicial impact given the sensitivity of the current state of negotiations and planning".

In October, it was revealed Oxford’s hospitals had the largest proportion of nurses from the EU outside London. Just over a fifth – or 21 per cent – of all nurses working at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals were from the EU at the time. Leaving the EU could mean the UK economy shrinks by 3.9 per cent, official studies have said.