BREXIT; prepare for a hard landing?

12 October 2016, Blog

As another party conference season draws to a close (with all due respect to the SNP gathering about to take place), what do we now know about Brexit?

In her first speech to the Conservative conference, Theresa May gave us some much needed detail on the all-important issue of Article 50 – this is the totemic moment when the UK formally gives notice of our intention to leave the EU. This will be invoked, by the Prime Minister and no one else, by 31 March 2017. This ensures the UK will be leaving the EU before the next European Parliament elections scheduled for May 2019.

What else did we learn from last week’s Tory gathering in Birmingham? Well the debate concerning whether to pursue a “Hard or Soft Brexit” (in effect do we leave all aspects of the EU or try to retain membership of the single market) seems to be firmly on the side of the former. The Government have made it clear that the UK will leave the single market in some form or another. And the next Queen’s Speech (due in May 2017) will contain a “Great Repeal Bill” which will transpose all EU law into UK law. This is designed to smooth the UK’s exit from the EU but will, in effect, simply delay a lot of contentious debates. Here are just a few areas that will be fundamentally affected by Brexit:

  • Trade
  • Financial Services
  • Energy
  • Industrial/manufacturing policy
  • Infrastructure + transport
  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Waste

Earlier in the summer the Chancellor outlined that the UK Government will underwrite all EU funding for organisations/projects in the UK until 2020.  Therefore, one is entitled to ask “how will Brexit really affect me – and when?”

The short answer to that, despite the fact that Brexit will take a number of years to deliver, is that the Government is already adopting radically different positions to the one led by David Cameron less than 100 days ago. My colleague James Hargrave has outlined some of the ways in which the Theresa May Government looks and feels different here but the overall sense I get is one of emboldened self-confidence. This could well be bravado that comes back to haunt the PM and her Brexit Ministers but talk of a “Global Britain” is designed to shift attention to the opportunities that Brexit presents, rather than focus on the challenges that the exit negotiations will undoubtedly present.

A new Government, with new priorities, that will have greater powers and ability to interfere and change the regulatory framework across a whole range of new areas – the coming years will truly be the time to get involved, understand what is happening in Westminster (and the devolved regions), campaign hard and make your case. If the exit from the EU will be hard and bumpy, prepare yourself now. Opportunity knocks.

Written by JBP’s Director of London, James Turgoose

JBP Staff Member

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