Skip to main content

What impact will Brexit have on UK business?

20 September 2017

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee launches an inquiry on the implications of leaving the European Union for British business.

The inquiry works on a sectoral basis, including sectors such as civil nuclear, automotive, and aerospace sectors, with evidence sessions taking place both in and outside Westminster.

The negotiating process and post-Brexit

The Committee aims to establish how the interests of different sectors should best be pursued both in the negotiating process and post-Brexit and attempts to examine a range of issues relating to market access, non-tariff barriers, regulation, skills, R&D, trade opportunities and transitional arrangements.

The Committee will start by looking at the civil nuclear sector, including membership of Euratom. It will then look at the following sectors: 

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Processed food and drink
  • Pharmaceuticals

Vital that voices of employers and employees are clearly heard

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

"Brexit represents the biggest change for British business in the last 40 years. I want Brexit to work for business. It's vital that the voices of employers and employees are clearly heard during the negotiating process; and that the Government listens. 

The extent of challenges will vary from sector to sector, but the same issues will need to be addressed. In taking a sector by sector approach, we want to inform public debate about the potential impact of Brexit and ensure that the Government is promoting the country's economic interests across the board as negotiations proceed."

Submit your views

The Committee invites written evidence from each sector on the following questions:

  • Market access: how important is free access to the Single Market? What would be the impact of trading with the EU under WTO rules and tariffs? How significant are tariffs compared to other costs?
  • Non-tariff barriers: how significant are non-tariff barriers potentially arising from leaving the Single Market and Customs Union? What are the most significant ones? How best could impacts be mitigated?
  • Regulation: what are the opportunities and potential disadvantages of seeking regulatory divergence from EU product, safety and other standards? To what extent should the UK seek to retain influence on these standards? Is it preferable for the UK to: establish an EU association agreement (or equivalent); replicate EU regulation; diverge from EU rules and standards? What dispute resolution processes would be most desirable? Should the UK seek to align professional qualifications with those in the EU?
  • Skills: how dependent is the sector on workers from EU countries, at all skill levels? What is the potential impact of restrictions on freedom of movement? How far can gaps be filled by UK workers?
  • R&D: How significant are EU-dependent R&D activities within the sector's broader research landscape? What R&D collaboration, funding and access to facilities and resources is the UK in danger of losing as a result of Brexit? How can future collaboration, funding and resource/facility access with EU countries be best secured?  How can the UK best retain influence in EU and international research programmes?
  • Trade opportunities: what opportunities are there for the UK to improve exports to countries outside the EU? Where should Government the Government seek to prioritise in terms of trade deals? 
  • Transitional arrangements: what should the UK seek in transitional arrangements and for how long should they apply?

The Committee received written evidence on Euratom as part of its inquiry, Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy. For the purpose of additional evidence, the above questions should be interpreted as follows:

  • 'EU' refers to the EU and Euratom;
  • 'Single Market' refers to the Single Market and the Nuclear Common Market;
  • For question 2, we would also welcome responses on barriers arising from leaving EU Dual-Use Regulation.


Deadlines for written evidence from other sectors are as follows:

  • Civil nuclear sector: Wednesday 4 October 2017.
  • Automotive: pushed back to Friday 20 October 2017
  • Aerospace: pushed back to Friday 27 October 2017
  • Processed food and drink: pushed back to Friday 3 November 2017. This does not include the agri-food or the farming sector, which is the inquiry by the EFRA Committee.
  • Pharmaceuticals: pushed back to Monday 13 November 2017

Further information

Image: iStockphoto