The UK Parliament is conducting an inquiry into the implications of leaving the European Union for British business.

It's being done through the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Although the inquiry is currently focussing on certain sectors, the questions being posed will be of interest to all businesses, whatever sector, as part of their Brexit planning.

Who's being asked?

At the moment, the Committee is focussing on the following specialised sectors:

  • civil nuclear;
  • automotive;
  • aerospace;
  • processed food and drink (excluding agri-food or the farming sector, which is the subject of a separate inquiry by the EFRA Committee); and
  • pharmaceuticals.

What's being asked?

The questions are directly relevant to all businesses who are planning for Brexit.

The Committee is asking for information about:

  • the importance to each sector of free access to the Single Market and the impact should trading arrangements with the EU move to WTO rules;
  • non-tariff barriers that could arise following Brexit - what are the most significant ones and what can be done to mitigate them;
  • opportunities and potential disadvantages of seeking regulatory divergence from EU product, safety and other standards;
  • reliance by each sector on workers from EU countries and how that skills gap could be filled;
  • impact on R&D activities - what the UK could lose as a result of Brexit and what might be done to secure future collaboration, funding and resource/facility access with EU countries going forward;
  • opportunities to improve exports to non-EU countries and where the government should prioritise trade deals;
  • what the UK should seek by way of transitional arrangements.

When are responses due?

The deadlines for written evidence vary depending on the sector from 4 October 2017 to 13 November 2017.

How can businesses generally inform parliament/ government about Brexit impacts?

It is crucial that businesses in all sectors - particularly SMEs - are engaging with their trade associations, chambers of commerce and other membership organisations on Brexit. These groups can be an invaluable conduit for telling the UK and the Scottish parliaments and governments about sectoral or general business views on Brexit.

The questions raised in the current enquiry provide a useful framework for collating and communicating business views.

If you have any Brexit-related questions, or would like assistance in responding to this or any other inquiry, please contact Charles Livingstone or Christine O'Neill.

Click here to access Brodies' Brexit resources.


Fiona Beal

In-House Counsel