28 January 2019 (London, UK)
As Brexit continues to consume Westminster, businesses are in search for clarity over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. With assistance from the School of Public Policy’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) students, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) provided written recommendations to the UK Parliament’s Select Committee for Trade on business-government relations, during the UK’s Brexit transition process.
The Select Committee of Trade is a cross-party group of MPs who analyse the effect of government policy on international trade. Ms. Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of Policy and Campaign for BCC, summarised several of the recommendations raised by MPA students in her written testimony to the Select Committee of Trade. She cited the importance of engaging businesses on any potential free trade agreements negotiated by the UK government.
“The engagement from the business community more broadly has perhaps not been what it could be,” she said. “We [should] hear from a broad church of experience and knowledge rather than focusing on the usual voices,” she stated.
These recommendations are consistent with many of the original ideas established by the MPA Capstone report, which was presented to the BCC in March 2018. In their report, the MPA students emphasised the importance of stakeholder engagement in the aftermath of Brexit. The Capstone report suggested reforms to the British government’s overall engagement strategy with businesses, as well as the implementation of new transparency measures. BCC also submitted the LSE Capstone report as their own contribution to the parliamentary committee.
On the topic of transparency, the British Chambers of Commerce reaffirmed many of the original recommendations offered by MPA students in their written testimony. “Any information should not undermine the integrity of the negotiations,” said Ms. Essex to the Select Committee for Trade. “As long as you have transparency about who they are, then it is not unprecedented that the business would have access to non-public documents in that context,” she said. BCC also submitted the LSE Capstone report as their own contribution to the parliamentary committee.
Upon receiving this testimony, the Trade Select Committee decided to take up several of the organisation’s recommendations. According to the full parliamentary report, the Trade Select Committee concluded, “the Government should be under a statutory requirement to engage in open and inclusive consultation with business…” In addition, the Trade Select Committee decided, “business and civil society groups should be involved in the production of impact assessments.”
As part of parliamentary procedure, the government is under obligation to respond to all of the Trade Select Committee’s recommendations. The combined input from the BCC and MPA students will be considered in full, while the UK government continues to formulate its post-Brexit plan.
Find out more about the services provided by the British Chambers of Commerce.
Learn more about the LSE School of Public Policy’s Master of Public Administration programme.
Explore other MPA Capstone projects.