Process leaders demand Brexit scrutiny and safeguards after Queen's Speech
21 Jun 2017
Early responses from process industry leaders to the Queen’s Speech outlining the Government’s approach to Brexit reiterated demands for close scrutiny of legislation and the need for transitional safeguards.
Chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Tom Greatrex, focusing on the future of the Euratom treaty and a new Nuclear Safeguards Bill, was the hardest hitting in his comments.
“Laying a Nuclear Safeguards Bill before Parliament may be a necessary legislative step to enabling the Office for Nuclear Regulation to take on safeguarding inspection responsibilities if the UK ceases to be part of Euratom. However, Government should not be so complacent to assume this alone gets close to resolving the issues they have created.
“Even at this late stage, seeking to negotiate a way to retain membership of Euratom is an infinitely preferable outcome. For a minority Government to announce a Bill, with no prior consultation, is largely symbolic and leaves much work to do.”
He added that the development of new safeguarding inspections, co-operation agreements and guaranteeing world-leading international research would require intensive negotiation.
Government should not be so complacent to assume this alone gets close to resolving the issues they have created
Tom Greatrex, chief executive, Nuclear Industry Association
If the UK quits Euratom in 21 months time, added Greatrex, transitional arrangements were needed to prevent “a damaging cliff-edge”.
Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright said his organisation will pursue four outcomes – access to its 117,000-strong EU workforce, a stable regulatory regime, zero-tariff and frictionless trade across borders, and recognition of the Republic of reland’s special circumstances.
“We need certainty that the current legislative framework that underpins our sector’s success – and food safety – will be embedded in UK law by April 2019. At the same time, we need to start designing interim or transitional arrangements that will apply from April 2019 until any new framework applies,” stated Wright.
Food and drink manufacturers added £28.2 billion to GDP and generate more than £20 billion in exports, employing 400,000 people in 6,800 firms.
Although the sector exports more than £20bn of goods a year, just one in five manufacturers currently sells overseas.
Chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, Terry Scuoler said: “Manufacturers were looking for signs that the Government is listening to their concerns over Brexit and the Queen’s Speech has moved some way to achieving this.
“Many questions still remain unanswered, however, and there must be a much closer partnership with industry if we’re to avoid economic chaos when we leave the EU.”