This Week in Brexit: 18 November


21 weeks on from the EU referendum and the Brexit news just keeps on coming:

This Week in Politics

The week started with news that former UKIP Leader Nigel Farage had become the first foreign politician to meet with newly elected US President Donald Trump.

On Monday, Charles Goerens an MEP for the Democratic Party of Luxembourg at the European Parliament, provoked debate by proposing a fundamental shake-up of the European Union by offering “associate citizenship” – where those individuals who want it, buy their membership of the EU.

On Tuesday, a leaked memo alleged that the Government has no clear plan for Brexit, is beset by internal divisions and would need an additional “30,000 staff” to deliver currently proposed projects.

On Thursday, allegations emerged that UKIP misspent almost half a million euros of EU funding on its own election activity and to boosting their Brexit campaign.  

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson received a dressing down from the Italian Economic Minister Carlo Calenda. Boris had apparently told Mr Calenda Italy would grant Britain access to the EU’s single market “because you don’t want to lose prosecco exports”.

David Sproul, chief executive of Deloitte, warned that he may move work abroad if the Government’s post-Brexit strategy scuppers the firm’s access to international talent.

And there were warnings for Philip Hammond ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement. While post-Brexit vote Britain may have beaten analysts’ predictions, it’s not been all rosy: reports in the Financial Times suggested the Government could be facing a £100 billion “black hole” in public finances.  Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts allegedly indicate that low tax revenues, slower growth and reduced investment after Britain's vote to leave the EU mean the UK’s budget deficit will soar in the next five years.

This Week in the Economy

While it was a rocky week in politics, there was more good news for post-referendum Britain in official data.

On Tuesday, stats showed that the UK inflation rate registered a surprise fall in October, despite the pressure mounting from the weak pound.

On Wednesday, the ONS revealed that unemployment hit an 11 year low in the three months to September.

However, also released on Wednesday was data showing rapidly rising input prices for manufacturers, an indicator that a rise in inflation will eventually materialise.

This Week at the Chambers

We’ve been keeping on top of the latest news at the Chambers. On Tuesday the Government formally confirmed its preferred route for phase 2 of HS2, you can read our response here. We also issued our response to the CPI and PPI statistics (click here). On Wednesday we issued our response to the latest employment figures for the West Midlands (click here).

Did you know? This Thursday marked the beginning of celebrations for 50th anniversary of the formal partnership between Frankfurt and Birmingham. While the most visible sign of this partnership is the famous Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market there’s also plenty of other business being done. We helped make some more happen by supporting an Enterprise Europe Network event on Doing Business in Germany.

We are also midway through surveying for our next Quarterly Business Report: click here to take part. This is your chance to tell us how your business is doing (post-referendum warts or wonders and all). We use the final report based on this data to inform and lobby local and national stakeholders. To thank those who take part, we will be entering all respondents into a prize draw for a Moseley Serve Afternoon Tea for 2 at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge (terms and conditions apply).