• The Local Government Association has called for guarantees from ministers to guarantee that regeneration projects will continue when the UK leaves the EU (Guardian, July 2017, link).
  • Local councils have nothing to fear from the UK leaving the EU. Remember that, since 1975, the UK has been a net contributor to the EU budget. We can expect net savings of around £10 billion a year after we leave the EU. That's extra money for all sorts of priorities - including local government.
  • This demonstrates why it's very important that the UK and EU’s final deal doesn't commit the Treasury to make ongoing payments to the EU budget. We need to be able to spend our money on our priorities.

The Chancellor’s plans have merit, but we must have a deal before any transition begins 

  • There are reports today that the Chancellor is arguing for an ‘off the shelf’ transition plan, followed by an implementation plan (Financial Times, July 2017, link). 
  • There may be a case for a transition, however it is vital that any such scheme is strictly time limited so the UK isn't trapped in such an arrangement and it must come into force only after a new deal on long-term arrangements with the EU has been struck.
  • Politicians need to remember that the public voted to take back control of our borders. Consequently, any proposed transition deal that retains elements of free movement must be strictly limited and clearly defined (Telegraph, July 2017, link).

Don't believe the EU’s posturing - it's in both sides interest for a trade deal to be struck

  • The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has reportedly told EU ambassadors that the second phase of Brexit talks, on the UK and EU’s future relationship, may be delayed beyond the autumn (Guardian, July 2017, link).
  • It is not surprising that the EU are claiming a trade deal might not be struck - we’re in the middle of a negotiation.
  • The simple fact is that the EU has a trade surplus with the UK in goods. We are a key market for them. They want a free trade deal as much as we do. During the referendum it was estimated that 5 million EU jobs are linked to trade with the UK (IEA, March 2015, link).

The Irish border will be a key area of the negotiation - but it’s in both sides’ interest to strike a good deal

  • There are reports today that the Irish Government are raising the idea of a sea border with the UK (Times, July 2017, link). There are all sorts of ideas at the moment; we are still at a very early stage in the negotiations.
  • The UK is Ireland’s biggest trading partner. It is important that an open border is kept with the Republic, and that trade is as frictionless as possible. This is in both the UK and the EU’s interest. 

Good Economic News

  • In a welcome vote of confidence in the UK economy post-Brexit, Property Investor Today reports that 36% of the City’s development pipeline for 2017 – 2020 has already been pre-let. They also report that office take-up in central London in the first half of 2017 has increased by 23% compared to the corresponding period last year. This growth is attributed to ongoing strong demand from tech, media, insurance and financial markets (Property Investor Today, July 2017, link).