Exiting the EU: sectoral impact assessments

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details No.8128 (09.03.18)
Publication Date 09/03/2018
Content Type

A short House of Commons Library briefing that was prepared for the Opposition Day Debate that took place on 1 November 2017 in the UK House of Commons on the sectoral impact assessments of exiting the EU.

The UK Government had confirmed that it had produced assessments of the impact of Brexit on 58 sectors of the economy. The Government published a list of these sectors on 31 October 2017 (but not the assessments themselves) as part of their response to a report by the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee (Brexit: trade in goods).

The Government had repeatedly stated (including in the response to a Freedom of Information request) that they had not published the reports because 'the release of this information could be detrimental to the Government’s [Brexit] negotiating position'.

In the event, following the debate, and after Brexit Minister Robin Walker had argued there was a 'clear obligation' not to release the information, the motion was carried unanimously, although it was unclear whether the motion was binding. The Government was expected to formally respond within a few days and said it would 'reflect on the implications of the vote'.

On 1 November 2017 the House of Commons resolved that the so-called 'Brexit Impact Assessments' (BIAs) should be provided to the Committee on Exiting the EU. The updated briefing (07.11.17)* set out the background to the resolution and the Government's response to date.

The Speaker of the House subsequently declared that the motion passed was binding. It was made clear that the BIAs would be submitted to the Committee on Exiting the EU by the 28 November 2017 (as well as to the House of Lords and the devolved administrations). This was done on the 27 November 2017 although the Labour Party complained that the papers submitted had been redacted - anything commercially sensitive or that would damage negotiations had been removed.

Following a private meeting on the 27 November 2017, at which the sectoral analyses were discussed, the Committee on Exiting the European Union asked Secretary of State David Davis to attend a public session to give evidence on the documents. This meeting took place on the 6 December 2017.

Following its evidence session with the Secretary of State, the Committee on Exiting the European Union published on the 21 December 2017 material from the documents provided by the Department for Exiting the European Union (see list of reports below).

* Latest version of the Briefing is 9 March 2017 following the publicationpublication on the 8 March 2018 by the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European Union of material from the documents provided by the Department for Exiting the EU to the Committee in January 2018. The material comprised the UK government’s assessment of the economic impact of Brexit. Subsequently, the information had been leaked by Buzzfeed at the end of January 2018.

On 1 November 2017 the House of Commons debated an Opposition motion:

'That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, That she will be graciously pleased to give directions that the list of sectors analysed under the instruction of Her Majesty's Ministers, and referred to in the Answer of 26 June 2017 to Question 239, be laid before this House and that the impact assessments arising from those analyses be provided to the Committee on Exiting the European Union'.

The motion refers to impact assessments which had been produced by the UK Government, but which had not been published. Requests made for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 had been denied using exemptions under that Act, including the prejudice to the interests of the UK overseas and to the UK’s economic interests.

The Government response to the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee report on Brexit: trade in goods lists the 58 sectors covered by the Government’s analysis. A Commons Library Blog Post, Brexit impact: 58 sectors assessed, notes these sectors’ current contribution to the UK economy and the number of people they employ.

The motion is tabled as a 'motion for a return'. This device has not been commonly used in modern times. If the motion is passed, it becomes a resolution of the House of Commons. It would be for the Government to decide how to respond to it.

Balance of Competences Review
Separate to the issues relating to the Sectoral Impact Assessments, but with resonances, was the lack of publicity given to the Review of the Balance of Competences, carried out by the UK Government prior to the holding of the EU Brexit referendum between 2012 and 2014.

European Parliament Impact Study

In March 2017 the European Parliament: European Parliamentary Research Service published a study called An Assessment of the Economic Impact of Brexit on the EU 27.

This paper, managed by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, assessed the likely impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession.

For the EU 27, the losses were found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticed in the aggregate. By contrast, for the UK, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates up to ten times greater as a share of GDP.

Impacts on some Member States – in particular Ireland – and some sectors in the EU27 could be more pronounced than the average for the EU27.

Authors: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels

Sectoral Analyses

39 sector reports were published by the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the EU on the 21 December 2017:

+ Aerospace
+ Agriculture, animal health, and food and drink (including catering)
+ Asset Management
+ Automotive
+ Aviation
+ Broadcasting
+ Chemicals
+ Construction and related engineering
+ Consumer goods, including textiles and clothing
+ Creative industries
+ Defence
+ Electricity market, including renewables
+ Electronics and machinery
+ Environmental services
+ Fintech
+ Fisheries
+ Gambling
+ Gas market
+ Higher education
+ Insurance and pensions
+ Life sciences
+ Maritime/ports including marine equipment
+ Medical services and social care
+ Nuclear
+ Oil and fossil fuel production, including gas
+ Payment services and systems
+ Post
+ Professional and business services
+ Rail including manufacturing
+ Real estate
+ Retail
+ Retail and corporate banking
+ Road haulage and passenger transport
+ Space
+ Steel and other commodities/metals
+ Technology (ICT)(Digital)
+ Telecommunications
+ Tourism
+ Wholesale markets and market infrastructure

Source Link http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8128/CBP-8128.pdf
Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union http://www.europeansources.info/record/brexit-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/
UK: House of Commons: Library: Blog: Second Reading, 01.11.17: Brexit impact: 58 sectors assessed https://secondreading.uk/economy/brexit-impact-58-sectors-assessed/
Politico, 01.11.17: Labour attracts Tory MPs to vote for release of Brexit studies https://www.politico.eu/article/labour-attracts-tory-mps-to-vote-for-release-of-brexit-studies/
BBC News, 01.11.17: Pressure on ministers over Brexit papers http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41825345
UK: Parliament: Parliamentary Business: Committees: News, 21.12.17: Brexit sectoral analyses published by Committee http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/exiting-the-european-union-committee/news-parliament-2017/sectoral-analyses-published-evidence-17-19/
University of Birmingham: Birmingham Business School > Research > Research Projects > The Economic Impacts of Brexit on the UK, its Regions, its Cities and its Sectors (ESRC funded project as part of UK in a Changing Europe) https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/business/research/research-projects/economic-impacts-of-brexit-on-the-uk.aspx
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Countries / Regions
Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=508209