Political Agenda this week, by Mathew Beech
“Hard Brexit seems to be the direction the UK is headed”
“Brexit means Brexit” was the default comment from Theresa May shortly after she took residence in Number 10.
Now, that Brexit is set to be a bit clearer following her speech on Tuesday 17 January. Those keen for a close relationship with our European neighbours were left disappointed.
Hard Brexit, where the priority is having control of our borders at any cost – including trading links and access to the single market – seems to be the direction the UK is headed. The three Brexiteers of Davies, Johnson and Fox will be delighted.
Europhiles, including business and energy secretary Greg Clark, although publicly supportive, may be privately less enamoured.
Hard Brexit could see inflation rise, trading becoming more difficult, tariffs imposed, and the costs of importing – ultimately passed on to consumers – increase. This will go for a wide range of products and services, including oil, which has a big impact on the cost of energy.
Careful negotiations and precise posturing are essential to ensure, as all politicians say when it comes to Brexit, that we get the best deal for Britain – including the utility companies and their customers.
Longer-term impacts on investor willingness to come to the UK and put their cash into big infrastructure projects such as new nuclear will only become clear in time, but a wobble for the pound even before May made her speech is cause for concern.
Brexit may mean Brexit, but what that means for utilities and customers still remains unclear.
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