To support government in Brexit negotiations, the UK's 38 professional engineering institutions including the Royal Academy of Engineering, ICE, IMechE and IET have aligned to produce a report to provide evidence-based advice to help secure the best possible outcome for the UK.
'Engineering a future outside the EU: Securing the best outcome for the UK' offers insight into the factors underpinning engineering capacity and performance for those leading the negotiations. It also offers advice on developing new approaches to international trade as well as shaping the government's new industrial strategy. It makes a series of recommendations, grouped into three interrelated themes – people and skills, finance and funding, and standards and legislation.
The report recommends that Government works with the engineering community to use the combination of leaving the EU and the commitment to a new industrial strategy to take decisive action on the UK's engineering skills crisis. It also calls for talented people from the EU to be given certainty about the opportunities to study and work in the UK and vice versa, in particular through intra-company transfers.
The authors also urged continued membership of the Energy Community and alignment with the digital single market including data protection and cybersecurity policies. Mitigating the impact of the potential loss of European Investment Bank loans for UK infrastructure projects should also be considered, according to the report, as should access to alternative sources of low cost finance.
The UK should remain as far as possible part of European research and innovation programmes, while creating long-term UK funding streams, including for regional development say the authors.
On standards and legislation, continued membership of European Standards Organisations was recommended as was maintaining the UK's commitment to the 'single standard model'.
The report concludes by suggesting that divergence from EU legislation is minimised to mitigate risks in increasing costs and/or complexity such as around public procurement and state aid.
ICE Policy Manager Gavin Miller gives further insight into the findings of the report in a post for the Infrastructure Blog.
ICE's contribution to the report follows President Sir John Armitt's Brexit Infrastructure Group, an ICE-led leadership group created to inform Brexit negotiators on the key risks, challenges and opportunities the infrastructure industry faces.
The group is one of a number of initiatives that the Institution has been at the forefront of since the result of the EU referendum was announced including the publication of a report detailing the 'Case for Infrastructure'. It calls on Government to commit to infrastructure during its negotiations with the EU and continue to place infrastructure investment at the heart of economic policy.