We help companies affected by political change. To access our political and commercial intelligence service, email GUIDE’s Chief Executive on greig@theguideconsultancy.com

POLITICS: EU-funded transport infrastructure in doubt

The Chancellor has been keen to reassure investors that HMT will replace lost EU funds post-Brexit. The DfT, however, has a much more qualified position. Parliamentary Under-Secretary Andrew Jones says replacing EU funding will be reviewed “in the round” and decisions on specific projects will be made in “the UK’s national interest”.

POLITICS: NEDs hint at new infrastructure policy

The Government has been filling gaps in its advisory staff ahead of a shift in policy to be announced around the Autumn Statement. Appointments have been made up to Non-Executive Director level in Departments like the DfT, in a bid to hire people with in-depth experience of privatisation, deregulation and PFI deals.

POLITICS: Local elections in 2017

Next year’s round of local elections will be telling. It will be UKIP’s first attempt to defend the gains made in its 2013 surge, as well as a vital chance for the LibDems to build on their local by-election successes. For the Government, Andy Street’s run in the West Midlands will also test the Conservatives’ ability to sell their industrial strategy in a region packed full of marginal parliamentary seats. In fact, this race will be so important to the Tories that thought is already being given to how policy making in Westminster now could help shape the result next year.

POLITICS: Conspiracy vs cock up

To say Government mistakes are more often due to cock up than conspiracy is to use a hackneyed phrase that normally holds true. However, Labour’s absence from the political field has encouraged early coordination between the Government’s opponents in the Lords and some senior Civil Servants. The new administration has an incentive to be provocative (being forced to go to the country for a mandate has some appeal) and some mandarins seem to have risen to the bait – flashing details of the grammar schools policy to Downing Street snappers was a strangely naïve thing for a senior Civil Servant to do, for instance.

POLITICS: Turkeys vote for Christmas

Talk of an early general election has been notably absent this week. The story was originally pushed by Labour spinners trying to provoke an outbreak of “discipline under duress” among their unhappy backbenchers. Sources from the Conservative Government have consistently and emphatically denied any plans for an early poll. The most realistic chance of that changing, ironically, would come about if the Opposition parties in the Commons and (more importantly) Lords manage to cripple the Government’s domestic agenda.

Brexit will be 'hard'

One of the big topics we work on is assessing what leaving the EU will actually look like.

In our view, it’s hard to see anything but a version of ‘hard Brexit’. The details vary greatly from sector to sector, but the consistent theme is the position of our prospective negotiating partners in Brussels.

It may sound simplistic, but if the European Union was the sort of organisation that will offer us a “soft Brexit” deal now, they probably would have given David Cameron enough to persuade voters to stay in.

There will be significant new opportunities for some businesses, but for others it will be painful. Brexiteers argue it’s better to make that adjustment quickly, rather than be a boiling frog caught by the EU’s rules.

More importantly, businesses that understand what the UK Government plans to do to boost different sectors and the wider economy after 2020, will have a competitive advantage in their investment decisions now.

The GUIDE to the week, 23rd September

Refreshing the parts other PMs can’t reach

Many of David Cameron’s former advisers expect a ‘manifesto refresh’ to be announced in Birmingham next week. This would make sense: some of those in the new administration see little downside to provoking parliamentary opponents, then potentially being ‘forced’ to go to the country for an explicit (and, presumably, sizeable) mandate of their own.

Steady as CCS goes

Malcolm Harrison has been confirmed in post as Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Chief Exec – a position he’s had on an interim basis since May. Making the temporary team permanent hints at a confirmed long-term agenda on public spending and contracts that has Ministerial backing in the Cabinet Office.

Every Corbyn has a silver lining

Labour might be glad to avoid Owen Smith’s demand for a second EU referendum. John Curtice (one of the few psephologists to come out of last year’s General Election with his reputation intact) reports that voters’ attitudes to Brexit haven’t changed since June. In fact, they may have hardened – not least in light of short term economic conditions being better than some predicted. Importantly, the wider public’s stance on Brexit will have a continuing effect on Government policy.

DCLG limits investors’ profit in land

The Government has published its letter confirming that land bought after 8th September near potential transport project sites will be valued for compulsory purchase as if the transport project wasn’t happening. This means investors hoping to gain from guessing which parcels of land will be compulsorily purchased for projects like HS2 stand to make significantly smaller returns – if any at all.

Cameron doesn’t keep the seat warm

The Prime Minister may be forgiven for wishing David Cameron had held on until the General Election before standing down. His safe seat of Witney could have provided a welcome harbour for one of the existing Tory MPs likely to lose their own seat in the upcoming boundary review.

The GUIDE to the week, 8th September

GTTW is back after the long summer break. Now we have a date for the Autumn Statement (23rd November), I hope our regular briefs give you useful insights into Westminster and Whitehall over the coming weeks. Here’s our note for today…

Independence day

The independent Bank of England is about to launch a new corporate bond purchase scheme. This is a version of quantitative easing and, while it sounds dry, has attracted media attention because some of the firms receiving the cash are being heavily scrutinised. More widely, this is just the latest new political power for the bank – with no corresponding increase in its political oversight. Clashes between Mark Carney and Jacob Rees-Mogg frequently enliven Today In Parliament but they’re not the same as Government control.

Brexit, mate?

HMG is recruiting trade negotiators from New Zealand and Australia because we don’t have enough experienced Brits to carry out Brexit talks. The new recruits could boost UK sectors that tally with big industries back home – or they could raise the prospect of mixed loyalties (it’s also worth noting more than 30% of Australia’s exports are sold to China). Either way we need them, so the Government has no choice but to manage the risk.


The Cabinet Office has published “social value procurement” case studies, which will increase pressure on private sector suppliers to deliver public policy goals. The case studies “proved” that suppliers can provide “social value outcomes at almost no extra cost”. As this Government hasn’t got any more money than the last one, it means bidders for big public sector contracts will have to add ever more to their pitch to win Government business.

For tailored political and commercial intelligence, please email greig@theguideconsultancy.com If you want to subscribe to other updates from GUIDE, please use the 'subscribe' button in the top right corner.



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