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If you look in the right place, it is increasingly possible to identify common factors across any potential Brexit scenario – making the final outcome more discernible. We expect recent discussions on the differences between regulatory and customs issues, as well as issues that can and will be addressed at a bilateral level, to become public over the next 10 days.


HMG has published the DfT Science Advisory Council’s Position Statement on Automation and Connectivity in Transport Infrastructure Construction. In the Statement BIM, modular construction, and 3D construction are among the factors being actively considered – with implications for large scale infrastructure procurement decisions. HMG’s approach will have a significant impact on companies bidding for these contracts in future.


HMG is launching two new housing investment funds (the Land Assembly Fund and the Small Sites Fund) via Homes England to help build 300,000 new homes a year ‘by the mid-2020s’. The funds are designed to acquire land that needs work to make it marketable and to improve infrastructure links to potential sites. The funds demonstrate the continuing importance of housing in key areas and as a political issue.


The EU Commission and the EU Council are continuing their battle for control of the bloc’s policy agenda. Today, President Juncker delivered his State of the Union address – and his insistence that the UK cannot remain in the Single Market, or any part of it, post-Brexit is aimed squarely at next week’s Salzburg summit.


EU sources have reiterated to GUIDE their concerns to support May in office and avoid the risk of an early general election in the UK. To help the UK Prime Minister, European Officials are readying statements for Salzburg that stress the 80% of the draft Withdrawal Agreement text that has already been agreed. Various EU27 governments are preparing to laud the consensus on issues like security cooperation, to buy time for further discussion on the rest of the deal.


In Parliament, there has been a subtle change in mood about proposals to change constituency boundaries and reduce the total number of seats in the Commons. There are still big obstacles to the reform – not least a desire to have more MPs outside the Executive to hold it to account – but the hard left sees an opportunity for mandatory reselections and some Tory MPs are eager to address the current system’s bias in Labour’s favour.

05SEP18: SNP and Westminster

It’s easy to overlook how the SNP’s difficulties continue to grow, with a potent mix of sexual assault claims and policy problems damaging the brand. If the nationalists’ problems lead to greater support for Ruth Davidson and her colleagues, an interesting question comes up: could Scottish Tories do well enough to dissuade Davidson from moving south?


The new 5G test bed in the West Midlands reveals much of the future of government policy – and public sector investment. Linked to the National Productivity Investment Fund, the programme is the latest evolution in public spending designed to support a post-Brexit economy. The choices being made now will shape the future of private sector contributions to public services.

03SEP18: Barnier's pitch

The EU Commission and the EU Council are fighting each other for control of their side of the Brexit talks. Michel Barnier’s latest pronouncement is pitched as a warning to the British, but it is really geared towards the member states. Barnier stresses his personal opposition to Chequers – because he hasn’t been given the official mandate he wants to do so yet – and he appeals directly to various industry lobbies in each member state, over the heads of their own governments. So far, the Council has given the Commission free rein because it keeps winning British concessions. If the concessions stop, the rein will be tightened, too.

31AUG18: Populists vs free trade

Italy’s Matteo Salvini and Hungary’s Viktor Orban are having ongoing talks about a new “League of Leagues” that coordinates nationalists across the EU. The top policy item for such a group would be immigration and how to stem it. However, a joint approach on tactics in the European Parliament would also impact everything from signing off budgets to signing off trade deals – including any prospective one between the EU and UK. A full UK-EU FTA is barely a glimmer in the eye of the Chequers White Paper, so what European nationalists do after next year’s EU Parliamentary elections will have a real impact on the UK’s future economic ties with Brussels.


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