Keep up to date on the news you need to know, with the IoD round up.
Amend to a means
MPs have started
to table proposals which could change the outcome of next week’s Brexit vote. It follows as yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed she would focus on altering the Irish backstop.
An amendment put forward by Labour says MPs should be able to vote on their preferred outcome of a closer relationship with Europe, with a permanent customs union. In addition, it compels MPs to decide if there should be a further referendum on the final Brexit plan once it is approved by the Commons.
Speaking yesterday, May did not rule out a no-deal Brexit and said she did not believe there would be a majority in the House for a second referendum. May reassured MPs that they would have more say in the Brexit process going forward, as talks begin on the topic of the trade relationship with the EU.
Reacting to the statement, Allie Renison, the IoD’s Head of Europe and Trade Policy, said
around four-fifths of business leaders reject the idea of a no-deal outcome and “we desperately need politicians to be serious about finding a way forward”.
She added the government’s decision to waive the fee for settled status was “a welcome step”, but businesses need more information about how the scheme will work in the event of a no-deal.
Other Labour amendments include one which obliges her to prevent no-deal by seeking an extension to the Article 50 deadline. Another amendment would compel May to hold a binding vote on four options: reconsider May’s deal, no-deal, seek to renegotiate the deal or a second referendum.
May’s Brexit deal suffered a heavy defeat in the Commons last week. She had promised to yesterday come back to the Commons with a ‘Plan B’ that MPs could vote on come 29 January.
Several of the world’s biggest infrastructure investors have introduced
a “blanket ban” on Britain due to its “negative” and “hostile” political and regulatory environment, according to the Financial Times.
Some investors have said it is “highly unlikely” they would make further investments in the UK’s current climate. Last week Japanese firm Hitachi said it will pull out of its £16 billion plans for a nuclear plant in Wales. Last month’s purchase of a controlling stake at Gatwick by a French group was at a much lower price than anticipated.
Investors note the government has adopted some Labour policies in infrastructure. Environment Secretary Michael Gove has criticised private water companies, arguing they are “playing the system for the benefit of wealthy managers and owners”. One investor commented, “There is no one in the political area defending us anymore”.
Uncertainty around Brexit was also cited as a key concern of investors but it is not the main reason for investment boards’ reluctance to commit to Britain.
The water regulator Ofwat has issued a warning saying the next five-year regulatory period which starts this year will be a “tough regime”. One investor said “Water is the bellwether for UK infrastructure as most of the major global infrastructure investors are in it”.
The UK has historically been able to attract considerable foreign investment from international pension and wealth funds, such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Such funds have contributed to UK water, airports and electricity projects in recent years.
If you've enjoyed this round-up and would like to receive it directly to your inbox every morning subscribe here