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Panel from left to right: Gisela Stuart, Stephanie Flanders, Jon Davis, Peter Sands, Ed Balls

On 12 June the Strand Group hosted their final event of the academic year, inviting Visiting Professor Ed Balls and Peter Sands, former CEO of Standard Chartered, to present their new Harvard research paper, ‘Making Brexit Work for British Businesses’. As well as providing an overview of their findings, Balls and Sands offered some fresh thoughts on Brexit and the upcoming EU negotiations in light of the June 2017 general election and fast changing political landscape.

 

Ed Balls

For the paper, the authors interviewed over 50 mid-sized British businesses and trade associations, with the objective of identifying the key execution priorities for Brexit from their perspective. The paper sets out the findings from the interviews and draws conclusions for policymakers. Key themes emerging include: the overwhelming importance of securing a good trade deal with the EU; the concern that Brexit would lead to an increased regulatory burden not a reduction; the need for continued engagement with EU regulatory agencies; the fact that Brexit will necessarily trigger a fundamental rethink of policy towards some sectors, in particular agriculture; and the need to upgrade customs control procedures and revamp the immigration system.

 

After the presentation, Balls and Sands were joined by Stephanie Flanders, Chief Market Strategist for the UK and Europe for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and Gisela Stuart, former MP and Co-Chair of Vote Leave, for a dynamic discussion about the merits of the paper and questions around Brexit going forward. The event was sponsored by DXC Technology and the Department of Political Economy.