Autumn Statement: Business should communicate its 'red lines' to the Government now

Three issues are critical to any engagement: understanding the Brexit process; ensuring Government knows your business red lines; and recognising that domestic policy still continues.

Now is the time for businesses to set out their 'red lines' to the Government, argues Mark Glover
Now is the time for businesses to set out their 'red lines' to the Government, argues Mark Glover
First, understanding the process where decisions will be made and who is making them will be critical for businesses in helping them to prepare their communications with Government.

While the Brexit team of Secretary of State David Davis and Permanent Secretary Oliver Robbins will be supported by a strong team within the Department for Exiting the European Union, it is still likely to be the Prime Minister Theresa May chairing the Europe Committee of Cabinet, and the Chancellor Phillip Hammond who will have the final say on many of the policy decisions. 

They’ll be advised by those closest to them, including the Prime Minister’s closest aides Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. 

Of course, there are two sides to this negotiation and with a referendum in Italy in December and elections in France and Germany next year, these major constitutional events in other member states will no doubt weigh on the European Union side of the negotiating table.

During this critical phase it will be important for businesses to know exactly who is doing the thinking about specific bits of legislation that are critical to your operation. That includes who they report to and the Government’s end game. 

Knowing which bits of policy are strategically important to Government ministers and what will be left in the hands of departmental civil servants will help you navigate the ever-changing political landscape more easily.

But communication is not just one-way and it will be equally important for Government to understand which bits of legislation are the ‘red lines’ for your business in terms of profitability and job security. 

All European policy will be being considered over the next few months with the UK Government deciding what it wants to keep, what it wants to see replaced with UK policy and what it just wants to drop.
 
Now is the time for businesses to consider its priorities and then to plan and agree its strategy for ensuring Government understands them.

Finally, although Brexit casts a shadow over all UK politics, domestic policy still continues to be developed with public sector investment in infrastructure prioritised. 

To benefit, business will not only need to be visible to Government, but also demonstrate how they can add value in a tone and with a message aligned with Government policy. 

Getting your language and voice right will be as important as ever and advice from public affairs professionals in doing this may prove critical.

Mark Glover is chief executive of Newington Communications

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