View from Brussels / Whitehall

Welcome to a blog by Edward Simpson, FLA  Director of  Government Affairs & Stakeholder Engagement, which considers developments from across The Channel and closer to home on an alternate monthly basis. 

31 August 2021

So what does post-Covid recovery hold for the UK?

My June blog considered the Government’s commitment to Net Zero and what needs to be done to achieve the ambitious targets that have been set. Beyond that, how many Conservative Manifesto promises are being brought forward?

For instance, the Manifesto highlighted the Red Tape challenge whose aim was to “ensure that regulation is sensible and proportionate, and that we always consider the needs of small businesses.” A report in June from the  Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform chaired by former Party Leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith was asked to do just that. Disappointingly, the section on financial services focuses on ideas to stimulate wholesale investment in pensions and private equity and generic recommendations on regulation. Of course, these areas are important but this was a missed opportunity to improve the environment for consumers and small businesses for whom reform of consumer credit rules is long overdue.

FLA members’ customers need streamlined, modern measures when they take out a loan or lease or when they fall into financial difficulty. The FLA hopes that HM Treasury’s review of the Future Regulatory Framework for financial services (which was not a pre-election pledge) earmarked for the last quarter of 2021 will address this.

“Levelling up” has been prominent in the Government’s narrative but it remains unclear whether this mantra will deliver concrete examples of support for under-served regions or is more of a slow-burner designed to create a change in approach by investors and businesses. Recent media reports that part of the HS2 project may be scrapped do not provide any clues.

The Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, recently trailed that a national enterprise strategy will be published by the end of the year. This will reset the Government policy away from the necessary intervention to support business hit by Covid towards a free market philosophy which it hopes will encourage entrepreneurship and investment.  

Then there is the super-deduction scheme. The Chancellor’s policy to encourage the acquisition of plant & machinery by providing a 130% capital allowance captured the headlines. The reality is that HM Treasury missed an opportunity by not including leasing and short-term rental. The FLA has written jointly with six other representative bodies to the Chancellor proposing an industry roundtable to explain how the market works, why the super-deduction could do more than it is and how to make the change.

As we approach the halfway mark of this Government’s term (assuming they call an early election), it’s time for concrete action to support what are worthy political aspirations.



View from Brussels - July 2021

22 Jul 2021
Last month I looked at the UK Government’s commitment to Net Zero.
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View from Whitehall - June 2021

25 Jun 2021
So just what is the Government’s commitment to Net Zero and how ambitious is it prepared to be?
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View From Brussels - May 2021

26 May 2021
The Germans will decide in September who should replace Angela Merkel as Chancellor after 16 years at the helm.
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View from Whitehall - April 2021

21 Apr 2021
Lobbying is a critical part of the policy-making process. It is the basis on which industry, NGOs and those with ‘skin in the game’ put forward evidence-based cases to decision-makers on the impact of introducing (or scaling back) legislation.
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View from Brussels - March 2021

26 Mar 2021
As the deadline approaches for the conclusion of equivalence arrangements between the UK and Brussels, the sense is that closure will not be reached before this month is out.
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View from Whitehall - February 2021

25 Feb 2021
14 months into Boris Johnson’s first full term in government, what can FLA members hope for in the remaining three-and-a-bit years?
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View from Brussels - January 2021

25 Jan 2021
So finally as festive preparations were in full swing, news came through of a deal between the UK and the EU.
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View from Brussels - December 2020

17 Dec 2020
I had hoped to be writing about the dénouement of the Brexit negotiations as we bid good riddance to 2020 but whatever I write today may well be out of date by time you read this. Instead, I’ll focus on the some of the year’s highlights at a European level.
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View from Brussels - November 2020

27 Nov 2020
The European Commission is keen to show that it is on the side of the European consumer. Earlier this month, it published a vision for the next five years in the form of a New Consumer Agenda which seeks to address the old challenges along with the new.
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View from Brussels - October 2020

22 Oct 2020
In my earlier blogs, I expressed pessimism over the chances of an agreement between Boris Johnson’s Government and the EU on a future relationship. It didn’t bode well as the Prime Minister’s 15 October cut-off for a deal came and went as so many other deadlines have done in the Brexit saga.
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View from Brussels - September 2020

25 Sep 2020
Brussels is trying to forge an identity as a global leader on a number of important themes.
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View from Brussels - August 2020

27 Aug 2020
In May I wrote that “the smart money would be on a ‘no deal’ Brexit at the end of the year.” In the current circumstances, I see no reason to revise my forecast.
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View from Brussels - July 2020

24 Jul 2020
Earlier this week EU leaders agreed a budget for 2021-2027, the first time the Multi-annual Financial Framework has excluded the UK.
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View from Brussels - June 2020

24 Jun 2020
As governments and regulators across Europe consider how they use recovery from the Covid-19 as a force for progress, one of the central components will be the drive towards a greener economy.
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View from Brussels - May 2020

28 May 2020
The deadline for the UK and Brussels to reach agreement on a future relationship is fast approaching.
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View from Brussels - April 2020

30 Apr 2020
Just as countries around the globe have introduced measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, on 28 April the European Commission announced a banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU.
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View from Brussels - March 2020

31 Mar 2020
Just as the UK Government has put in place measures to mitigate the fallout of the coronavirus on businesses and households so this has been the case on the other side of the English Channel.
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View from Brussels - February 2020

26 Feb 2020
Earlier this month, colleagues and I visited Brussels to better understand the lie of the land post-Brexit.
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View from Brussels - January 2020

28 Jan 2020
As we enter the last few days before the UK leaves the EU, talk has turned to what the future relationship holds.
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Inaugural version of a ‘View from Brussels’.

17 Dec 2019
Welcome to the inaugural version of a ‘View from Brussels’.
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