Greg Clark: BEIS is promoting UK firms’ interests in Brexit talks

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said his department is promoting the interests of UK businesses and other stakeholders in the EU exit negotiations. In its first annual report since […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said his department is promoting the interests of UK businesses and other stakeholders in the EU exit negotiations.

In its first annual report since it was formed in July 2016, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) states it is continuing to “engage fully with ongoing EU business in order to ensure the negotiating outcomes meet the needs of the UK economy as a whole and the specific concerns of our stakeholders”.

BEIS is responsible for a wide range of sectors as well as policies that will be impacted by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

It adds the department is ensuring the views of businesses, consumers and workers are reflected in the government’s negotiating priorities and approach.

The report states it is preparing for the domestic policy changes required as a result of the EU exit and working with the Department for Exiting the European Union and Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee to ensure the Repeal Bill and the wider legislative programme reflects the UK’s needs.

It also insists BEIS is maintaining a “strong” nuclear safeguards regime outside of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

It adds: “When we triggered Article 50, we committed to leaving Euratom as well as the EU – these are separate treaties but they are legally entwined and share a common EU budget and EU institutions. Our objective in the negotiations will be to continue a constructive relationship of full co-operation with Euratom after we have left. We are confident that the EU wants the same outcome.”

BEIS says it is also ensuring the UK has a competitive and well-functioning energy system by upgrading and diversifying energy supplies to make them smarter, cleaner and more secure.

If the largest piece of gas infrastructure failed, 127% of demand is expected to be met even in a severely cold winter – a rise from 112% last year.

The government and Ofgem recently set out new plans to give householders and businesses more control over their energy use and launched the first stage of a £246 million battery storage challenge.

The department suggests it is taking action on climate change and low cost decarbonisation and continuing to press for international action on climate change.

Its figures reveal emissions in 2015 were 38% lower than in 1990 and 4% lower than 2014.

Mr Clark adds: “Science and technology is the basis for economic progress – and also for the action we need to take on climate change. Over the past year, the UK has ratified the Paris Agreement and passed the fifth carbon budget. BEIS itself was created to align economic and environmental objectives.

“By working with industry partners, on projects from Hinkley Point C in Somerset to the Siemens wind turbine factory in Hull, we are showing that investment in clean energy is also investment in jobs, skills and local growth.”

The department’s gross expenditure for the year until 31st March was £13.8 billion, out of which £3.4 billion was related to the Research Councils and £3.2 billion to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).