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UK engineers unite to offer advice for Brexit negotiators

06 July, 2016

A group of 38 organisations representing the UK engineering sector have joined forces to offer advice to the Government to help secure the best possible outcome in the negotiations to withdraw the UK from the European Union. They have asked the Royal Academy of Engineering, as a convener of UK engineering with close links to the government, to lead the work.

The group points out that that the engineering sector accounts for 27% of the UK’s GDP and more than half of its exports. “It is critical to the future of the UK that the government’s plan is informed by a clear understanding of the potential solutions, opportunities and risks from the perspective of UK engineering,” it says. “It will be important to ensure that the UK maintains its position as a centre of world-class engineering research, remains embedded in setting globally-recognised codes and standards, has access to the skills that industry needs, and retains competitiveness in export markets.”

At a meeting on 29 June, the organisations agreed to cooperate to provide evidence-based advice to government and to ensure that the needs of all sectors that have a dependence on engineering are represented and understood.

A project has been established to consult across engineering and beyond, to gather evidence, to analyse the risks and opportunities, and to produce advice to underpin a strong negotiating position and a positive result for the UK. “We are also working closely with our sister national academies to explore how we can best support government in the task ahead,” the group says.

“Never in my lifetime has there been an issue that so emphatically requires strategic collaboration across the engineering profession,” says Philip Greenish, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering. “We are rising to this challenge and pooling our resources to provide government with the best advice and access to our networks to inform its planning and leadership role. We are building a new, proactive framework for making engineering advice available to government on these critical matters for now and for the duration of the change process.”

Greenish: rising to the challenge

“This is a period of huge change and uncertainty so it’s imperative that we work together to ensure the best outcomes for UK engineering, which is so important to a vibrant and successful economy,” adds Nigel Fine, chief executive of the IET. “We will do everything we can to ensure the interests of engineers and UK engineering are represented as strongly as possible.”

As the engineering profession prepares its advice, the organisations have sent a letter outlining their offer of support to Oliver Letwin MP, whose team is leading the transition planning.

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