UK

Global Counsel’s UK team have spent decades making and advising on public policy at the highest levels within Whitehall and Westminster. They help clients build strategies which reflect the unparalleled political and policy uncertainty facing corporates and investors located in, or investing in, the UK.

While Brexit dominates the British news cycle, much of our UK work is grounded in the day to day detail of domestic and devolved policymaking – often just as critical to commercial decision making. Our multidisciplinary team includes economists, sector specialists and those with detailed knowledge of parliamentary and legislative procedure.

Analysis & Blogs

Facebook’s political brand repair

25 May 2018

Facebook’s recent decision to run newspaper adverts promoting the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which enters into force today, have raised some eyebrows. It is, of course, interesting to see one of the world’s largest technology companies resorting to old fashioned long-copy.

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The UK’s Brexit security gambit

17 May 2018

The UK and the EU have been staking out their positions on the future security partnership over the past week. This pillar of the Brexit negotiation matters in its own right; but it also has the potential to set precedents that could be important for the future economic partnership.

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UK and Japan: Splitting the nuclear bill?

11 May 2018

Last week, UK prime minister, Theresa May, met with the CEO of Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi, to discuss how to finance the new Horizon nuclear plant at Wylfa in Anglesey. The meeting went under the radar at the time, but what has become clear is that Hitachi and Japan are confronting the UK with a political and policy dilemma.

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Foreign Investment: Rising Tides of Politics in Regulation

28 Feb 2018

Recent years have seen important global shifts in both the policy frameworks for screening inward foreign investment and the way in which they are applied. These shifts come against a backdrop of protectionist political rhetoric and anxieties about the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI)...

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The illusion of managed divergence

26 Feb 2018

The Institute for Government’s model of managed divergence for the UK and EU economies has been influential in shaping the UK government’s position. It’s an ingenious attempt to address some of the thorniest economic and political challenges presented by Brexit. But while it may provide a basis for the UK cabinet ministers to bridge their differences, it is unlikely to be acceptable to the EU, now or in the future.

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When the regulator is a competitor

13 Feb 2018

Transport for London (TfL) is the city’s transport regulator, responsible for operating multiple modes of transport for 1.3bn passengers a year, such as the Tube, the Emirates Air Line and London’s 700 different red bus routes. In addition to this operational role, TfL has a legal duty to grant – and police – the licences of private hire operators, traditional taxis and their drivers.

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The “cost” of Labour’s nationalisation agenda

12 Feb 2018

The nationalisation of several utilities and rail franchises is a key plank of the UK Labour Party’s policy platform. To the dismay of implicated business leaders, it is also relatively popular, according both to the 2017 general election result and to separate polling. But how much would it cost - is Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell right to claim, as he did in a speech this weekend, that it would be “cost free”? Answering this means teasing out a number of related but distinct issues.

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Outsourcers' struggles in the UK are an opportunity for the mid-market

1 Feb 2018

Capita’s profit warning is yet another sign of the growing fragility of the large, generalist outsourcing sector in the UK. That no bail-out was forthcoming for Carillion showed that such firms are not too big to fail. Indeed, the question seems to be whether they are too big to survive. This should imply significant opportunities for smaller, specialist firms, and therefore for investors, considering the raft of non-core asset sales the big outsourcers will undoubtedly be rushing into this year.

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Sizing up the British economy

19 Jan 2018

Are economic statistics – such as for inflation, growth and productivity – no longer reliable? And if not, what does this mean for economic policy and for businesses? These questions are being asked, again, following the publication of a research paper highlighting problems measuring growth in the UK’s telecoms sector, which has been picked up by the FT’s Chris Giles.

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The political battle for consumers in the UK

5 Jan 2018

For some time now, the two main political parties in the UK have been battling for the same group of voters who feel disenfranchised, left behind and have faced what some have dubbed the ‘lost decade’ of stagnant wage increases. Since the general election, however, this battle has intensified, and it is now the case that more weight is being given by both parties to policies with a clear retail value.

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Edtech solutions for the careers strategy

19 Dec 2017

The latest sale process for Thomas International, a psychometric and aptitude assessment provider, is well timed to coincide with the UK government’s publication this month of its long-awaited careers strategy, which looks to rejuvenate a previously neglected area of education policy and could be a platform for growth in much-hyped ‘edtech’ provision.

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The £60 billion economic impact of Brexit (and counting)

29 Nov 2017

One of the most contested issues, before and since the referendum on UK membership of the EU, has been the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy. The exercise is almost as difficult now as it was before the referendum, because we still don’t know what Brexit will mean for the UK’s trading relationships, or the regulatory environment in Britain, two issues that will have a significant bearing on the long-term economic consequences.

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Good work? Will the UK government act on the Taylor Review

10 Nov 2017

The UK government’s official response to the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices is expected imminently. However, there are major questions over whether ministers will be able to support many, if any, of Matthew Taylor’s wide-ranging recommendations for reforming UK employment law.

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What does no deal mean?

30 Oct 2017

The baseline for the trade relationship after a no-deal Brexit would be WTO rules. In practice – and depending on the political atmosphere – there would at least be some enhancements to this baseline in the form of bilateral agreements between the EU and the UK on specific issues that are...

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The UK's relationship with Euratom: What next?

25 Oct 2017

As Global Counsel and Herbert Smith Freehills convene a discussion on the UK’s future relationship with Euratom, this paper provides an overview of the legal and political background. The paper also identifies some of the potential options for mitigating the impact on the UK. Lastly, the paper...

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The Irish border trilemma

13 Sep 2017

The Irish border is one of the few Brexit issues for which the positions of the parties to the negotiation are precise and clear. They are also irreconcilable, as things stand. For the Irish government, it is politically indispensable that there is no return to a hard border. This is not just a question of customs controls and the economic costs created by processing delays and charges; it is also about the social impact on communities that straddle border and political symbolism in a country where this is especially important.

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Cybersecurity regulation gets personal

31 Aug 2017

UK government proposals on cybersecurity in the automotive sector highlight how one unexpected outcome of digitisation could be the introduction of strict corporate governance rules previously unseen outside of the financial services sector.

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Can natural capital provide the framework for a ‘green’ Brexit?

23 Aug 2017

Putting a monetary value on nature provides a stronger economic case for ambitious environmental policy supported by public and private investment, but it also leaves that value, and the investment case, hanging on politics. As British Environment Secretary Michael Gove attempts to project a vision of a ‘green Brexit’, natural capital is the buzz word on which assertions are being built, and the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) will be key architects of a 25-year environmental plan promised within the Conservative Party manifesto.

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UK Team

Leo
Ringer

Head of UK

Leo leads Global Counsel’s work in the UK from its office in London. Leo has spent most of the last decade advising corporates, investors and politicians on business-related public policy in the UK.

Gregor
Irwin

Chief Economist

Gregor leads on economic analysis at Global Counsel. Gregor has over 20 years of experience working on international economic and political issues in the public and private sectors and as an academic.

Joe
Armitage

Senior Associate

Joe is a Senior Associate at Global Counsel. Joe spent three years as a UK parliamentary adviser, working for two government ministers. He has a detailed knowledge of the procedures of Westminster, and the politics and internal procedures of the Conservative Party.

Rishi
Patel

Senior Associate

Rishi is a Senior Associate in Global Counsel’s UK team, supporting clients in navigating Westminster and local government policymaking processes. Rishi has a background in political consulting and corporate communications, and has previously also worked in Whitehall.

Tom
Smith

Practice Lead

Tom is a Practice Lead for political due diligence at Global Counsel. Tom has over ten years’ experience working in UK politics in the Westminster parliament, and subsequently in political consultancies.

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