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

Labour's trade policy is the British government's problem

5 Sep 2018

There is nothing new in British government ministers showing a basic lack of understanding of trade policy. The Brexit referendum and its aftermath have been characterised by ministers asserting ambitious free trade goals which are not deliverable in the real world.

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Cyber-attacks: testing the EU’s defences

3 Aug 2018

British retailer Dixons Carphone reported on Tuesday that ten million customers may have been affected by a cyber-attack. This is yet another example of the privacy breaches that are affecting every day operations of European companies. The Dixons Carphone incident follows other major cyber-attacks. The WannaCry and NotPetya attacks led to substantial financial losses for firms across France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

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Europe in the Global Economy

12 Jul 2018

A distinctive feature of President Juncker’s “political” European Commission was a single set of collective top-down priorities, rather than a stitching together of the agendas of individual commissioners. In 2014, this meant a focus on economic reforms to restore growth lost during the 2008 ...

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The analytics of football’s possible return home

9 Jul 2018

The twenty-three men of the England World Cup squad in Russia have done more to restore respect for Britain abroad than any number of ministerial visits, soft power exchanges and cultural tours. The irony of this turnaround taking place in Russia, at a low-point in Anglo-Russia relations, something which the death of a British citizen yesterday linked to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury is only likely to exacerbate, has not been lost on anyone in Moscow, Samara or Kaliningrad (I write having watched England’s last three matches in these cities.)

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“Cryptocurrencies” vs “crypto-assets”: the regulatory battle for a token taxonomy

2 Jul 2018

The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, said in a speech in March that it is better to refer to cryptocurrencies as “crypto-assets” - that is, to see them as securities, “expressly because they are not true currencies”. The US SEC, on the other hand, took a more nuanced approach two weeks ago when  it clarified that cryptocurrencies themselves are not securities, but that the capital-raising activities using cryptocurrency technology can be.

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Tech and children’s mental health

28 Jun 2018

The ubiquity of social media platforms is raising increasing concern within the UK government, resulting in urgent calls for more scrutiny on technology companies - this time on child protection. In the past weeks, the chief executive of the National Health Service (NHS), Simon Stevens, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and culture secretary, Matt Hancock, have all spoken out about the need to protect children against the alleged harmful mental health effects of social media platforms.

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The recent Melrose-GKN deal demonstrates how post-offer undertakings became the new norm

18 Jun 2018

The bid by private equity firm Melrose for UK-based advanced manufacturer GKN attracted substantial interest from politicians from both of Britain’s largest political parties. Conservative MPs were concerned that Britain’s clout in the international defence market would be harmed by the piecemeal sale of important parts of GKN’s business. Labour MPs sought to avoid any significant job losses in their political strongholds in the UK Midlands and elsewhere.

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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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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.

Nicola
Blackwood

Senior Adviser

Nicola is a Senior Adviser at Global Counsel. Previously, she was Minister of Public Health and Innovation in the British government and Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee in the House of Commons.

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.

Niall
Cronin

Research Associate

Niall assists with the organisation and implementation of Global Counsel projects. He recently completed a degree in French and Russian and has experience working in various sectors in the UK, France and Russia.

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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