The RSE argues that the Brexit process should minimise the adverse effects on business and the economy and maximise the economic opportunities that may flow from this process.
Highlighting an issue that has largely been absent from the Brexit discussions, the paper questions the extent to which the repatriated EU powers will define how the “UK Single Market” will replace the EU Single Market. The paper notes that a disorderly repatriation of EU powers to the UK at different levels of government could potentially weaken the UK Single Market, particularly if businesses are subject to unfair competition from other parts of the UK. The EU Court of Justice currently adjudicates on such issues within the EU and the Competition and Markets Authority works to ensure that markets work well for consumers within the UK; however its terms of reference do not consider the effect of policy differences on markets between different parts of the UK.
The paper also highlights other issues that have received little attention in the Brexit debate thus far, but which have the potential to distort this market unless their assignment to different levels of government within the UK is handled carefully. These include public procurement, state aid, regional funds, debt accounting and tax powers.
Professor David Bell FRSE and Mr Keith Cochrane CBE, FRSE