Brexit - Meeting the Challenge in the South West

Stakeholders, businesses and local authority representatives joined academics at Plymouth University on the 8 November 2017 for an iSPER event on the implications, opportunities and challenges with Brexit and more specifically what it means for the South West. The event featured a series of presentations by Plymouth University academics on the affect of Brexit in key policy areas such as  community relations, economic development, employment, healthcare, migration and the region's place in the world. This was followed by a series of group discussions which will feed into the establishment of an iSPER South West Brexit Lab. 

Full details of the presentations, and links to the slides, can be found below. 

Dr Oliver Smith (pictured),  Associate Professor (Reader) in Criminology, from the School of Law, Criminology and Government, outlined the rationale and purpose of the South West Brexit Lab. Oliver stressed that the uncertainty around the future impact of Brexit necessitates the need for academics to play a key role in helping stakeholders to prepare and respond to it. The South West Brexit Lab will provide a platform for academics to undertake Brexit related research and engage with key non-academic organisations.


Read a copy of Oliver's presentation.

Dr Patrick Holden (pictured), Associate Professor in International Relations in the School of Law, Criminology and Government, set out the core issues at stake in the current Brexit negotiations and the potential scenarios that could result. His presentation, 'Understanding the Global Trading Frameworks', focused on some of the potential options for the UK in these negotiations and how they relate to the government's goals as outlined in the Prime Minister's Lancaster House speech. 


Read a copy of Patrick's presentation.  

Dr Harry Bennett, Associate Professor (Reader) in History in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts, set out some of the implications of Brexit in the South West and across the UK in terms of finance, food and security. Harry's presentation considered both the impact of the referendum itself and the potential impact once the UK has left the EU. Harry was the academic who conceived the iSPER Brexit Series, a series of policy papers outlining how Brexit may affect particular policy areas, and through which he has produced papers and given interviews on Brexit and the UK's defense and security. 


Read a copy of Harry's presentation.

Dr Lise Hunter, Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management in the Plymouth Business School, delivered a presentation on Brexit and International Trade - the Challenges and Opportunities for the South West. Lise outlined both the UK's and the South West's recent performance and current position in terms of exporting in the context of more general changes to the global trading environment and considered what this would mean for the region after Brexit. 


Read a copy of Lise's presentation. 

Jason Lowther, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Law, in the School of Law, Criminology and Government, delivered a presentation on the Environmental Law and Policy Consequences of Brexit. Jason summarised the role EU law has played in enhancing environmental protection and considered the possible implications if the UK leaves the current EU legal framework.  


Read a copy of Jason's presentation.

Dr Zoe James, Associate Professor in Criminology and Criminological Justice, in the School of Law Criminology and Government, presented on Social Inclusion Post Brexit with a specific focus on the Experiences of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma Communities. Zoe's presentation outlined existing EU and UK policy in this area and considered how Brexit might impact on these communities, who face considerable socio-economic disadvantage, exclusion and discrimination. 


Read a copy of Zoe's presentation

Margaret Prior, Lecturer on Human Resource Management in the Plymouth Business School, presented on the Potential Impact on Employment of Brexit. Her presentation considered the implications of Brexit for three key areas: employment rights, given uncertainty over the future status of existing EU protections; the labour force, given the potential loss of EU workers; and the quality of jobs available, in light of the recent Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.


Read a copy of Margaret's presentation.

Dr Andreas Walmsley, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Plymouth Business School, spoke about the Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in the South West. Andreas' presentation highlighted a number of key trends and possibilities which are either linked to Brexit or which will pose opportunities or challenges in a post-Brexit world such as: the fall in the pound, the potential loss of EU workers, de-regulation and the increasing importance of tourism from the BRIC countries. 


Read a copy of Andreas' presentation.

Finally, Dr Alexander Haupt, Associate Professor of Economics at the Plymouth Business School presented on International Tax Competition and Corporate Taxation in the Wake of Brexit. Alex spoke about the possibility that Brexit may lead to further downward pressure on corporate taxes due to increased tax competition, and speculated on the potential impact on the South West, through, for example the shifting of more of the taxation burden onto small and medium sized enterprises. The presentation included a number of recommendations for actions to address this. 


Read a copy of Alexander's presentation.

Following the presentations the event was broken up into a series of groups where delegates discussed the key priorities for the region to prepare for Brexit,the key priorities for research and how iSPER academics could work with stakeholders. 

iSPER Director, Professor Rod Sheaff (pictured) facilitated the collection of feedback from these discussions which will be used to help develop the iSPER South West Brexit Lab - a new initiative to use academic research to help prepare for Brexit. 

The iSPER Brexit Series

Since the British public voted to leave the European Union, there has been widespread conjecture as governments across Europe and beyond try to assess the political and social ramifications of the result. 

As such, policy makers face a number of challenges in light of the increased responsibility placed on them – as areas of legislation previously under EU competence will soon be decided nationally.

In a new project led by the Institute for Social, Policy and Enterprise Research (iSPER) leading academics across a range of fields will attempt to shed light on how the referendum result might affect their areas of expertise.

Find out more about The iSPER Brexit Series