UK’s CIA Prepares Plans for Post-Brexit

12.07.2016 -

Parallel to efforts by the pharmaceutical industry, the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) is putting together a full-time team to prepare a detailed manifesto outlining its needs in a post-Brexit Britain. The association has identified three priorities for the government’s negotiations with EU leaders in preparation for the UK’s exit from the economic bloc: access to the single market, the availability of skilled people and the supply of competitive and secure energy.

CIA chief executive, Steve Elliott, said all of the CIA’s members are dependent on exports, with 60% going to Europe; moreover, more than 50% of the companies are headquartered outside the UK. Elliot acknowledged that there are big skills gaps in the UK with companies struggling to find maintenance and process operators, for example, along with recruiting talent. At the same time, he said, energy could be an area of an opportunity for the country to go its own way successfully.

The EU’s energy policy is taking place in a vacuum with no attention to the rest of the world, making it more expensive and undermining the whole industry, the association’s CEO said. Being outside the EU could be an opportunity for the UK to gain energy independence. “We believe that overcoming the resistance to shale gas development could be improved because of Brexit.”

Here, the CIA chief’s words will be music to the ears of Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who said in a recent statement that, post-Brexit, embracing shale gas could be a “game changer” for UK manufacturing.

According to the CIA, the chemical industry contributes £200 billion every year to the UK economy and it projects that its contribution could grow to £300 billion up to 2030.