It was a pleasure to welcome BIS Select Committee Chair Iain Wright to the GUIDE steak night yesterday. Thanks to everyone for making it such an enjoyable evening. Away from the wine and food, here’s our take on the rest of the week…
“Grassroots Out” and “Leave.EU” took the news of Vote Leave being the official Brexit campaign with as much good grace as expected – none. Politically, Leavers will be disappointed (and disadvantaged) by their reluctance to support Vote Leave. Practically, it was also pretty stupid for a major Leave.EU donor and two Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to meet in a Westminster bar and moan about how “they were stitched up”. One of my colleagues (and everyone else in the bar), heard the trio explain that “UKIP is f***ed”, predict that “Nigel Farage will set up a new online party the day after polling day”, and weigh a legal challenge to Vote Leave. Bonkers.
Holier than thou
The Church commissioners manage a £6.7bn pension fund, so they have some serious political clout. Their latest move has focused on ExxonMobil and climate change. More widely, it points to the growing political activism of large scale investors from both the public and private sector. This trend will grow…
Everyone knows the Apprenticeship Levy raises big questions for business. Working closely with Civil Servants on this over the past six months, we have seen it raise a few in Whitehall, too. A major obstacle for BIS officials is the way other Departments have responded, with some seeing the programme as a turf grab intruding onto skills policy in “their” sector. As a result, some bureaucratic walls have gone up, even as the launch date gets closer.