Public Accounts Committee

Exiting the European Union: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine Exiting the European Union: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

The Public Accounts Committee continues its ongoing scrutiny of preparedness and delivery of Brexit by examining the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Of the c.313 Brexit workstreams identified by the Government as of November 2017, 68 are being led by BEIS, including 21 that the Department for Exiting the European Union considers critical. BEIS secured an extra £35.1 million from HM Treasury during 2017–18 to help fund Brexit projects, and anticipated needing 350 new full-time equivalent staff to assist with delivery. It has restructured so that a Director General oversees Brexit work, but there is still high potential for risk if any Brexit workstreams are delayed, or if the Department cannot secure any additional funding in future.

As the Department in charge of Energy, handling potential consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom (the European framework for a continental atomic energy market) remains a major concern. This compounds other risks, such as the tight timetable in which the Department may have to introduce as many as 150 statutory instruments (pieces of legislation that allow Departments to make changes they have previously been allowed to do under the law) to delivery EU Exit.

The Committee will ask representatives from BEIS about their current assessment of EU-related work, contingency planning and risk management – as well as whether they have the funding they need to deliver the best outcomes when the UK leaves the European Union.

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