Brexit: A year on

lorry against striking backdropAs we have reached a year since the Brexit vote – and an awful lot has happened not just in the UK but globally since – it’s a good time to reflect on the changes that have arisen as a result of the vote, as well as the potential outcomes yet to be seen.

This time last year I cited ‘uncertainty’ as the main issue that businesses were facing in the wake of the vote. I predicted that this uncertainty would most likely affect the trading and investment undertaken by businesses as they acted with greater caution as they waited for more certainty as to the full economic impact of the vote. This is certainly the case a year on as businesses navigate their way through the uncertainty.

The real impact is still to come

The immediate effects of course saw the value of the pound drop significantly overnight which has impacted directly on our purchase of certain equipment. So this is a direct result of the vote that we are having to navigate at the moment, but Fowler Welch are confident in our relationships that this challenge won’t have a lasting impact.

One comment I’ve heard repeatedly is that Brexit hasn’t caused any problems and that the economy is booming and I would say that this is a very short-sighted view. We must remember that we’re still in the very early stages of our resignation from the European Union, and I predict we are yet to feel the full impact of this.

You can start to see inflation increasing and the negatives will slowly appear and as the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Retail Prices Index (RPI) increase, so we should expect to be dealing with a tough economic situation for the next few years at least.

Effect for Fowler Welch

As a business, we haven’t seen any specific changes since Brexit, whether they be positive or negative. All the things we believe in as a business; adding value to our customers by being more efficient, achieving an appropriate balance between cost and service, engaging with our employees and treating them with dignity and respect no matter who they are or where they come from, have all stayed the same and will continue to do so.

Looking forward to a positive future

Now that the decision has been made to leave the EU and Article 50 has been triggered, some uncertainty has been lifted allowing us to focus on a number of positives that can be taken from Brexit, in particular the number of areas that can be made simpler for the UK and be constructive for businesses.

The Agency Workers Directive, for example is EU legislation that has got to the point of favouring workers being employed by agencies rather than being in full time employment with a reputable business. Leaving the EU means we have the opportunity to overhaul this Directive and others in the UK and make it work for our businesses, offering workers more stable employment. This has the potential to be a great step forward for ourselves and our customers.

One of the most positive things that I am seeing throughout this process, for Fowler Welch and our customers, is that a number of business leaders including myself have been actively involved in the consultation process, discussing and advising the government on the things they should be considering post-Brexit.

We’ll have to wait and see what comes of these consultations, but having Fowler Welch at the forefront of the action plan is a very positive step for the future of the company. The fact that the government is actively engaging with industry sectors to work with them for a positive outcome is fantastic.