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Louise's Column - Renewed focus after Brexit



There is no doubt that the aftermath of the referendum result has sent shockwaves through the business community, despite the cloud of uncertainty the economy remains fundamentally strong. The labour market is performing well and remains close to full employment, confidence may have taken a temporary battering but the reality is that currently nothing yet has changed. We still have the same trading agreements in place with Europe there is still movement of labour and article 50 looks unlikely to be served till sometime next year. Consumer spending is still buoyant and the bank of England have lowered interest rates and announced a new programme of quantitative easing. 

According the CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith, there are encouraging signs to show a boost to export competiveness due to a weaker sterling. But in business generally orders have fallen and there seems to be a scaling back of investment plans. Rain Newton-Smith said recently, ‘‘it’s important for the government to steady the ship with a plan and a clear timetable for negotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU. This along with a renewed focus on industrial strategy will help give firms the confidence to grow and create jobs. Manufacturers look forward to working with the government to preserve the opening of the UK’s economy to mark its skills and trade.’’

Kevin Green Chief Exec of the REC recently commented, ‘’with British applicants already in short supply policy makers must ensure that employers continue to access the people they need from Europe to fill the jobs available this must be top of the agenda to safe guard the strength of the UK job’s market and sustainable economic growth which benefits us all.’’ There are still skills and talent shortages with 56% of employers reporting difficulties in filling jobs.

Business needs reassurance from the government and representatives from the CBI, Chamber of Commerce and the REC will no doubt be working with them to help formulate a strategy to rebuild confidence and collectively navigate the most effective route through the impending exit from Europe, with the least damage to business and the economy. In the meantime we must endeavour to proceed on a positive ‘business as usual’ basis.


Louise Hewett

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