It is exactly 365 days to go until Britain officially leaves the European Union. That being said, there is now an implementation period that will mean we don’t properly close the EU door behind us until December 2020.
It is also one year to the day since Theresa May signed Article 50 and began the process of leaving the EU. Much has been done, and there is still a mountain of work left to do.
For example, a trade deal. We have the implementation period, but there is still much to do when trying to agree a free trade deal with the bloc in what would be a record period of time. We’re talking months, not years. The plan as it stands right now is to have a deal in place by Autumn of this year so that both EU and UK Parliaments can ratify the new arrangements. If this is to happen on time, there is a gargantuan amount of work to do before we get there.
So what has happened since the vote?
Britain remains fairly split on the decision still, with much of the “debate” playing out on social media. For me, it has highlighted a symptom of modern society, where we seem unable as a population to be able to get on with each other just because we have differing political ideas. There appears to be very little balance and much by the way of extremes. Social media has made that worse. We have to remember that we did function perfectly well not that many years ago, no matter what side of the political divide we were on.
Sterling has recovered a fair chunk of it’s losses versus the Dollar since the vote, reaching a high of $1.43 not so long ago. This is just three cents away from levels before the vote. Against the Euro it has been a different picture, it has traded in a fairly narrow range for a while now, and as of writing sits at 1.14. It was above 1.31 before the vote. Inflation spiked in 2017 due to currency fluctuations, but is now seen to be falling back as the currency recovers.
In the window and door industry, many manufacturers took the opportunity to raise their prices. Some did it the day after, in what was seen as blatant profiteering on the back of the decision to leave. Some left it as long as possible before having to implement increases to cover their costs.
We have had another election, where opinion polls were once again completely wrong and we ended up with a hung Parliament and the DUP providing support to the Tories to form the next Government. Losing a 13 seat majority pre-vote. We also had Donald Trump.
Back to the window and door industry, the majority of it has held up pretty well, despite the dire warnings pre-vote. The only companies that seem to have suffered are the nationals, and that is down to a combination of factors rather than a single reason.
On Brexit, it can be argued that very little has been done. It was predicted that a transition deal wouldn’t be signed, then it was. It was predicted that Theresa May wouldn’t last after the election, and she has. It seems that whenever any of us has tried to predict what may or may not happen with Brexit, we don’t seem to get it right. So it would be pointless to try and predict what might happen in the coming months.
What is coming up
By Autumn, the plan, so we are told, is for a trade deal to be done between the UK and the EU, ready for both sides to approve it in both Parliaments before Brexit day of next year. There is a ton of work to do, and right now, with issues such as the Irish border still unsolved, that deadline looks unlikely. We have been wrong before though.
My gut instinct is that a tentative, basic outline of a deal will be signed off by both sides. But the finer details will be decided during the implementation period ready for when the door closes fully in December 2020. We’re going to need that time because to create a new agreement which intertwines all of the EU’s laws and directives will take a mammoth effort. You never know, they might pull it all off in a matter of months and surprise everyone!
I would also pay little attention to media hype in the coming months. As trade negotiations start, both sides of the argument will spin and report to angles that suit their political positions, both left and right. It is worth carrying a lot of salt around with you if you’re an avid news follower, because stories can change by the hour in these climates, and what might be reported one day may be totally different the day after.
Other than more talks and more negotiations, there isn’t much else we do know in the run up to Brexit day next year. So I guess it’s just a case of wait and see.
Has Brexit affected your business?
You didn’t think you’d get away without a poll on this one did you?!
From a window and door industry perspective, do you think Brexit has had any sort of impact on your business? Let us know via the poll below:
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