Not so long ago I wrote a post marking the one year anniversary until Brexit day, the day that the UK will officially start leaving the European Union. In that post I also included a poll, asking you whether Brexit had affected your business in any way.
These are the results of the poll, and it rather decisive:
The big caveat to this is that there were 49 votes polled. It’s not the biggest number from which to draw conclusions from, but it does give an indicator at best.
Personally, I was surprised that the results were as one-sided as this. If you keep an eye on social media the picture for many in the window industry remains positive. Companies looking to hire and expand, taking on new products, growth reported by many. In fact, it’s been a very good time to be a SME in the window and door industry. It’s been a nightmare if you’re a national.
At our own installation business, we’re 10% up in sales this year in the same period compared to last year. We have found things to be pretty brisk, and we haven’t really done that much advertising in the past couple of years.
Still, these were the results and this is all we have to go on.
Cyclical or Brexit?
There has been a number of reports and quite extensive coverage since the Brexit vote which has reported on slowing growth and GDP weaker than it perhaps would have been. Even the window industry has been forecast to shrink over the coming few years by a few percent.
But, if you listen close enough to the business community, there are also those which say that the UK’s weaker growth can also be blamed on cyclical weakness too. The economy runs in cycles, and we’re coming to the end of another one. Had Brexit not happened, it’s perfectly reasonable to think that we would start to see growth slow anyway. It’s also worth pointing out that growth in other major Eurzone economies, such as Germany, is starting to slow now too, with manufacturing output and confidence barometers falling.
Common sense would suggest that had Brexit not happened, we could tag back on a few more basis points of growth to GDP. But lets not get too negative, there are still plenty of global opportunities out there, which we have to make the most of.
Manufacturing, for example, has boomed in the past couple of years. To get an idea as to how active this bit of our economy is, I would recommend following an account on Twitter called @Jefferson_MFG. They track the activity of UK manufacturing better than any other social media account I have seen. If you follow their tweets, you’ll get an idea as to how busy British manufacturing really is. That impression that we don’t make much here anymore is very wrong.
In the coming year, and the years after, there is much work to do to ensure that as we leave we get a good trade deal with the EU, and that we strike profitable, productive deals with other countries around the world. This is happening, whether we like it or not, so it’s imperative that we get on.
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