As you would expect, businesses of all kinds, including the window industry, will be digesting the aftermath of what was an unwanted and badly run General Election by the Government. Even now, the dust continues to settle. Theresa May’s advisors have now quit and a reshuffle is underway, giving the PM a little more time, although most likely not long.
Our industry will be asking itself what this all means for our sector. In my opinion, take of it what you will, this will not stop the British public buying windows and doors.
We’re a resilient bunch of people us Brits. We are conflicted with each other at times, but we have a strong reserve of that old fashioned “stiff upper lip” attitude. And we have needed it in the last few years. A 2010 coalition Government after a hung Parliament. A 2014 Scottish referendum on independence that was at one point pretty damn close. A 2015 General Election that was supposed to be hung then resulted in a Tory majority. A 2016 EU Referendum that saw us vote to leave the EU, the biggest decision in this country for 50 years. And now this chaos that was the 2017 General Election.
As a general public we have had to dip into those steely reserves recently. We haven’t exactly had the most stable few years, with votes, referendums, elections and the horrors of terrorism most recently.
Yet, generally speaking, the British public has continued to go about it’s business as usual. Defiance in the face of a number of things which could quite readily spook us. That includes home improvements. I can say from our point of view at our family run installations company that business has been very brisk in the past few years, with the past 12 months the busiest. In fact the 6 months after the EU vote in 2016 were the busiest we have been since I joined the company 12 years ago.
No matter the issue, us Brits love our homes, and so long as the money is there, we will continue to work to improve them.
The next few months
That being said, I could sense that business might have slowed up a little bit in the couple of weeks in the run up to the election. These things tend to happen with big votes. The EU Referendum was no different. Then, the floodgates opened after that as the public relaxed a little after all those dire economic warnings and resumed spending in great numbers.
I think that the same might happen again this time. I understand that there remains a great deal of uncertainty with our Government right now, and that there are still many issues to iron out before we get to a position where we can move ahead with some sort of Government, but, I sense that the public are becoming sick about hearing about politics. I think there will be many out there who are thinking about home improvements who may just decide to get on with doing them.
We also start Brexit negotiations on the 19th, with both May and Merkel saying that talks should start on time. Sky News also reported that a reciprocal deal to guarantee UK and EU national’s rights will be struck right away. Why is this significant? Well, it appears that this first major sticking point is about to be solved ahead of time. A signal that the type of Brexit May was going for is dead in the water, and she’ll now be more open to compromise on a number of issues. In terms of currency, this will be pound-positive. It could send Sterling above $1.30 again sooner rather than later.
From a window industry perspective, we shouldn’t panic too much about what is going on with UK politics right now. The public and the consumer has shown great resilience in the past few years against some seismic shifts in politics. I fully believe the public will continue to buy their new windows and doors and in good numbers. Yes we have to be proactive as a sector, but then again that’s something we should always be doing. No need to be overly concerned just yet though.
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