As we continue our countdown to Brexit day, which is 29th March 2019 just in case you needed reminding, I continue my series of special guest interviews with business leaders from our industry.
Two have already been published, and you can catch up with those by exploring the Brexit section of DGB: https://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/eu-referendum/
The third in the series is from Roy Frost, CEO of Listers and his new group of fenestration companies. The same ten questions, Roy’s answers. Enjoy.
1. How did you vote in the EU Referendum and was the result what you thought it might be?
Remain and no I really didn’t expect the result but neither did I think Donald Trump to be a good pick for leader of the Western World, what do I know?!
2. What are your thoughts on how the negotiations have progressed and do you think a deal will or won’t be done in time?
It was always going to be tough going as it’s far from straightforward, that was one of my motivations for voting remain. This could be a press and politician ‘honey pot’ for at least 10 years!
I think they’ll find a ‘fudge’ sometime soon to get through the Irish Border and Customs Union issue and I think we’ll end up with Canada + on trade. No deal basically suits nobody.
3. How has the EU referendum vote and it’s effects impacted on your business?
Cost increases that seemingly never cease, the latest being glass because the European producers don’t want to export to the UK.
4. How would you say your business has performed since the time of the vote?
Absolutely fine so far anyway.
5. With Brexit day just a few months away, what plans, if any, have you put in place to ensure a smooth transition on March 29th?
Nothing in particular I expect business will carry on as normal.
6. Putting aside your own voting preferences, do you see a path forward where your business and the UK as a whole can still continue to be prosperous?
I’m not a clairvoyant and that’s a big tricky question. There is the potential for large scale job losses. Large employers like the multinationals Honda or Toyota for instance may decide to run down UK operations from 2020 onwards. The indirect result is the employees lose income and have less to spend on home improvements of course.
7. Would you like to see a second referendum on the terms of any final deal, inclusive of an option to go back to EU membership?
No. Let the politicians sort out their own mess now. In my opinion the decision to leave or remain was one so complex that it should never have been decided by referendum in the first place.
8. Should there be another General Election after Brexit day, given the precarious nature of the current Government?
Definitely not! Who else wanted Teresa’s job? Let them see out their term. I like her dancing moves too they make mine look great.
9. What do you think the biggest impacts of Brexit are going to be on the UK fenestration industry in the years to come?
Access to labour. As an industry we’ve been pretty poor when it comes to developing young talent, particularly installers. Successive governments, red or blue haven’t helped, all intent on school leavers going to University rather than encouraging youngsters into industry through well managed funded training programmes.
The industry filled the chasm with Eastern Europe workers. Skilled migrant workers will still be allowed to work in the UK, but it’s clear that many production operators and installers either feel unwelcome, or with their own economies developing, they’re basically going home in serious numbers. So, how are we going to fill the gap?
10. Should the UK fenestration sector see this as an opportunity to help grow it’s own domestic industry i.e. fabrication, training and apprenticeships, exports etc.
Of course and the government should be there helping with the training and development challenge.
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