Published On: Mon, Aug 1st, 2016

Post-referendum is also the time to rebuild our economy

It was not the result many had wished for; the EU referendum delivered a result that split the electorate and caused much discussion. One thing for sure is that we must move on together and put our trust in the new Prime Minister, Theresa May. There is little doubt that the next couple of years will be challenging as the UK re-negotiates its working relationship with Europe. Will there be a trade-off between access to the EU market and free movement of trade? Quite possibly. For our own industry, focus will turn to the state of consumer confidence; the end customer is the holy grail of our success. When homeowners are spending we are all happy. Lessons can be learnt from previous economic cycles. I’m not saying we are about to enter a recession, but when this was the case a few years ago we faced a number of similar challenges which we used to our advantage. It was the age of ‘don’t move, improve’ as house sales slumped. Today, figures reveal a decline in house sales as more people decide to stay put and wait to see what life outside the EU brings. In addition, as low interest rates are currently the norm, these people are ripe for improving their homes. There will be challenges in many businesses with increased raw material prices and possible staffing shortages, but it’s a time to continue to push for new business.

Post-referendum is also the time to rebuild our economy. We need to double our house-building to at least 250,000 homes per year. Skill shortages are often seen as a restriction in the construction sector, but it is noticeable how many modular construction methods are being adopted to create new homes. With companies such as Legal & General entering this sector it will be interesting to see how windows and doors fit into this production model. What is certain is that it is now a time for optimism and a new beginning. We need to look to the way Theresa May gets on with the job in hand following her swift appointment. With a new cabinet shaped to progressively move the country forward, despite the new PM’s own misgiving at leaving the EU, Mrs. May has included key Brexit figures in key positions to negotiate our Brexit. There is no need to retrench, it is a time to invest in your products and people and promote them to your marketplace with committed marketing. The future is what you make it.

John Cowie