Brexit – and its implications

Clearly the biggest story since our last newsletter is the EU referendum result; its implications for the UK generally, and our sector in particular, must be the lead story of any Need to Know section.

While the full impact of Brexit is as yet unknown, it’s worth considering how things have changed already and how businesses should be reacting in the short and long term.

Leaders from other countries are already meeting to start talking about the shape of the EU post-Brexit. Will the referendum force the EU to think further about its role and what it requires of members? Will other states start to follow suit? And how should Britain play its part during the negotiation process?

Closer to home, new cabinet appointments following the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister are shaping short term policy. Sajid Javid became a pro-business Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, while Gavin Barwell became Housing Minister and Jesse Norman was named as the new Construction Minister.

Given that the date Article 50 will be triggered has now been announced, focus has turned to what shape our Brexit from the EU will take, in particular whether we remain part of the single market. A hard Brexit will bring with it greater challenges – while a Brexit-lite will be easier to absorb in practical terms, even though potentially less palatable to those who voted to leave.

Right now, many are taking a more pragmatic view: while some business are delaying projects until they have more certainty, others are continuing with business as usual: whatever we do, competitive advantage isn’t going to be gained by sitting on our hands.