As we all know, London is another country.
Our government is based there and it is the global centre for many Financial Institutions and Transglobal companies and with a population of 8 million, it is no surprise that there is much London centric attention.
But, it often seems that the country stops at Watford Gap services and what is good for London, must by definition be good for the country as a whole.
Statistics on the UK economy, released yesterday showed an overall growth of 0.5% since the Brexit vote. But interestingly, the service sector grew by 0.8%. This sector currently accounts for 83.2% of the total workforce jobs in the UK. And guess where all the “service” jobs are. Yep, London and the South East. London, with its primarily service-based industries, such as financial and administrative sectors, represents 91% of its workforce. In the period analysed, they added 277,000 jobs, that’s 44,000 more than the rest of the UK combined.
London and the South east are clearly doing well, and this week a further London centric announcement was made with a new runway for Heathrow. A massive infrastructure project, which, is going to provide 70,000 jobs, but which may well increase further air pollution in its environs, beyond its EU busting air pollution levels. Estimates that it will cost 4 times more than an extra runway at Gatwick, require burial of the M25 and take years in legal challenge to finally get off the ground. Pun intended!
OK, ignore Gatwick for a minute, but what about the case being made for expansion of infrastructure at Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle or even Exeter. Cheaper, less environmentally challenging, creating jobs in in areas of greater economic need than London and the South East.
On the flip side, there is significant reassurance for workers, supply chain businesses and the wider North East of England economy, with the news that two new car models will be built in Sunderland by Nissan; incidentally their most efficient plant worldwide.
Today, there are questions about sweeteners and guarantees by Government to Nissan. Toyota have asked for clarification about a level playing field. No doubt, other sectors like Finance, Construction and Farming sectors will be lobbying for support if Brexit negatively affects them.
Well; its clear that the “phoney war” or honeymoon period, post Brexit is over. Talk is now beginning to turn into actions. Whole industries and individual businesses are lining up to protect or exploit their positions.
Wherever you sit in the debate about regional investments, infrastructure projects, government support or subsidies, you need to do what is best to secure the best post Brexit outcomes for your business.
It really might be time to sit down and do a thorough strategic review from what you know about the business landscape for your company going forward, if not already done. PESTLE or SWOT analysis can help focus on the key issues. What are your risks and opportunities and what objectives should you set to exploit or mitigate the developing new business environment, post Brexit.
Keeping informed and influencing others will be key. That might be lobbying your MP, joining or supporting your trade association, networking more closely with industry insiders, customers and suppliers.
The race to secure the best deals and protection has started in earnest. It would be shame to be left behind.