At Dymond Engineering we operate in a relatively niche marketplace, making custom metal products including desks, shelves, birdfeeders, retail displays and metal component parts. However, we still like to keep an eye on the big picture – and it’s an interesting one at the moment.
British manufacturing is very much on a roll, as we reported in our last couple of posts. It’s ironic, but the volatility and uncertainty caused by the vote to leave Europe, and the snap election, both of which might have been expected to make life difficult for companies in this sector, doesn’t seem to have put them off their stride. Indeed, by lowering the value of the pound, it has probably done us all in the industry a bit of a favour.
However, for this success to be sustained it would help if our politicians, and those in Europe could start making some progress with regard to our ongoing relationship with our nearest neighbours – that was the recent message from EEF CEO Terry Scuoler.
Spelling it out in Strasbourg
EFF champions the UK manufacturing industry, working with decision-makers and influencers in this country and across the EU to create and maintain the best possible business environment where manufacturers and wider industry can innovate, thrive and compete.
In this capacity Terry Scuoler attended the European Parliament in Strasbourg and addressed MEPs, including President Antonio Tajani. He told his audience that “The UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, speaking in Germany last week, set out a vision for growth in the UK and in Europe. He was right to highlight our joint interests amid the complexity of the Brexit negotiations. Many of our industries are interconnected.
“UK businesses need to know soon what arrangements will be in place after March 2019, to be able to plan, make investment decisions and have confidence that an orderly and carefully managed approach to Brexit is underway.
“If they don’t have that assurance there will come a tipping point, sometime in 2018, when boards in the UK and elsewhere will need to make decisions based on the state of the negotiations at that point. They cannot wait until the end of the process for confirmation of a deal on our departure or future trading relationship.
“They need to know much sooner what transitional arrangements will be in place, and for how long. A failure to do so will damage our collective economic interests, a situation which would be as tragic as it would be harmful.”
Getting the message out to ministers at home.
A few days after his trip to Strasbourg Terry Scuoler attended the first meeting of the Government’s new Business Advisory Group. This was held at Chevening House, and attended by representatives from other business organisations. He again attempted to put business interests at the heart of the Brexit debate and get a clearer picture of the government’s plans.
After the Chevening meeting he was able to say “This meeting has been a good first step and it’s clear Ministers are listening to business concerns, which we welcome. We had an open and frank discussion and we’ve started a process where we will work together to obtain as much clarity and certainty as possible for industry as we prepare to leave the EU.”
Keep forging ahead
So where does this leave us and other British manufacturers? None the wiser, but slightly reassured that the politicians, on both sides of the channel, are in no doubt about the UK manufacturing industry’s concerns. It’s a case of keep calm and don’t panic. That’s certainly our attitude at Dymond Engineering and we are experiencing no slackening of demand for our design-engineering, value-engineering and metal fabricating services. So if you need high-quality light-weight metal products, including components, office furniture and retail display systems, just get in touch – we’re very much in business as usual mode!