Brexit looming and British industry is on the precipice

Brexit looming and British industry is on the precipice

With Brexit on the horizon, British industry faces an uncertain few years. Rob Gutteridge from Brandon-based manufacturer of manual handling equipment, Hyprosteps, is eager to forge a way forward. Here he explains why he believes his fellow SMEs hold the key to keeping the economy from stagnation and depression. 

Since the EU referendum, it’s been an uncertain time for Britain. The manufacturing industry has seen a downturn in production, and no doubt the end of year figures for many companies will have been uneasy reading for many business owners.

Brexit-led uncertainty has forced many potential buyers to put plans on hold and reduce their spending. Whilst this may have helped solidify their position, it does little to keep Britain’s manufacturing industry fresh and flowing.

And with most forecasts predicting trading with Europe will only become more expensive and difficult, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future of British manufacturing.

It’s time to stem the tide of negativity

Personally, I don’t see why the UK leaving the EU should alter the supply chain. Of course, I’d rather we could carry on as we have for so many years, but that’s not going to happen. And unfortunately, the resulting Brexit-generated negativity is seriously harming our economy.

Over the past year Britain’s business’ have reigned their spending in so much I fear our economy is in danger of stagnating. If we’re to move beyond this and thrive, we cannot allow political uncertainty to damage our industry further.

Companies are feeling the effects this year, and it won’t be long before that causes wider financial problems. If we allow this to continue, we’ll see companies and suppliers falling by the wayside, bringing increased unemployment and debt.

So let’s take a good long look at ourselves. As a collective, SMEs have the power to show people we can support ourselves, and provide products and services that will keep us, and the country, moving forwards.

Offering this reassurance is key to stemming that negativity.

SMEs can lead the way

SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, what Alan Sugar has called the backbone of British industry. Now, more than ever, is the time to pull together, and look to each other for the supply of products and services that keep this country’s economy and infrastructure flowing. We need to step up and fill the impending deficit in supply that Brexit could bring.

Britain has all manner of companies that can fabricate and provide pretty much anything we need. By looking to our fellow manufactures and service providers, we can forge a way through.

After all, for many years, Britain’s industry was completely self-reliant. And guess what? All that infrastructure is still there, despite the more recent practice of buying things in from abroad. So let’s use it.

Looking beyond Europe

Unfortunately, our government allowed the British steel industry to fail, and that means we’re reliant on importing raw materials from overseas. However, Europe isn’t the only market. And if trading with the EU is going to become more difficult, we should look further. China, South Africa, India, Canada and America are all interested in trade deals with the UK.

Increasing trade with these, and other, countries will be key to keeping afloat, and ultimately thriving, beyond Brexit.

The long view

As a country, we’ve faced many a challenge and pulled through. The current uncertainty will eventually fade in the years and decades to come, and the UK will find a new status quo. Until then, we must look to our fellow SMEs, because it really is in our hands to stabilise our economy and save ourselves from the rapid decline that uncertainty, fear and stagnation will bringing on.

Hyprosteps recently sold equipment to the Chinese commercial aircraft industry. We have faith that British manufacturing, with a reputation based on quality, not price, has a place in the world marketplace. Visit www.hyprosteps.co.uk to find out more.