John Bagshaw, managing director of International Decorative Surfaces (IDS) and Ideal Bathrooms, has said that now the UK has voted to leave the EU, the industry must focus on the future.
“Now the debate and vote is over, we must focus on the future. The UK will now have a long period where it plans how to formally exit the EU and develop agreements in a range of areas with others,” said Bagshaw (pictured).
“Right now, however, we need strong leadership for business and for the country as a whole pending the decision to invoke Article 50. We will watch this process and the impact carefully, nothing will happen overnight and as part of the Saint Gobain Group we will continue to advocate for the need for sensible, long-term stable policy that supports the growth of our industry and respond to any issues that arise as we need to. I think it’s important to get some clarity as soon as possible to give confidence to the construction sector through this period of change.”
He said the result signals a need for change and that “the removal of a non-accountable unaudited body is a good thing”.
Bagshaw admitted he initially thought the vote was a “mistake” for Europe.
“However, it has highlighted the disconnect between the people and politicians and bringing cross-party awareness to that is a very positive outcome,” he said.
Bagshaw called on the Government to remain committed to supporting growth in the UK housing market as well as preserving openness in trade and skills movement as the skills gap is a “significant issue”.
He assured customers that it is business as usual for IDS and Ideal Bathrooms and that they plan to focus on “supporting and serving [them] in the best way we can”.
“We have a strong business, with strong brands and strong people,” he said. “While there is inevitable uncertainty, and mixed emotions for many, we should focus on the things we do have certainty over with a view to feeling just as secure as we did yesterday and should do tomorrow. I would hope the UK will unite now and we will not see further attempts to break it up. The rest of the world is a vibrant place and a great opportunity for the UK, so on balance I am happy with the decision.”
EuroMobel/Störmer UK managing director Bodie Kelay was also optimistic saying he had received positive feedback from its European counterparts over the Brexit result.
“Störmer exports across Europe and worldwide and its key trading relationship with the UK will always remain a special and vital one,” he said.
Jason Grinton, managing director of Pronorm UK, backed up the sentiment, saying that “German manufacturers are of course still going to want to sell to the UK and the UK will still want to buy from Germany”.
He added that while the industry has to deal with a period of uncertainty as companies decide what has changed in the market, he hasn’t “had any dealers expressing concern about the Brexit vote and its implications so far”.