Challenges ahead

Derek Miller, the owner of Scope Bathrooms in Glasgow, reveals why he is not so cheered by the effects of Brexit and the looming threat of a second independence referendum in Scotland

Those of you who read my columns will know the detrimental effect that Brexit had on my annual summer holiday. I remain as convinced now, as I was in late June, that the UK has made a mistake by leaving the EU, for a whole host of reasons.

It has created a general climate of political and economic uncertainty, which is never good for business and there are no guarantees that the Three Stooges (Boris, Fox and Davis) will achieve anything of note in their various negotiations.

With the exception of falls in the value of sterling and the stock markets, the immediate aftermath has not been cataclysmic. We’ll give the Brexiteers their ‘I told you so’ moment, but the post-referendum stability has nothing to do with their best efforts – it is, instead, a result of the Government taking just three weeks to stabilise.

Theresa May will be a strong and direct Prime Minister and will not suffer fools gladly. She will deliver the post-Brexit package that she feels is best for Britain and, if necessary, seek a mandate from the British people at a General Election. In my opinion, this will involve access to the free market with the associated free movement of people our economy requires to operate.

In Scotland, we have the added threat of a second independence referendum. The Rocky Horror Show that is the SNP government is rattling its sabre on a daily basis in an attempt to drum up support for a Yes vote for the second time. Common sense has never been a trait of note for Nicola Sturgeon or her predecessor ‘Wee Eck’, so concerns about a £12 billion deficit, collapse in oil revenues, and the fact that 80% of Scottish ‘exports’ go to England (with just 15% to the EU), will not feature highly in their thoughts. I fear that this will not go away until the second referendum is held and the separatists are defeated again – albeit narrowly.

For the moment, at least, it is business as usual for KBB land. We have seen 10% price hikes from suppliers sourcing from China, and I predict an average rise of 5% in the New Year from most European brands. This is not a huge issue for retail, but will cause problems in the contracts arena, where house builders will simply not accept the increases.

There are major challenges ahead for all of us but, as the old saying goes, ‘if it was easy, everyone would do it’.

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