Simon Davis, Aqua’s Sales Director, considers what the European Union referendum results means for business…
“Thrill-seekers love a bit of risk, living on the edge, a lack of routine — in fact, deep down we probably all yearn for a bit of the excitement that comes from not knowing what is around the corner.
But when the stakes go up then inevitably, for most of us, our aversion to the risk increases too.
And when you are spending money, you want to be sure that there are guarantees in place: that you can afford it, that the purchase will be delivered on time, and that there will be no hold-ups.
So, in business, when there is a bit of uncertainty about what the future might hold, purchasers tend to sit back to wait and see. That new piece of kit can wait for a while, a product can be patched up again rather than replaced for now.
As a growing business with an international client base, the air of uncertainty surrounding the UK economy at the moment is a significant concern for us.
In 2014 we had the Scottish independence referendum; in 2015 it was the general election; this year we have the EU ‘leave or remain’ referendum.
All the polls were, or are, too close to call. That creates uncertainty and nervousness in business, reduces spending, and slows down the economy. We have had that for three years in a row now — if there is a vote to leave the EU then that uncertainty will continue for some time to come. Could be one year, two years, or many more.
We are told we could be much wealthier as a nation if we were out of the EU — I think the key word there is “could”. It’s a big gamble putting the future of the country on a “could”.
Will we be able to trade with Europe just as easily as we can today? Will businesses based in our European partner countries still want to be supplied from the UK or will they find alternatives elsewhere within the EU? Will we be able to trade with the US just as easily as we can today as part of the EU?
Some politicians tell us they are sure that nothing will change for the worse. That is not the same as saying nothing will change for the worse.
Our clients and potential clients want certainty and a clear decision. If we remain in Europe we will have that certainty. If we leave we will have years of uncertainty ahead of us and that will inevitably have an impact on business — uncertainty, like indecision, isn’t cool.”