Election results – Chris Buxton’s initial thoughts for our sector…member views welcome

13 Dec 2019

Whatever our respective political views; (and the BFPA retains neutrality on such matters); the decisive victory for the Conservative Party in England and Wales, and in the overall result, should lead to clear and decisive policy-making on issues vital to the machinery and component supply chain. For better or worse, the political stalemate has been removed.

  • Irish nationalists make up the majority of Northern Ireland MPs, for the first time ever. This will intensify scrutiny of the arrangements for goods flowing between NI and the rest of the UK and may have wider implications. Let us hope that it doesn’t lead to increased political and social tensions.
  • Scottish nationalists now make up the majority of MPs from Scotland, intensifying calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The new Government is unlikely to comply.
  • The new government’s intentions with regard to the EU should start to become more clear. President Trump says the Conservatives’ win leaves the UK and US ‘free to strike a massive new trade deal’.  The manufacturing sector will be pressing for close alignment with the EU.
  • Leading commentators are divided over whether the new government will seek an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond 2020. The government will be lobbied to do so by business groups; and Goldman Sachs is reported to have briefed that it expects a further extension request, despite the manifesto pledge that there would be no extension.
  • The new government will be lobbied strongly to extend Made Smarter, the programme to accelerate digital adoption in manufacturing in England. Made Smarter also engages with the devolved governments.
  • With UK growth having slowed, and then stalled completely in October, there are hopes that investment will start to pick up next year. The relative performance of the UK and the rest of the EU will be watched with great interest – as will the BFPA!

Chris Buxton