That’s democracy!20 July 2016
Well it happened. Whatever way you voted in the EU referendum we now face undeniably one of the biggest periods of change ever in the UK. That’s democracy!
The initial markets shock and volatility was of course to be expected and it has since stabilised somewhat as everyone gets used to the idea of a long period of extrication from the EU. At the time of writing Sterling was nursing losses of 10% against the Euro and 12% against the dollar since the referendum. The warning by Swedish sawmillers in last month’s TTJ of further price rises should there be a Brexit now appear likely if Sterling stays at these lower levels. Lots of fear and emotion have been expressed about the new scenario, but it would be wrong to assume it’s all bad.
The UK government seems to have sorted itself out surprisingly quickly with a new Prime Minister and there appears to be a good deal of pragmatism and energy being shown by both the government and the timber/ construction products industry to turn the situation to their advantage.
The quick abandonment of the government 2020 surplus target could lead to increased public sector investment and a spur for specification of timber products.
I was at the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Members Day at the start of July and there seemed to be a collective will to seize the moment and “opportunities” that may arise, irrespective of where you stood on the EU issue.
Also at the recent London Hardwood Club meeting, Nick Latham acknowledged challenges following Brexit but added “the world has not ended” and urged members to stand should to shoulder and “get out there with a positive message”.
“There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic and there is real opportunity to affect positive change,” BWF CEO Iain McIlwee writes in this month’s Opinion (see page 12). And for such a time as this, the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) could come into its own. It is being positioned as a single voice for the timber products sector to influence decision-makers, with the BWF’s recent joining of huge importance.
On the TTJ Awards front we are currently receiving entries for the judged awards.
If your company has excelled in marketing or have succeeded in an environmental achievement or engineered timber success, or you have launched or updated your website, you can enter by visiting www. ttjonline.com and clicking on the TTJ Awards button. Alternatively contact myself or Victoria Pennell in our events team on email@example.com / Victoria. Pennell@uk.timetric.com.