Gifts Today magazine

Stability Call After Vote

BIRA boss says retailers need ‘confidence’ and ‘predictable timetables’

Stability is top of the list for retailers following last week’s shock Brexit vote, with BIRA CEO Alan Hawkins saying “as much confidence as possible” is required.

In the aftermath of the referendum decision to leave the EU, the British Independent Retailers’ Association have issued a statement saying they believe the market turmoil on the morning of the announcement, followed by the immediate political aftershocks, will not be the only potholes in the road to life outside of the EU.

But Alan added that, while the slide in the pound against the dollar will make imports, particularly oil, more expensive and push inflation upwards, it will also help exporters.

He said: “Above all consumers and the retailers that serve them need to be given as much confidence as possible from now until the agreement for the UK to leave the EU is signed, sealed and delivered.

“That means laying out predictable timetables and sticking to them.”

BIRA champion independent retailers in the UK across six divisional trade associations covered a range of industry sectors and the CEO was also watchful of the likelihood of interest rate changes fearing that a further fall was possible if the Bank of England became concerned about a developing recession, but increases could follow if inflation grew too quickly.

That could dampen the national housing market, which might be relatively welcome in the overheating London market, but could also weaken prospects for retail sectors running from building supplies, through carpets and furniture to hardware and housewares.

He concluded: “Whatever we thought about Brexit beforehand – and members were evenly split on the issue – we are where we are today. We call on the government to do everything they can to make sure that calm and stability reign in the difficult run-up to the final exit.”

Once the UK invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty they have two years in which to leave the EU during which the country have to abide by EU treaties and laws while not taking part in any decision making.

At the same time, the UK Government will be thrashing out the terms of departure, including what financial regulations would still apply to the City Of London, trade tariffs and movement rights of EU citizens and UK nationals. The agreement has to be ratified by both the EU Council and Parliament in Strasbourg.

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