Friday April 21, 2017
On Tuesday 18 April, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap general election to be held on 8 June. This news was certainly a surprise given the Prime Minister previous assurances that a general election would not be taking place until 2020. Nonetheless, it gives Britain a chance to elect a government with the mandate to determine the terms of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Since Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50 in late March, the British Government has been proactive in its pursuit of international trade and investment opportunities to support Britain’s post-Brexit future. Boasting a world-renowned community of scaling SMEs that account for £1.8 trillion – or 47% – of all private sector turnover in the UK, Britain remains a leading trade and investment hub for established and emerging economies. With Brexit’s founding premise positioned to support the forging of Brand Britain – a new identity as a global trading power, no longer restricted by European regulations – initial steps are certainly being made to bring this objective into fruition.
In a period of significant change for Britain’s evolving economy, the success of the country’s Brexit agenda is weighted across the support it receives not only from our international economic alliances, but also from the consumers, investors and entrepreneurs driving the strategy forward. In a three part series spanning the first half of 2017, Asset Match will be launching a series of national research that charts the sentiment of these three pivotal groups. The initiative will launch next week, with the first iteration of the analysis dissecting exactly what consumers believe Brexit will mean for scaling SMEs. Based on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, the report will demonstrate the sentiments of British consumers towards the country’s bustling private sector, and the strength of British business in what is now an acutely global marketplace.
There has already been strong interest in the future of Britain’s post-Brexit economy. On 27 March, the Middle Eastern state of Qatar announced that it would be investing £5 billion into the UK over the next three to five years. This will add to the £35 billion of investment Qatar has already made in the UK. Since this announcement, Theresa May has also travelled to the Middle East to hold trade talks with Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Philip Hammond has been busy promoting Britain’s entrepreneurial potential as a global hub for fintech. Leading a trade delegation to India that included Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, and Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey, the Chancellor discussed the immense benefits that would arise from enhanced bilateral trade relations between Britain and India. A recent Commonwealth report, titled 'Brexit: Opportunities for India', suggests that the UK can show more "flexibility" post Brexit than the EU on red tape and increase its trade with India – potentially providing the nation with a £2 billion economic boost.
For Britain’s scaling SMEs, the new international investment and trade opportunities secured through Brexit will contribute to a business ecosystem that promotes innovation and growth, an objective that is dependent on the strength and commitment of consumer spending and support. A recent report by GS1 UK – a not for profit trading standards body – found that there has been an increase in the number of small businesses that produce authentic British products, with consumers attaching greater importance to the heritage and provenance of products. One prominent example was craft beer – there are now more breweries per capita in the UK than any other country.
Download a copy of Asset Match’s factsheet to find out what the triggering of Article 50 means for British investors and businesses, here.