At this time of year pundits and commentators are making their predictions for the forthcoming year and these are the focus of many a newspaper and media article. With an apparently unstable political climate, minority governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff and no government in Belfast, many believe political turmoil is inevitable including a General Election and there is not much optimism for the British economy with slowing growth and inflationary pressures to the fore. The reality, of course, is that there has never been a harder time to predict whilst the uncertainty of BREXIT hangs as a great unknown above us.
For me it is simple. 2018 will be the year that “nothing happens” subject to a world crisis or natural catastrophe that overtakes us all of course.
Whilst progress must be made on a BREXIT deal, and some terms may became clear as the year progresses, it seems unlikely that the economic certainty that businesses require will emerge because, as David Davies has already told us, the final deal with happen at the 11th hour which is well beyond the end of 2018. So business will continue on a day to day basis and businesses on both sides of the English Channel will finds ways to continue to trade and progress despite the uncertainty albeit cautiously and on a short term basis.
Equally politics will continue as is. After all ambitious politicians on all sides surely realise that this is not the year to be in power and be forever responsible for the basis upon which the UK leaves Europe. It is much easier to be a critic from the side line and whatever the terms are there will be plenty of voices saying they could and should have been better. So unless Mrs May herself throws in the towel there should be no Conservative leadership battle and no appetite from the opposition for another general election.
So no roller coaster ride just a slow this year but an uneventful journey through to a much more volatile year of 2019.
Happy New Year
Martin J Warren
ICAEW Regional Director for Wales and the South West