Not another one….what do businesses make of snap election?

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June.

It will be the fourth time in three years that the UK is facing some form of election or referendum.

Business Leader Magazine speaks to business leaders and professionals to hear their views.

Tim Western, lead director at JLL in Exeter, said:

“The announcement of a snap general election on 8 June is a genuine positive for the UK property industry.

“The threat of UK businesses having to face a ‘cliff edge’ – a fall back to WTO trading rules and full customs controls with the European Union – has retreated. Companies will still have to make contingency plans, but there may be less pressure on companies to plan for a sharp exit without the ‘deep relationship’ that the current government wants with the EU being agreed. This should help improve confidence in the market.

The residential market should benefit too, for similar reasons. However, much still depends on the course of the negotiations and the result of the general election.”

Tim Lincoln, Practice Leader, Grant Thornton South West, commented:

“The call for a general election comes at a critical juncture as the UK starts to redefine and renegotiate its place in the world post the EU referendum and triggering of Article 50.

“Manifestos are no doubt being drafted, and we expect to see these soon. We would hope that each party will address some fundamental outcomes that government must deliver on to help build a vibrant and sustainable UK economy.

“We need a vision for Britain that is clear on the contribution we can make to the global economy, not just what we can take from it. We have world leading industry expertise in a host of areas, not least fintech, services and creative industries. A long-term plan setting out government support for U.K. and international growth is key to securing future success for the U.K.”

Tim Davies, head of the Bristol office of Colliers International:

“Initially, continued uncertainty might slow things down but the market is so buoyant in the South West that this might be a one week blip.

“It was certainly our experience in Bristol after the Brexit vote that deals that were already going through went ahead regardless of the wider political picture.

“In advance of the General Election, we will have the West of England Combined Authority election on May 4 that will bring devolved powers to the region. It will be interesting to see if the forthcoming General Election has an impact upon the ‘Metro Mayor’ vote.”

James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, said:

“Given that attention will now shift away to some extent on what Brexit means for business to the general election, government needs to do all that it can to reassure business that they haven’t taken their eye off the ball in creating conditions that will foster economic growth.

“In the tussle between local, national and indeed global issues it must not be missed that the election of a new City Region Mayor on 4th May is a very significant step, bringing nearly £1bn of new investment and powers which should impact on people’s lives.

“We are encouraging people to engage and get out and vote.”

David Westgate, Chief Executive of Andrews Property Group, said:

“Theresa May’s announcement that she intends to seek the support of MPs to hold a snap election on June 8 undoubtedly came as a surprise, but we must not let it destabilise the property market.

“Elections can lead to uncertainty and that can affect confidence; however the mechanics of the market are such that it is driven by demand and that remains extremely high at the moment. As an industry, we need to seek ways to encourage more stock to enter the market and ensure that sellers do not delay a sale until after the election has been held. Simply there is strong demand and now is as good a time as any to market a property and achieve a strong price.

“We’re very much taking the ‘business as usual’ approach.”

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