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Brexit presents even greater need for strong RP leadership

24 June 2016 • Simon Leighton

With the EU referendum decision announced from the Great Hall in Manchester, the rumblings of seismic change occurred just a few metres from our Manchester offices.

The majority of RP’s CEOs backed Remain and we were cautioned that:

  • Restricting migration and loss of consumer confidence may have a downward bearing on house prices. Reduced stock values limits borrowing capacity and potentially leaves RPs with less headroom for development.
  • Issues around free movement of people and importing may make it yet harder to obtain labour and materials to build houses.
  • An unstable and shrinking economy may also cause pension fund deficits to increase, which are already a burden for RPs.
  • There may be a risk of credit rating reductions for RPs.
  • The leave campaign saw a Brexit as a release from expensive regulation, whereas it appears likely OJEU style rules would still apply.

What next?

Over the next few days and weeks, for me, it’s a case of reminding ourselves of our core values, the ongoing needs of the sector we operate in and serve, and the many opportunities we have to make a positive difference.

This morning David Cameron raised the need for strong leadership in government at this time of change. Clearly the need for strong leadership applies more than ever to businesses in the housing and regeneration sector.

One of Croftons’ core values is hopefulness: “We are hopeful in relation to our clients and securing improvements for their future and those they influence. Our outlook is positive in terms of our business, the legal profession and our sphere of influence without having misplaced optimism. We strive to think the best in others.”

Huge speculation

There will be a huge raft of speculation over the coming months. It’s my view that the reaction of the rest of Europe and the wider world will be material.

We understand there is dissatisfaction with the EU in a number of EU member states. Were France also to exit, for example, what’s to stop the UK reaching some trade deal that other states then tap into? Before we know it, we could end up with another form, probably less rigid, of economic union. I can equally see mutual agreements between states relating to movement of people and labour. I would not be surprised with some form of “EU lite”. After a few bumps in the road, we may see less difference that we thought.

The Croftons team will be collectively and carefully considering the risks and opportunities presented by the referendum decision over the coming months and continue working closely to support the RP sector to help secure our clients’ long-term success.


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