EastEnders actor and TV personality Danny Dyer had a lot to say on Brexit this month, stating “No one knows what it is. It’s like this mad riddle”. The fact is… Danny’s outburst rings true for many across the UK and poses a lot of ‘what-ifs’ for a number of industries.
Before we delve into the impact Brexit has on the cleaning industry specifically, let’s try to shift through some of the jargon.
There are essentially three buzzwords being bandied about “Hard”, “Soft” and “No-Deal” Brexit. These words can actually mean different things for different people, however here’s our short, but sweet definition of each.
“No-Deal” Brexit: In the event of a ‘’no-deal’’ Brexit, the UK would trade with the EU as if it were any other non-EU country and potentially look to use existing rules governed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This means we would face new custom checks and taxes.
“Hard” Brexit: A “Hard” Brexit could see the UK cutting all ties to the EU, with no access to the Single Market (where countries trade without restriction or tariffs) or Customs Union (where goods made in the EU can move freely with little checks and tariffs). In this situation, freedom of movement would end but it means we would be free to agree to new trade agreements with countries cross the globe.
“Soft” Brexit: A “Soft” Brexit for many means keeping the UK in the Single Market or Customs Union. This is the favourite of many “remainers” as this will cause the least disruption to day to day activity and allow business to continue to trade freely with the EU.
The impact on the cleaning industry
As the deadline approaches, businesses within the UK, including Wightman & Parrish, have been preparing to tackle the inevitable in whatever form that may take.
Nicholas Parrish, Managing Director at Wightman & Parrish shines a light on the potential impact Brexit will have on the cleaning industry in particular.
Manufacturers stock up on raw materials
Nicholas starts “As stated by the PM, I believe it is in everyone’s interest (EU and the UK), that trade between the UK and EU is not disrupted. However, in the event of a “No-Deal” Brexit the supply chain could be affected, as some finished cleaning goods in the UK contain raw materials from the EU or are transported through the EU.”
He continues “Manufacturers have assured us they have increased their stocks of raw material to allow for this period of disruption, should it occur.”
Summary: prepare, prepare, prepare
We’ve all heard it before, preparation is key. Brexit will be going ahead on 29th March 2019 and as we all hold our breath to find out whether it will be “Hard”, “Soft” or even a “No-Deal” Brexit – we can only prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
It’s clear that the EU has a big part to play in the cleaning industry, whether you are in manufacturing, distribution or servicing. The raw materials that come in from the EU play a part in all. For those organisations which provide cleaning services to the UK, the reliance on EU workers is also extremely important.
“To prepare our business we have spoken with our key suppliers and provided forecasts of demand, paying particular attention to products, which currently are delivered from or via the EU. We have also increased our stock holding (as have our suppliers)” Nicholas says.
He later adds “With regard to import duty and trade tariffs, we do not expect any changes, but it is possible there will be tariffs applied to some products if we end up with a “hard Brexit” and we trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.”
In conclusion, nobody knows what the true outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be. What we do know is preparation is key which is exactly what Wightman & Parrish will be doing over the next couple of months.