There’s no doubt that Boris Johnson is a ‘Marmite’ character – from his policies to his personal life and from his successes to his many, very public gaffs – he’s someone you’ll either love or hate. I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing, but he is known for his limitless positivity, and that’s certainly something the country could do with right now.
So, as businesses throughout Hertfordshire brace for the unknown, we decided to see what various trade and industry bodies thought of his rise to No.10 and what they had to say about it.
Most warned of the dangers of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and talked of issues in their various sectors, but channelling my own Boris-style positivity, here are some of the optimistic (or at least ‘not pessimistic’) things they had to say.
According to the chief executive of UKH (UKHospitality), Kate Nicholls: “The new Prime Minister has recently spoken about wishing to unite the country. If he is serious, he now has an opportunity to act positively, to provide our high streets, businesses, and communities with a boost.” As the third biggest employer in the UK, this is an important voice. But you could forgive them for this being the most positive thing they had to say about Boris right now because according to the UKH website, the sector is showing its first serious dip in ten years.
The Advertising Association is almost a hundred years old and connects the advertising industry with the political world, among other things. Its chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “We congratulate Boris Johnson on his appointment as PM and look forward to working with him and his administration for the benefit of the UK across government… There is much work to do to build constructively upon our standing as Europe’s leading digital advertising marketplace and fulfil all of our responsibilities as an important cog in the economic strength and social wellbeing of our country.” Which, in layman’s terms, means that he was being very careful with what he says because he wants an audience with the man at the top.
Then there is our own industry, the sector of employment agencies and recruitment services. While we may be a small family-run recruitment consultancy in Letchworth, we have our finger on the pulse of employers across Hertfordshire and we know that most are more than a little nervous of what the next few years will bring. However, two of our professional bodies seem quite upbeat about things.
Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), commented: “We welcome Johnson’s position that the electorate has voted to control, rather than reduce, migration, and that an ‘Australian style’ points system could make the economy ‘much more open’ to skilled migrants… The new PM’s suggestion that the economy would be stimulated through cuts to corporation tax – and his openness to exploring the possibility of allowing businesses to offset new capital investment – is also likely to be favoured by our members.”
Finally, reportedly in a tweet, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said their members were looking to the new prime minister for a “pragmatic, ambitious plan to boost the economy that starts with a cool head on Brexit and a smooth transition, but we also need to take action on skills, an effective immigration system, protecting our flexible labour market, good work and a tax system that works”.
The reality is that with change comes fear, mainly fear of the unknown, and with Brexit on the horizon, that’s a rather large unknown. But with the right people in the right roles, motivated and incentivised to do their best, maybe it’s because I’m still prioritising my positive side, but I’m sure we will make it through to calmer times.