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Brexit: It's All About PMA for the UK Housing Sector

10/08/2016 10:39 | Updated 10 August 2016

As a supporter of the remain campaign of course I believe that Brexit was the wrong decision for our country. However, while I feel disappointed by the outcome, I am also a realist. And I am determined to make the very best of the situation at hand. After all, where there is uncertainty and upheaval, there is always opportunity.

I am the managing director of a manufacturing firm in south Wales. The housing industry is a key sector for us and when housebuilders are building new homes it has a direct and extremely positive effect on our business. That's why the government's recent commitment (made just a few short months ago) to build a million new homes by 2020 brought a warm smile to my face.

Then of course Britain voted to leave the EU, we were all plunged into uncertainty and UK housebuilders lost as much as 40% of their value within a week - that translates to about £8 billion wiped off the market capitalisation of the country's four biggest housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt and Berkeley.

In reality of course (and let's all ignore the often superlatively scaremongering headlines for a moment) the Brexit effect on the housing market may take months to become clear, with the predicted mass stalling of house building programmes, drop in house prices and complete stagnation of the housing market very much a (horrifying) forecast at this stage, rather than the reality.

We should be taking the lead from our new Prime Minister, who despite being in the remain camp herself throughout the duration of the Brexit campaign, has come out all guns blazing with the message that the decision to leave is now irrelevant and the path ahead is all about positivity, sound planning and proper economics, all incorporated into an over-arching theme of social equality. Mrs May, it would seem, has her head screwed on the right way, in contrast to the so called media experts who in reality are as in the dark as the rest of us, after all, we're the first country to ever leave the EU.

As the head of a manufacturing firm it is also encouraging to see our new PM putting British industry at the heart of her policies moving forward. Just last week Mrs May chaired the first Cabinet committee that she has created to drive forward her Government's industrial strategy. The Committee on Economic and Industrial Strategy has been established to focus on achieving long-term improvements in industrial productivity and on encouraging new innovations that will give the UK a competitive advantage overseas. A promising first order of play from the PM.

But back to the housing sector specifically and the integral role it plays in the UKs economic infrastructure. Quite apart from the fact that the UK desperately needs new houses, our housing sector is what drives large swathes of our economy. Not only does its prosperity determine the success of thousands of firms across the country, but it is a sector that lies at the very foundations of our economic health and prosperity.

And so the economic waters of the good ship UK must be steadied in order to ensure business confidence and maintain the optimism and growth that had been building in our post-recession housing sector ahead of the Brexit decision.

While Government leadership and policies will be crucial here, it will also be up to manufacturing firms like my own, and others involved in the house-building sector, to be actively engaged in working towards a future that befits a country of our great standing.

We need to remain positive, and whatever side of the Brexit fence you fall on, the simple fact of the matter is that it's happening, whether we like it or not. Right now only a forward thinking, optimistic, entrepreneurial and innovative outlook will do.

Simon Thomas is the Managing Director of Asset International, a leading manufacturer of Weholite large diameter plastic pipes. Asset International Ltd supplies bespoke designs to the water and construction industries, from surface drainage to foul sewers and inter-process pipework: www.weholite.co.uk.

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