I’m going to keep this brief. Everything is overshadowed by the referendum and its fallout, and I don’t know what’s going to happen any more than you.
Thankfully, initial falls in the markets have largely recovered, although sterling is currently considerably weaker. This will make holidays and imports more expensive, especially things like oil which are measured in dollars, and goods and services that are dependent on transport.
We don’t know what will happen with taxes, although George Osborne’s late scare-‘em budget forecast (income tax up 2% etc.) is apparently not going to happen. However, the new chaps will doubtless have ideas of their own even if the reduced payments to Brussels don’t give them as much spare to play with as was suggested.
Our new relationship with Europe needs to be worked out over the coming years. The importance of mutual trade means that some sort of pragmatism will ultimately be shown, but there’s no reason to suppose that this will be much in our favour. The EU will want to show a deterrent to other would-be exiters. If we’re lucky we may end up with some sort of “associate membership”. It seems unlikely that trade deals with Asia and other growing economies will increase as hoped by some – if the UK is no longer such a good gateway into Europe, we’ll often seem less attractive.
Life may become more difficult for Brits living abroad – why should Spain continue to provide access to their excellent health services, for example? And EU-wide arrangements for air-travel and mobile phones may well be jeopardized.
But then there are the environment, human rights issues, security and crime co-operation and many other topics to consider, not to mention what if anything we should be doing, or indeed can be done, about immigration… And what price the “United” bit of UK?
However, we’ll just have to wait and see. For the moment we just carry on as if nothing had happened – with slightly hung or proud heads, depending on whether we were in the losing 48% or the winning 52%.
I hope I’ll find something more positive to say next month.