Trade needs a steady ship

Comment By Gillian McKenzie

A WEEK is a long time in politics – words uttered by prime minister Harold Wilson in the mid-1960s and words  which have arguably never had greater resonance than in the past four weeks.
Following a Brexit result few had predicted on referendum night, came political pandemonium even fewer could have predicted.
Those who led the charge for Brexit took a step back; those who campaigned to keep the UK in the EU took a step back; a Labour leadership election was called; and Nicola Sturgeon pledged to “protect” Scotland’s place in the EU while eyeing a second independence referendum.
It wasn’t just the political landscape through which the Brexit shockwaves reverberated.
Financial markets took a hit and the licensed trade suffered, with a report by Barclaycard showing that while consumer spending held up “comparatively well” in the seven days after the referendum, spending in the on-trade was down.
Of course it’s likely there will be further ramifications for our industry, with Brexit expected to impact on everything from staff to imported food and wine; and some think another recession is a distinct possibility.
But, as SLTN went to press, the path towards – and implications of – Britain’s exit from the EU was no clearer and the political landscape continued to shift as Theresa May moved into Downing Street and formed her cabinet.
Political and economic uncertainty is not good for any business sector; and amid what remains a challenging time for the Scottish trade, it’s the last thing that’s needed.
Politicians in Holyrood and Westminster must work quickly to steady the ship.