Approaching uncertainty

It's been more than six months since a majority of UK voters decided that we should leave the European Union.

Today, we really don’t know an awful lot more than we did back in June. In terms of politics, the most recent rhetoric is whether we will move towards a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit, whatever that really means.

The value of the pound varied during 2016

We are, however, seeing some of the economic consequences of the result. Since 23rd June, the value of the pound has fallen by more than 15% against the US dollar and inflation has risen faster than expected to 1.2%, its highest rate in more than two years. Rising inflation is unlikely to have implications for the base rate and with inflation-adjusted retail sales remaining largely flat in the run up to Christmas, there’s still the spectre of a spending slowdown hanging over us.

We have been led to believe that Article 50 is most likely going to be triggered around the second quarter of 2017 and this brings uncertainty about what the next few years will mean for us. American physicist Brian Greene once said: “Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.” Many UK business owners and individuals will feel that this particular unknown has been thrust upon them but, nevertheless, we will all have to tolerate uncertainty for the next few years and embrace some inevitable changes if we are going to keep pushing our businesses forward. We should continue to remind ourselves that we have 65 million people in the UK and we have a pool of vibrant, talented and entrepreneurial businesses.

Theresa May expects to trigger Article 50 in March

We have our own home-grown uncertainty, but there are also events further afield over which most of us here in the UK have no control over whatsoever. One of these recent events was the US presidential election, the most controversial contest ever seen for tenure of the Oval Office. There is no doubt that president-elect Donald Trump will be an unpredictable leader and his cabinet selections to date point to a completely different style of government than that of previous Republican presidents. 

Will Donald Trump's election impact the UK?

When we asked brokers which candidate they thought would be most beneficial to the UK economy, just 17% chose Donald Trump compared to 69% for Hillary Clinton. We’ll never know who was right, of course. We can only observe and be prepared for an interesting four (or maybe eight!) years.

A successful year 

Despite the distraction of the Brexit poll, UTB had another successful year and we have the support of our broker partners and the dedication of our excellent staff to thank for that. We increased our lending volumes, launched several new products and our mortgage division has been a great success; not just commercially, but by the way our entry into the sector has been welcomed by brokers and intermediaries. We were also delighted to be named Specialist Bank of the Year in 2016 at the Bridging & Commercial Awards.

What 2017 has in store for all of us is uncertain, but we can tolerate that. In fact, we’ll go a step further – we relish the challenge.

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    David Howarth

    Another article by a lender full of doom and gloom & uncertainty. Lenders and the majority of Londoners need to grow up and smell the roses. The one thing that will make Brexit fail is downtalking our country and our prospects. Believe it or not there is life outside Europe. A strong country who believes in its self and its people can outperform the big boys (Iceland rules !!!). We are GREAT Britain and we will continue to be great if there is belief and confidence across the whole country.

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