Some thoughts on the business impact of the UK general election.

As CEO of a translation business, the impact of politics on international trade. is of real interest. I have been following the UK general election results with some trepidation. The key issue for our company is the UK relationship with the European Union. This affects business in a number of ways, these are our immediate concerns:

Uncertainty:

A Conservative overall majority, looks likely at the time of writing. This makes an in/out referendum on EU membership highly likely. I’m concerned about the impact of this on international trade. New or expanding exporters, could delay key decisions pending the outcome of a referendum.

Trading relationships:

Trading relations with the EU and the Euro Zone, are really important. It is obviously very early to judge the likely impact of a decision to leave the EU. However, I’m concerned about the impact on the UK. Taking Norway as a precedent, it looks as though we could find ourselves marginalised on the edge of Europe. It is not even certain whether we would manage to retain economic ties from outside of EU membership.

EU funding:

Business currently benefits from many EU initiatives to help economic growth. It is unclear what alternatives might be available to EU funds. These include the European Social Fund, and many grant sources. If the UK was to leave the EU, it is unclear how these might be replaced.

Freedom of movement:

It is currently relatively easy for freelance translators, as well as translation industry staff, to move between EU member states. EU migration is often cited as an election issue, and is unpopular with many voters. However, business benefits both in the UK and in other member states. Freedom of movement of labour, promotes language learning. Language professionals currently have lots of opportunities to either study or work in other member states, and thereby improve their language skills. This is a significant benefit to the UK economy.

These are a few of my initial reactions to the news, we look forward to seeing how Government policy develops after the election, and specifically, I hope the new Conservative administration has a long hard think about the risks of an EU referendum for the UK economy.