Election, Brexit and IR35: A Market Update

Nigel Peters

Our very own Nigel Peters looks at the state of the market prior to the upcoming general election and Brexit.

While I have resisted comment on Brexit, broadly because anything you say is countered 5 minutes later, I thought a pre election update on the market might be useful. Alium has had a super year and my good fortune of working across so many sectors, from FTSE to small start ups has proved insightful.

Whilst I believe the market is buoyant, it is not without challenge and the uncertainty will remain until we get an exit date. I can see little prospect of investment before the election and retailers must be really concerned as they hold higher stocks pending Brexit. I hope this golden quarter is not too bad but with Mamas and Papas and Mothercare in the recent news there is likely more pain to follow.

Alium Partners, with our new owner Valtus International, continues to work with a lot of companies with divisions in Europe and while everyone focuses on the exodus from the UK to Dublin and Paris, there is also a reverse trend into the UK as Northern European and US businesses look to keep a bridge into Great Britain. This is partly buoyed by the weaker £; that said perhaps Sterling has already factored in the bad news and some strength may return?

I’m also seeing a lot of change regarding IR 35. Companies in the private sector have already started to deem contractors ‘in scope’ even ahead of the 1 April implementation date, ensuring there is no risk to them. A number of my colleagues have hung up their ‘psc’ boots and decided to retire and the large scale use of contractors for work that was always supervised or controlled will rightly come to an end. But for those of us taking risk and driving value in a way that is outside of ‘business as usual’, I still see a future.

So let’s see what the election brings - I just hope our politicians will actually focus on running the country for the good of the people and that the private sector is given more freedom and less tax to take our skills and abilities into a global market.