Post-Brexit: Through the Eyes of a Brit

Today it is common knowledge that there was an immediate backlash from the UK’s shock exit of the European Union. Statistics and figures can be collected from all different areas to illustrate how detrimental this decision was.

The pound slumped to a 31-year low in its biggest one-day loss in history. The FTSE 250, which is more dependent on the UK economy than the multinational companies represented in the FTSE 100, dropped 13% in two days after the vote results came in.

Over $2.1 trillion was wiped off global shares.

Yet, it must be noted that regardless of the decision, there would have been some kind of repercussion. This vote on the UK’s position brought out more individuals than any other poll, with 72.2% of the voting population deciding on their country’s future.

This high percentage of voters meant that there would also be long term affects to this decision. With a split of 51.9% to leave and 48.1% to stay, it was inevitable for a large portion of the population to be disappointed. That was exactly the case, leaving those who voted ‘to leave’ feeling robbed.

The younger voting population, who have to live with the decision of the referendum for longer, came out in mass and most voted to remain. An educated group of young adults who are more culturally diverse than their elders took pride in their adaptability to globalisation and felt best to remain in the European Union.

With a British passport that is linked to the European Union, you can work in over 30 countries without a visa. With this vote, this has been taken away from a large population. The effortless travelling between these countries will also be affected, and in the near future you will have to apply for entry.

The mood of the country seems to be based around one question – “what’s next?” Uncertainty has spread through the population, with those who won their vote unsure of how we will move forward. It is going to take at least two years for this decision to be implemented, but how the UK will do this is unknown to the general population. Talks are still undergoing, but with nothing set in stone, where does that leave everyone?

Once the vote had been made, we looked towards our leaders to handle this transition process. Within the UK we have seen individuals step down from a number of positions, even the Prime Minister feeling he could not lead us through a transition he felt so strongly against. Since the appointment of our new PM, all we have been told is “Brexit means Brexit” in a number of interviews.

But continuous vague answers to questions do nothing to ease the uncertainty.

I work for ACCO Brands (NYSE: ACCO) at their European head office in their Finance department. They centralised and streamlined their business, moving everyone to one site to become more cost effective. And with that central organisation came a mixture of people and cultures. Our customer services, credit control etc. are filled with Europeans carrying out key positions in the organisation, making sure the business runs correctly. When Brexit was announced, slight uncertainty and panic seemed to take hold of many of my co-workers. Questions were constantly asked, people were unsure of their future and status within the organisation.

Financially, ACCO have had to increase their customer’s prices in 2017. All customers who are based in mainland Europe and receive products from one of the three warehouses in this region have seen no increase for 2017. All UK customers who receive products from the UK warehouse have incurred a 7.5% increase on their 2016 price, to counteract the financial effect of Brexit. This increase, which is much lower than many of their competitors, will be subject to a mid-year review for a potential further rise.

What next for the UK since this vote? Well we cannot truly answer this question, whether it is asked to a member of public or Parliament. A transition period will educate us all and enter us into territory that we have not experienced. Once thing is certain, the UK will no longer be part of the European Union.

All of us are hoping this decision will eventually work out for the best.

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