BVAA CEO Comment: Where are we now?



Brexit issues seem to be dampening down after the initial turbulence, but the UK Government’s ‘final ultimatum’ to the EU in February 2021 to get on with ratifying the agreement is a worrying development.  It creates more uncertainty and as I highlighted many months ago, business hates uncertainty.

And while some clarity has been forthcoming in the last two months, some problems remain.  Conformity Assessment is still an issue – and BVAA are still actively engaged with Government and Notified Bodies on resolving matters such as:

  • Duplication of Conformity Assessment procedures for EU & UK
  • Segregation of materials that brings about
  • And UKCA Marking.

We keep on with our probing questions, and proposing possible solutions.  We’ve definitely made our presence felt over the last few months!

Other bothersome items include the UK Statutory Instruments – in effect the product laws – which are a mess and we’re lobbying hard to get these properly drafted.  Currently they are confusing marked-up documents that are a complete bodge-up.  The texts are hard to read and comprehend.  And as we know, confusion leads to mistakes, and we can’t afford those in pressurised equipment.

Most members appear to be getting to grips with border controls, tariffs etc.  It is troubling to see some of our suppliers of overseas-originated product being particularly vexed however, and it does appear that some of our European cousins have done little or no Brexit preparation, or otherwise have drawn some completely wrong conclusions about what it is they have to do.

In addition to good advice on our Brexit Business Readiness webpage, we were able to have some valve-specific worked examples of tariffs etc. developed by BEIS.  These should prove useful and they are available, like all our other Brexit material, on the BVAA Brexit Business Readiness webpage, https://www.bvaa.org.uk/export-of-goods.asp

We do of course have the Institute of Export membership – and its useful guidance – available as a backup for members.

Human beings have a tremendous capacity to block out unpleasant experiences, but I think COVID-19 is going to live on in the memories of the people of the UK for years to come.  Few of us have been untouched in some way or other, and the whole county is desperate for normality. 

But we do need to be patient, and be aware of dropping our guard.  As I write the death rates are still as high as they were last May.  We’ve had over 4m cases and 121,000 deaths.

On the upside, over 20 million people have been vaccinated already in the UK! As I pointed out at the BD event last week, that’s as many as the next 5 biggest states in Europe put together!

We may have messed up some things in this country, but this – and particularly the prioritisation programme - is something we can truly be proud of.

Covid is likewise not over, but could be far more manageable in a few short weeks and months.

Some say work will never be the same again.

Some however are desperate to get back to exactly the same ways of working – indeed there may be pressure to do so.

But as was evidenced at the recent Future Leaders* reunion, people have become very accustomed to a different way of working.  They have enjoyed the time at home, time with their families, time for hobbies and projects, the slower pace, the not having to travel.  The FLPs were particularly grateful for what they had, and expressed an over-arching need for ongoing happiness.

Time will tell of course, but where are we going next?  The job landscape, and people’s expectations for it, could well be very different going forward.

*FLP is great initiative and I would encourage members to get their bright potential leaders on next cohort – contact rob@bvaa.org.uk to register an interest. 


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