The 'R' Word - Again!

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As I write the news is full of stark warnings about another UK Recession, occasionally even, for emphasis, ‘Double Dip Recession,’ should we somehow have forgotten it’s not that long since the last one! I must say it’s rather depressing to hear our media obsess about it, and there’s an element of selffulfilling prophecy about the whole sorry business.

It’s pleasing to report therefore that BVAA members remain extremely competitive in a challenging marketplace. Pressures at the moment seem to revolve more around expediting hard-won orders, rather than a wider absence of business per se. Lessons also appear to have been learned in our customer base regarding the false-economies associated with sourcing from ‘low-cost’ (low tech) countries, however superficially attractive they may seem at first.

It’s a pity however that some countries still covertly sanction the counterfeiting of respected western brands. Something robust must be done about this, and perhaps the UK Government would be better engaged in actively fostering and protecting exports, rather than, as I heard this morning, accepting that the UK would ‘never’ see its deficit below £1 trillion again. Not an especially cheerful prospect.

It’s fashionable for Governments to put bankers under the lash at the moment for making such a mess of the global economy. However I was intrigued to learn that a number of the ‘central pillar’ Governments of the Euro ‘massaged’ the figures to allow the admission of poorly performing southern European countries who, to put it plainly, could not possibly have qualified otherwise. I wonder if these countries rue the day they signed up? For example, I was shocked to hear the unemployment rate for the under 25s in Spain and Greece is now 50%! This is terrible.

Britain chose to retain the Pound Sterling, amid much criticism, and a fair bit of angst, but it has lately provided the UK with some distinct business advantages, as it has to our overseas customers. Somewhat tongue in cheek, I have to say that an accounting system comprising 4 farthings to a penny, 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound (or 21 for a Guinea!) with multiples called ‘thruppenny bits’, ‘tanners’, ‘bobs’ and ‘half-crowns’, was so incredibly complex and opaque to outsiders, we held the respect of the world for our mastery of currency! Decimalisation has a lot to answer for!

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 20

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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