In the early hours of Friday 24th June, the results of the EU referendum trickled in. Jenny Watson, chief counting officer for the referendum and chair of the Electoral Commission, announced that 48.1 per cent of people had voted to remain in the European Union and 51.9 per cent had voted to leave.
There was widespread shock, the pound dropped to a 31-year low, billions of pounds were wiped off markets and there were even rumours of major American banks relocating workers to other European cities.
Think tank IPPR’s chief economist Catherine Colebrook said: “Markets have responded to the news that the UK is to exit the EU by selling sterling assets, causing the pound to fall. This will be felt in higher costs on the high street in the coming months.”
She added: “In the weeks and months following this initial financial market reaction, we will be hit by the perfect storm of reduced consumer spending power, a reduction in business investment as businesses put their plans on ice, and the heightened risk of a downturn across Europe.”
New BIFM chief executive Ray Perry said he ended his first week in post by calling on the government to “lead us through the short-term volatility” caused by the referendum decision to leave the European Union.
Calling the decision “a historic one”, Perry said that “we will not know the full impact or meaning of this for years to come”.
However, Perry, also said: “It does immediately create a period of uncertainty for the UK economy and the facilities management services that supply it.”
“The government and supporting organisations must get to grips with the task swiftly, putting partisan politics aside to lead us through any short-term volatility towards a stronger and more stable position. We need to focus on market confidence and stability.
“The negotiation period, when Article 50 is invoked, provides an opportunity for our members to understand, adjust to and make the most of the new environment that this decision will create.
“Our immediate priority is to canvas the views of our members and the profession in order to understand their position. Doing so will provide us with clear and valid data to be able to respond and support those operating within the sector.”