The morning after the night before
The best-laid plans of mice and men do have a habit of lurching off the track. If one thing is certain, this post-election morning, it’s that Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election has not, for her or her party, gone according to plan. And the result – in the short term at least – is not the certainty that many in business were hoping for, but more instability.
It’s not just the political elite who were caught out. The pound dropped when the exit polls were revealed – an indication that investors were surprised by the outcome. The clear Conservative majority hasn’t materialised and the markets are still trying to make sense of it. We shouldn’t start panicking, however, the drop in Sterling is nothing like as dramatic as that seen after the EU Referendum. This is a stumble, not a seismic shift.
The Prime Minister’s intention was, no doubt, to be rolling up the sleeves and preparing for some tough Brexit negotiations (and the clock is ticking on this one, Article 50 operates to a fixed timescale whatever is happening in Westminster), but now it’s a scrabble to form a government that has a mandate to lead the country.
So, the UK is in a bit of a pickle this morning, but as far as our sector is concerned, we should probably work on an assumption that things are going to get tougher. The review of manifesto commitments we wrote about a few weeks ago had plans for property rental that were different in detail, but in general terms moved the balance of power towards the tenant. All three of the main parties were in favour of longer tenancies and the upfront fees ban. We should, perhaps, accept these as a given and plan accordingly.
If there was a clear winner last night, it was in the turnout figures, which were up on the 2015 General Election. Younger voters ditched their apathy and turned out in force. 32 million people had their say yesterday, and although it’s very clear from the results that there is nothing even close to consensus in the nation’s opinions, we remain fans of the democratic process.