Leisure vehicle industry considers PM’s Brexit strategy and White Paper
The NCC (leisure vehicle industry trade association) statement following the Prime Minister’s speeches on the UK’s plans to exit the EU
- Clear opportunities but many unknown threats for UK leisure vehicle industry
- Member companies see business increase, but expect future costs to rise
- Removal of ‘four freedoms’ may have far reaching effects for both large and small businesses in the leisure vehicle sector
John Lally, Director General of the NCC (National Caravan Council) has pinpointed some of the clear opportunities that Brexit offers the leisure vehicle and parks industries in the UK, but warns that many questions remain unanswered.
“The Prime Minister’s recent statements on proposals for the UK leaving the European Union and subsequent White Paper have further emphasised the need for the UK leisure vehicle industry to start preparing for its possible impacts,” John Lally commented.
“We welcome the proposed industrial strategy ‘focussed on driving economic growth and productivity’. Leisure vehicle manufacturing is a British success story with around 90% of leisure vehicles (touring caravans, motorhomes and caravan holiday homes) in the UK made here. And recently, moves to grow back the export market have started to pay dividends.
“If the falling/unstable state of the Pound continues, it will impact across our membership. Many companies buy their supplies from Europe in Euros; and those trading further afield may be billed in dollars. As material costs rise, so inevitably will the price of products in the marketplace. In turn, this may impact sales’ volumes of leisure vehicles, particularly if this were to go hand in hand with falling consumer confidence, which we know affects the purchase of ‘big ticket’ items.
“On the other hand, however,” John explains, “caravan holiday parks will continue to thrive and grow if the present ‘staycationing’ trend carries on. They could however, face peak seasons at maximum capacity and battle challenges in recruiting adequate staff numbers if freedom of movement for EU workers is revoked.”
To gauge the reaction of members, the NCC conducted a survey shortly after the outcome of the European Referendum was announced. Results of the survey revealed:
- Following the Referendum, more than half the respondents said business had remained the same while another 29% said they had seen business increase
- Nearly a quarter of respondents were planning to increase investment
- Confidence remained relatively high with 36% feeling ‘somewhat confident’ and 15% saying they were ‘highly confident’
- A weak Pound would have a negative effect on 46% of the businesses and a positive effect on only 17%.
The biggest concern shown in survey responses was ‘economic and political uncertainty’ closely followed by worries about consumer confidence and the threat of recession.
The trade association has previously highlighted the main issues on which Brexit will impact. Removal of the ‘four freedoms’ within the EU (the freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and people) will have varying levels of impact across caravan businesses.
Membership of the NCC is diverse, ranging from major corporate players who trade across Europe and beyond (some of whom are European-owned), to smaller businesses, such as niche manufacturers and suppliers. All are likely to welcome greater clarity on the current position regarding European standards and legislation not yet ensconced in English law. Whilst aspects of a ‘clean Brexit’ as proposed by Prime Minister, Theresa May, may be welcomed by some, others are likely to be more reserved.
The NCC is engaged with Government over the potential effect on certain legislation and standards and has outlined its position relating to a number of matters, including motor vehicle regulations, and Driving Licence restrictions, and the future of European Norms as they apply to leisure vehicles.
These subjects will remain high on the agenda in the NCC’s ongoing dialogue with relevant Government departments, regulatory bodies and external organisations, at both UK and European levels. This will help the NCC to represent the industry’s interests, to the mutual benefit of both members and our consumers.
Notes to editors
The NCC is the trade body for the UK caravan industry, encompassing touring caravans, motorhomes, caravan holiday homes and park homes. The NCC represents some 800 member outlets in manufacturing, park operations, distribution, retailing, and in the provisions of specialist suppliers and services within the UK caravan industry, which is worth in excess of £6 billion per annum (sale of products, services and holiday spend).
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