In the referendum vote the Lancaster district result of 51% Leave and 49% Remain, which proved to be remarkably similar to the UK-wide result. These are going to be interesting times.
The vote to leave was significantly fuelled by a distrust of professional politicians and, to a lesser extent, big business. The legacy from the economic crash of 2007-8 is still with us in that many people no longer trust the judgement of politicians and big business. Some big businesses need to earn the respect and trust of their customers.
From speaking to clients and chamber members, I suspect the small and medium-sized business vote was fairly equally divided in this area. The referendum shows again that small and medium-sized businesses (which are of course the majority of businesses and employers in the area and the wider UK) closely reflect the communities they serve and are based in. We need to make sure that the politicians listen to the voice of the ordinary person / businesses. Organisations such as the Chamber are a good place to start, and we need to stand together to be heard.
Finally, the biggest short-term risk is paralysis of decision-making. Much of the damage in the last recession was caused by people sitting on their hands to see what was going to happen. The same situation could arise now. For all of our benefits, whichever way you voted, the democratic decision has been made and we need to make it work. We need clear leadership from the Government in the next few months and years.
David Park is a Director of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Partner of Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand.