Financial directors face post-election dichotomy

Now that the dust has settled on the shock Conservative victory in the UK General Election, we were asked to look at the implications for FDs and CFOs by Financial Director magazine. While it is early days and many companies are waiting to see what measures Chancellor George Osborne will put in place in his early 8 July Budget, some trends emerged. On the one hand the clear result has removed the uncertainty that many executives were expecting from a hung parliament as all seven parties negotiated to form a government. Allied to that were the market-friendly measures on taxation that the Conservatives have promised. However on the other side of the balance is the uncertainty posed by the threat of a twin referendum on UK membership of the European Union – likely in 2017 or even in 2016 – and a possible vote of Scottish separation. The outlook for the UK economy is clearly uncertain and will be important to monitor the views of FDs as time passes. The full article is here.

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What would devolution mean for UK cities and regions?

The business magazine, Financial Director, asked us to look at the implications for local businesses and economies if politicians actually follow up on their promises to devolve more powers to the countries, regions and cities of the UK in the wake of the Scottish referendum vote.

We spoke to a range of people including Jim O’Neill, who carried out a review for the RSA, Paul Swinney at the Centre for Cities, Steve Gilroy at the small business consultancy Vistage, Noel Tagoe at CIMA, James Nicholson-Smith at TheFDCentre and individual finance directors.

The overall feeling was that this had the potential to deliver major benefits to smaller regional economic areas as long as the process of devolution was well organised and carried out with key objectives in mind. This is likely to be  a major area for debate whichever party/ies wins the next General Election.

The article is here (split over three pages).