The article below has been received from Steve Gray, Managing Director at SowEasy; a member of Briman Group (Trade group of British Manufacturers), and a well-established BPMA Member.


Dear Sourcing City News,

A point of view on the State of the Nation…

The dust is finally settling over the ‘Brexit’ vote and the withdrawal of the UK from the ‘club of 28’ is just beginning. Friends and family can now stop calling each other names and begin to forgive one another for voting the way they did.

So – ‘we’ have all finally had our say, the votes have been counted and under the rules of the game we must proceed in an orderly fashion towards the exit. There are very few signs and no lighted corridors to guide us on our journey, but if we follow the will of the people – we must finally arrive outside, sometime before March 2019. A long journey indeed.

With 20:20 hindsight we can deduce that the campaign to ‘remain’ could have been handled in a more positive way, and was probably going to fail once ‘free movement of labour’ became the sticking point of the EU negotiations. How myopic the EU block turn out to be on this critical issue is yet to be quantified, but by not giving our PM a little more help – it became the beginning of the end for both the Remain campaign and of our own PM. This ‘misjudgement’ will become even more obvious and worrying as successive Nation States re-establish border controls of their own.

There certainly is a movement to delay or avoid the exit decision – but those MP’s (and others in privileged positions) will surely attract the anger of the ‘out’ voters as well as those on the other side who value the democratic process. As the signal to draw out of the station (art.50) was delayed by Mrs M (helped by inertia from the EU) there appears to be little pressure and no idea, how to proceed apace.

All UK citizens are needed in one way or other to debate the short to medium term future of the Euro (I haven’t met anyone who wishes to join that particular club!). There is also the unsure future of the EU itself – with its un-elected / un-sackable commissioners, the overwhelming strength of the German position, the continuous expansion of member states, and the prospect of Turkey joining sometime / never. It is a very expensive club, where 5 members contribute the major part of the budget (over 70% net) with 23 others paying (and playing) minor roles. The UK’s withdrawal with the reduction in EU revenue is substantial at £8.5 billion (£170,000,000 per week) – big numbers, but I can’t find any EU source statement or indeed outline plan to show how this inconvenience is to be handled. It also seems an unfair burden to place on the big 5 (Germany / France / UK /  Italy & Spain) and together with the NATO defence budget where only 3 pay the 2% GDP agreed (Greece / UK / Estonia) while the other 25 fall short – with Germany a shameful 15th of 27 nations protected by the Alliance. Why is this imbalance not worth addressing?

The economic ‘fear factor’ chosen by Osbourne and the Westminster establishment didn’t work and a majority of the people rejected it, worse – they then decided to cast their vote ‘against’. However, this could turn out to be more right than wrong, as most of the ‘doom & gloom’ predictions have yet to materialise. The significant drop in the value of Sterling is not seen by the market as ‘precipitous’ and appears manageable, with the exporters greeting it as a welcoming trend. It is clear that the stock market has regained all of the early falls and housing and employment remain high despite the dire warnings to the contrary. There are even signs of a recovery in UK manufacturing, as the cost of imports moves ever upwards and export prices and foreign property buyers spend less on their purchases.

If this continues, as many pundits predict – we could well see a positive shift in not only EU import / exports to the UK, but a world adjustment as non-EU countries ramp up purchases from the UK as imports from China (in particular) look less attractive as the years roll by. With the recent launch of the BPMA backed Briman Group, we (the members) plan to raise awareness of suppliers who manufacture a significant proportion of their goods in Britain. All members use a range of manufacturing techniques to produce the highest quality of promotional products that they can, and as stated above, there is even more emphasis on the group given the cost increases on imports. However, buying British offers more than just cost savings – with quicker turnaround times, simple communication channels, flexibility and security to name but a few. For more information about the Briman Group, please visit

Thanks for reading and your future support!

Steve Gray – MD, SowEasy