2020 Business Predictions: Steve Fernie, Director of Armsons

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

While none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Today we speak to Steve Fernie, Director of Armsons.

I expect 2020 will prove a slightly more positive year for business than 2019, but there are still a number of challenges to be faced before we can move forward with confidence.

Whilst we’re finally going to see the end to all the Brexit uncertainty, I do believe that in the short term at least, Brexit will have an impact on the construction sector, driving costs upwards.

I also think Brexit will lead to a decrease in the amount of available labour in the construction industry, particularly in the south of England – and this too will be reflected in an increase in costs.

Having said that, I do believe that leaving the EU on 31 January will bring confidence back to the construction sector and kick-start a number of high profile schemes which have been put on hold over the past three and a half years – and this will result in new opportunities for East Midlands businesses in the supply chain to the construction industry.

In my view, we are also set to see a shift away from independent business premises on business parks like Pride Park in Derby, and back towards our city centres, particularly into managed workspaces.

The Connect Derby scheme has created a strong market for serviced offices in Derby city centre and encouraged many businesses to set up home, and in some cases, relocate back into the city centre.

I expect to see this sector continue to expand in 2020 and beyond.