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.