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Business as usual as absurd Brexit drama continues

Jonathan Samuels Jonathan Samuels
Posted on Mar 22, 2019 | in Blog

“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”

These immortal words from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy seem fitting as we approach the end of a month of unprecedented political mayhem and, most would agree, ineptitude.

It’s pointless even highlighting some of the major facts of the past fortnight because they will almost certainly pass into the realm of fiction before you know it, as events speed off in another direction.

The irony is that despite all the madness, the economy is in pretty good shape, businesses are still doing business, investors are investing and lenders are lending (well we are anyway). And according to the latest retail data published yesterday, which saw sales rise 0.4% on the previous month, people appear to still be shopping.

In short, while the country’s MPs act out an absurd political drama, for the rest of us it’s business as usual.

The property market seems to agree. In February residential property sales were up by 2.7%, a figure that cheered estate agents nationally. And while the market on the whole is meandering and flat as people wait and see, it’s by no means collapsing.

Some areas, in fact, are doing exceptionally well despite the shenanigans in Westminster, showing that local market forces have the potential to trump macro-economic events.

By way of example, Government data out this week showed that the abolition of the Severn Bridge tolls has had a hugely positive impact on prices in south east Wales.

Now that whizzing across the bridge is free, a lot of people who would traditionally have purchased in Bristol and surrounds are now looking across the estuary into Wales where your money goes a lot further.

Developments like this are encouraging as they show that, even as the political system implodes, nothing fundamentally will change whatever happens in the days and weeks ahead — that life goes on.

To return to the the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

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