After a four day hearing, Britain’s Supreme Court will decide whether Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger the UK’s exit from the European Union by the end of March without parliament’s assent.
May also caved in to pressure to publish a plan for Brexit, but uncertainty still reigns on what Brexit will mean for the country.
PSNEurope has been canvassing views from around UK’s pro audio world since the Brexit vote. Some saw an immediate effect since the decision to leave the EU, while others are less concerned and are waiting to see the outcome of negotiations.
Melvyn Coote, founder of tube UK, a system design and sound equipment hire company in Manchester, said he had seen impacts from day one of the decision because his business works in Europe a lot.
“We immediately saw issues with pricing and increases with pricing, so I think there is probably more of that to come unfortunately,” he said. “I think freedom of business has become excellent from a small business point of view, with the removal of needing carnets for shipping, so the additional administration to potentially having to look at doing those sorts of things again, it’s pretty bad thing.”
Coote believes that Brexit has affected the stability of the economy, which at times has had a knock on effect globally.
“We are the sound design company for the next European capital of culture in Cyprus in 2017. It looks like it will be going ahead with us, but in future years will that be an issue for a UK company being a provider of a European cultural event?” he said. “The arts is another thing that does potentially get affected by the economy.”
John Merriman, who has been operating Crown Lane Studio in south London for almost 10 years, was also worried about the impact on the arts sector.
“I’ve already had one project cancelled because the pound was so bad against the dollar, they decided to do the thing in Nashville, so we have immediately lost work as a result of Brexit,” he said. “But I don’t want to fear monger, I try to make the best of any decision – yes I didn’t vote to leave, but I’m not certain the EU was fit for purpose anyway – it was almost 50/50 the decision – so I’ll leave it open to see where it goes.”
Steve Troughton recently opened The Anexe Studio in Exeter, UK, and said he and his wife Lindsey also thought staying together would’ve been better.
“But the UK spoke and leaving is what we have to deal with. We are all waiting to see what deals our government can make, with Europe and the rest of the world,” he commented. ”With this waiting period does come a time of uncertainty, but as a whole, our business has not been affected by the vote. And personally, we don’t think it will massively affect the music industry as a whole.”
Chris Taylor, studio manager at Parr St Studios in Liverpool, thought the decision actually made the UK “cheaper than our American friends”.
“I don’t think it’s going to reduce the amount of work, but it will increase the budgets of labels. We make art and as long as we don’t end up in a massive recession then I won’t be worried,” he added.
In October, IABM also unveiled the results of a survey on the potential effects of Brexit on broadcast and media technology suppliers and end-users from the UK and Europe.
Key results included that 46 per cent of respondents felt their businesses would be slightly affected as a result of trade restrictions, with a further 30 per cent expecting to be highly affected.
Most companies also foresaw reducing investment on four key areas – R&D, recruitment, training and sales and marketing – with recruitment being the most vulnerable. However, 80 per cent of users did not plan to reduce their investment in the UK.
After the vote, 57 per cent of organisations had not experienced any decrease in orders as a result – with only 17 per cent reporting negative effects. But 57 per cent said that restrictions on EU immigration would exacerbate skills shortages and make talent hunting more difficult.
The Supreme Court judges made it clear they would not overturn the result of the EU referendum, but the case would focus on the process by which the result can be lawfully be put into effect. President Lord Neuberger promised a decision as soon as possible.