To say that Britain is at a crossroads is tantamount to exclaiming upon the approach of an upcoming roundabout in Milton Keynes. What can those in our glorious profession expect during the tenure of the next two or three prime ministers, and how can we best deal with it?
We in the NTI newsroom are not entirely sure that Chancellor Hunt is even aware he will have a different boss in seven says, as he sits in his darkened room, scratching his head, trying to make £62 billion go into 65 knackered million, but he will need to pull more than a rabbit out of his top drawer to feed to the hungry wolves who are sniffing under his door.
Th truth is, the potential solution is pretty straightforward; the latest Tory team just need to locate a half decent plan to deal with soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation and interest rates. Yesterday (Thursday 21 October) the British Chamber of Commerce told us that UK companies were deferring decisions over investment because of the political uncertainty. Truss's resignation is like trapping a single mosquito under a glass by the side of an African lake at dusk. Much more action is needed and we are not sure there is enough deet in the world.
If our next leader is in need of soundbite wisdom they could do worse than listening to Martin McTague of the Federation of Small Businesses who said this morning: “People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The new administration must grasp that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin.”
One of the numbers our new, better prime minister will need to be aware of is that associated with public sector net borrowing, which was £20 billion in September, £2.2 billion more than in the same month last year, and the second highest September borrowing figure since monthly records began in 1993, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics. Interest payments on Government debt rose to £7.7 billion in September, £2.5 billion more than in the same month last year. This is almost exactly the same number that would be raised by adding an extra 1 per cent to income tax ... but we would need this 12 times (as there are 12 months in a year).
Government receipts were £71.2 billion in September 2022, whilst spending was £79.3 billion (up £5.8 billion on last year). Oh. We're starting to understand the extent of the job being applied for by three, maybe four people.
Our next leader should also note that consumer confidence in the UK is at a 50-year low, but this is mainly due to the fact that 87 per cent of us caught the end of the BBC News at Six on Thursday evening. The sub-index for spending intentions for big items, such as properties or cars, fell three percentage points to its lowest level since the early months of the pan ... blah, blah, blah.
How will all of the above (and much, much more) affect those in the insolvency and restructuring profession? Fingertips will be torn from cliff faces and lending will all but disappear in the short- to medium-term. Decent, pragmatic advice will be at a premium and queues will start to form around the block. The only way is down ... or is it up?