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Comment: Brexit and the pump industry

Exiting the European Community and dismantling our ties to EU Laws, via the Government's introduction of the Great Repeal Bill, will have far reaching implications. But what does this mean for the UK pump industry?

by Shaun Hampson, Chairman, Marketing committee, British Pump Manufacturers Association (BPMA)

Exiting the European Community and dismantling our ties to EU Laws, via the Government’s introduction of the Great Repeal Bill, will have far reaching implications. But what does this mean for the UK pump industry?

At the moment nobody really knows for sure what Brexit means for the UK, but it is our time to come together to capture the opportunities whilst managing the threats, through unified lobbying of Government. A vast amount of UK legislation contains references to EU Treaties, and the Government will be seeking to stabilize UK law and regulations as fast as possible. These regulations, laws and directives contain material which can directly tip the buoyancy of the UK pump industry. Basic practises like CE marking and declaration of conformity, for example, will need to be reviewed for inclusion into UK legislation. Other legal directives which we all take for granted may also be reviewed with respect to import & export compliance, movement of employed staff, transfer of machinery, cash pooling, trade-barrier taxation, along with hundreds more. How many of us have non-UK EU citizens working in critical roles within our businesses – will they decide to go home, and why? What about the paperwork needed to import a simple gasket from France? Let’s not even discuss the implications with exotic alloys and PTFE which have dual use!

On the flip-side, there are ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities which could outstrip the threats, with examples being a wider global market, boosted domestic manufacturing & production, elevated skills & talent pools, plus the good old British motivation. Much of these will be the product of apprenticeship schemes and easy access to technically-driven education.

Hedging the threats and capturing the opportunities however, is heavily dependent upon the eventual deal agreed between our Government’s single seated negotiator and a twenty-seven strong seated opposition. At what point will the pumping industry be discussed - before or after the automotive, banking, and military sectors? Will it ever get any specific consideration?

Now is the time to find the common thread amongst the UK pump industry and its front-line supply chain. It is vital that we fight to preserve beneficial laws, eradicate other bureaucratic nonsense, and forge strong apprenticeship schemes. Right now – at the very early stages - BPMA is working for the good of the UK pump industry through member engagement. The aim of the BPMA is to construct an agenda of “go” and “no-go” aspects of forthcoming legislation, while demanding the re-balancing of skills, and ultimately voicing our unified position loudly with all appropriate governmental bodies.

Not many pump companies will escape some form of change to their business model after Brexit has finally matured. If you have unanswered questions about future legislation, and would like to be included within the BPMA escalation discussions, you are encouraged to engage with the BPMA in the not-too-distant future.
Recently, the BPMA has been collecting thoughts and prescriptions from its membership through a simple questionnaire; non-members who understand that this subject will affect their company and/or distributor network are welcome to contact Steve Schofield (Director of the BPMA) at s.schofield@bpma.org.uk. By doing this, we can all work together to guard against threats and identify opportunities for the collective good of the pump sector.

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