Katherine Morgan is the deputy managing partner at Interel Consulting and is Bacta’s public affairs and political adviser. She recently worked with Bacta to successfully campaign for the FOBT £2 stake. She has worked in political consultancy for ten years and was formerly the senior adviser to a Government Minister in the Treasury. In a Coinslot exclusive, she shines some light on the complexities of UK politics and what it means for our industry.
You won’t need me to tell you that the current political land-scape is dominated by Brexit! No doubt you’re fed-up with reading about it by now but here’s an update on where we are and what the implications for the amusement sector could be.
With less than six months to go until we are due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, we effectively face three possible scenarios.
The first is that the UK fails to secure a deal with the EU and we crash out with no alternative in place. Just a few weeks ago, the Prime Minster attended a, by all accounts, disastrous summit of EU leaders in Salzburg. Brexit seemed in total gridlock and journalists were enjoying predicting our doomsday.
But in hindsight, much of this was posturing. The EU in particular needs to be seen to be making life tough for the UK so others don’t look to follow suit and an orderly Brexit is in everyone’s interests.
Over recent weeks the two sides have been much more conciliatory. We are now much closer to achieving ‘a deal’ and there are two big meetings coming up in October and November between the UK and the EU to achieve this.
The second scenario then is that the Prime Minister secures a Brexit deal with the EU, it passes a vote in Parliament and we leave the EU on agreed terms in March next year.
But the biggest challenge for the Prime Minister is ensuring that Parliamentarians support her deal through a ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament.
This is going to be tough call. The Labour party has now effectively said it will not support any Brexit deal. This means the Prime Minister will need almost all her own MPs, those of the DUP or a few errant Labour MPs, to get the deal through. With the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson openly defying her, this isn’t going to be easy. Will these MPs really reject a Brexit deal and risk everything, a second referendum or even staying in the EU? Well, they just might.
So the third scenario is that things could get messy. A rejection of the deal could lead to a leadership challenge for Theresa May, a General Election or we could end up with a second referendum: a ‘people’s vote’ on a deal.
What does all this mean for the amusement sector? If no deal is looking likely because we can’t agree one with the EU or in Parliament, businesses can con- sider making sure that they have all the supplies they need in case there a few bumps around 29 March next year. But lots of businesses will be in the same boat and there should be plenty of advice and reassurance from the Government ahead of that.
Indeed, while there will inevitably be some economic uncertainty with people potentially feeling they should spend less on fun and visits to the arcade just in case, it is unlikely to be cataclysmic for the sector whatever the out- come. Business, like life, will go on. Indeed, looking on the bright side, if the euro soars against the pound we could even see more people choosing Aberystwyth and Margate over Andalucía and Marbella for their summer staycation next year.