What does 2021 have in store for Lincolnshire’s businesses? With 2020 likely to be a year most business owners will wish to forget, experienced local businesswoman and founder of Coversure Grantham, Lincolnshire’s leading independent insurance brokers, looks to the future and finds the room for optimism.
2021: A Better Year for Business?
‘Look to the future now, its only just begun…’ While Slade’s 1973 hit may not be considered one of the great works of philosophy, this year it’s a sentiment than many business owners would be wise to adopt. The horrors of COVID-19, intermittent lockdowns, business closures and seeing valued colleagues losing their jobs hasn’t given us much to cheer about in 2020. And while 2021 will undoubtedly bring challenges, it seems unlikely that we are going to see anything as heart-breaking and economically debilitating as that we’ve experienced this year.
I can honestly say that in all my years of being in business – starting when Slade were all the rage – that I’ve never looked to a New Year with such a sense of relief or quiet optimism. The announcement of the approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was literally just what the doctor ordered, and with our offices open and business getting back to (the new) normal it’s time we all looked to the future.
So, what does 2021 hold for Lincolnshire’s businesses? Well by the looks of it,really rather a lot…
While we technically left the EU in January, next month is when we’ll begin to experience life outside the community. As a county Lincolnshire voted overwhelmingly in favour of Leave and the affects – for good or ill – are likely to be felt for decades to come. The mood music around the negotiating table remains sombre. At the time of writing negotiations have stalled as ‘significant’ disagreements remain overfishing and government support for industry. Traditionally EU deals are only struck at the last minute and in this case, it looks like they are taking that literally once more.
The implications for Lincolnshire’s farmers – so by extension for Lincolnshire – are huge. In 2017 the value of agricultural exports to the EU was over 40 billion Euros, a significant proportion of the total value of our exports to Europe. A recent NFU report states that if we get a deal and a free trade agreement then it could be worth as much as 10,000-30,000 Euros per farm. On the other hand, a trade liberalisation scenario could have a negative impact on farm incomes – especially for animal farms – of up to 50,000e. There’s a lot at stake.
Whether we reach a deal or not, farming in the UK is set for its biggest change since 1973 as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules will no longer apply and with them will go EU subsides. The impact of this is hard to overstate. Data from an Informa Agribusiness Intelligence report in 2018 estimated that on average 60% of farm income comes in the form of EU subsidies. The government has committed to maintaining subsidy levels until 2022 but following that radical changes are on the way. In November they announced new plans that will see subsides cut by about 50% by 2024 under the Environmental Land Management Scheme (Elms). This will aim to reward farmers not based on how much land they have or what they produce, but will link it to environmental stewardship and sustainability. This latter goal leads us on to our next point, electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicles In 2021
The UK has seen a surge in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) over the past 12 months. Between manufacturers bringing more to market, the Government applying more pressure on petrol and diesel vehicles, including bringing a ban forward to 2030, and consumers’ desire to opt for cleaner transport, so sales have risen by 127%. While the numbers are dominated by cars, electric commercial vehicle sales are surging too.
We have looked at electric commercial vehicles and electric vehicles for farms before on this blog. In the case of the former – especially for the likes of couriers, taxi drivers and tradesman – they are becoming common sights, and the revolution will only gather pace as the push for clean air and lower costs continues. The 2020 Budget provided fresh grants for EVs – including for taxis and vans – as part of a £532 million plan to electrify Britain’s roads.
In the case of heavier vehicles such as those used in agriculture and haulage, here too EVs are making in-roads. Following on from Daimler and Tesla, new players have entered the electric truck market. Paneltex, Magtec and DAF all have models on the market and, if you have the money, you can get a range of John Deere electric farm vehicles. There’s even talk of electrifying our motorways using train-style overhead gantries for electric trucks as they have on the Continent.
So, one way or another, 2021 looks like it will be greener year for Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire’s Property Market 2021
One of the side-effects of the pandemic has been a desire by people to leave the cities and head to the coast and the country. House prices in Lincolnshire have certainly responded to this rise in demand. According to Zoopla they rose by 6.25% in 2020, and with demand outstripping supply and rumours of an extension to the stamp duty holiday circulating, it could be another busy year for local property owners. Landlords can look forward to another good year too. Rents rose by over 5% in 2020 to £653 pcm and as more and more people look to settle here, so these numbers will likely increase
A Local Business Boom?
2020 has been a terribly difficult year for most small business owners, but 2021 should be brighter for local businesses. A survey by American Express has shown positive sentiment towards local business has risen by 69% since the start of the year. Convenience, personal service, supporting the local economy and a desire to help keep them open has helped people revaluate what’s on their doorstep. It’s something we’ve certainly noticed. Post-lockdown we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of people and businesses seeking insurance quotes, so let’s hope that this continues into 2021.
What Does 2021 Hold For Business In Lincolnshire?
While predicting what may happen over the course of a year may seem a fool’s errand, there are definite signs that 2021 will be a better year. The COVID crisis will end, or at least become manageable, and a Brexit trade deal will probably be agreed (and then wrangled over for the next five years!). The changes to the way we farm are long overdue and while there will be pain, it will leave the sector stronger and free to compete on global terms for the first time in decades. Add to that the Government’s promised house and infrastructure building spree and 2021, while not easy, could be a year of renewed opportunity.
Like Some Insurance Help?
If you’d like some help saving money on protecting what matters to you in 2021, then please get in touch. We can protect everything from your business to your property. To find our more contact us today on (01476) 565 590, email Coversure Grantham.