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And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain - news article image

And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain

17 Jul 2020

3 minute read

Well, it may be rather over-optimistic of me to quote Ol’ Blue Eyes however, as the office begins to fill up again, we open back up to see clients, and the traffic on the A34 and into Oxford starts to resemble a quiet weekday rather than a quiet Sunday, it does feel much more as if we are returning to normal.

Normal at the moment however is pretty difficult to define. One of our Partners has just returned from a holiday to Spain; I’ve just ordered a box of masks for shopping in. The furlough system started to be unwound at the beginning of July; a Job Retention Bonus scheme is due to start in October and run through to January. Village cricket has started again; I have no idea when I will be able to use my 2020/21 Northampton Saints season ticket and watch a live match.

The reality is that we continue to exist in a limbo state, where Government support may or may not be hiding the true impact of the virus on the UK economy – and that’s without considering Brexit. What helps, is to see that, regardless of one’s views on how well the Government has handled this crisis, there is an awareness that we will need to be eased out from the current situation and that help is important to ensure we ease out rather than crash out. So last week we had a mini-Budget delivered by the Chancellor, some highlights of and guidance on which can be found:

What I find more encouraging, and powerful, as a message, are the two stories that I have heard recently of the reaction of L’Oreal to the closure of hairdressers (other hair products are available of course). Having used the same hairdresser for over 20 years, through thick and thin as it were, I returned last week for my first cut to find him singing the praises of L’Oreal and the way they had supported him and his six salons financially through the lockdown. Speaking to a client today, she had a similar story but of their support for a hairdresser who had sunk his money into going it alone just before lockdown began and was saved from disaster by financial support from L’Oreal.

It makes me wonder, for every story of a Wetherspoons, or the closure of Boots stores, or the insolvency of Brooks Brothers, how many more L’Oreals are there behind the scenes, quietly doing simple things to help support the businesses on which they will depend for their own future : because they’re worth it?

We still believe that we may see further large falls in investment values as reality bites. We continue to wonder how the US stockmarket can seem so oblivious to the health and economic problems which the US is experiencing. We still believe it will be into 2021 before we begin to have an idea of the real impact of the virus and that knee jerk reactions to short term news or gambling on any particular outcome are very dangerous. However, we keep coming across little stories which suggest that there are people and companies out there that realise that the best way to work for their future is to help others secure theirs.

We’ve sent out quite a number of communications over the last few months since we moved to working from home and I hope that in their own small way they have helped our clients think their way through the changes we have had to make. This will be the last of those emails for the moment however, we will aim to share news and ideas a little more than we have done in the past whilst staying true to one of our core beliefs – we have no idea what will happen next week and we owe it to our clients not to deluge them with pseudo-scientific psychobabble pretending that we do.

And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain - news article image


Ed Gibson

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