The EU Referendum: The view from Denholms and C E Edwards Home > The EU Referendum: The view from Denholms and C E Edwards

The EU referendum on 23rd June saw the country split at every level. Neither the engineering sector nor SMEs across all industries were immune from the national debate. Indeed, analysis suggested they would be among those greatest affected, whichever way the vote went. However, the nature of that impact – positive or negative – remained up for discussion. And to a large extent it still does.

The decision

The country approached polling day on a swell of strong opinion, which in the immediate aftermath of the result turned into open hostility in many quarters. While the fallout, work at the Denholm Rees & O’Donnell headquarters in Aintree and C E Edwards’ Stoke site continued to the same high standards and exacting ethos the companies have always strived for.

Going forward for SME’s

To be able to offer the optimum service to customers, SMEs have to be acutely aware of everything. Things such as:

  • Suppliers
  • Costs
  • Market
  • Logistics

No one is more aware of these factors than the management team at Denholm Rees & O’Donnell and CE Edwards. We spent time before and after the EU vote weighing up its likely impact and preparing steps to mitigate any issues that might arise. We also considered analysis and forecasts. But like everyone else, we couldn’t know in advance what a vote to leave would mean in reality.

Workforce skills

Access to a skilled workforce is vital in the engineering and manufacturing sectors particularly in key areas where the pool of talent is unfortunately quite small.

This issue is one that both of our group companies are already addressing with our longstanding investment in a highly successful apprenticeship scheme. Possibly the greatest fear is of the unknown – that the lack of a quick and coherent plan for exiting the EU will prolong the time in ‘limbo’ when people may be unwilling to commit to British businesses until they see the country on a more concrete footing.

More than three months down the line and early panic has eased. The initial shock was felt in exchange rates and markets, but there have been no apocalyptic industry collapses overnight – or the opposite. On the contrary, most companies, customers and the general public are now accepting an extended period of negotiation ahead.


Denholm Rees & O’Donnell and CE Edwards are positive about the future and confident that we will ride out any unsettled times to come by focusing on our core values and working closely with clients to tailor high-quality solutions to their individual needs, budgets and timeframes.

“Our position is clear. Our customers make our business and are the most important factor. We will always strive to work in partnership no matter what.”
Chris Alcock – Operations Manager, CE Edwards

In the case of Britain leaving the EU, the big picture is still being drawn, but Denholms and CE Edwards are taking care of the details that are important to our clients, whatever their location, language or currency.

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