Most manufacturers would have been pleased to see the Conservatives win the General Election with a majority but the result brings with it certainty and uncertainty in equal measure.
With little to choose between the two main political parties, employers in our sector are more interested in stability than politics and a returning government that does not have to do any deals to stay in power offers that in the short term.
We can point to a number of policies the previous administration brought in that helped the manufacturing sector. Relatively low corporate tax rates and a flexible labour market have enabled UK manufacturers to remain competitive while initiatives to help small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs) with advice and access to export opportunities were taking shape.
The new Business Secretary Sajid Javid has showed he intends to build on this work and recently announced details of a new Enterprise Bill that the government says contains measures to support entrepreneurs and job creation.
These include plans to cut red tape for business by at least £10 billion over the next five years and the creation of a Small Business Conciliation Service to help settle disputes between small and large businesses, especially over late payment practices.
This latter policy should help small manufacturing businesses. Small firms are owed over £32 billion in late payments but many are not aware of their rights or are reluctant to launch legal challenges.
However, there are also some areas of uncertainty now all the electioneering is over and only time will tell how things will unfold.
Some have expressed concerns that without the influence of the Lib Dems to temper the Conservative’s austerity drive this timer round there might be a reluctance to provide the investment required to boost the country’s industrial sector.
Then there’s the nagging issue of Britain’s membership of the EU and the referendum that Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to offer. Mr Cameron wants to renegotiate the terms of the Britain’s membership to the EU ahead of any vote and says he needs two year to do so before a referendum.
However Andy Burnham, a leading contender for the Labour party leadership, is among voices calling for any referendum to be brought forward to next year to avoid a prolonged period of uncertainty for businesses in the meantime.
And what would happen if Britons voted to leave the EU – the so-called ‘Brexit’ outcome? Already the CBI has urged businesses to be more vocal about the benefits of EU membership and argues that no credible alternative to EU membership has been set out.
With all this uncertainty around only one thing is for sure, the next few years promise to be very interesting for manufacturers.