The dust is settling following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, but care home operators are as split on the benefits and challenges facing the industry as they were before the vote.
Aidan Roche, managing director of Signature Senior Lifestyle told Care Home Professional on the day the Brexit decision was revealed that he is nervous. The vote to leave is “not good news,” he added.
“It will cause a lot of uncertainty for a considerable period of time (at least 2 years until UK officially leaves EU). I suspect that the overall slowdown will lead to a recession as most growth plans will be hibernated until there is some clear visibility around what the future looks like,” Mr Roche suggested.
Signature operates in the affluent commuter belt around London. Many of the operator’s residents are able to afford their fees thanks to record house prices that have generated massive amounts of equity in their homes.
The vote to leave the EU has the potential to affect those customers. “Residential property values are predicted to fall by 2%-5% into 2017 and 2018,” said Mr Roche.
He also fears that freedom of movement for EU workers will be curtailed, making it harder to hire the right people. “Recruitment will become far more challenging in a sector where this is already an issue,” predicted Mr Roche.
Keith Trowbridge, who runs Ashgrove House in Swindon, is one of the vast number of family business owners up and down the country battling to provide the best possible care in a tough economic and regulatory environment. It is a battle he is winning, with Ashgrove House earning an Outstanding overall rating from the CQC this year, and he is confident his home will continue to thrive. “I’m pleased about the result and I think it will good for us to be more independent with less meddling from Brussels. It doesn’t affect my business except in a positive way i.e. less red tape. I don’t employ any European nationals,” he told CHP.
Mr Trowbridge would have preferred it if the prime minister had not resigned. “I think it would be better if David Cameron didn’t resign as we would benefit from his leadership at this important time. There are some tough decisions to be made and we would really benefit from his experience and leadership,” he said.
Bunty Malhotra, chief executive of Prestwick Care in Newcastle said Britain will be better off outside the EU: “To be told that this country would be crippled if we do not join this failed superstate dream is upsetting. This country has the fundamentals and resilience to take its own decisions and thrive based on our glorious history. For me it is matter of having faith in our country and the exceptional talent it possesses.”
Al-Karim Kachra, corporate finance director for Country Court Care based in Peterborough, wanted to remain. “In the short-term we aren’t anticipating any changes, however we are concerned about the mindset of our EU employees should we exit; in other words will they plan to leave in the next 12-18 months following? Maintaining a low staff turnover is often difficult in our sector and this could make it worse,” he said.