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A happy and prosperous new year?

Author : Tim Fryer

04 January 2012

A couple of days into the new working year and for many the Christmas break, if you had one, will seem as distant as my garden fence after this weeks winter storm. My fence, for those who are concerned, has since been recovered and is piled up like a Guy Fawkes bonfire, which is appropriate as that is all that it is now good for.

So happy New Year to you all – but what will 2012 bring us? The early signs were not good. Reports from every quarter about the Eurozone slipping back into recession with the consequence of negative or limited growth in other economies, particularly the British one. David Cameron’s New Year’s day rousing speech had the slightly hollow feel of someone going through the motions of talking up the country. Anyone who is relying on a jubilee to get ‘Britain up to strength’ should maybe ask why a royal wedding failed to do so a year before.

However, like Mr Cameron, I am an optimist at heart – sometimes naively so. ‘All it would take..’ I sometimes opine, as if I was about to suggest something fairly straightforward, and in this case it is far from that. Because ‘all it would take’ would be some form of stability within the Eurozone. Greece and Italy (and Spain, Portugal and Ireland) are not going anywhere and neither are their debts. Nor are these countries going to fundamentally change the way that their cultures and economies are structured, so if the Eurozone feels that it needs to survive as a solitary trading unit (as it does) then it must support every constituent part of it. It may then decide for example that Italy is core to its future success and should therefore be supported, while it may be that other countries, Greece for example, are too culturally removed from the industrialised giants at the centre to make proper integration either desirable or feasible. So ‘all it would take’ is for Germany and France, and the ECB, to decide what they want to do and then do it. It is the uncertainty that we are all suffering from.

There are all sorts of pressures and opportunities specific to different sectors in the UK that are far removed from what is going on in Europe, but a stable economy and return of business confidence are what all of us need to move forward.

With a stable Eurozone the caution that is such an impediment to investment would ease. Facilities managers across the UK could be told that after four years of make do and mend it is time look to the future and start to create a working environment to meet future demands. Other drivers, particularly energy efficiency and sustainability, start to creep up the agenda as FMs are given a slightly freer rein to invest in new technology and equipment. New ways of working that enable a motivated, productive and flexible workforce, but require initial investment, become possible, with the FM at the helm.

It is not so far fetched – all it would take……

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