2020 Business Predictions: Mike Ward, Managing Director at Wavin

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

While none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years. Here, Business Link catches up with Mike Ward, Managing Director at Wavin.

Whatever your thoughts on Brexit, we’ve now hopefully entered a period of certainty for businesses across the country.

It’s completely natural that many businesses and consumers have delayed investment and deferred decisions for three years, so we’re expecting that to come to an end now. My prediction is that there will be a significant step up in activity for the construction and new property building sectors.

Why do I think this? Governments are good at making ‘big’ infrastructure happen. Maybe not on time, or on budget, but eventually projects do complete – so, expect more roads, rail and bridges.

The bigger challenge is new house building. Here the government must rely on the private sector to deliver, and this is could be a problem. The uncertainty of Brexit in the second half of 2019 contributed to a decline in customer footfall to new build sites and as a result, a drop in the number of new build projects started.

That means the housebuilding sector has entered 2020 with not a lot of homes currently being built. Therefore, I expect lots of talk in the press about house prices rising and the failure of national housebuilders to meet demand in 2020.

The government will feel it needs to react, so I also expect more announcements about social housing being funded along with new regulations for large housebuilders.

From a manufacturing and supply chain point of view, this presents some real opportunities for us to come together as an industry to help deliver the homes which are so greatly needed across the UK.