Plymouth firm sees £500k windfall after Brexit vote

Plymouth firm sees £500k windfall after Brexit vote

By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, Herald

    WINDFALL: CSL has received £500k of business post Brexit vote

A Plymouth firm has seen an instant windfall from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in the shape of £500,000 of foreign student spending.

With the pound sterling plunging following the Brexit vote on Friday, June 24, one city letting agent has been asked to find accommodation for 100 Far East students suddenly opting to study in the city.

With students paying up to four months rent in advance, it means Clever Student Lets will see an additional £500,000 of income.


Henry Hutchins (above), CSL chief executive, said SMEs like his should be open to the opportunities presented by the Brexit turmoil.

“Any business that can not take advantage of a market opportunity should not be in business,” he said.

Mr Hutchins said that just before the EU referendum CSL received bookings for 150 rooms for students from China, Hong Kong and the Middle East, bringing in about £750,000 to the firm.

But during the weekend following the result announcement, the North Hill-based agency (it’s office opening pictured above) – which recently triumphed in the student accommodation category at the national Lettings Agency of the Year Awards in London (below) – was approached to find accommodation for an additional 100 people.


“We have never seen anything like this in five years,” Mr Hutchins said. “We would normally take six to eight weeks to recruit that number of people, but this has come in over night.

“It’s all after the value of the pound fell.

“We are talking of about another £500,000 being spent with us.

“In practice it has put about four per cent on the company’s bottom line.

“My next expansion, in man power, was earmarked for 2018, if this continues I’m going to have to bring that forward.

“And we have to spend on new software. We were looking at 2018, but are now confident we will spend in 2017.”

Following the Brexit vote (Prime Minister David Cameron seen resigning below) sterling plunged to a 31-year low against the dollar.

That made exports cheaper, but UK imports more expensive.

Plymouth-based welding supply business Welding and Welder told The Herald there had been a spike in import prices of helmets, for instance.

But Mr Hutchins, who voted to leave the EU, said firms need to take advantage of the situation.

“Anyone marketing anything from cars to widgets should be on their bike selling,” he said.

Mr Hutchins said the currency and shares markets, thrown into confusion by the Brexit vote, will inevitably settle.

 “There’s bound to be instability, but how much are we inducing ourselves?” he asked.

He said it will take at least two years for the UK to exit the EU and predicts: “We will still end up in the single market”.

He said the type of deal the UK then makes with the EU will centre on how much cash the countrycontributes to the union, and the mobility of labour.

“The big sticking point is immigration,” he said. “Free movement is too much of a hot potato, but we will have an agreed amount of immigration.”

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