BREXIT: Are things any clearer for Holistic Therapists?Jason Firmager
A few days have passed and we are beginning to see the first indications of issues which will affect our industry and how they may play out as a result of BREXIT. Leaving aside the politics and financial markets, both of which seem to be on a gleefully self-destructive path, it seems to be as difficult now to get to the truth of the situation as it did before the vote. Mass uncertainty is never good for business and we still have many more questions than answers.
Let’s take health claims in food supplements as an example. The UK was one of the strongest opponents of more stringent EU legislation. Does BREXIT mean that UK regulations will now take responsibility for nutritional products and supplements? Are they likely to be more supportive of the market? How will those who develop new products in this sector get approval for them in the interim period until our departure? The UK Health Foods Manufacturers Association, which represents many of the large, multinational producers, has indicated that it doesn’t anticipate any immediate changes but that there will be an impact on future legislation. IF UK regulations differ from those across the EU, some product localisation may be required.
Similarly, what about those who make and sell their own skincare, aromatherapy or massage oils? Again, many of the ingredients used are approved by the EU, so it may be simplest for the UK to simply move these regulations and approvals wholesale into the UK domain, potentially under the remit of one of the health regulators such as the Medicines and Health Care Products regulatory Agency or the Department of Health. There are a number of countries such as Switzerland and Norway which already do this, though using different mechanisms. We’ve already seen that medical herbalism has taken a knockback at the hands of regulators and we will need, through our industry bodies, to gather objective supporting evidence to ensure that our holistic therapies and products continue to be accepted and gain more widespread approval.
How will BREXIT affect our clients and our own businesses? Much will depend on the market niche we serve. The prevailing suggestions seems to be that we will enter another recession, with knock on effects of job losses and raised levels of stress and ill health. Indeed, the National Office of Statistics reckons that one in six UK workers suffer from stress, anxiety or depression already, at a cost of £26 billion to the UK economy.
Many of us, particularly where we provide services, have a relatively local client base, so the impact of BREXIT will depend primarily on local factors. For example, the closure of a major foreign owned employer, or a UK firm which can no longer compete with EU businesses or export, would result in significant job losses, coupled with lower levels of disposable income and higher levels of uncertainty amongst those still in work. This would inevitably have an impact on holistic therapists, so it makes sense to diversify the client base where possible.
Over the coming weeks and months, it’s important to remain optimistic and to regard this as an opportunity. Much of what happens now will be out of our hands, so we must take what opportunities we can, where we can.
Whatever happens, there’s one thing you can be sure of. Holistic Therapist Magazine will be here for you, helping you meet those challenges and make the most of those opportunities – providing what you need to build the business you want and to live a life you love!
Alison, Jayson, Vicky and everyone at Holistic Therapist