Features

This election is all about Brexit – but then what?

All anyone will be voting on in the upcoming election will be Brexit. But what happens after that? What happens, for example, if Jeremy Corbyn wins?

Boris Johnson Visits A Buckinghamshire School and Hospital

Restoring normal government service? Child's play!

The next election is going to be all about Brexit. All the parties are going to pretend the vote is about all sorts of other things (austerity, the NHS, housing, education, a vague sense of what does or doesn't count as competence and so on). But it won't be true. Voters will be choosing between no Brexit with the Lib Dems; negotiated deal (or no deal) with the Tories; and something soft and confusing with Labour (a new softer deal, a referendum, or maybe remain). It's going to be all about Brexit. The problem is that after the vote it won't just be about Brexit any more.

Right now the general assumption is that Boris Johnson will win a majority, his deal will therefore become reality and some kind of normal government service will resume. We might even get a budget (I've never known a year without one before); some clarity on the fiscal future of the UK; and if we are very lucky indeed, some attempts to sort out problems such as our overcomplicated tax system (we talk in the magazine this week about why stamp duty really has to go).

If that happens the markets will be thrilled sterling should soar (see Dylan Grice's views in this week's magazine) and domestically exposed equities should do the same (see also David Stevenson's thoughts on the excellent investment trusts the hopeful might buy in anticipation of this result). However, this is not a given. Anyone in doubt need only ask poor Theresa May.

What if Corbyn wins?

price/earnings (p/e) ratios

So will the market as a whole given that it is Corbyn's intention to transfer 10% of all largish UK companies to the state (in what the Financial Times calls "one of the biggest state raids on the private sector to take place in a Western democracy" ever). Property prices would also be likely to follow equity prices in anticipation of Corbyn's right-to-buy plan for tenants of private landlords.

It's possible that these policies might turn out to be good ones. But maybe hold more cash than usual. Don't suddenly get into the buy-to-let market. Remortgage if you can (there's a reason searches for fixed-rate mortgages are up 32% on Experian's reckoning). Move money out of the UK to hedge against exchange controls and be prepared to move more in the short window between Labour being elected and making real changes. Think about transferring assets to other family members to hedge against wealth taxes or the abolition of the inheritance-tax reliefs. "There will be plenty of people on the phone to their lawyers in the early hours of 13 December if Labour wins," says Geoffrey Todd of law firm Bootle Hatfields. "Movements of capital are already prepared and they are just awaiting final approval."

The most likely result of the election is a Tory win. But given that at the ballot box most people will be thinking about Brexit, and Brexit alone, it's best to be ready if something different happens. And be sure to pop along to the MoneyWeek Wealth Summit on 22 November for more tips. Buy your ticket here if you've not already done so.

Recommended

Green finance is set to be the most powerful financial repression tool yet
Bonds

Green finance is set to be the most powerful financial repression tool yet

The government has launched its “green savings bond” that offers investors just 0.65%. But that pitiful return is in many ways the point of “green” fi…
22 Oct 2021
Andrew Hunt: why it's a great time to be a deep value investor
Value investing

Andrew Hunt: why it's a great time to be a deep value investor

Merryn talks to Andrew Hunt, author of Better Value Investing, about his adventures in the market's dark underbelly, looking for the hated and neglec…
22 Oct 2021
Equities are not a good inflation hedge
Economy

Equities are not a good inflation hedge

Institutional investors are definitely now worried about inflation. But they're not yet worried enough to flee to cash, says John Stepek
22 Oct 2021
Why fed-up workers are quitting their jobs
Economy

Why fed-up workers are quitting their jobs

Workers are leaving their jobs at an astonishing rate, especially in the US, leading to a shortage of workers. What will that mean for our economies? …
22 Oct 2021

Most Popular

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021
How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy
Energy

How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy

The UK’s electricity supply needs to be more robust for days when the wind doesn’t blow. We need nuclear power, says Dominic Frisby. And the future of…
6 Oct 2021
The after effects of the gas-price shock
Economy

The after effects of the gas-price shock

In the wake of the recent spike in the natural gas price, we can expect slower growth, an industrial recession – and a newly assertive Russia, says Ma…
17 Oct 2021