I had the honour of becoming Senior Partner at George Hay in April 2020 at the start of the Covid lockdown.

In my 2020 Christmas Highlight in the middle of Covid, I referred to the “unprecedented year” that we had all experienced. I could not have expected that just two years later, I would be using the word again.

We have had another “unprecedented” year or perhaps astonishing may be a more apt description. 

A year with 2 monarchs, 3 prime ministers and 4 chancellors. On top of that, we have the appalling Russian invasion of Ukraine which has undermined the thirty year peace dividend following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Everything seems to be either the fault of Brexit, Covid or Putin, with a distinct lack of personal responsibilities being accepted.

Many of our clients have had a successful year with record profits across a range of industries. All, however, face the challenge of higher energy costs and the lack of suitable staff to employ.

Decisions are being made with consideration given to the uncertainties inflicted by various different factors; how deep will the recession be; what is to be done about the higher tax bills imposed by the Government; and many other concerns. 

On a daily basis, we are observing these challenges and we are having to respond to our clients in ways probably not seen before. I am very proud of the George Hay team who have proven to be so adaptable in these difficult times.

The end of any year is a time to both reflect and to look forward. For me, the most defining moment of 2022 was the death of our much loved Queen Elizabeth II. 

Her legacy has been well documented, but I feel her death was as powerful a moment as the impact she made in life. 

For the days between her dying and her funeral, we had national unity for the first time in my memory. I had grown up in the East End of London and was always being told about the wartime spirit. I had often thought we could never replicate that today, but for those precious few days it felt as if the country were at one, and it felt better for being a part of it.

With that thought, I can only wish you an enjoyable Christmas and a successful 2023 as is possible. 

Thank you for all your support. Long may it continue.

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