Belfast Telegraph

EU chaos a licence to kill, says Bond stage-setting firm

By John Mulgrew

The boss of a Northern Ireland flooring firm - which helped furnish one of the main sets on James Bond blockbuster Spectre - has said uncertainty over the EU referendum is "killing" his business.

The Wooden Floor company managing director Richard Snape is strongly against a Brexit, and says a fall in the price of sterling means he's paying far more for raw materials.

His business has just expanded, opening its sixth branch in Falkirk, Scotland, creating five new jobs.

And it trades with the Republic and across the EU - increasing his concerns about how his business will be hit if the UK decides to leave.

"It's making it really hard for us," he said.

"It's killing us from all sorts of directions. With the dollar, we are buying in from the US. That includes timber and raw materials.

"That's increasing in price. It is passed on to the consumer. People have to be aware of that. This is going to affect the man on the street, too.

"The sooner the vote, the sooner we get stability. I think we are unique, as a local business we are supplying people in the south of Ireland.

"There will be more paperwork. I can't see how it's going to be easier to deal with Europe if we are out."

He said the short-term fear is over a lack of stability.

"The uncertainty that we are seeing is having a direct impact. "Longer term, the worry is, while the UK is a strong economy, how strong is it compared to Europe? It becomes a minnow.

"I think Northern Ireland is different to the rest of the UK. We have a land border.

"Part of an island will be split, and it's going to be a really difficult situation for us to be in.

"It will further remove and polarise us."

His business landed a £30,000 deal to line the floors of the famous Pinewood Studios for the latest 007 movie Spectre.

The floor features as part of a large Austrian hotel set.

It's understood director Sam Mendes picked the grey laminate wooden panels himself.

And Mr Snape says he's still in talks with the studio about getting involved in other projects.

"We've done well and we have had quite a few higher profile jobs off the back of that," he said.

"We are in communication with them about other projects.

"We are still trying to see what we can get from it."

Speaking about his new Scotland store, he said he was expanding to allow greater supply across the UK as a whole.

"We are trying to link up, and are supplying a lot into England, so Scotland is a good base.

"But it's still a Northern Ireland company."

Belfast Telegraph

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