11 February 2019

Katie Stanton

11 February 2019

Good morning,

We’re all spending too much time on our phones.  

You steal a few seconds for some Instagram inspiration or a quick look at the latest headlines and before you know it, two hours has passed and you’re still staring at a Twitter thread on how a baguette would move (seriously, watch it, it’s mesmerising).

And when it’s over, you’re left feeling a bit rubbish about yourself and the state of the world.

But joking aside, the tech that we use every day has the capacity to be incredibly destructive, and can leave you “increasingly unhappy and isolated” in the long run.  

Moreover, if I can’t trust myself to be disciplined and responsible on social media as an adult – and I’m sure I’m not the only one – how can we expect our young people to be?

Yesterday it was reported in The Sunday Times that lax age restrictions on dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr are “placing a generation of children at risk of grooming and sexual exploitation.”

According to police documents obtained under freedom of information requests, detectives have investigated more than 30 incidents of child rape since 2015 where victims evaded checks on dating apps. In one case, a 13-year-old boy on Grindr was raped and abused by at least 21 men.

This is just the latest scandal to hit tech companies. Last week Instagram was forced to ban graphic self-harm images  after the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell. And while you’d think that this move would be a no-brainer, it came only after days of pressure from campaigners.

So, while tech can be great if you’re a “responsible” adult, it lacks the mechanisms to protect. Now companies need to do more for their users’ wellbeing or risk further tragedy – not to mention irreparable reputational damage.

News 

Theresa May has vowed to engage with Jeremy Corbyn in talks over a soft Brexit, in a move that puts her at risk of losing the support of some members of her cabinet. In a letter to the Labour leader last night, the prime minister suggested that the parties hold further talks on the issue of a permanent customs union in an effort to win support of Labour MPs. (£)

The UK is to send aircraft-carrier Queen Elizabeth into disputed waters in the Pacific in a display of “hard power”. In a speech later today, defence secretary Gavin Williamson will announce the deployment of the vessel, which is set to confront aggression from China and will carry two squadrons of F-35 stealth fighters.

The Favourite dominated the Bafta film awards last night. The film picked up seven awards out of 12 nominations including best actress for Olivia Colman. Mexican film Roma won best film and Rami Malek was awarded best actor for his role as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Business & Economy

Sports Direct has cancelled a bid for collapsed café chain Patisserie Valerie, just two days after making an offer. Billionaire Mike Ashley announced the £15 million bid on Friday evening. Administrator KPMG said the retail mogul would need to up his offer by £2 million, and he subsequently backed out. Rivals were thought to include the likes of Costa, the coffee chain bought by Coca-Cola last year.  

According to a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the chancellor will have to find billions of pounds in next month’s spring statement if he is to save public services from crippling cuts. In order to follow through on the promise to end austerity, Philip Hammond would need to find an extra £5 billion by 2023-24 either by raising taxes, cutting other spending or borrowing more. (£)

Lloyds Banking Group plans to hire more than 700 financial advisors in a wealth management push. The move sets the stage for a “potential acquisition spree and war for talent against rivals such as St James’ Place and Rathbones”. (£) 

Markets

The week ahead

The FTSE 100 slipped slightly at the end of last week and turbulence is set to continue as prime minister Theresa May resumes negotiations on her Brexit withdrawal agreement. The first release of fourth-quarter UK GDP is out today but, after strong growth in the third-quarter, analysts are expecting a slowdown as a result of deep Brexit uncertainty.

The Royal Bank of Scotland will release full-year results on Friday – ahead of the other UK banks next week. Investors will be paying close attention to gauge how the industry is faring. Analysts are expecting RBS to post a second year of profits, as it inches closer to a full return to private ownership.

Donald Trump is set to have a busy week. He has until Friday to agree on a budget deal as Republicans and Democrats try to find common ground over immigration and a $5.2 billion proposal to extend a wall along the US-Mexico border or risk another partial shutdown of the federal government.

Meanwhile, US-China trade talks are set to take place this week as the end of the 90-day truce agreed by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping looms ever closer. Trump has threatened to increase tariffs on Chinese goods if they fail so the leaders have until 1st March to agree a solution. Sentiment from these meetings is likely to have a strong impact on global markets over the next few days.

Finals

Acacia Mining

Public Joint Stock Company Polyus (REG S)

Trading Announcements

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI)

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) Balance of Trade

(09:30) Index of Services

(09:30) Manufacturing Production

Int. Economic Announcements

(10:00) ZEW Survey (EU) – Economic Sentiment

(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Current Situation

(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Economic Sentiment

Columns of note 

Daniel R. DePetris explains the frosty relationship between Italy and France in The Spectator this week. On one side is the Italian government, fiercely nationalist and fearful of the snobby French regime. On the other side is the French government, centrist and decidedly anti-populist. This week, Italian deputy prime minister Di Maio ignited further fury in the French. He went to visit the rebel gilet jaunes movement: he considers them kindred spirits; the French administration consider them anarchists. The brawl rumbles on. (£)

Ever feel like you’re being watched? Roger McNamee writes in the Financial Times that the internet of things is upon us and devices made by Google and Amazon are now listening to every aspect of our lives. But consumers hold the power: we need to give them less of our attention and regulate to increase competition. (£)

Did you know?

Brussels airport is the largest chocolate-selling outlet in the world, shifting about 800 tonnes a year. 

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY  

House of Commons 

Oral questions

Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)

Legislation

Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [Lords] – 2nd reading

Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [Lords]: Ways and Means – Mel Stride 

Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [Lords]: Money – Mel Stride

Adjournment

Reform of election law – Craig Mackinlay

House of Lords

Oral questions

Human rights abuses committed against the Uighur Muslim community in China – Lord Ahmed

Preventing motor vehicles parking on pavements – Lord Lennie

How many refugee children have arrived in the UK from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme – Lord Dubs

Amending the Equality Act 2010 in relation to equal pay – Baroness Prosser

Draft Tax Credits and Guardian’s Allowance Up-rating Regulations 2019 -Lord Bates

Legislation

Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill [HL] - Consideration of commons amendments - Baroness Williams of Trafford

Orders and regulations 

Scottish Parliament

Parliamentary recess until 18 February 2019

TOMORROW

House of Commons 

Oral questions

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Child Cruelty (Sentences) – Tom Tugendhat

Legislation

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – remaining stags

Adjournment

Licensing of medical devices – Owen Smith

House of Lords 

Royal Assent

Oral questions

Achieving net zero carbon emissions in farming – Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

Devolution in Yorkshire – Lord Wallace of Saltaire

Implementing the 70 recommendations in the Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry – Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon

Acquired Brain Injury assessments for all prisoners on reception into prison - Lord Ramsbotham

Orders and regulations

Implementing the 70 recommendations in the Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry – Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon

Acquired Brain Injury assessments for all prisoners on reception into prison - Lord Ramsbotham

Orders and regulations