15 May 2017

@lyle_h_hill

15 May 2017

Good morning, 

Theresa May is set to outline a swathe of new workers’ rights in a bid to swing more Labour voters to the Conservatives. In a speech today, May is expected to outline plans to offer employees up to a year off work to care for family members suffering from illness or disability.

May will also announce that the Conservatives will introduce statutory child bereavement leave and allow employees to request time off for training. The prime minister will argue that this is the “greatest extension of rights and protections for employees by any Conservative government”.

This move highlights Theresa May's longstanding position that the Conservatives are the party of workers’ rights, but marks a sharp change in direction from the previous Conservative government led by David Cameron. Business leaders have warned that extra regulatory burdens would hinder growth at a time of increased uncertainty due to Brexit. Labour said May was “taking working people for fools”.

Simultaneously, in what could be viewed as a contradiction to the Tories’ rhetoric on expanded workers’ rights, the party has also announced that the national living wage will rise in line with median earnings, a U-turn from George Osborne's promise to raise wages to £9 by 2020.

Meanwhile, Labour has promised to raise the national living wage to £10 an hour by 2020. Jeremy Corbyn is also set to announce today that a Labour government would spend an additional £37 billion on the NHS in England over the next five years, in order to make it "fit for the modern day".

 NEWS

British intelligence officials have warned that businesses and organisations must prepare for potential new cyber attacks on a "significant scale". The news comes days after the widespread WannaCry attack that crippled NHS computer systems. Europol estimates that the attack infected 200,000 computers across 150 countries. The true extent of the attack may only become clear today, as many businesses return to work after the weekend.

Angela Merkel's CDU has unseated rival left-of-centre party the SPD in the North Rhine-Westphalia state elections. Merkel's party won almost 35% of the vote, compared to the SPD's 30.5%. This marks an important victory for Merkel in Germany's most populous state, viewed as an SPD stronghold.

Jeremy Corbyn has installed a senior aide of Len McCluskey to oversee the final stages of Labour's General Election campaign. Andrew Murray, McCluskey's chief of staff at the Unite trade union, left the Communist Party in December last year to join Labour and is the ex-chair of the Stop the War Coalition.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Wages are set to be squeezed over the coming year as employers are planning to give their employees the lowest pay rises in three years, a CIPD study has found. A survey of 1,060 employers found median basic pay was set to rise by one per cent. These figures imply real wage growth is set to fall as inflation increases.

Toshiba, the embattled Japanese electronics manufacturer, has missed the deadline to file its accounts with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, claiming auditors were still looking over the accounts. The business is expected to report a loss of £6.5 billion and admitted in April that its future is in doubt.

A study by PwC has found that British CEOs spend, on average, 4.8 years in their post. This figure is down dramatically from the average of 8.3 years in 2010 and below the five year global average. PwC commented that this proved stakeholders are demanding ever faster results, but must consider the long term strategies of the business too.

MARKETS

Finals
Altitude Group, Nex Group, Rhythmone

Interims
Diploma, Lonmin, Victrex plc 

AGMs 
Fevertree Drinks, Maintel Holdings, Midwich Group, React Group

Q1 Results
Sampo OYJ, Coca-Cola HBC AG

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Rana Foroohar, writing in The Financial Times, argues that Silicon Valley has too much power and that we have reached a tipping point where the interests of the large tech firms and the consumers they serve no longer align. She argues they must allow users to control their own experience rather than being influenced subliminally.

Matthew d'Ancona, writing in The Guardian, believes that Theresa May will win the General Election because of the trust voters have in her, rather than her personality or political positioning. He argues that whilst senior Labour figures continuously repeat that voters love their policies, it is irrelevant if they do not trust the leader to carry them out.

Did you know?

The Amazon rainforest produces half the world's oxygen supply, is more than half of the planet's remaining rainforest, and is home to over half of the planet's species and animals.

TODAY

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled.

TOMORROW

Scottish Parliament 

Ministerial Statement: Improving Literacy in Scottish Education

Stage 1 Debate: Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill