15 November

@AdamDShaw

15 November

Good morning,

It is well established that the UK has a housing problem. The failure to build enough properties in many areas means that astronomical price rises, particularly in London, are fast outstripping wages – leaving the dream of buying a home out of reach of many, with young people particularly hard hit.

Earlier this week, an article in the Financial Times highlighted that the number of homeowners under the age of 45 in England has dropped by 904,000 since the Conservatives returned to government in 2010 – quite a statistic for the party that’s supposed to stand for homeownership and aspiration.

Fortunately for “generation rent”, estate agent Strutt & Parker was on hand with advice yesterday, suggesting that millennial couples in London could save enough for a deposit within five years by sacrificing certain “luxuries”. Giving up one night out a week could yield £6,000 a year; cutting out takeaways would add £2,640 annually to the savings pot; taking packed lunches to work instead of buying sandwiches would save £2576; and not playing the lottery would result in an extra £832.

According to the research, this could lead to £64,000 in savings over five years that, combined with £29,400 from the Bank of Mum and Dad, would be enough for the average London deposit.

Amazingly, Strutt & Parker seems to believe that young London couples trying to pull together a deposit are spending £115.38 on multiple nights out per week, £50 a week on takeaways and, perhaps most incredibly, £16 a week on lottery tickets. And that’s before we get to the suggestion that parents should have to stump up £29,400 to help their offspring onto the property ladder.

Needless to say that Strutt & Parker has been the subject of much derision in the mainstream press and on social media since yesterday afternoon.

Philip Hammond needs to produce ideas that go some way to addressing the housing issue in next week’s budget. Otherwise it may be Jeremy Corbyn moving up the property ladder before too long.

NEWS

The Zimbabwean army has seized control of the national broadcaster, ZBC, and gunfire has been heard near the presidential compound in Harare. Speaking on national television, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said that this was “not a military takeover of government” and guaranteed the safety of President Robert Mugabe and his family, saying “we are only targeting criminals around him [Mugabe]”. Military chiefs had warned that they may step in amid a political crisis sparked by the firing of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this month, allegedly to pave the way for Mugabe’s wife Grace to succed her husband.

Australians have voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 12.7 million people – just under 80% of eligible voters – participated in the vote, with 61.6% backed equal marriage. Although the vote was voluntary, unlike Australia’s elections, and non-binding, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his government will attempt to pass legislation before Christmas. However, he faces a challenge from traditionalists within his party regarding exemptions they wish to see included in the bill.

Russian Twitter accounts posted almost 45,000 messages about Brexit in 48 hours during the EU referendum in what appears to be a coordinated effort. According to data scientists at Swansea University and the University of California, Berkeley, 150,000 accounts in Russia which had previously focused on subjects like the Ukraine conflict, turned their attention to Brexit in the days running up to 23rd June 2016. This follows Theresa May’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet where she accused Russia of undermining western democracy.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Rivals to wholesaler Booker have condemned the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to provisionally approve the £3.7 billion merger with Tesco. The CMA said yesterday that the merger would not lead to higher prices or weaker service, however, wholesale and cash and carry groups have warned that the deal would “destroy competition” and put thousands of jobs at risk.
 
Brexit Secretary David Davis sought to reassure the City of London in a speech yesterday. Addressing delegates at the UBS European conference Davis said the government would seek a quick deal on a transition period by next January and to secure a “durable” long term agreement for financial services. He also announced plans to introduce a special travel regime for those working in professional services so as “to ensure that our new partnership with the EU protects the mobility of workers and professionals across the continent”.
 
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has written to Chancellor Phillip Hammond calling for transparency over a £2 billion government loan guarantee offered in an attempt to secure the listing of Saudi Aramco in London. With a valuation of between $800 billion and $2 trillion, the flotation of the Saudi state oil company would represent the biggest stock market listing in history and London is currently vying with New York to win the international segment of the share sale.
 
Stamp duty is preventing 45,000 house purchases annually – a number which has doubled in the last five years, according to a study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). This follows reports that Philip Hammond is considering cutting stamp duty in a bid to help first time buyers in week’s budget.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?
European shares were stuck at seven-week lows yesterday as a buoyant tech sector was offset by falls among commodities related sectors and telecoms firm Altice.

The FTSE 100 closed the day down marginally at 7,414.42, a drop of 0.01%.

Shares in Tesco climbed 6.24% after the CMA provisionally approved its merger with Booker. Booker rose 6.75%. 

On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.10% against the dollar at $1.3176 and gained 0.01% against the euro at €1.1156.

Finals
AB Dynamics, Avon Rubber, Fenner, Game Digital, Zambeef Products

 

Interims
Experian, Great Portland Estates, Helical, Premier Foods, Talk Talk Telecom Group

Trading Announcements
Barratt Developments, Crest Nicholson Holdings, Blue Prism Group

 

AGMs
Barratt Developments, Celtic, Hays, Henderson EuroTrust, Jupiter UK Growth Investment Trust, Pacific Horizon Investment Trust

EGMs
Ethernity Networks Ltd, Toro Limited
 
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Claimant Count Rate
 
International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
(10:00) GDP (Preliminary) (EU)
(13:30) Consumer Price Index (US)
(13:30) Retail Sales (US)
(14:00) Business Inventories (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US) 

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

In The Times, Daniel Finkelstein cites the concerns of real voters, overestimating Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit as the reasons he believes that, despite the splits within the Conservative Party, Labour is not pulling ahead in the polls.

Writing in The Telegraph, Con Coughlin says Russian interference in recent elections is the modern day equivalent of the USSR recruiting communist sympathisers who sought to destroy the political status quo 50 years ago. He calls on politicians to be less naïve about Russian propaganda and the potential damage it can do to our democracy.

DID YOU KNOW?

Samuel L. Jackson requested that his Star Wars character, Mace Windu, carry a purple lightsaber so that he could easily spot himself in the battle scenes at the end of “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones”.

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY
 
House of Commons
 
Oral questions: Northern Ireland
 
Prime Minister's Question Time
 
Legislation: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee stage (day 2) - Committee of the whole House - Mr David Davis
 
House of Lords
 
Oral Questions: Opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution, particularly in terms of digital skills, AI, machine learning and distributed ledger technology - Lord Holmes of Richmond
 
Legislation: Data Protection Bill [HL] - Committee stage (day 4) - Committee of the Whole House - Lord Ashton of Hyde
 
Scottish Parliament
 
Portfolio Questions: Culture, Tourism and External Affairs; Justice and the Law Officers
 
Ministerial Statement: Update on Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety
 
Equalities and Human Rights Committee and Education and Skills Committee Debate: Prejudice-based Bullying and Harassment of Children and Young People in Schools and Review of Personal and Social Education
 
TOMORROW
 
House of Commons
 
Oral Questions
 
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
Attorney General
 
Business Statement: Business Questions to the Leader of the House - Andrea Leadsom
 
Backbench Business: Debate on a motion on the roll-out of universal credit - Frank Field
 
House of Lords
 
Introductions
 
Lord Geidt
Lord Hogan-Howe
 
Oral questionsAn adequacy decision for data transfers between the UK and the EU after Brexit - Baroness Ludford
 
Debate
 
Impact of Universal Credit on claimants - Baroness Hollis of Heigham
Human rights of older persons, and their comprehensive care - Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
 
Scottish Parliament
 
General Questions
 
First Minister’s Questions
 
Preliminary Stage Debate: Pow of Inchaffray Drainage Commission (Scotland) Bill
 
Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government Support for Veterans and the Armed Forces Community in Scotland