17 April 2018


17 April 2018

Good morning,

The storm surrounding the treatment of the Windrush generation has quickly become the latest in a line of headaches for the government.

Between 1948 and 1971, thousands of workers arrived in the UK from the Carribean. They were nicknamed the Windrush generation, after the Empire Windrush, the first of the ships to dock. These people, who helped Britain rebuild after the Second World War, were designated citizens of the UK and colonies, a type of citizenship conferred by the British Nationality Act of 1948. The influx ended with the Immigration Act 1971, however, Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain.

The problem is that the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain, nor did they issue any paperwork confirming their status. This has made it difficult for Windrush arrivals and their children to prove they are in the UK legally – affecting their ability to work, rent a property, and access benefits and healthcare, with some even facing the threat of deportation.

Yesterday, in response to an urgent question from Labour MP David Lammy, Amber Rudd, the home secretary, apologised and admitted she was "concerned that the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy, and sometimes loses sight of the individual" – believed by some to be veiled criticism of the culture presided over by Theresa May when she was home secretary.

In a sign of how seriously the government is taking the issue, the prime minister will meet with Caribbean leaders at a summit of Commonwealth heads of government in London today – despite requests for a meeting previously being declined.

It’s an embarrassing episode for the government. Much is made of the Commonwealth being a “family of nations” – a line which has taken increased precedence for the government as it looks to boost trade ahead of Brexit.

And once again, an important issue that Theresa May wanted to push – female education in this instance – is overshadowed.


Russia has said that a team of inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be permitted to visit the site of last week’s alleged chemical attack in Douma. The Syrian government and its ally Russia continue to deny a chemical attack took place, and the US has voiced fears that Moscow may have tampered with evidence at the site.

British and American security officials have warned of a global Russian hacking offensive, which has targeted millions of computers to spy on governments, steal intellectual property and lay the foundation for an attack on infrastructure. According to the officials, tens of thousands of devices in British homes are in the sights of Russian hackers who are looking for weaknesses like easy-to-guess passwords and expired anti-virus software.

Up to a third of young people face living in private rented accommodation all their lives, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation. The think tank called for much more help for millennials – those born between 1980 and 1996 – including building more affordable homes for first-time buyers, changes to the tax system and better protection for renters.

Business & Economy

WPP is under pressure to publish an internal report into allegations of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell, who stepped down as chief executive at the weekend. Sir Martin, who led the company for 32 years, resigned following allegations regarding the misuse of company assets, which he denies. In a statement, WPP said: "The previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin has concluded. The allegation did not involve amounts that are material."

Netflix has reported record revenue growth during the first quarter of 2018. The video streaming service said it added 7.41 million new subscribers in the first three months of the year, up 50% year-on-year and ahead of its own 6.35 million forecast. As a result, revenue hit $3.7 billion, up from $2.6 billion last year, with net income hitting $290 million. This was ahead of Wall Street expectations.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) is set to take action to improve gender balance on corporate boards. LGIM, which manages £1 trillion of assets and is one of the largest investors in the UK stock market, has announced it will vote against the chairs of FTSE 350 companies at annual general meetings in 2018 if their boards are not at least 25% female. LGIM has already begun voting against all-male boards in the US.


What happened yesterday?
US stocks had a solid start to the week based on the limited nature of US, UK and French strikes against Syria. However, geopolitical tensions continue to loom large.

The S&P 500 was up 0.82% to 2,677.97, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.99% to 24,601.60 and the Nasdaq gained 0.81% to 7,164.03.

Closer to home, the FTSE 100 fell 0.91% to 7,198.20.

Mining company Evraz was the biggest faller, dropping 6.98%, closely followed by WPP which shed 6.48% after the resignation of chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell on Saturday.

Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, was the best performer on the main index, surging 7.19%, after it was announced that activist investor Elliot Advisors had upped its stake in the company to 6%. This has prompted speculation that the group will be broken up and embark on a new strategy.

On the currency markets, the pound climbed 0.67% to $1.4334 – the first time it has pushed past $1.43 since January. Against the euro, it was up 0.28% to €1.1581.

AA, AFI Development, Clearstar Inc. (DI), Christie Group, Flowtech Fluidpower, Filta Group Holdings, Highland Gold Mining Ltd., JD Sports Fashion, Johnston Press, Mi-Pay Group, TP Group

Associated British Foods, APC Technology Group, Edgon Resources

Trading Announcements
Ashmore Group, Porvair

Cloudbury, Dialight, MD Medical Group Investments GDR (Reg S), Porvair

Societatea Nationala De Gaze Naturale Romgaz S.A. GDR (Reg S)

Informa, UBM

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Claimant Count Rate

International Economic Announcements
(10:00) ZEW Survey (EU)
(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER)
(13:30) Building Permits (US)
(13:30) Housing Starts (US)
(14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US)
(14:15) Industrial Production (US)

Columns of Note

In The Times, Rachel Sylvester criticises Jeremy Corbyn for being either “deliberately misleading or dangerously naïve” for his position on the legality of Syrian airstrikes. She acknowledges that there are many credible arguments against military intervention in Syria and argues that the prime minister should have recalled parliament last week. However, she points to the repeated calls of the Labour leader’s that action must be dependent on UN backing – which he knows would never happen because Russia would wield its veto.

Writing in the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh asserts that it is too early to write off the prospects of a new centrist party in the UK. He contends the individual leader comes first and the ideas follow – which is a problem as there is no obvious candidate to lead a new UK party. However, the bigger issue, Ganesh says, is that Brexit has not had a tangible effect on people’s lives yet, meaning there is nothing for the liberal centre to mobilise against. If and when living standards come under pressure, we will see the “insurmountable barriers to a new centrism tumble”.

Did you know?

Erosion at the base of Niagara Falls has caused the falls to recede approximately seven miles over the past 12,500 years.

Parliamentary highlights


House of Commons

Oral Questions: HM Treasury

Ten Minute Rule Motion: Prisons (Substance Testing) – Bim Afolami

General Debate: Anti-Semitism

Backbench Business: Debate on a motion on redress for victims of banking misconduct and the FCA - Martin Whitfield

House of Lords

Oral Questions

Government consultation with local authorities and others about growth deals for (1) North of Tyne and (2) Borderlands - Lord Beith
Extent to which indigenous gas production is needed for energy security - Baroness Featherstone
Establishing an independent inquiry into Operation Conifer conducted by the Wiltshire Police - Lord Lexden
Regulating platforms that hold personal data – Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Legislation: Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [HL] – Report - Baroness Sugg

Short Debate: Addressing obesity among children and young people - Baroness Walmsley

Scottish Parliament

Topical Questions

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Debate: Air Quality in Scotland Inquiry


House of Commons

Oral Questions: International Development (including Topical Questions)

Prime Minister’s Question Time

Ten Minute Rule Motion: Access to Fertility Services – Steve McCabe

Legislation: Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill [Lords] – 2nd reading

General Debate: Industrial Strategy

House of Lords

Oral Questions

Effectiveness of Government plans for the NHS in dealing with the pressures during the winter of 2017–18 - Lord Clark of Windermere
Whether current electoral law adequately prevents the misuse of personal data in UK elections and referendum campaigns - Lord Tyler
What director level staffing changes, if any, the Government intend to make in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide greater capacity for that department to co-ordinate, oversee and deliver policy to advance freedom of religion and belief - Lord Suri
Preventing possible abuse of the UK’s political system following the evidence given by Mark Zuckerberg - Lord Haskel

Legislation: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Report (day 1) - Lord Callanan

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions: Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform; Rural Economy and Connectivity

Stage 1 Debate: Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill