26 April

@lyle_h_hill

26 April

Good morning, 

Labour has revealed more policy proposals as the General Election campaign gathers momentum. Jeremy Corbyn's party has retreated to its traditional comfort zone of the NHS following Sir Keir Starmer’s outlining of the Labour position on the unstable ground of Brexit negotiations yesterday.

 

Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, has announced that Labour would scrap the 1% pay increase cap in order to raise salaries in the NHS to a "sustainable level" and would reverse the planned cancellation of bursaries and the introduction of tuition fees for student nurses and midwives.

 

The Conservatives also went to their comfort zone in response, saying Labour's sums did not add up and would put the health of the NHS at risk. That may well be a line that Theresa May tries out again this afternoon when she meets Jeremy Corbyn for the final time in Prime Minister's Questions before the election.



While some things appear exactly the same, others are slightly different in this campaign. Theresa May was in Wales yesterday, attempting to capitalise on recent polls showing the Conservatives are ahead in the Labour heartland. She was once again touting her ability to bring "strong and stable" leadership.



That message is perhaps believable coming from the incumbent prime minister, but apparently May has decided that it is not for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. If you've been waiting to see him out on the campaign trail you may have to wait a little longer, as apparently the prime minister has reduced Johnson to a minimal, cameo role in the campaign.

NEWS

British scientists at Imperial College London have announced that by analysing people's brains it may be possible to detect the likelihood of early death. Scans would determine whose brains appeared older than their true age and could be able to detect the possibility of early death up to seven years in advance. Early detection would allow a change to a healthier lifestyle, increasing life expectancy. 



Nicholas Sarkozy is plotting a return to French politics after his failed bid for the presidency last year. Instead of rekindling his presidential ambition, Sarkozy is in talks with fellow leaders in the Republican party about securing victory in the upcoming French parliamentary elections in June. If victory is secured, the party would be able to hijack many of the policies of either of the final two election candidates, who lack significant party backing.



President Donald Trump is backtracking on his key campaign promise to build a border wall with Mexico. It was suggested yesterday that Trump would not include funding plans for his wall in this week's spending bill, that must pass by Friday. The move comes as Democrats had threatened to vote against the bill if money for the wall was included, potentially causing a government shutdown.

 

Meanwhile, Adviser to the President and "First Daughter" Ivanka Trump was in Germany yesterday, alongside Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde, attempting to convince a sceptical audience of her father's commitment to women's issues.  Laughter and jeering ensued.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY 

Official figures have shown that government borrowing has dropped to the lowest level since 2008, on the eve of the financial crash. The Office for National Statistics has announced that £20 billion has been wiped off total borrowing over the last twelve months. The deficit stands at £58 billion and the reduction in borrowing was down to an increase in income and corporation tax receipts.



Credit Suisse has announced plans to raise $4 billion in capital and has scrapped plans for a partial sale of its Swiss business. The bank said it would host an extraordinary general meeting on the 18th May, where shareholders will get to vote on the proposed plans. Credit Suisse announced it was considering selling its Swiss business in February.



McDonald's is to allow its UK staff the choice of entering into a fixed hours contract or continuing on zero hours contracts. The company has a UK workforce of 115,000, the majority of whom are on zero hours contracts. The move comes following staff complaints that they were struggling to receive loans and mortgages. McDonald's said that in a trial of the policy in 23 stores, 20% have opted to move to fixed hours contracts.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday

The FTSE 100 closed 11 points higher at 7,276 yesterday. The index was stable following the 2% rise on Monday in response Emmanuel Macron's victory in the first round of the French presidential election.

The two biggest losers on the market were Whitbread and Carpetright, as shares in the two companies fell 7% and 8% respectively. Both firms were cautious about prospects for the year ahead. 

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.4% to $1.284 against the dollar, but was 0.4% weaker against the euro, falling to €1.173.

Finals

Boohoo.com

GAN

Walker Greenbank

Interims

Proactis Holdings

AGMs

Admiral Group

Bank of America Corp

British American Tobacco

Devro

Venn Life Sciences Holdings

International Economic Announcements

(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Redefine International

Q1 Results

Croda International

Metro Bank

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Writing in the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza argues that even though Trump's decision to back down on funding for the border wall is a welcome policy change, it merely gives Congress another reason not to trust a single word that President Trump says. He concludes by saying: "The man who wrote “The Art of the Deal” is a terrible negotiator."



Cathy Newman, writing in The Telegraph, predicts that the next parliament will be as "pale, male and stale" as ever before. She argues that in the rush to select candidates following the snap election, much of the good work that has been done over the last few years promoting women to stand for election could come unstuck.

Did you know?

While it is well documented that women were put to death throughout medieval history for being "witches", the scale of the killing is often ignored. From 1200 to present it is estimated that over 600,000 women were put to death for the crime of "witchcraft".

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral Questions
Wales

Prime Minister's Question Time

Legislation
Motion to approve a Ways and Means Resolution on the Digital Economy Bill

House of Lords 
Select Committees
EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee - Private Meeting
EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee: The EU Data Protection Package

Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions
Justice and the Law Officers
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Scottish Green Party Debate
Carers and Social Care

TOMORROW

House of Commons
Oral Questions
Exiting the European Union, including Topical Questions

House of Lords
Oral Questions
Ensuring electronic patient records are available to healthcare professionals on a national basis, with appropriate safeguards and patient consent - Baroness Manzoor

Legislation
Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill - 3rd reading - Baroness Hamwee

Scottish Parliament 
First Minister's Questions

Members' Business
Flawed Airport Consultation - Neil Findlay

Ministerial Statement
Social Security Agency