27 November 2018

Scott Reid

27 November 2018

Good morning,

How do you solve a problem like London?
Arguably it’s not so much London’s problem as the rest of ours, as analysis by the BBC reveals today that a staggering one in three new jobs created in the UK between 2007 and 2017 were located in the capital.
As with other metrics of UK inequality, it is a statistic that is only given full flavour when you see the difference up close and personal:

And the data is really in the detail. For example, most every other region of the UK, bar East England, saw population growth in the last decade which outstripped the rate of job creation. And focus in on the north-east of England to see that employment grew by 2.5% – the slowest rate across the country as a whole.
Given London was already the UK’s most economically productive region before the 2008 financial crash, the findings beg the question whether the well-worn ways of describing UK inequality might be out-of-date. Not so much the North-South divide, the article says, but London versus the rest? It appears the UK’s post-crash jobs “miracle” was really just London’s.
Which is why there is a need for more support by government and business, not less. Sure, initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse or the roll-out of further City Deals across the UK might have some way to go. But unless employers start to consider Glasgow, Manchester or Norwich as viable alternatives for their businesses, the UK as a whole is going nowhere fast.
In the recent decisions of Channel 4 and HMRC to “north-shore” their staff to new headquarters in Leeds, I suspect we may have already begun to see the sort of strategy that might chart the way forward. Where capital goes, jobs must surely follow  - out of the capital.


MPs will be given a chance to vote on the government’s EU withdrawal treaty on December 11 following five days of debate, the government has announced. At least 90 Conservative MPs have so far indicated their intention to vote against the deal with Labour, the SNP and Lib Dems also stating their opposition. President Trump meanwhile commented that the treaty “sounds like a great deal” for the EU, but will hinder UK-US trade.

Ukraine’s president imposed martial law yesterday after Russian ships seized three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait near Crimea on Sunday. In a televised address to the nation, President Petro Poroshenko asked parliament to approve emergency wartime powers over the areas most at risk of invasion, including the ability to requisition property and suspend elections. The powers are set to be enforced from Wednesday.

Former Tory minister and government whip Baroness Trumpington has died at the age of 96. The peer, who was notorious for her irreverent style in the Lords, retired last year. During World War Two, Trumpington worked in naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, as the then 18-year-old used her fluency in French and German to transcribe message from German submarines for code breakers.

Business & Economy

Norwegian oil explorer DNO has offered a hostile takeover bid of £600 million to acquire Faroe Petroleum. According to The Times, the AIM-listed company has been preparing for the offer since April, when DNO acquired a 28% stake in the company. Following an emergency board meeting yesterday, Faroe urged shareholders to reject the “opportunistic, unsolicited and inadequate” 152p-a-share cash offer, as Faroe’s share price jumped 27% to 159½p yesterday. (£)

General Motors has announced it will cut 14,000 jobs in North America as it shifts its strategic focus to electric and autonomous vehicles. The drive to save $6 billion by the end of 2019 will also see the closure of seven plants, several car brands discontinued, and production of trucks and SUVs increased – a category which accounted for 65% of new US car sales during October, according to industry data.

The Bank of England has unveiled a longlist of 817 nominees who will be considered to front the new £50 note. Among the names featured on the list are early favourites such as Stephen Hawking and Ada Lovelace, as is Margaret Thatcher who before entering politics was a chemist involved in the invention of soft scoop ice cream. The Bank received a total of 174,112 nominations in less than four weeks.


What happened yesterday?

Energy and finance stocks led the FTSE to a rallying start to the week, whilst investors continued to keep a close eye on Brexit developments. By close of play, the London market was up 1.20% at 7036.00 points, whilst the pound was relatively flat against both the dollar at $1.28 and the euro at €1.13.

On the corporate front, banks led the day’s gains with HSBC (up 3.03%), Barclays (up 2.53%), and RBS (up 1.90%) all finishing in the black. Underpinning the gains was better-than-expected growth in the mortgage lending market after industry data showed a 5.6% increase in gross mortgage lending compared against the same period a year ago. UK Finance also reported a jump in credit card spending in October, up 12.1% year-on-year at £11.3 billion.

Energy shares were also pushed higher as oil prices recovered following a plunge on Friday and ahead of next week’s OPEC meeting. BP (up 2.38%) and Shell (up 2.74%) both surged as West Texas Intermediate rose 2.4% to $51.64 a barrel and Brent crude gained 2.79% to $60.49.

The owner of British Airways and Iberia airlines, IAG (up 1.79%), also gained following rumours published in The Telegraph that it will go head-to-head with Virgin to bid for Flybe after it was put up for sale last week.

Gooch & Housego        
Renew Holdings
Topps Tiles
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company
Amigo Holdings
De La Rue        
GB Group        
IG Design Group          
Pets at Home Group    
Pennon Group
Q2 Results
Amigo Holdings

Q3 Results
Nostrum Oil & Gas

Trading Announcements         
Intertek Group
Blue Prism Group
Allergy Therapeutics
Inland Homes
JPMorgan Global Markets Emerging Income Trust
Scotgold Resources (DI)
UK Economic Announcements
(11.00) CBI Distributive Trades Surveys
Intl. Economic Announcements
(14.00) House Price Index (US)

Columns of Note

Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman writes in support of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. Rachman picks up on a discrepancy between politicians and an appetite among the public to get a deal with the EU sorted, suggesting there is much to be lost by ignoring the people’s democratically-voiced opinions. Far better, he concludes, to protect Britain’s tradition of political stability than forsake it for better EU membership. (£)
Jim Armitage comments in the Evening Standard that a split between Nissan and Renault could be good news for UK plc. Behind the charges of misconduct alleged against chief executive Carlos Ghosn, Armitage suggests, are Nissan’s plans to reverse his integration strategy with Renault. If Nissan’s European production plans were hampered, the government has an opportunity to upsell Nissan’s Sunderland plant, and other viable sites in the UK.

Did you know?

The first-ever commercial microwave, dubbed the "Radarange," stood at nearly six feet tall and weighed 750 pounds. It also required a water line to cool the magnetron tube. That first model was priced at around $5,000 in 1947, the equivalent of approximately $53,000 today.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
Oral questions
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Minimum Service Obligation (High Street Cashpoints) - Huw Merriman
Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords] - 2nd reading
Programme Motion
Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords] - Mr David Gauke
Money Resolution
Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill [Lords] - Mel Stride
Arrest and detention of Jagtar Singh Johal - Martin Docherty-Hughes

House of Lords
Oral questions
Developing mental health support in schools - Lord Storey
Ensuring planned local government fair funding allocation will provide local authorities with the resources needed to provide sufficient and effective local services - Baroness Pinnock
Current rules governing the taxation of offshore gambling businesses used by citizens of the UK - The Lord Bishop of St Albans
Free TV licences for those over 75 - Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Report stage (day 2) - Lord O'Shaughnessy
Orders and regulations
Draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Economic Partnership Agreements and Trade Agreement) (Eastern and Southern Africa States, Southern African Development Community States, Ghana and Ecuador) Order 2018 – motion to approve - Baroness Fairhead
Draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Economic Partnership Agreements and Trade Agreement) (Eastern and Southern Africa States, Southern African Development Community States, Ghana and Ecuador) Order 2018 – motion to regret - Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
Scottish Parliament
Topical Questions
Ministerial Statement
The interim findings of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights on UK poverty

Scottish Government Debate
Hear Me Too: 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls
Committee Announcements
Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee - Inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland
Members’ Business
Investigation into Bullying Claims at NHS Highland – Edward Mountain
House of Commons
Oral questions
Prime Minister's Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Fire Safety (Leasehold Properties) - Marsha De Cordova
Offensive Weapons Bill - remaining stages
Planning conditions and framework in South Somerset - Mr Marcus Fysh

House of Lords
Oral questions
Orders and regulations
Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Government Business and Constitutional Relations
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate
New Approach Needed to Tackle Scotland’s Drugs Crisis
Members’ Business
Planned Bank of Scotland Branch Closures - Sandra White