28 August 2019

Aidan Reid

28 August 2019

Good morning,

Turn on your ovens, search for that once-used box of icing sugar and crack open your copy of Cooking with Kim-Joy. That most beloved of TV phenomenons, the Great British Bake Off, returned to our screens last night, with all the egg whisking, bonhomie and light-hearted tragedy you will ever need from a TV series.
 
Unlike the old ‘event TV’ of yore however, we no longer need to gather in the one room to watch. With the advancement in wireless connectivity, the majority of people can and do watch live or catch up across their full range of devices. This was largely brought on by the advent of 4G, allowing us to move further away from the siren call of physical broadband hubs.
 
Though 4G connectivity is still in the process of being delivered across the UK, this hasn’t stopped us boldly taking the next step in our pursuit of greater connectivity. Across consecutive days this week, both the UK and Scottishgovernments outlined their plans to move onto 5G infrastructure. Both placed an emphasis on partnership working with private providers and infrastructure companies to see the masts required for 5G emerge outside our urban centres, for whom commercial companies have already proposed installation plans. The UK Government is putting up £30 million of initial funding directly targeted at boosting rural connectivity, while the Scottish plan places an emphasis on ensuring the fastest speeds reach the more remote areas.
 
The impact of 5G is likely to impress and surprise beyond its download speeds. Barclays has suggested up to £13bn of growth and improved productivity could be generated by a UK-wide roll out. Amongst other opportunities are the potential to boost health outcomes through supporting telehealth and live patient monitoring. Improved environmental outcomes through smart lighting and heating responding to up to the minute information and improved employment prospects for a more connected rural economy are also outlined.
 
The full connectivity 5G can deliver, and the impact on our lives, shouldn’t be underestimated. If the collective efforts announced this week come to pass, we may look back at this time as just the beginning of a national connectivity revolution.

News

Opposition parties have agreed an initial strategy in their attempts to block the UK Government from pursuing a no-deal Brexit. The plan, which begins with an emergency debate next week to discuss a law extending Article 50, was agreed at a gathering of senior opposition figures.
 
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called for fund managers to push the investment sector to prioritise climate change concerns. He claimed they had “not sufficiently stepped up to the plate” to push companies to change their portfolios to take in climate friendly companies.
 
The largest Italian political parties have until this evening to agree a deal to reinstate a government or face a general election in the autumn. The talks between the Five Star Movement and the Democratic party have been stop-start due to whether the recently deposed democratic Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, is reinstated.
 
A radical new scheme has been launched in Bristol to break the cycle of drug reoffending. The Call-In scheme sees young drug dealers given the chance to engage in career training and other educational opportunities instead of going to prison and avoiding a criminal record for a first-time offence.

Business & Economy

Pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, has been ordered by the Oklahoma state courts to pay $572 million of damages over its opioid painkillers. It is expected to be the start of series of legal disputes against such companies over their possible role in the American opium crisis, with Purdue Pharma rumoured to be offering up to $12bn to settle various disputes.
 
Proposals are being finalised for the creation of the world’s largest tobacco group. Phillip Morris International and Altria are in talks to merge, bringing together the global and US domestic producers of Marlboro and a combined value of $208 billion. It is excepted the merger will see a prioritisation of its e-cigarette division. (£)
 
Equity partners at Deloitte are expected to receive up to £882,000, the largest level of profit share distributed among the big four accountancy firms. It comes after the firm saw its most successful returns in ten years, with revenues rising by 10.9% to £3.97 billion. (£)

Markets

What happened yesterday?

Fears over the US becoming embroiled in a trade war have continued to lead to a sagging US stock market. All three of its indices fell for the third time in four days, with the S&P 500 at one stage being down by as much as 0.7% before rallying to close 0.3% down for the day.
 
Meanwhile in the UK, contrasting fortunes were seen on the FTSE 100 and 250 indexes. While the former closed down by 0.1%, the 250 saw gains of 0.5%. It was also revealed banks approved the highest number of mortgages for the month of July in a decade, with a 9.3% rise in loans compared to last year.

What's happening today?

Finals
Loungers Plc

Interims
Arix Bioscience        
Headlam
 
Trading Announcements
Diploma

AGMs
Collagen Solutions 
Gordon Dadds        
Oryx International Growth 
Puma Vct 10 
Theworks.co.uk
 
UK Economic Announcements
BRC Shop Price Index

Columns of Note

Appointments to the Lords and a less impartial civil service risk permanently entrenching Brexit battles in British public life according to the Guardian’sGabby Hinsliff. She argues the politicised nature of some appointments serve only to antagonise current members. Efforts to give hard Brexiteers prominence in public life, Hinsliff claims, will have a permanent impact on discourse beyond the lifespan of this government.
 
Writing for Reaction, Deloitte’s Chief Economist, Ian Stewart, challenges the presumption of London remaining the dominant economic engine of the UK. He highlights that this is only a very recent phenomenon, with the city seeing a fifth of its population leave between 1941 and 1992. While acknowledging the city has taken full advantage of the benefits of globalisation, future challenges around housing, air pollution and perceived quality of life are felt to make its continued growth uncertain.

Did you know?

The longest certified footrace in the world, the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence race, lasts 31,000 miles.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
In recess until 3rd September.
 
House of Lords
In recess until 3rd September.
 
Scottish Parliament
In recess until 2nd September.