29 November


29 November

Good morning,

Well, after months of controversy and negotiations, we finally know the cost of the UK's so called "Brexit Bill". Despite no official announcement, the British press are all reporting this morning that the bill will be between €40 and €50 billion.

Rather surprisingly, Theresa May did not take the advice of sacked former international development secretary Priti Patel earlier this week, who announced that if she was in charge she would have told the EU to "sod off" with its Brexit demands. Matt Chorley, in The Times Red Box, was scathing of her intervention, pointing out it was rather ironic considering she had been told to "sod off" herself only a few weeks ago.

Regardless, paying €50 billion to the EU will still be seen as a concession that is unpalatable to many hardline Brexiteers. From reports, the government will seek to allay their fears by pointing out that the bill will not be paid as one lump sum, and will instead be paid over a time period of close to 40 years.

This is because the bill represents the fulfilment of obligations that the UK had agreed to whilst still a member of the EU, and is not merely a figure paid for the ability to leave the Union.

This major concession by the May government should kickstart talks again and the prime minister will be hoping this agreement will allow discussions on a future trading arrangement to begin.

However, it comes at a time of intense scrutiny of her Brexit secretary at home. Yesterday, David Davis was forced to appear in front of MPs in the Commons, after admitting the 850 page economic impact assessment he had provided to the Brexit select committee had key information redacted.

He was accused by MPs, including staunch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, of holding parliament in contempt. Just another day at the office then.


North Korea has claimed this morning that its missile test yesterday represents the completion of its intercontinental ballistic missile programme. The rogue state announced that this missile could hit anywhere in the mainland United States, with independent experts agreeing it could strike Washington DC if launched on a flatter trajectory.

Councillors in the Conservative controlled City of Westminster Council have begun polling residents on what they describe as a "voluntary mansion tax". The local authority currently charges the lowest rates of council tax in the country and is urging residents with houses worth £10 million or more to double the current £1376 fee to raise £2.75 million.

Glynis Breakwell, the vice-chancellor of the University of Bath, is to step down from her role following controversy over her pay. Breakwell was the highest paid university chief in the country, with a salary of £468,000, provoking discontent among staff. The announcement comes amid a rising debate about the salaries of university leaders, and has caused further controversy after unions calculated Breakwell will be paid close to £600,000 in a six month "sabbatical" before she retires.


Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, is to step down from his role with immediate effect. In October, it had been announced that Rolet would stay on the Board until December 2018, but following a leadership tussle he will instead leave immediately alongside chairman Donald Brydon.

Cineworld, the FTSE 250 cinema chain, has announced that it is in "advanced discussions" to acquire American peer Regal Entertainment. The $23 a share offer would represent a total bid of $3.6 billion for the US company. Cineworld said it was finalising due diligence on the deal, which is almost 50% higher than its own market capitalisation, before making a formal offer.

The food and tobacco wholesaler Palmer & Harvey has fallen into administration, leading to the loss of 2500 jobs. The company had been in existence for 92 years, and had key supply contracts with supermarket giants such as Tesco. The company, which had annual sales of more than £4 billion, called in the administrators PwC after talks with the Carlyle private equity group failed."


What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 finished up over 1% yesterday, closing at 7460.65. The main index was mainly buoyed by Royal Dutch Shell, which closed up 4%. Shell announced that it had returned to a more sound financial footing, and would be returning to all-cash dividends.

The oil company had moved to scrip dividends in 2015, in order to save cash during the oil price collapse. Shell also announced that it expected cash flows to increase to $30bn from $25bn by 2020.

On the FTSE 250, online grocer Ocado rose 21% after it announced an international partnership with Groupe Casino, the French supermarket giant.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.21% against the dollar to $1.3347 and also fell 0.54% against the euro to €1.1254.

Brewin Dolphin Holdings, Britvic, Impax Asset Management Group, ZPG Plc

Findel, LondonMetric Property, Motorpoint Group, Pennon Group, Redcentric, RPC Group, Telford Homes

Trading Announcements
Eve Sleep Plc, Softcat

Genedrive, Oilex Ltd, Oncimmune Holdings, Thor Mining


UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Consumer Credit
(09:30) M4 Money Supply
(09:30) Mortgage Approvals
International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) GDP (Preliminary) (US)
(15:00) Pending Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)


Joanna Moorhead, writing in The Guardian, argues that the Pope had no option but to back out of explicitly citing persecution of Rohingya muslims in Myanmar, for fear of a backlash against local Catholics in the region.

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in The Times, looks at the evolution of capitalism, from selling physical assets to selling ideas. He argues that as more business make money from products that are not based on owning assets, the gap between the richest and poorest in our societies is bound to grow.


The British passport is issued in the name of the Queen, and it is therefore unnecessary for her to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.



House of Commons

Oral Questions
International Development

Prime Minister's Questions

House of Lords

Oral Questions
Tuition fees of nurses who spend some years working in the NHS or related care services - Lord Clark of Windermere
Target for annual budget savings on cost of interpretation and translation services in criminal proceedings - Baroness Coussins
Impact of the introduction of the new system of apprenticeship training on training providers - Lord Aberdare

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions: Health and Sport

Scottish Conservative Debate: Barclay Review and ALEOs


House of Commons

Oral questions
Transport (including Topical Questions)

Backbench Business
Debate on a motion on Treatment of SMEs by RBS Global Restructuring Group - Clive Lewis
Debate on a motion on mental health and suicide within the autism community - Dr Lisa Cameron

House of Lords

Oral questions
Supporting young people as partners, leaders and advocates within the global response to HIV - Lord Collins of Highbury
Value of local authorities adopting a strategic approach to falls prevention and easing the burden on the health and social care systems - Lord Jordan

Impact of the Government’s fiscal policies on the recruitment, retention and conditions of NHS staff - Lord Clark of Windermere
Case for a comprehensive agenda to address regional and national inequalities within the UK - Lord Liddle

Scottish Parliament

First Minister's Questions

Stage 1 Debate
Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill