31 July 2018

Tom Gillingham

31 July 2018


Today it's the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) turn to set another economic warning light flashing on the UK's Brexit dashboard.

The group claims that a 'perfect storm' of events has led to a 5.5% fall in UK car production. The return of car manufacturing to the UK has been heralded by senior politicians. However, 80% of vehicles produced in Britain are made for export, making the sector particularly vulnerable to any potential future trade tariffs.

It's an industry that has a unique closeness to the Prime Minister. On a daily basis she is reminded of Jaguar Land Rover's similarly bleak warnings on Brexit - after all, her official car is made by the company. Not only that, as she travels in her convoy she can see at least two of their flagship products immediately in front of and behind her car. Perhaps that goes some way to explain her proclaimed love of walking.

The procession of industry-driven Brexit stories looks set to continue over the summer as the UK business community tries to make its concerns heard by the negotiating teams. Depending on how those talks pan out, the PM could find her new car smell replaced by something a little sour when she returns from her walking holiday.


US intelligence reports suggest that North Korea is working on new nuclear missiles. Coming only days after the remains of US servicemen were repatriated in a gesture of goodwill by Kim Jong Un, this news still comes as a blow to President Trump, who has sought to capitalise on apparently improving relations.

Leading charities have demonstrated “complacency verging on complicity” in responding to sexual abuse, according to a damning report by MPs. The International Development Committee suggests that sexual abuse is 'endemic' across the sector and described responses to incidents as "reactionary and superficial".

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has met Jeremy Corbyn to criticise his approach to handling the antisemitism scandal that has rocked the Labour Party (£). Mr Corbyn's close ally is said to have demanded an end to disciplinary proceedings against Dame Margaret Hodge, which were brought after she allegedly challenged the Labour Party Leader on the issue.

Business & Economy 

Plans for a new nuclear power plant next to the Sellafield site in Cumbria are likely to be abandoned within months unless a willing buyer is found. Any cancellation would undermine the government's current strategy to commission a series of new plants to help to meet the UK's electricity needs once ageing existing reactors close.

Dixons Carphone has been investigating a high-profile data breach since June, and the company now says it has affected 10 million customers, up from the 1.2 million originally reported. While there is no evidence fraud has yet been committed, it is the latest in a long line of high-profile customer data loss incidents.

Workers are reacting to a lack of job security by taking fewer sick days, according to CIPD analysis of figures reported by The Office for National Statistics (ONS). UK employees took an average of 4.1 sickness absence days in 2017, compared with 7.2 days in 1993, when records began, with sickness absence starting to fall overall from 1999.


Results season continues at pace with another slew of corporates reporting today, with highlights including BP, Centrica and Standard Chartered. Yesterday the FTSE100 had a broadly stable day, with several stocks coming off lows for the session. However, an overall rise for the index was thwarted by analyst caution over the forthcoming Bank of England interest rates decision on Thursday.

Wall Street trading ended Monday’s session with losses, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.57% at 25,306.83, the S&P 500 losing 0.58% to close at 2,802.60, and the Nasdaq 100 sliding 1.42% to 7,913.10.

BP, Centrica, Elementis, 4Imprint Group, Gocompare.com Group, Greggs, IMI, Just Eat, LSL Property Services, Novolipetsk Steek GDS, Provident Financial, Rentokil Initial, Sabre Insurance Group, Shire Plc, Standard Chartered, Travis Perkins, Taylor Wimpey, Weir Group
Trading Announcements
River and Mercantile Group, Thomas Cook Group, Volex
Aquilla Services Group, Boxhill Technologies, Bellzone Mining, Flying Brands Ltd Units, Hibernia Relt, JP Morgan Japan Smaller Companies Trust, Mitie Group, New Trend Lifestyle Group, Photonstar LED Group, Subex Ltd, Syncona Limited, Tatton Asset Management, Taptica International, Volex


UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) GFK Consumer Confidence
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Retail Sales (GER)
(09:00) Unemployment Rate (GER)
(10:00) GDP (Preliminary) (EU)
(10:00) Unemployment Rate (EU)
(13:30) Personal Consumption Expenditures (US)
(13:30) Personal Income (US)
(13:30) Personal Spending (US)
(14:45) Chicago PMI (US)

Columns of Note 

Writing in the Independent, Lord Mandelson beats the drum for a second EU referendum. He says: "We face the biggest peacetime decision in a generation – the public must have the final say on Brexit". He expresses concern that there is currently not a mechanism in place to refuse a deal that is not in the country’s interests, and believes the Prime Minister cannot ultimately prevail against the Brexiteers' "bully-boy" tactics.

Writing in The Guardian, Simon Jenkins reviews the state of UK railways, and suggests that Chris Grayling alone cannot be blamed for the current slew of cancellations and rising passenger frustration. He argues that fragmented rail privatisation has resulted in a fiasco for which no one person or company can justly be held responsible.

Did you know?

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.

Parliamentary highlights 

House of Commons
In recess until 4 September
House of Lords
In recess until 4 September
Scottish Parliament
In recess until 3 September