7 June 2018

@AdamDShaw

7 June 2018

Good morning,

It’s little wonder that tuition fees became such a hot topic at the last general election when you consider that less than two in five UK students think they are getting value for money from their course.
 
A survey of 14,000 students, conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), found that 38% of students thought they receive good or very good value for money – up from 35% last year. Among those who were unhappy, tuition fees, teaching quality and a lack of contact hours were the biggest causes of dissatisfaction.
 
Unsurprisingly, there were strong regional variances. In England, 35% felt they were getting good value. This contrasts with 60% of students in Scotland, where Scottish students do not pay fees, 48% in Wales and 36% in Northern Ireland.
 
There has been a longstanding discourse about whether students should have to contribute towards the cost of their degree programme. Education is a basic right that should be free for all is the argument of some. For others, those who will likely end up earning more thanks to further education should not have their path subsidised by those who don’t benefit via general taxation.
 
Whichever way you see it, students feeling that they do not get value is an issue. It is one of the four key areas that the government’s review of post-18 education is focussing on – expect recommendations when the report is published early next year.

News

Senior ministers will meet later this morning in an attempt to resolve differences over the so-called Brexit “backstop” plan, which would see the UK match EU tariffs temporarily in order to avoid a hard Irish border. It had been expected that Downing Street would publish the “temporary customs arrangement” today, however, this could now be delayed until the end of the week after resistance from David Davis, the Brexit secretary. It has been widely reported that the saga could lead to the resignation of Davis.
 
Paul Dacre will step down as editor of the Daily Mail in November after 26 years in the role. In a statement, Lord Rothermere, chairman of the newspaper’s parent company DMGT, described Dacre as “the greatest Fleet Street editor of his generation”. Dacre will remain with the company as chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers. It is believed his replacement will be unveiled in the coming days, with Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig, MailOnline editor Martin Clake, Daily Mail deputy editor Gerard Greaves, and The Sun editor Tony Gallagher all tipped for the role.
 
President Trump has commuted the sentence of a 63-year-old grandmother who was jailed in 1996 for a non-violent drug charge, after a personal intervention from Kim Kardashian West. Alice Marie Johnson had served 21 years of a life sentence after she was convicted for conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine. The White House said Johnson had been a model prisoner and worked hard to rehabilitate herself.
 
The first of the UK’s new multi-million-pound fighter jets, some of which will fly from the new Royal Navy aircraft carriers, have arrived in the UK. Four F-35 Lightnings touched down at RAF Marham last night. They had previously been based in the US for testing and training by RAF and Royal Navy pilots. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, described the jets as “formidable” and having “game-changing” abilities. The Ministry of Defence has agreed to buy 138 of the jets in total.

 

Business & Economy

The collapse of Carillion will cost taxpayers £148 million, according to a report by the National Audit Office. This figure is subject to a range of uncertainties, including the timing and extent of asset sales, and there will also be wider costs related to customers, employees, the supply chain and creditors.
 
House of Fraser is set to close more than half its stores putting thousands of jobs at risk. According to reports, the chain of department stores is being advised by KPMG and could shut 31 of its 59 locations as part of a restructuring proposal, which will also involve a request for rent reductions.
 
The issue of executive pay has been brought to the fore once more after the chair of Persimmon’s remuneration committee said she did not know much the average worker employed by the firm is paid. Marion Sears was giving evidence the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee following widespread anger at the packages executives at the house builder received, telling Rachel Reeves MP that she didn’t “have that figure to my finger tips” when asked what average pay at the company was.

Markets

What happened yesterday?
It was a good day for global stocks, with most major indices making gains yesterday.
 
On Wall Street, technology stocks took the Nasdaq to a record high, gaining 0.67% to 7,689.24. One of the stand-out performers was Tesla, which climbed 9.74% after the company released upbeat targets.
 
The S&P 500 rose 0.86% to 2,772.35 whilst the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.4% to 25,146.39.
 
Here in the UK, the FTSE 100 gained 0.33% to 7,712.37. Mining stocks led the way as the weakness of the dollar lifted the price of copper to a three-month high.
 
Rio Tinto was the best performer on the index, climbing 3.3%, with Antofagasta, Anglo American, Glencore and BHP Billiton gaining 3.14%, 3% 2.75% and 2.45% respectively.
 
Meanwhile, Centrica had a notable session, rising 1.61%, after JPMorgan Cazenove said that, despite the proposed cap on retail energy prices, Centrica’s dividend looked safe thanks to favourable commodity prices.
 
On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.02% against the euro at €1.1388 but gained 0.01% against the dollar, rising to $1.3412.

 

Finals
Auto Trader Group, CMC Markets, G3 Exploration Limited (DI), Mitie Group, OnTheMarket, Ramsdens Holdings
 
Interims
Impax Asset Management Group, RWS Holdings

GMs
Thor Mining

Trading Announcements
Joules Group
 
UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index

 

International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(10:00) Gross Domestic Product (EU)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)

AGMs
AA, BCRE – Brack Capital Real Estate Investments N.V. (DI), Camellia, Cluff Natural Resources, Downing Two VCT F Shs, Downing Three VCT F Shs, Dignity, Invesco Perpetual UK Small Companies Inv Trust, Jackpotjoy, Mears Group, Nasstar, Pagegroup, RHI Magnestia N.V. (DI), Soco International, Sopheon, Safestay, Summit Therapeutics, TP Group, Volga Gas

Columns of Note

Writing in the Financial Times, Philip Stephens outlines the threats facing Germany, arguing that the country is the nation most vulnerable to the current geopolitical turmoil. He states that the two pillars of Germay’s post-war stability have been the US, guaranteeing security and a rules-based international order, and the EU, which provided the political legitimacy for German reunification and offers German industry rich market access. However, with the rise of populism on both sides of The Atlantic, cracks are appearing in both these pillars.
 
In The Telegraph, Nick Timothy cites four main problems contributing to the looming “Brexit summer crisis”: disagreements over a customs relationship and its impact on the Irish border, the so-called “backstop”, the new populist government in Italy, and the German focus on preserving the integrity of the single market and the euro. However, Timothy argues that we should worry, but not panic – pointing to evidence that European unity is fraying stating that crises can become opportunities. He concludes by urging MPs and businesses to hold their nerve as a deal should still be done.

Did you know?

In 2016, when he was still prime minister, David Cameron reportedly tried to get Paul Dacre sacked as editor of the Daily Mail, after Dacre refused to soften the paper’s strongly pro-Brexit stance.

Parliamentary Highlights

TODAY

House of Commons
 
Oral Questions: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
 
Business Statement: Business Questions to the Leader of the House – Andrea Leadsom
 
Select Committee Statement: Third Report of the Scottish Affairs Committee, RBS branch closures, HC 682
 
Backbench Business
 
Ending tuberculosis - Nick Herbert, Mr Virendra Sharma
Early elections, human rights and the political situation in Turkey - Joan Ryan
 
House of Lords
 
Oral Questions
 
Term extensions for UK members of the European Parliament - Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate
Appropriate imprints in online material of a political or campaigning nature to inform recipients of its promoter - Lord Tyler
Ensuring clinicians in England are able to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia by prescribing Ibrutinib in accordance with NICE guidelines - Lord Forsyth of Drumlean
NHS psychiatrists treating patients suffering from addiction receiving referral fees from private clinics - Baroness Thornton
 
Debate
 
The situation in the Palestinian Territories - Lord Steel of Aikwood
Report of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement - Lord Scriven
 
Short Debate: Promoting equality of opportunity in university admissions - Baroness Deech
 
Scottish Parliament
 
General Questions
 
First Minister’s Questions
 
Ministerial Statement: Impact of Policing on Communities during the Miners’ Strike
 
Scottish Government Debate: Lord Bracadale's independent review of hate crime legislation (without motion)
 
TOMORROW
 
House of Commons
 
No business scheduled
 
House of Lords
 
No business scheduled
 
Scottish Parliament
 
No business scheduled