9 May

@lyle_h_hill

9 May

Good morning,

Theresa May is attempting to lead the debate in the General Election campaign today by announcing more details of the Conservatives proposed cap on energy prices. Writing in the Sun, May revealed that the regulator Ofgem would set a cap on the default standard variable tariffs of all energy suppliers. 
 

The Conservatives believe that this proposal provides just enough of a difference not to be accused of copying Ed Miliband's price freeze policy from the 2015 General Election, which David Cameron graciously branded as the beginning of a "Marxist universe".
 

Instead, May believes, this policy will not hamper competition, as it will be set by the regulator and not the government. Seven out of ten households are on these rates and May believes the change would save up to £100 a year for close to 17 million customers.
 

Nonetheless, Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey responded by jibing: "This is desperate stuff from the Tories, re-announcing something they tried to get a headline for just a fortnight ago."
 

This should be an area where Labour is happy to debate with the Conservatives, but instead Jeremy Corbyn looks set to thwart May's plans to lead the news cycle for a very different reason. Buzzfeed News is reporting this morning that Corbyn told them he would be "carrying on" regardless of the election result, adding for good measure that “Monsieur Zen is fine.”

 

NEWS

South Koreans will go to the polls today to elect a new president, after the former leader was brought down by a corruption scandal. The frontrunner in the election is Moon Jae-in, a liberal who wants to increase contact with the North. There are 13 candidates for South Koreans to choose from and turnout is expected to be high. Results will be announced just after 11:00GMT.
 

Sally Yates, testifying in front of the Senate judiciary committee, revealed that the White House was warned "three times" that Trump's national security adviser, Mike Flynn, was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. It was also revealed that President Barack Obama had warned Trump against employing Flynn in a meeting in the Oval Office less than 48 hours after Trump had been elected.
 

Kelvin Mackenzie is to leave the Sun newspaper following controversial comments he made about Everton footballer Ross Barkley. The former editor was suspended after he compared Barkley, who has a Nigerian grandfather, to a gorilla. Mackenzie has long courted controversy, and also alleged in the article that the only people in Liverpool who could earn as much as footballers were drug dealers.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

According to the British Retail Consortium, Easter brought some "brief respite" to UK retailers, who saw sales rise by 6.3% in comparison to the same period last year. It is believed that this rise is due to Easter falling in the middle of April, rather than the end of March last year. In the same period, inflation has risen by 2.3%.
 

Matthew Taylor, the head of a government review into the zero hours contracts and the increasingly insecure world or work, has told the BBC that many businesses allow "bad work to flourish". In order for businesses to work more effectively for the British economy, he believes employers must engage more with employees.
 

It is believed that the Co-op Bank is set to admit that it has not been able to find a buyer for the business. If this is the case, the bank's American hedge fund owners would have to put more capital into the bank in order for it to survive. Last month, TSB said it was not interested in buying the loss making business.

 

MARKETS

The FTSE 100 was flat yesterday after Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election. The index closed 0.05% higher at 7,300, a rise of 3 points. Across the Channel in France the Cac 40 closed down 49 points, falling away after a strong opening.

Disappointing trade figures from China had seen mining companies slip throughout the day on the FTSE. Anglo American closed over 2% down following the news that China's import growth had slowed due to weaker imports of iron ore and copper.

Brent crude prices fell again to $48.69 per barrel, while on the currency markets sterling performed well against the euro, rising 0.3% to €1.1839, but fell a fraction against the dollar to $1.29380.

Finals
Centralnic Group, TyraTech Inc, Water Intelligence

AGMs
Cello Group, Goals Soccer Centres, Rightmove, Savills, William Hill

 

International Economic Announcements
(06:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(07:00) Current Account (GER)
(07:00) Industrial Production (GER)
(15:00) Wholesales Inventories (US)


COLUMNS OF NOTE

Rachel Sylvester, writing in The Times, argues that now is the time for Labour moderates to "jump ship" and set up a new party. She believes that the centrists in the party must take the lead of Emmanuel Macron as hard left extremists are in control of the party.

Timothy Garton Ash, writing in the Guardian, analyses the job ahead of Emmanuel Macron. The daunting task of reforming France and the European Union would be difficult for the most seasoned of political operators, never mind the inexperience Macron. He concludes that Europe is still "drinking in the last chance saloon".

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Around 12% of people dream in black and white. This percentage rises to over a quarter for people who grew up with no colour television.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 
In prorogation. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
Ministerial Statement: Forensic Examination

Stage 1 Debate: Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill


TOMORROW

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 
In prorogation. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions: Health and Sport

Scottish Labour Debate: Scrap the NHS Pay Cap