23rd October 2019

Written by Katie Stanton, Senior Partner

Edited by Iain Gibson, Associate Partner




Good morning,

I’m sorry to say, I’ve overindulged.

An undesirable flubber ring now sits proudly atop my gym leggings – which have, as it goes, long been relegated to the loungewear section of my wardrobe, to my own detriment. In addition, I feel a bit rubbish, mostly tired and have admittedly been using cake as a coping mechanism, a wet plaster on a puncture, a paper brolly in a thunderstorm.

Alas, there was one thing for it. I picked myself up, purchased an overpriced London gym membership and committed myself to a rigorous regime of punishing ab workouts and total sobriety. That lasted one day before I settled for the gentler yoga, swimming, G&T regime, which I would highly recommend.

But I’m finding even my more approachable lifestyle change is a bit of a stretch. Because, to put it plainly, where is the time?

My responsibilities are nil. Aside from my juicy hour-long commute, I’ve no children, no dependents, no house to maintain or real responsibility outside my job. All I have to do is feed myself (really selling yourself here, Katie). Add in exercise and it becomes impossibly tiring.

So how do the parents do it? Shift workers? People with multiple jobs? Where do these real-life superhumans get the energy?

Well, aside from being tired always, some may choose to work flexibly where possible. A triumph for women and men alike, adaptable working patterns have shifted the balance toward a more equal economy. Increasingly, people are not quite so shackled to their commutes, freeing up enough time to work, go to the gym and put a load in the washing – who would have thought it?

Still, it can’t all be rainbows and soft officing. Disappointingly, working from your kitchen table clad exclusively in active wear has its downsides. The Chinese Wall between office and home becomes, well, like the Great Wall of China – broken. Suddenly you’re sending anxious emails at 3am and all your colleagues hate you.

Employers and regulators alike have long been concerned about employee burnout, increasingly championing strict bans on emails outside of office hours to give staff time to switch off. France has even legislated on the issue. On the face of it, this seems like a nice policy aimed at protecting workers.

In reality, it’s more likely to keep them tied to the classic 9-5, eliminating opportunity for those with other responsibilities that fall inside the working day – the majority of whom are, undeniably, women.

Recent research by the University of Sussex found that a blanket ban on late night emails could stop people achieving goals, causing stress, anxiety and neuroticism. Being denied the freedom to set your schedule and manage your workload also means being denied the flexibility to plan your life around responsibilities.

Now of course there is a balance to be struck here - I’m not advocating we all hunker down into the wee hours. But perhaps, in general, a fresh approach to the old schedule is the key to success; for both equality and exercise regimen.


News


The prime minister will push for a general election if the EU proposes to delay Brexit until January. Boris Johnson “paused” his Brexit bill on Tuesday after MPs rejected his plan to get it signed off in three days. Now EU leaders will consider whether to grant a delay to the 31 October Brexit deadline and what length it would be.

Belgian Paralympic gold medallist Marieke Vervoort has ended her life through euthanasia. The 40-year-old – who had an incurable muscle disease – won gold and silver at the London 2012 Paralympics and two further medals at Rio 2016. Vervoort’s disease caused constant pain, seizures and paralysis in her legs, leaving her barely able to sleep.

China reportedly has plans to replace Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, with an “interim” chief executive once protests have settled down. The news emerged as the murder suspect whose case prompted the original extradition bill which sparked the initial unrest, was released from prison.



Business & Economy


Property start-up WeWork has agreed to a rescue deal with Japan’s Softbank, which will see $5 billion in new financing and up to $3 billion for existing shareholders. The deal will increase Softbank’s stake in the US company to around 80 per cent. Co-founder Adam Neumann will leave the board but retain “observer” status.

The board of takeaway delivery group Just Eat is under pressure after it rejected a hostile £4.9 billion bid from a South African technology investor that threatens a proposed merger with Takeaway.com. The offer from Naspers was rejected for being too low. Still, shares soared by almost 25 per cent amid expectations that there could be other bids. (£)

The former partners of scandal-hit public relations firm Bell Pottinger have been forced to return almost half a million pounds in profits they received from the business before it collapsed. The London group went into administration in 2017 after a campaign allegedly stoking racial tensions in South Africa was exposed, causing financial ruin.


Markets


What happened yesterday?

Global stocks were broadly higher yesterday amid optimism over progress in US-China trade talks and a vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

The FTSE 100 finished up 0.7% as investors held out hope for progress. Meanwhile, Asian stocks reacted positively to Donald Trump’s admission on Monday that trade talks were “coming along very well”. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.2%, while in mainland China the CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed names climbed 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi was up 1.2%, buoyed by a 1.4% rise in technology shares.

On the currency markets, the pound was 0.4% weaker against the dollar, having touched a five-month high in the previous session after the risk of a no-deal Brexit dissipated.

Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times

Whats happening today?


Finals

Softcat


Interims

HarbourVest Private Equity


Trading Announcements

Antofagasta


AGMs

Beeks Fin.cloud Haynes Springfield Pr.

Stan Life UK Stanley Gibbons


UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) BBA Mortgage Lending Figures


Int. Economic Announcements

(13:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US) (15:00) House Price Index (US) (15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)



Columns of Note


In The Times, Jimmy McLoughlin argues that the UK’s start-up revolution means anyone can become an entrepreneur. Taking an upbeat stance on the state of play for young British businesses, the former special adviser to the prime minister and co-founder of the young entrepreneurs network at the Institute of Directors notes that one of the greatest facilitators of this revolution is the rise of co-working spaces and accelerators. Still, there is more to be done when it comes to scaling businesses. He calls on the Treasury to alter rules to allow pension funds to invest up to five per cent in venture capital funds. Doing so, he says, would “put rocket boosters under this revolution at next month’s budget.” (£) In a thought-provoking piece for The Week, Ed West explains how single men and women are making politics more extreme. Politics is increasingly polarised: in the US the rise of the alt-right is juxtaposed with the campus identity politics movement, for example. The former is overwhelmingly male, the latter female. West attributes this sex segregation to increased freedom, fewer marriages and a rising, educated class of singles, who are much more likely to diverge into extreme political subcultures.

Cartoon source: The Times

Did you know?


According to researchers at Keele University, repeating profanities during tasks including cycling and a hand-grip test boosts performance. Read more:https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/may/05/strong-language-swearing-makes-you-stronger-psychologists-confirm



Parliamentary highlights


TODAY


House of Commons Oral questions Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)

Prime Minister’s Question Time

Legislation Second reading of the Environment Bill

Adjournment PSNI’s policy on data obtained from warrants in the case of the Loughinisland journalists – Mr David Davis

House of Lords Oral questions Protecting Muslim women in Islamic marriages which are not civilly registered - Baroness Cox

Effectiveness of the EU Settlement Scheme - Lord Greaves

Securing justice for the Yazidi people of Northern Iraq - Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

British people who joined ISIS and are now being held in custody by the Kurds - Lord Dubs

Legislation Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - motion to approve - Lord Duncan of Springbank

Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - motion to regret - Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

Electricity Supplier Obligations (Excluded Electricity) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - Lord Duncan of Springbank

Waste and Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen

 Plant Health (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Lord Gardiner of Kimble

European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - Earl Howe

Scottish Parliament The Parliament is on recess until 24 October 2019.

TOMORROW

House of Commons Oral questions Transport (including Topical Questions)

General debate Spending on children’s services

Adjournment Governance of Blackpool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Gordon Marsden

House of Lords Oral questions Encouraging more people to travel by bus - Baroness Randerson

Improving access to palliative care, rehabilitation and psychosocial care for people living with a brain tumour - Baroness Wheeler

Eradicating polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan - Baroness Sheehan

Situation in Syria and Iraq following Turkey’s invasion of Syria - Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

Debate Neighbourhood services provided by district councils and other local authorities - Lord Greaves

Short debate Situation in Syria and Iraq following Turkey’s invasion - Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

Debate Recent political unrest in Hong Kong and calls to offer residents of Hong Kong citizenship in another country - Lord Alton of Liverpool

Scottish Parliament No business scheduled.