House of Commons
No business scheduled
Out of chaos, opportunity
Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate
Edited by Harriet Moll, creative director
27 October 2020
In the bleak days of World War II, Winston Churchill famously said that one should “never let a good crisis go to waste”. As we navigate through the disruptions caused by the pandemic, these words ring more true than ever today.
If the current crisis has any merit, it must be the force it has created to drive innovation in order to survive and move forward. One fresh example from today, the multiple innovations adopted by Ikea to tackle the challenges of closures during lockdowns and competition from online giants like Amazon and Alibaba.
But it is not only big business who are responding with innovation. Here in Scotland, a growing number of young people – those same under 25s who have been worst affected by the pandemic in terms of employment, – are not wasting this crisis.
Look no further than Scotland’s Converge Challenge, a national competition that identifies and awards financial support to the best emerging businesses across the country. In September, the programme received a record number of new applicants and gave £80,000 of business support to staff and students from Scottish universities.
Biggar Economics’ report evaluating the impact of the Converge Challenge on business growth and the economy from 2011 to 2019 has found that each £1 invested in Converge from 2011 to 2019 generated £3.66 gross value added (GVA) for the Scottish economy. So as well as establishing Scotland as a fertile ground for creativity and entrepreneurialism, start-ups that participated in the programme generated 21.5million GVA and created 524 jobs in Scotland.
For a number of well understood reasons, women are suffering more with the burden of this crisis than men. But here’s some good news for the girls, because what began as a male dominated cohort in this year’s Converge Challenge ended up as a balanced number of female and male participants with the female founders making a clean sweep of every major award this year.
Each generation leaves behind its own legacy, you may say. But the generation born in the two decades following WWII – the so called “baby boomers” – largely shaped the US economy and culture the way we know it today.
Could Generation Z, forced to fuel innovation to meet the world’s pressing challenges already be the driving force of the post pandemic economy of tomorrow? No pressure, folks.
Nottingham and parts of the surrounding county are set to move into the top tier of restrictions from midnight on Thursday. The city’s residents along with Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe, will face the toughest level of restrictions, that is, a ban on household mixing both indoors and outdoors, with pubs and bars forced to shut down unless they serve a “substantial meal”.
In a letter from the Northern Research Group, 55 Conservative MPs in northern England have urged Boris Johnson to provide a clear roadmap out of lockdown and that the government’s ‘levelling up’ is being abandoned.
Researchers from Imperial College London found that the number of people testing positive for antibodies has fallen by 26% since lockdown was eased over the summer, dashing any hopes that herd immunity will be reached. As part of the study, 365,000 people have taken part over three rounds of testing.
Business and economy
Today launches the 10,000 Black Interns initiative aimed at increasing the number of internships available to black candidates. Former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Labour Party figures and the CBI are among the high-profile figures who back the initiative.
The Centre for Progressive Policy has said that tougher employment were needed to prevent extreme levels of financial insecurity, as the government’s furlough scheme is coming to an end later this week. According to the thinktank, 40% of business leaders would back shake-up of the fall to protect workers from exploitation and extreme poverty.
Aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce is making preparations to close factories temporarily, reduce working hours and cut benefits. Today, the firm’s shareholders are set to vote on the company’s £2bn discounted three for 10 rights issue, in a bid to release government support for a further £3bn in debt. (£)
Columns of note
In the New Yorker, John Cassidy argues that while Donald Trump has managed to navigate through many setbacks and difficult times – among which bankruptcies, lawsuits, impeachment, and contracting covid-19– there is one which might eventually cost him the next presidency. (£)
Turning to the government’s free school meal fiasco in the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff delves into the rationale behind the government’s decision to stop providing free meal vouchers. Could the government’s response be an indicator of a deeper fear as to why so many families need it in the first place in the long-term?
What happened yesterday?
London stocks ended the session in a weaker position yesterday, amid growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and looming further restrictions.
The FTSE 100 closed down 1.16% at 5,792.01, and the FTSE 250 was 1.42% weaker at 17,853.30.
In the meantime, sterling lost 0.16% against the dollar to $1.3018, but gaining 0.16% on the euro to €1.1015.
Wall Street’s main indexes also tumbled as new Covid-19 infections reached record levels in the US. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 2.68% to 27,577.43, the S&P 500 fell 2.11% to 3,392.13 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.75% to 11,347.51.
In company news:
Financial technology giant Ant Group, backed by Jack Ma, is set to sell shares worth about $34.4bn on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets.
HSBC is drawing up plans to overhaul its business model and move forward with a programme of cuts to slash costs, in a move which will shrink Europe’s biggest lender in size.
What’s happening today?
City Of London Investment
UK economic announcements
(10:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys
Int. economic announcements
(09:00) M3 Money Supply (EU)
(12:30) Durable Goods Orders (US)
(13:00) House Price Index (US)
(14:00) Consumer Confidence (US)
During the Cold War, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to work together should the world be invaded by aliens. Source: @qikipedia
House of Commons
No business scheduled
House of Lords
Government policy in respect of Zimbabwe – Lord Oates
Additional financial support for high street retailers affected by the restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic – Lord Rose of Monewden
Protecting victims of domestic abuse – Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate
Improving the speed of test results for COVID-19 – Lord Scriven
Orders and regulations
Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – committee stage – Baroness Stedman-Scott
Time for Reflection: Canon Hugh White, St John the Baptist RC Church, Fauldhouse
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Topical Questions (if selected)
Ministerial Statement: Miners’ Strike Review
Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee Debate: Energy Inquiry
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Members’ Business — S5M-22506 Liam McArthur: Pay Student Paramedics
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