Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Snow stopping us now

Written by Katie Armour, senior associate 
Edited by Tom Gillingham, associate partner
11 February 2021

Good morning,

John Loch from Bearsden made his way to the Louisa Jordan hospital yesterday to be vaccinated against Covid-19. During his appointment, Scotland hit the million jab mark.

While we don’t know for certain that the 69-year-old got the millionth dose, John said he was delighted to be part of the milestone moment, his calmness perhaps at odds with the dramatic weather outside.

Storm Darcy closed in at the start of this week bringing with it blizzards, avalanche warnings and temperatures as low as -18 degreesNasa has published images which show all of Scotland’s land mass, bar a thin sliver of the west coast, is coated in a thick covering of snow.

But that didn’t deter the vaccine go-getters. In the Borders, 4×4 experience companies offered vaccine pickups, and on the outskirts of Edinburgh people dug pavements to get local GPs and snow-caked cars to the Queen Margaret University drive through centre.

Even after the snow melts away, there are plenty more hurdles in our path back to normality. Variants – both existing and emerging. Supplies and how they can be fairly spread. The strength of quarantine regimes and compliance with restrictions.

But it’s startling to think about how far we’ve come. This time last year, John’s vaccination venue – the SECC – hosted wedding shows, pop concerts and markets. Now the arena is a fully fledged emergency hospital that can expand to cater for 1,000 patients at short notice.

Scotland was slow to get going but we’re picking up pace and frosty foreign disputes over supplies or extreme weather warnings haven’t knocked us off course just yet. 

The WHO’s announcement yesterday that the Oxford vaccine was effective in older adults and that the UK was right to press ahead with giving out as many first doses as possible was another reason for celebration.

Optimism isn’t a natural state for us Scots, whose highest level of positivity can sometimes reach “no bad” but delaying the second dose has turned out to be a rare double whammy – covering more people and improving effectiveness.

So, for now we can enjoy this impressive marker and marvel at the determined scientists and NHS staff who got us here.  

News

A number of Conservative MPs have turned on Matt Hancock over what they believe to be “utterly ridiculous” plans to impose 10 year jail sentences on travellers who lie about where they have been. Charles Walker MP said the move “demeans” the Health Secretary’s office and others have pointed out that this carries a higher jail tariff than some serious violent crime. (£)
 
The UK Government has committed another £3.5bn to remove unsafe cladding from England’s high-rise buildings over 18 metres tall. Labour said the “arbitrary” height limit could result in financial hardship for many people living in lower blocks and campaigners have said the funding promise is “too little too late”.
 
House Democrats have launched their prosecution of former president, Donald Trump, as the Senate considers his impeachment. New CCTV footage used in the trial shows lawmakers being “hunted” inside the capital by the insurrectionist mob. 
 
Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The 2021 theme is highlighting female scientists at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 and the UN will hold a virtual debate to mark the occasion. At present, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and only 30% of all female students select STEM subjects to pursue in higher education. 

Business and economy

Brexit has prompted a shift in dealing of stocks and derivatives and Amsterdam has ousted London as Europe’s top share trading hub. An average €9.2bn shares a day were traded on Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise in January. That was a more than fourfold increase from December. (£)

Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, has accused Brussels of double standards by blocking the City from European financial markets. He warned against picking a fight and suggested that a “regional argument” could harm the economic recovery from Covid-19. (£)

Uber is showing some signs of recovery as bookings rise on a quarterly basis. Gross mobility revenue slumped 52% year-on-year to $1.47 billion in the last quarter but delivery sales more than tripled to $1.36 billion at the end of the year after the closure of restaurants prompted people to order more takeaways.

Columns of note

Larry Elliott writes in the Guardian that we’re on a collision course with the planet but is positive that “smart, activist states” could effectively handle the biodiversity crisis as they have the pandemic. He stresses that our current economic system is unsustainable for us and endangers the prosperity future generations, as he discusses Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta’s findings in a new review on the economics of biodiversity.
 

Alice Thomson argues in The Times that after Covid-19 we need to start fighting the flab, stressing that Britain’s obesity problem has been “ducked for years” and the pandemic has proven the nation needs to get slimmer and fitter. She says everyone needs to shed the “corona-kilos” and the Prime Minister must commit to making it the next national effort. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed on Wednesday with the FTSE 100 ending the session down 0.11% at 6,524.36, while the FTSE 250 was 0.55% lower at 20,996.44. Sterling grew 0.17% against the dollar to trade at $1.38 and gained 0.11% on the euro to €1.14.
 
US stocks ended the day in a mixed state in part due to key inflation data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2% at 31.437.80. The S&P 500 dropped by 0.04% to 3,909.88 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.25% lower at 13,972.53.
 
In company news: 
 
Smurfit Kappa added 1.64% after the packaging company posted “forecast-beating final earnings” which were boosted by demand in Europe and America.
 
Dunelm jumped 6.19% after it resumed dividend payments and posted a rise in first-half profits driven by higher online sales.
 
Online supermarket Ocado declined 5.45% as Barclays reiterated its “underweight” rating on the stock.
 
Watches of Switzerland slid 0.76% after the private equity firm Apollo Global Management placed 22 million shares in the company.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Astrazeneca
Coca-cola Euro.
Coca-Cola HBC
Relx
Yamana Gold

Interims
MJGleeson

AGMs
Euro Money

UK economic announcements
(00:01) RICS Housing Market Survey 

Int. economic announcements
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Chionophobia is the official term for the condition of being afraid of snow, stemming from the Greek word ‘chion’ for snow. (source: Met Office)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Cabinet Office
 
Ministerial Statement
The future of health and care
 
Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee 
Debate: The draft Fertilisers and Ammonium Nitrate Material (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021
 
Welsh Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: Railway Infrastructure in Wales
 
Work & Pensions Committee
Oral evidence: DWP’s preparations for changes in the world of work
 
Public Accounts Committee 
Oral evidence: MoJ recall, NAO Estimate & Strategy
 
Scottish Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: Welfare policy in Scotland
 
International Trade Committee 
Oral evidence: UK-EU trading relationship
 
Joint Committee on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act
Oral evidence: Fixed-Term Parliaments Act

House of Lords 

Oral Questions
Access to Child Trust Funds by those with a learning disability 
Enabling dentists to address the backlog of patients requiring dental treatment as a result of COVID-19 restrictions
Number of children unable to access online teaching in schools in England who are eligible for face-to-face teaching
Living conditions for refugees in Napier Barracks
 
Private Notice Question
Number of officers disciplined in light of Sir Richard Henriques report on Operation Midland carried out by Metropolitan Police
 
Statement
Update on Myanmar
 
Orders and regulations
Armed Forces Act (Continuation) Order 2021

Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (Claimants previously entitled to a severe disability premium) Amendment Regulations 2021

Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 202

Statement
Vaccines Deployment Update
 
Statement
Quarantine Update

Scottish Parliament 

Portfolio Questions
Finance
Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform
Rural Economy & Tourism
 
Ministerial Statement
Developing Scotland’s Hydrogen Economy
 
Ministerial Statement
Coronavirus Legislation Update
 
Members’ Business Debate
Impact of Covid-19 on Women in the Economy 
 
Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: Scottish Government Budget 2021-22
Oral evidence: EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement
 
Equalities & Human Rights Committee
Oral evidence: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill
 
Public Audit & Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee
Oral evidence: Section 22 report – The 2019/20 audit of the Scottish Police Authority
 
Social Security Committee
Oral evidence: Scottish Fiscal Commission 
Negative instrument: Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Amendment (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/12)
 
Covid-19 Committee
Oral evidence: Covid-19: Vaccination programme
Subordinate legislation: Health protection
 
Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee
Oral evidence: Public appointments
CPG Annual Report

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