Published: 16 November 2021
Location: London, UK
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 160,000 more workers on payrolls in October than in September, despite the end of the furlough scheme. Job vacancies also hit a fresh record high of 1.17 million in the three months to October as firms continued to struggle with worker shortages. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.3%, near to its pre-pandemic level. Sam Beckett, head of economic statistics at the ONS, said: "It might take a few months to see the full impact of furlough coming to an end, as people who lost their jobs at the end of September could still be receiving redundancy pay. However, October's early estimate shows the number of people on the payroll rose strongly on the month and stands well above its pre-pandemic level." She added: "There is also no sign of an upturn in redundancies and businesses tell us that only a very small proportion of their previously furloughed staff have been laid off.” The BBC says there had been fears the end of the furlough would lead to a spike in unemployment, with an estimated 1.1 million people still on it in its final days, however demand for workers has remained strong especially in sectors such as administration, hospitality and healthcare. In response to the stats, Chancellor Rishi Sunak claimed the furlough scheme has been an "extraordinary success" as such a "small" number of jobs were lost at its demise.
Appearing in front of the Treasury Committee yesterday, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey voiced his concern about the UK’s rising inflation, admitting that he is “very uneasy about the situation”. He said growth in the British economy is starting to “flatten out”, meaning that Britain was facing more “two-sided risks” than before, a reference to weaker growth on one side, and rising inflation on the other, because of ongoing supply disruptions and an energy crisis that is dampening recovery and pushing inflation even higher. “I am very uneasy about the inflation situation… I want to be very clear on that,” he said. “It is not, of course, where we want it to be, to have inflation above target.” However, Bailey dismissed the idea that Britain could face a 1970s style wage-price spiral, saying: "The structure of the economy, the structure of the labour market is very different to the 1970s”. UK inflation stood at 3.1% in September, above the Bank’s 2% target, and is expected to keep climbing to as much as 5% by next April.
UK rental growth hit a 13 year high in the last quarter of the year as demand doubled in major cities thanks to the continued reopening of the economy, new data has shown. According to Zoopla’s quarterly Rental Market Report, average rent in Britain increased 4.6% overall to £968 compared to the year before, and rose by 6%, excluding London. It climbed 3% over the last quarter to its highest level since 2008. Yahoo Finance UK reports that Zoopla’s study showed demand continued to outstrip supply, which stood at 43% below the five-year average, and put an upward pressure on rents. The average time to let a property was 15 days. Only in Scotland and London has the market lagged. In London, rents rose by 4.7% between June and September, but remained 5% lower than pre-pandemic levels in the capital.
The Dutch government said yesterday that it was "unpleasantly surprised" by news that Royal Dutch Shell PLC is planning to move its headquarters and tax residency to London from The Hague, so much so that the Guardian says it understands politicians from multiple parties are now in frantic talks about how to change the oil giant’s mind. Prime minister, Mark Rutte, who is expected to extend his 11-year tenure, is said to be exploring proposals to scrap the 15% dividend tax Shell has cited as one of its reasons for leaving. Rutte’s coalition government moved to axe the tax in 2017 but the plan was dropped after a political backlash. Fellow Anglo-Dutch company Unilever then decided to move its headquarters from Rotterdam to London. Sources told the newspaper the feeling is that “something must be done now to appease Shell,” even if it means acting before a new coalition government can be formed following elections earlier this year. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposals on 10 December.
The BBC claims the government is set to scrap the eastern leg of HS2 between the Midlands and Leeds. Instead, The Transport Department will announce a new rail plan on Thursday this week, involving £96bn of funding for new routes in the North and Midlands. A source told BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley that the new plans would show an "enormous amount of common sense" and that scrapping the Leeds leg of HS2 would make journeys longer by 20 minutes. HS2 was originally meant to connect London with the city centres of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. However, a huge increase in construction costs and the devastation it will bring to communities en route has led to a political backlash. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is specifically expected to announce two shorter high-speed routes created in part by upgrading existing lines. One will run between Leeds and Sheffield, another from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway. The government is also expected to put money aside to explore setting up a tram service for Leeds.
The Premier League is closing in on a record-breaking television rights deal in the United States, the BBC reports. Second-round bids for the rights, which have been held by NBC since 2013, are due to close by 18 November. The six-season deal from 2022-2028 could raise up to $2bn (£1.49bn) with NBC, CBSand ESPN all vying for the rights.
Premier League club Manchester United is reportedly close to finalising the details of a new fan share scheme pledged by its owners in the wake of this year's European Super League (ESL) protests. Sky News has learnt that the club and the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) are at an advanced stage of talks about the initiative, which would see the New York Stock Exchange-listed company issue an initial tranche of shares to be owned by supporters. These shares would be structured as a new class of equity carrying the same voting rights as the B-share class owned by members of the Glazer family, which took control of Manchester United in 2005, according to a person involved in the talks. The B-shares - and therefore the new fan shares - carry 10 times the voting rights as the ordinary A-shares held by most investors. One source said the initial tranche issued under the scheme could be in the region of $10m, although the number has yet to be finalised. The intention would then be to issue further - and potentially larger - tranches of shares in subsequent years, depending on demand from United fans.
TVR is set to open its new manufacturing plant in Ebbw Vale early next year. The reborn British sports car manufacturer has announced a joint venture with a lithium mining company, Enscorcia Metals Corporation, which it says will both help fund production of the forthcoming V8-powered Griffith and “ensure the supply chain for TVR’s future battery requirements”.
The euro hit a 16-month low yesterday, diving below $1.14 for the first time since July last year amid concerns about ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks and as Europe's central bank chief pushed back against the need to act to tame inflation. Tightening monetary policy now to rein in inflation could choke off the euro zone's recovery, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said yesterday.
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