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Tuesday's Business and Politics round-up

18 Sep 2018

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Good morning,

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will today publish a report considering the impacts of Brexit on the UK labour market.

The Committee was asked to carry out the research by the Government in July 2017 and will cover areas including wages and unemployment. It will also make a set of recommendations on the back off the evidence given by more than 400 businesses, industry bodies and government departments.

The review is expected to feed into the government’s upcoming immigration bill as part of the changes to UK’s immigration system after the UK leaves the EU.

IoD members continuously cite shortage of skills as one of the top three barriers to growth of their companies. With skills shortages already prominent across industries, the IoD has been urging the Government to ensure they get the future immigration system right. 


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Last-ditch effort

Liberal Democrats party conference continues and party’s leader Sir Vince Cable will today deliver his keynote speech, in which he will call on Prime Minister Theresa May to back a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Mrs May has ruled out a second referendum on numerous occasions, but Sir Vince will attempt to change her mind by saying the Prime Minister should admit that Brexit has “gone badly wrong” and “open her mind” to another public vote. Sir Vince will add that he’s “starting to feel sorry” for Mrs May as she is “dutifully delivering a policy she doesn’t really believe in.”

However, it doesn’t look like the Lib Dem leader will be able to change her mind – speaking to the BBC yesterday, Mrs May expressed her determination to see her Brexit plan through by saying that MPs will have a choice between her deal or no-deal at all.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer commented that a no deal scenario would be “catastrophic” and warned that people were being “too casual about it.” Mrs May also admitted that under “no-deal there would be some short-term disruption.”

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday that no-deal would lead to UK economy shrinking, as predicted by its annual assessment of UK economy. Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government needs to listen to IMF’s “clear warnings”.

And in other news from the other side of the negotiating table, EU leaders are calling on cast iron guarantees that Britain will not be able to reopen the terms of any Brexit deal after it’s been signed, according to confidential diplomatic notes. This comes after Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested over the weekend that a future prime minister could “choose to alter” the relationship between the UK and EU.

Bull in a china shop 

Trade tensions between the US and China are escalating further, as the US decided to impose a new round of tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods.

Some of the items affected will include handbags, textiles and rice. The taxes will be in place from 24 September and will start at 10%, increasing to 25% at the start of next year if China and the US don’t agree a deal.

Commenting on the move, US President Donald Trump said he was responding to China’s “unfair trade practices, including subsidies and rules that require foreign companies in some sectors to bring on local partners.”

Mr Trump added that he would take further action and impose tariffs on further $267bn worth of Chinese goods if China decided to retaliate. If this went ahead, it would mean that all China’s US exports would be faced with new tariffs.

Three-day Week

Jaguar has put around 1,000 of workers at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham on a three-day week, as the company is making “temporary adjustments to our production schedules” at the factory. The three-day week is planned to last between October and Christmas and workers will remain on full pay.

Falling sales have meant Jaguar has been forced to cut production. Most of Jaguar’s cars have diesel engines and with buyers questioning their environmental impact, it’s been harder to sell diesel vehicles. Nevertheless, the company said it remains committed to its UK factories, in which they have “invested more than 34bn since 2010 to future-proof manufacturing technologies to deliver new models.”

The news comes just days after chief executive of parent company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ralf Speth, issued a warning that a cliff-edge Brexit could lead to big job cuts at the company. He suggested that JLR would potentially have to divert car production to low-cost manufacturing plants in eastern Europe. 

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Donjeta Miftari, Head of Communications  

020 7451 3285


Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280


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