IoD Week in Policy 8th–12th November

This week in policy

Ah, scandals, squabbles, and strife; comedy, tragedy, and satyr. Not a good week to be a Tory politician, or a Brexit negotiator, or the royal family, or a Yorkshire cricketer, or Boris Johnson. Well, there’s nothing new there then. Sneaky second jobs, unlawful lobbying, crafty Covid contracts, hidden house refurbs, missing messages on WhatsApp… the list goes on. Oh no, BoJo. Here is what else is on his mind at the moment:

Sausages, fish, and chips on shoulders

  • A stand off for the ages. We mean it, this has been going on for ages now, and we can’t stand it anymore.
  • It seems joint custody of Northern Ireland is proving challenging for these particular divorcees.
  • Things are escalating quickly. From disagreeing on customs procedures, to initiating a sausage war, then producing a Command Paper calling for an overhaul of the system, Lord Frost threatening Article 16 in early October when the EU didn’t take kindly to the Command Paper, then a war on arbitration over Northern Ireland, AND THEN, a war on fish!
  • Frost’s most recent statement on the matter is that everyone should just calm down. Honestly, I don’t know why we didn’t think of that before.
  • We just hope both sides can come to a pragmatic solution that puts business first.

COP: Close Of Play 

  • The second week of COP26 has concluded, and as promised, we are here this week with our overall verdict. The results are in.
  • Everyone arriving by plane: that’s a 0/10. Not quite the flying start we envisaged.
  • Biden’s nap: 0/10. He was supposed to be nodding along, not nodding off.
  • The pledge against deforestation: 6/10. It’s better funded than previous initiatives, but there also needs to be a better action plan on how it will be policed. Plus Indonesia pulled out last minute claiming the promise is unfair. There are two sides to every story, but we think they’re slightly barking up the wrong tree.
  • The scheme to cut 30% of methane emissions by 2030: 3/10. The biggest emitters, China, Russia and India gave this one a miss and so we think it will quite a mission to commit to.
  • The agreement to shift away from coal: 3/10. Key players like China, the US, Australia, and India gave this one the coal-d shoulder.
  • The declaration by governments, city authorities and car manufacturers to only sell zero emissions cars and vans by 2035: 2/10. China, the US, Volkswagen, Toyota, Renault-Nissan, Hyundai-Kia were notably absent, and we really need them to help drive this one forwards.
  • China and the US’s unexpected new friendship: 11/10. They have suddenly decided that more cooperation is needed to tackle climate change. Brexit negotiators take note. If they can do it, so can we.
  • The final draft of the COP26 deal, which urges countries to strengthen carbon cutting targets by the end of 2022: 4/10. Let’s be honest, there’s always more to do.
  • Overall score: 4/10. Come On People, Change Of Plan, Choose Our Planet. China’s Opened-up Participation. Chargers Over Petrol. Chief Of Police…

GDP figures – slightly slim, but time to pile back on the pounds 

  • GDP rose by 0.6% in September, now also 0.6% below the pre-pandemic level.
  • Although this was slightly higher than expected, we think it’s unlikely to affect the growth forecasts for the end of the year because of revisions elsewhere.
  • It has been a particularly tricky few months for businesses, but we can be reassured that continued recovery into the autumn is being helped by the reopening of the public sector.

Week ahead in Policy

We have a packed agenda next week, so can we please ask that no items overrun to avoid going over time? We have economic data and analysis by the bucketful, so get your calculators ready. It is International Trade Week next week. Good timing to celebrate our global potential in terms of Free Trade Agreements and Digital Economy Agreements; slightly bittersweet in light of the UK-EU friction.

We can break up the politics with some more friendly competition over the weekend. England are taking on Australia in the Autumn Internationals. We’re wondering whether they will be discussing our new trading relationship while locking heads in the scrum.

Monday 15th November 

  • Treasury Committee oral evidence – Bank of England Monetary Policy Reports

Tuesday 16th November

  • Second reading of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.
  • Labour market data for September including unemployment. This will be looked at closely by the Bank of England as they refine their understanding of how the ending of furlough is affecting the economy.

Wednesday 17th November 

  • International Trade Committee oral evidence on the EU-UK relationship.
  • October inflation data. Expected to be well above September’s rate of 3.1% (CPI) due to the reversal of the temporary VAT cut and the regulator’s increase of household energy price caps from October 1st.

Thursday 18th November 

Friday 19th November 

  • Consumer confidence figures and retail sales data for October. This is an important indicator of whether those households that have accumulated savings over the pandemic are in a mood to go out and spend.

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