Linstock’s Friday Takeaway – 4 November 2016

“Aston University launched ‘Carbon Journey’ this week, a project that has brought together more than 2,500 students to raise awareness of climate change.”

Good Week: UK Economy
The Bank of England has increased its growth forecast for the UK’s economy in 2017 to 1.4%. This is compared to a prediction of 0.8% made after the Brexit vote, and reflects how much better the economy has fared than many expected. The revision is the biggest positive change the Bank has ever made to its economic forecast. The pound strengthened against the dollar and the euro following the announcement yesterday. The Monetary Policy Committee has also said that interest rates will not need to be cut next year to stimulate economic growth.

Bad Week: Brexit Process
The process for the UK to leave the European Union was complicated and potentially delayed yesterday. The UK High Court ruled that Parliament must vote on whether the government should trigger Article 50 to begin formal negotiations to exit the EU. The High Court concluded: “We decide that the government does not have power … to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union”. Government lawyers have argued that Gina Miller and Deir Dos Santos brought about the case to try to overturn the outcome of the referendum. However, Miller said her actions were to uphold the “highest standards of transparency and democratic accountability…It’s not about how anyone voted…This case was about process, not politics.”

Good Week: Cyber Experts
Cyber experts can expect to be in demand over the coming months, as Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the government’s new national cyber-security strategy this week. The plans include an investment of £1.9bn into defensive measures to protect government, industry and the public from growing cyber-crime. Mark James, Security Specialist at ESET said the strategy could be successful with “the right expertise and professionals giving the best advice”.

Bad Week: Southern Rail Passengers
For the 8th time this year, Southern Rail’s conductors are striking in opposition to changes to their role. There have been 15 days of strikes since April, which has led to major disruption for those travelling on Southern Rail trains. Mick Cash, HR director of Southern’s operating company Govia Thameslink Railway, told the union: “Your unnecessary action is continuing to have a material and negative impact on people’s work and family lives as well as the regional economy and I urge you to stop.” However, the union has rejected this appeal and yet more crippling strikes are set to take place in December if the dispute is not resolved.

Client News
The latest findings from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report featured in the Financial Times this week. The figures revealed that while business optimism has fallen in a number of economies following the Brexit vote, plans to export – particularly among UK businesses – has increased.

Aston University launched ‘Carbon Journey’ this week. In partnership with Birmingham City University, the project has brought together more than 2,500 students to raise awareness of climate change, including the implications it may have on their careers and the wider world. Check out Aston’s Carbon Journey video which features as the lead environment story on iNews here.

Coming Up
We’ll be attending Newcastle University’s annual sustainability conference. The conference will explore the challenges in sustainability research at a range of scales: regional, national and international, to enhance collaboration between academia, industry and policy.