21. Weekly Newsletter
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that the UK must put divisions over Brexit behind them and focus upon building a fairer, greener economy. The CBI are now launching their own “landmark” plan, called ‘Seize the Moment’, for the next decade which they believe will drive a further £700bn of economic growth by 2030. This report specifically focuses on the UK government’s policy agenda of addressing geographic inequalities, decarbonisation and innovation.
Britain’s continued push towards ‘net-zero’ by 2050 was again furthered on Monday with the UK’s energy regulator approving plans to invest £300m in low carbon projects. These plans include financial support for up to 3,550 electric car charging stations. The issues of charging stations becoming overcrowded and potential consumers being put off purchasing due to ‘range anxiety’ are some of the challenges the electric car market currently faces. However, nationally there are in excess of 13,000 charging locations which represents more sites than petrol stations.
Over 4.4m people in the UK have tested positive for COVID but the daily rise in cases has remained consistently low for the last few months- however, this may be reversing. A total of around 127,700 deaths have been attributed to the virus and the daily increase sits in the single digits. Nationally, 38m people have received their first vaccine (72% of adults) and over 23m of these patients have also received their second dose. This brings the total number of inoculations carried out, by the private sector and National Health Service, to around 61 million.
The UK is now ramping up COVID vaccination rates, to over 550,000 per day, as the threat of the ‘Indian variant’ has raised concerns over the final step of the English lockdown from being lifted. Forecasts have also been made to suggest that PM Johnson’s lifting of social distancing rules will also be delayed due to this new variant which spreads 50% faster than the previous dominant strain. In order to limit the spread, everyone aged over 32 years old has now been invited to book their first vaccination.
UK Rich List 2021
The Sunday Times has released it’s annual ‘Rich List’ for 2021 which highlighted that the UK now has a record 171 billionaires (up by 24 from 2020). This also marked a 22% increase in the personal wealth of British billionaires to a total of £597.3bn. At the top of the list was Sir Leonard Blavatnik (£23bn ~ up £7.2bn) who runs an investment, music and media empire after having moved to the UK from Odessa, Ukraine.
Within the nation’s top 15 wealthiest there were also two Swedes: Kirsten and Jörn Rausing (£13bn ~ up £900m) ranked as 7th in the entire country due to a sizeable Tetra Laval inheritance. However, this success is also due to their 2003 £26.5m investment in the online food retailer Ocado which is now valued as a £1.4bn stake following continued market success. Right after the UK’s wealthiest ‘Young Rich List’ leader, the Duke of Westminster (aged 30), is Marit, Lisbet, Sigrid and Hans Rausing (£9.49bn ~ down £100m) who have a similar background in the Tetra Laval dynasty. The family also operate numerous charitable foundations and have donated around £1.1bn over the past 20 years.