25. Weekly Newsletter

Chancellor Commits To AI

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has pushed for ministers to seize the opportunities of artificial intelligence (AI). The objective is to save money, boost underperforming growth rates and reignite public services. The deputy at the Treasury is now undertaking a report (due before the Autumn Statement) on raising public service productivity with a special focus upon accelerating the implementation of AI. In the long-term, the chancellor believes that this will improve efficiency and enable tax cuts before the next general election.

The PM has also appointed Ian Hogarth, an entrepreneur and tech investor, to chair the government’s foundation-model task force to develop AI. This taskforce, modelled on the vaccine taskforce, will be backed with an initial £100m. Hogarth will additionally take a leading role in the first global AI summit which is being hosted by PM Sunak this Autumn with world leaders expected in attendance.

Newspapers & PM Kristersson at Downing Street

The UK’s front page news cycle over the last seven days covered a wide range of topics with no single issue dominating headlines. The resignation of former PM Johnson continues to draw attention with PM Sunak now facing four by-elections. Some of the newspaper front pages over the last week were:

  • The Daily Telegraph: Starmer- I’ll push onshore wind to hit net zero
  • The Guardian: Pressure on Sunak as Met police ‘consider’ latest Partygate video
  • Financial Times: AstraZeneca drafts plans to carve out China business
  • The Daily Telegraph: Carney blames Brexit for inflation
  • The Guardian: Tory timebomb as millions face surge in mortgage rates
  • The Times: End of the road for Johnson
  • Financial Times: Johnson’s repeated lies to MPs condemned in searing report
  • The Daily Telegraph: Hunt- I’ll put us on path to lower tax
  • Daily Express: Boris- Believe Me… I Shall Return To Frontline Politics

Sweden’s PM Kristersson was welcomed at 10 Downing Street on Monday (19th July) as the British PM hailed the Anglo-Swedish relationship and congratulated Sweden’s Eurovision win. PM Kristersson provided an update on the country’s accession to NATO with the full support of PM Sunak. The two leaders also discussed wider global challenges such as the “indivisibility” of Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security. Additionally, the recent tragedy on the Greek coast was highlighted as consequence of unsafe and illegal migrant routes to Europe which should be deterred. The meeting concluded with the two PMs agreeing to stay in close touch.

Labour’s Energy Proposals

The Labour Party (currently polling at 44% compared to the Conservative Party at 29%) has pledged to end North Sea oil and gas exploration. The party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has also committed to the creation of a public-owned green energy company called ‘GB Energy’. The new company would be launched within a year of Labour winning a general election which they estimate would create 50,000 jobs. However, the opposition party reversed a previous 2021 pledge to invest £28bn in green industries per year until 2030 due to financing challenges.

Most analysts expect a general election in the Autumn of 2024 which could see the opposition party gain power (possibly through a coalition). If Labour win, they also have committed to reversing the de facto ban on onshore wind farms in England. Additionally, they stated that they would overrule council rejections to renewable projects due to the ‘there ought to be more renewables… but I just don’t want it near me’ mindset.

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