43. Weekly Newsletter
No Deal Brexit
On Friday (16thOctober) PM Johnson warned it was time to “get ready” to leave the EU without a deal. Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator (Lord Frost) also told the EU’s negotiator (Barnier) not to come to London this week due to the stalled negotiations; however, a future meeting during the first half of next week is still scheduled. The UK Government has been seeking out a Canadian-style agreement but the latest talks have pushed the odds towards a no-deal (or an Australian-style agreement).
The increasing likelihood of a no-deal pushed a group of over 70 business groups, representing in excess of 7 million UK employees, to pressure the Government to return to the negotiating table. These organisations (in sectors such as automobile manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture and finance) also called for EU businesses to also encourage their governments to push for a trade deal and an end to the present negotiation gridlock.
The dilemma over fishing, post-Brexit, is frequently discussed but many are left asking: why? When the UK joined the European Economic Community, 50 years ago, many of the fishing communities that ran across the British coastline felt that they were being sacrificed in the process. Today, those historical communities are now some of the most deprived in the country and were also the sites of some of the largest Brexit votes during the 2016 EU Referendum (92% of the fishing industry voted to Leave). The Common Fisheries Policy resulted in just 9% of all fish caught in the English Channel being allowed to the British- whereas, the French fishing fleets were allowed 84%.
Today, EU fishing fleets are allowed to catch 675,000 tonnes of fish in the UK’s own waters- in comparison to British fishing fleets which are only allowed to catch 88,000 tonnes. This totals £1.4bn a year (just 0.1% of the national economy) but is of great importance to the public as fishing has almost become symbolic of regaining sovereignty– which was the key objective of Brexit. The EU, led by France, has refused to allow for any change on this position and thus trade negotiations will stall until either side makes greater sacrifices. However, if a no-deal occurs: the UK will be able to take back full control of it’s fishing but this would be at the expense of numerous other industries.
Lockdown & Lockdown Resistance
UK COVID cases have continued to rise and public concern has matched this as the death toll now sits above 43,000. Case rates are now three times higher than they were during the peaks around April. Fortunately, the number of deaths, per week, is much lower (almost a tenth of the first wave) . In addition to this, concerns for businesses have continued to grow as the promotion of a “circuit breaker” 2 week lockdown has seen widespread media coverage. Furthermore, the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has backed this call in a bid to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives- all of which places more pressure on the PM.
UK Hospitality warned that over this past weekend there will have been over 200,000 jobs lost in the capital due to the city entering Tier 2 lockdown status which will limit social interactions further. However, in the North of England (where COVID cases are highest) the Mayor of Manchester, Burnham, blocked attempts by the Government to move Manchester into the strictest lockdown level. The city, with it’s large services sector, fears they are being unfairly “punished” with lockdown restrictions and will not enter lockdown unless the Government offer an 80% furlough for all workers.