50. Weekly Newsletter

UK Political Updates

Over the last week the British political scene has generated the majority of headlines due to recent accusations, and camera footage, of Downing Street suggesting multiple Christmas parties took place last year whilst the nation was in a lockdown. During this period in 2020, England had laws in place to prosecute and fine individuals who celebrated Christmas outside of their own households and support bubbles. Downing Street maintains that no party did take place but polling, by the right-leaning Daily Mail, reveals that around 68% of the public believe the staff who allegedly attended the party should resign. Additionally, polling data suggests trust in the PM has eroded to approximately 66% of the entire public not ‘trusting’ him.

The data comes at a challenging time for the ruling Conservative Party as they face a crucial by-election in an ultra-safe rural constituency which has consistently voted for them for almost 200 years. However, bookmakers now hold the Liberal Democrats as the favourites despite the 2019 General Election securing a majority of over 40%. The by-election results will be counted by Friday (17th December) and in the event of the seat falling to another party then the PM may face leadership challenges for the first time.

COVID

On Monday (13 December) the UK recorded its first death with the Omicron variant as the UK Health Security Agency’s modelling now estimates 200,000 people are infected per day– which represents 20% of all COVID cases in England at present. Although, only 3,137 cases have been spotted so far but 1,239 of these were recorded just yesterday. The Government now plans to move to Plan B which would require:

  • Face masks to be compulsory in most public indoor venues
  • NHS COVID Pass to be mandatory
  • People encouraged to work from home

Parliament will debate this plan on Tuesday whilst also campaigning for up to 1m per day to receive their booster vaccine in a bid to protect the nation.

Over 10.8m people in the UK have tested positive for COVID over the course of the pandemic and cases are now on the rise to over 50,000 people testing positive per day. A total of 146,477 deaths have been attributed to the virus. Nationally, 51.28m people have received their first vaccine, 46.78m have received their second, and 23.56m (up from 20.58m seven days ago) have received their third/booster dose. This brings the total number of inoculations carried out, by the private sector and National Health Service, to over 121.6m.

Record Breaking Film Industry

During the pandemic the UK film industry took a £2.6bn hit as filming stalled or was even cancelled. The creative industries lost an estimated £12bn in revenue and 5% of jobs (12,800) in film, TV, radio and photography were lost. Fortunately, these figures have now completely rebounded and a record £4.14bn was spent making TV shows in the UK last year which represents close to double pre-pandemic spendings. Additionally, as production companies such as Amazon switch to the UK (including their recent move of ‘Lord of the Rings’ filming to the UK) around 30,000 jobs will be created for the industry post-pandemic.

Over the space of a year, the streaming giant Netflix spent £740m producing 60 TV shows and films in the UK. The company also looks to now double the size of its studios in Surrey whilst Apple TV+ and Disney+ also continue to produce shows in the UK. One of the attractions of filming in Britain stems from the tax relief (since 2007) available for films and ‘high-end’ TV productions (since 2013). The Government’s Culture Secretary described these latest figures as showing “how important government action has been in driving unprecedented growth across the screen industries”.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the BSCC!

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