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This Week in Brexit: 2nd December

GBCC

There have been a few red faces in the Brexit arena this week:

This Week in Politics:

On Monday an aid to Conservative MP Mark Field fell victim to a long lens photographer after leaving a meeting with the Brexit department. He was photographed carrying notes bearing the memorable line “what's the model? Have your cake and eat it” and critiques of various negotiation positions.

Paul Nuttall was confirmed as the new leader of UKIP after winning 62.2% of the party vote.

Also on Monday, another Government legal battle hit the news. Pro-single market think tank British Influence revealed that they are writing to Brexit Secretary David Davis on their intention to seek a formal judicial review of the government's position on membership of the European Economic Area.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May highlighted comments by EU Council President Donald Tusk as vindication for the Government’s secretive position on the long term residence rights of EU nationals. Tusk had said no “reciprocal” deal could be agreed until Activation of Article 50 and formal negotiations take place.

Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also weighed in on Wednesday, saying London could seek their own deal to enable firms in the capital to continue recruiting staff from the European Union after Brexit.

A busy Brexity Thursday revealed that Britain experienced a historically high influx of EU migrants ahead of the EU referendum.

Boris Johnson had some explaining to do after a number of high ranking EU diplomats attending a private roundtable broke the Chatham House rule to report that he’d stated his personal support for Free Movement of People.  Boris denied this.

Finally, David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, caused a stir by indicating that the Government may consider paying for access to the single market post-Brexit.

Today there’s only really one Brexit headline: the results of the Richmond Park by-election. Lib Dem Sarah Olney, campaigning on an anti-hard-Brexit platform, swept to victory over-turning the 23,015 majority of ex-Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.

This Week in the Economy:

There were only a few signs of Brexit woes in the economy this week.

Retail analysts IMRG revealed that “Black Friday” campaigns led to a 12% rise in online sales. Retailer John Lewis did particularly well, reporting their best ever trading week thanks largely to Black Friday promotions.

There was more festive fun for consumers, Good House Keeping revealed that the cost of a Christmas dinner could be the cheapest since its survey began for savvy shoppers, with prices dropping 10.8% since 2009.

There was gloomier news for the Christmas Pudding, thanks to depreciation of sterling hitting the cost of flour and dried fruit imports, costs are up 21% for this traditional treat.

There was an early Christmas present for the beleaguered pound sterling: according to the FT, The UK currency has held firm in November, rising nearly 2 per cent versus the dollar and set for its best monthly performance since January 2009.

Mark Carney had a more sober warning for consumers, however. He voiced his concerns about the level of household debt in the UK in response to BofE figures revealing credit card lending has hit a record high.

This Week at the Chambers:

Speaking of festive follies, we’re running a fabulous competition for our Facebook fans.  During our 12 Days of Christmas competition (which launched yesterday) competitors could win a wonderful range of prizes from a big screen advertising opportunity to a shopping spree, massages at work to a two VIP hospitality tickets to see Take That at the Genting Arena. All you have to do to take part is get liking GBCC facebook posts (terms and conditions apply). Click here to find out more.

Back to the serious business:  our latest Quarterly Business Report Survey closed on Monday. While we are still finishing up the analysis it is safe to say there are some fascinating trends emerging. But if you want to know more you will have to join us for our official QBR Q4 Launch event on the 19th January. Click here for more information.

On Wednesday, the GBCC partnered with GBCC Patron Robert Walters and the ICAEW on the inaugural West Midlands Finance Awards. The high quality evening saw 500 delegates gathering at the ICC to celebrate leading lights in finance across the region. Keep an eye on our ChamberLink Daily enews letter for more information on the fabulous winners, coming soon (click here).