Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
This Week in Brexit
It’s been relatively quiet on the Brexit front recently so we’ve combined our usual two posts on the economy and politics into one, enjoy:
Post-referendum Britain continues to out perform the pre-vote predictions.
Yesterday saw the FTSE 100 near 2016 highs and the pound rise to $1.30 following the USA’s Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged.
Dutch Bank ABN Ambro recently upped their forecasts for the year for the pound against the euro and the dollar.
Also yesterday, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that car production in August hit a 14 year high, following several years of strong investment in the UK.
On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics declared that the referendum vote has not had a “major effect” on the economy so far.
However, there’s no denying the political risks of Brexit still weigh heavy on investors’ minds: on Tuesday the pound hit a five week low against the dollar following fresh warnings about the potential impact of Brexit on the City of London and political announcements (see below).
On Tuesday, Theresa May sought to bolster confidence in the UK’s place on the international stage by telling the UN General Assembly in New York that the Brexit vote was not “a vote to turn inwards”.
Meanwhile the PM of Malta, Joseph Muscat, warned “I don't see a situation where Britain will be better off at the end of the deal…you can’t have your cake and eat it”. Mr Muscat is next in line for the rotating EU Council presidency meaning that he will chair Brexit discussions, should Theresa May trigger Article 50 early next year.
This week, both European Council President Donald Tusk and Boris Johnson hinted that the Government intends to begin formal negotiations early next year.
This week also saw the Lib Dem’s kick off party conference season in Brighton. Party leader Tim Farron restated their commitment to a second EU Referendum. On Monday, party members endorsed a proposal for a referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal negotiated by the government, with the option of remaining in the EU.
Over in the Labour Party, the leadership elections are drawing to the close. On Wednesday likely victor and incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn offered an olive branch (almost literally) to his waring colleagues. He called for unity after the outcome of the election is announced tomorrow (Saturday).
This Week at the Chambers
This week our CEO, Paul Faulkner, took part in the first Midlands Engine Trade Mission to Chicago and Toronto alongside key local businesses and Midlands Engine champion and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid. You can catch the latest on Paul’s twitter account: @gbchamberboss
Closer to home, on Wednesday we held a speaker breakfast with Sion Simon MEP, Labour Candidate for the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor, giving members the opportunity to have their say on what a mayor should focus on. We look forward to unveiling our full programme of activity around the Mayoral elections in the not to distant future as the full line up of candidates becomes clear.
We’ve also been calling on Government to get its house in order around the Apprenticeship levy, after new Chamber research revealed 40% of West Midlands are unaware of it. You can read more here.
And we’ve been beavering away on finalising arrangements for the Bank of England briefing event on the 7th October and the launch of our next Quarterly Business Report on the 11th October. Both events will give delegates a great opportunity to hear the latest on the post-referendum economy and feed in their views on key business concerns and opportunities.