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Friday 4 October 2019

Showing us why Britain should leave the EU are non other than the French, their businesses want the uncertainty done with, their customs authorities are fully prepared for WTO Brexit, meanwhile a recent report authored by BNP Paribas dismisses Brexit scare stories and anticipates huge growth in cutting edge sectors across the UK. Meanwhile France together with Ireland and Austria is threatening to pull the plug on a major EU trade deal, a reminder of why we’re better of doing global deals on our own. At home, employment and wages are up, fintech, green innovation and healthcare are set for an investment bonanza.

ITV – UK employment rate hits record high as wages surge higher

Yet again, Britain’s employment rate has hit a record high. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in work rose by 31,000 to 32.78 million in the three months to July. The unemployment rate is at a 45-year low on 3.8%. Wage growth is at it’s highest since the financial crisis in 2008, 4% – just over half that once inflation is accounted for.

“There was a time when this would have been big news. Yet three hours after the Office of National Statistics issued its latest inflation release neither the BBC , the Guardian, the Telegraph nor the Times were carrying it prominently in the news sections of their websites,” observe the Spectator. “It is a symptom of how our news cycles have been infected by Brexit. If some think tank comes up with a report predicting some dire outcome of our departure from the EU it will be treated to splash coverage. But when real economic data is published it gets pushed into the background.”

Telegraph – Science and technology boom to create millions of new jobs in decades after Brexit

Investment is flooding into Britain’s cutting-edge sectors. Extra funding for industries like tech, green innovation and health will lead to a 2.7 million jobs boom over the coming decades, a report by BNP Paribas and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found. BNP Paribas’ head in the UK is highly optimistic for Brexit Britain: “Over the years the UK economy has always been a broad and a deep economy with key sectors that have done well. When we look at the forecast this shows more of the same.” The report seeks to dismiss project fear, looking at Britain withdrawal from the EU as a net positive: “There is no doubt that Brexit will provide a catalyst for businesses in these fields to scale further, particularly across markets outside the EU, not least in the fields of computer programming, cyber security and consulting.”

City A.M. – UK fintechs attracting rising investment despite Brexit uncertainty

The total average investment raised so far this year by fintech firms grew a third compared to the same period two years ago, says a report by EY and Innovate Finance with the average amount raised by each firm jumping from £15m to £20m. London just overtook New York as the world’s leading city for fintech investment – securing 114 investments in technology linked to financial services during the first eight months of 2019, a record-breaking $2bn (£1.6bn) commitment. The next round is expected to raise £2.6bn.

FT – Strong sales despite Brexit nerves — PAD London fair 2019

Well-healed art lovers strolling through the Pavilion of Art and Design in swanky Mayfair aren’t known for being fans of Brexit, but they all agree it’s “been a great year for sales”, the FT reports. The increased competitiveness Sterling following the 2016 referendum “means we are selling a lot more for export on a day-to-day basis. There’s always an upside,” says one dealer. “Now the pound has plummeted, our US sales have rocketed,” says another.

Foyle Port: Revenues rise despite ‘Brexit uncertainty’

Foyle, Britain’s most westerly port has recorded a tenth consecutive operating profit, reaching £1.9m, no sign then of slackening trade in anticipation of Brexit. “As a commercial entity, we have shown that we can be flexible and adapt to the new realities of the business environment,” said CEO Bonnie Anley. “We continue to invest and innovate so that we are ready to grasp all new opportunities arising in the future”.

Europe on Brexit

Politico – UK to become ‘economic competitor’ after Brexit, Merkel warns

As Britain unshackles itself from ruinous EU regulations and looks outwards, the EU itself is beginning to panic. “After the withdrawal of Britain, we will have an economic competitor at our own doorstep,” said Angela Merkel at a parliamentary debate last month.  

Reuters – UK customs says staff shortage won’t mean Brexit anarchy; France says ‘smart border’ ready

France’s customs authorities are prepared for No Deal Brexit. A computerised system for lodging export requests and scanning number plates in order to track consignments is in place. 500 of the foreseen 700 customs agents have already been hired. “We managed to adapt our infrastructure, we have created new offices in Calais and Dunkirk that are open 24/7 and can adjust to the flows of international trade,” customs official, Vilolaine Colent told a conference attended by officials from HMRC. On the British side, the electronic systems are in place, staff shortages are the only concern. However, “There will be no anarchy in the UK if we leave the EU without a deal on October 31,” assured Colent’s counterpart, Margaret Whitby. Everything is in place to ensure no additional checks will be needed for the 5 million trucks crossing the Channel each year. 

Daily Mail – France’s business federation warns of ‘Brexit without end’

France’s business federation MEDEF has told the EU to help get Britain out by October 31st, warning against falling “into the trap of a Brexit without end, sterile for our economies and dangerous for the integrity of the union.”

BBC – Austria blocks EU-Mercosur trade deal with South America

The EU’s agreement in principle towards a trade deal with South America’s trading bloc, MERCOSUR met with the usual exaggerated “Britain can’t do it alone” fanfare when it was struck in June. A few months on and the FTA lies in tatters as Austria looks poised to veto it on environmental grounds. France and Ireland are threatening to pull the plug too for the same reasons , although Brazil’s massive agricultural sector might also have something to do with it. Another illustration of why global Britain can only happen for an independent Britain.