Risk & Economy » Brexit » 5 Things that mattered 14/8/2018

No-deal warning

Liam Fox says the chance of a no-deal Brexit is growing, blaming the “intransigence” of the European Commission. The international trade secretary and Brexiteer put the chance of failing to come to an agreement at “60-40”.

He told a Sunday newspaper that Brussels’ chief negotiator had dismissed the UK’s Chequers proposals simply because “we have never done it before”.

The UK’s biggest companies have become more optimistic about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, according to a survey, conducted twice a year by ICSA, the governance body, in conjunction with the Financial Times.

It found that more than half — 55% — of FTSE 350 company secretaries expected Brexit to have a negative effect on the economy, but this was sharply down on the proportion a year ago, when over two-thirds — 69% — thought this would be the case.

Age of machines

More than six million workers are worried their jobs could be replaced by machines over the next decade, according to a report urging trade unions and the government to provide more support for those at risk.

The findings come as Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, launches a commission on workers and technology for the Fabian Society and the Community trade union.

Falling pound

The pound falls to its lowest level against the dollar and the euro this year, as mounting fears that Britain is at risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal prompted an across-the-board sell-off in the world’s financial markets.

Sterling fell sharply against all major currencies as investors sought to insure themselves against the growing possibility that talks between London and Brussels break down over the coming months.

Assetco executives banned

Three senior executives at a company that leased fire engines to London Fire Brigade are banned from the accounting profession for a total of 42 years for misconduct and for activities in some cases “facilitating fraud”.

John Shannon, former chief executive of Assetco; Raymond Flynn, its former chief financial officer; and Matthew Boyle, who was financial controller, also were fined a total of £500,000.

The sanctions are the most stringent to have been handed out against company directors by the Financial Reporting Council, which regulates accountants. The council said that the actions of the three executives were the most serious misconduct it had pursued.

Northamptonshire woes

Crisis-hit Northamptonshire county council votes to push ahead with a radical cuts strategy to reduce services to a bare legal minimum, as it attempts to close a financial black hole which it says could grow to £180m within three years.

The strategy aims for “radical service reductions and efficiencies” across a range of areas, including children’s services and adult social care as it moves to a stripped back “core offer” to residents.