We’ve summarised the top stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing, so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
UK Business & Economics
- The Office for National Statistics has released results from a two week long survey claiming four in ten British households are struggling to meet energy and food bills. Lord Rose, Asda chairman, has said that the Bank of England was too slow to react to the rising prices, and warns that bills will remain high unless measures are taken to alleviate the economic pressures of a sinking pound.
- UK house prices have risen by 12.1% in the past year, yet the Nationwide Building Society indicates that rates are set to slow due to soaring inflation and spikes in the cost of living. In the past year, all but one month has seen annual house price rises above 10%; the average house price in April has been calculated at £267,620.
- Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended his decision to delay full post-Brexit border checks on imports from the EU for the fourth time. This means that whilst EU firms will be able to sell into the British market, free of health and safety checks, British based companies will face the full range of regulations if they plan to sell into the EU.
International Business & Economics
- President Xi Jinping has promised an “all out” spending package on Chinese infrastructure to aid the recovery of the national economy and re-open access to many of China’s infamous “ghost cities”. The nation’s “zero-Covid strategy” has resulted in some of the most radical lockdowns, stunting national economic growth by 3.2% in March alone, according to Capital Economics.
- Central Banks across the globe are raising interest rates in response to higher levels of inflation. Previously, shrinking balance sheets for the US Federal Reserve has encouraged quantitative tightening, the opposite of quantitative easing. However, quantitative tightening on a global scale does present the world economy with a “major headwind” to deal with.
- The Central African Republic is the second country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, after El Salvador took the same measure last year. Obed Namsio, chief of staff to the President, described the decision as a “decisive step towards opening up new opportunities” for the country.
- Sri Lanka is now experiencing a 29.8% inflation rate, 11.1% up from the figure in March. The nation is in talks with the World Bank, China, and Japan for financial assistance. But with no foreign currency to import goods and an estimated $4bn recovery package needed, credit ratings for the nation have reduced, making it harder to gain access to economic aid.
- An unexpected contraction, 1.4% of GDP, in the US economy for the first quarter of 2022 has been blamed on “technical factors” by US president Joe Biden. This is the first reduction in growth since mid-2020, where quarantines were to blame for the decline of economic growth.
- Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has resigned after he admitted to watching pornography twice in Parliament. On the first time, Mr Parish claims that he was actually looking for a tractor website, but admits that the second instance he viewed the explicit content in the House of Commons was deliberate.
- Local elections have begun in the UK, where voters will head to the polls before the 5th May to decide on their new local representatives. More than 4,350 seats will be contested which will give the first good indication of the national consensus since the 2019 snap election.
- Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has written to the Prime Minister demanding whether a “Sexist of the Year” award was handed out at a Christmas Party in 10 Downing Street. Currently, 56 MPs are reportedly facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
- The EU are stepping up plans for tougher sanctions on imports of Russian Oil. Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States have requested for a phased-in embargo on Russian energy, whilst other EU members such as Italy are encouraging the instalment of a maximum price cap. This comes just one day after it has been announced that Putin is scheduled to go into cancer surgery and hand over temporary power to ex-KGB chief Nikolai Patrushev.
- Just one week after the French President’s win over far-right opposition Marine Le Pen, thousands of protestors marched across France this Sunday in a politically fuelled “May Day”. The demonstrations called for a solution to the rising cost of living in France and Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age to 65.
- More than 1 million Ukrainian residents out of the original 5 million who fled Kyiv have now returned following the withdrawal of Russian troops. Despite warnings from Vitali Klitschko, the city’s mayor, to stay abroad for longer after two Russian missiles hit the city’s northern suburbs on Thursday night, many residents have deemed Kyiv safe for return.
- A collection of Republicans in the House of Representatives has formed a congressional group to promote the party’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The body, to be called the Conservative Climate Caucas, will be chaired by Utah congressman John Curtis, who believes Republicans have not been “vocal enough” over climate issues.
- Former US President, Donald Trump, has hit out at Joe Biden claiming that an escalation of the Ukraine Crisis will be the fault of the “incompetent people running things” in the US administration. Mr Trump believes that the United States has lost the political respect it once had due to Mr Biden’s “unmatched and unmitigated failure” to stop Putin threatening nuclear war on the world.
Written by Rob Webb and Philip Weaver