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Northern Powerhouse

Brexit Weekly Digest 11 November

Britain's economy has grown at the slowest annual rate in almost a decade, according to official figures. Year-on-year growth in the three months to end-September slowed to 1% from 1.3% in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. An ONS spokesman said: "Looking at the picture over the last year, growth slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade." But the economy avoided a recession by growing 0.3% in the third quarter.

Leading ratings agency Moody's has signalled it is poised to downgrade the credit rating on Britain's government debt, warning that Brexit has triggered an "erosion in institutional strength" that threatens the UK's financial credibility. The ratings agency, which scores debt on the basis of how likely they are to default, changed the outlook on its Aa2 rating on the debt issued by the UK government from "stable" to "negative". That implies a cut to the actual rating could be coming imminently.

Asset managers speaking at the Reuters Investment Summit in London were broadly of the view that whichever party wins Dec. 12’s election, Britain has dodged the worst-case scenario of a no-deal Brexit. But they fear the new Jan. 31 Brexit deadline only marks the start of a new headache.

Britain’s economy suffered a further blow in October after companies in the key services sector reported a decline in new orders for the seventh month this year and car sales slumped again, taking the annual decline to 6.7%. Analysts blamed the weaker outlook on Brexit uncertainty, which continued to take its toll on business and consumer confidence at home and abroad.

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) remained active accounting for 29% of deals completed since the start of the year with take-up in this sector driven, not only by occupiers stockpiling in preparation for Brexit, but retailers utilising specialist logistics providers to navigate increasingly complex supply chain fulfilment.

Britain’s tourism industry is already suffering because of the prospect of a ban on European visitors travelling to the UK using an identity card. At present EU citizens are entitled to enter the UK using national ID cards. But the government says that shortly after Brexit, “we will stop accepting national ID cards for entry to the UK”. The ban is planned to come into effect in 2020 or 2021.

A total of 68% of directors polled at the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland’s annual conference at Gleneagles Hotel yesterday backed the call for a people’s vote. Just over a third (35%) agreed with the statement that Boris Johnson with no EU deal would be better for Scottish businesses than Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minster and staying in the EU. Making his first official engagement as the national director of IoD Scotland, Malcolm Cannon said: “Our members in Scotland are clear – they believe there should be another referendum once a Brexit deal has been reached.

Here’s what British companies have been saying about Brexit. Year-to-date, 1,910 statements published by the Regulatory News Service, London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s main distribution feed, have mentioned the B-word. Chatter peaked around the original exit date in March and bubbled up again as the risk of a chaotic no-deal increased in September.

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