Monday, 20 June 2016

Enfield Council becomes first British government body to deploy the "Virtual Employee!"

Brexit and European politics

We are publishing below extracts from the 'Monday Briefing' by Ian Stewart, Chief Economist, at Deloitte UK:

* The "What the UK Thinks: EU Poll of Polls", based on the average share of the vote for 'Leave' and 'Remain' in the six most recent polls carried out between 10th June and 16th June shows Remain and Leave tied on 50% in the week ahead of the referendum (adjusting for the removal of "don't knows")

* Instead of parliamentary constituencies, the geographical area for the referendum will be 382 counting areas, one for each local government area in Great Britain, and one each for Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. Each counting area will make a separate declaration which will be aggregated by eleven regional counting officers. The national result will be announced in Manchester Town Hall by the Chief Counting Officer. 

* Unlike last year's General Election there will be no official exit polls, partly because of the difficulty of extrapolating from a sample to a wider population in a referendum. Nonetheless, the Financial Times reports that some hedge funds have commissioned their own exit polls in order to trade on early indications of the result. The movement in the value of sterling during the count of votes from 10pm on Thursday evening will provide one signal of market sentiment about the outcome. 

* According to the latest political betting odds cited by PaddyPower, there is a 31% implied probability of a Brexit vote – down from a high of 44% in the middle of last week 

* A number of polls early last week showed growing public support for a vote to leave the EU, with an Ipsos Mori poll putting support for Brexit ahead by six points (excluding 'don't knows') – the first time the Ipsos MORI telephone survey has shown a lead for Leave

* Leading Vote Leave MP Chris Grayling set out the Leave campaigns' plan for power, with moves to ensure the end of free movement of people and curb the power of EU courts, and reach a new trade deal with the EU, all by 2020 

* British Chancellor George Osborne said he would likely have to introduce an emergency budget if Britain voted to leave the EU, although 57 Conservative MPs said they would block spending cuts and tax rises as part of such a budget 

* The head of Germany's influential Ifo institute for Economic Research warned that "the biggest risk" for the German economy at present is a possible Brexit, adding that "Germany has very little to gain and an awful lot to lose" 

* The European Court ruled that the UK can use strict 'right to reside' rules in order to limit access to child benefit for non-UK citizens, ruling against the European Commission, who had argued that the rules were discriminatory 

* The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England have agreed to provide liquidity to each other if needed – to ensure that "there would not be liquidity bottlenecks either at English banks or at European banks", according to ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny 

* German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said European finance leaders are preparing for any possible outcome of Britain's referendum, with Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem also stating that the euro area has "the capacity to deal with any shocks that might occur" 

* The Bank of Japan is in "close communication" with the Bank of England and other global central banks ahead of this week's referendum, according to its governor Haruhiko Kuroda 

* European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU would not "be in danger of death if Britain leaves, because we'd continue (the) process of closer cooperation in Europe, if not of deepening the EU, and mainly the Economic and Monetary Union" 

* In her strongest intervention to date, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Britain would be treated as an outsider to the single market if it decided to leave the EU 

* During an impassioned speech in Vienna, Christine Lagarde urged British voters to stay in the EU, saying that "Membership has made the UK a richer economy, but it has also made it a more diverse, more exciting, and more creative country." 

* FT analysis of the 2015 annual reports of every member of the FTSE 100, shows that only 26 mention Brexit, and only a few specify the nature of the risks a Brexit poses to their company 

* Shareholders of Virgin Media in the UK approved a late donation of up to £700,000 for the Remain campaign, with company leaders warning that the company would seriously reconsider future capital investment in the UK if Britain votes to leave the EU 

* France's Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron warned that if the UK leaves the EU it will become as significant as the island of Guernsey and "a small country in the scale of the world". The Minister also said the EU would have to send 'a very firm message and timetable' in the event of a Leave vote, saying: 'You're either in or you're out.' 

* Pollsters ComRes reported that more UK voters say they would be delighted if Leave wins (44%) than if Remain wins (28%). A Leave victory would also disappoint fewer people. However, it would also make more people anxious - 41% said a Leave vote would cause them anxiety compared to 33% for Remain. 

* Investors pulled over $1bn from UK equity funds in the week to Thursday 16th June, second only to last May's general election over the past decade, according to flow of funds data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch 

* The FT reports that retail brokers in the City of London have been preparing themselves for a surge in trading this week, including moves to test IT systems to ensure they can cope with the rush to buy and sell before and following the referendum 

* Enfield Council is to become the first British government body to deploy a "virtual employee" for frontline services; with the council working with a New York technology company to deploy 'Amelia', a "cognitive agent" that will carry out human resources tasks and hopefully also respond to residents' queries and help authenticate permit applications

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