Surely the best headline of the year to date has been “King Knights Queen,” referring of course to H M King Charles III conferring a knighthood on the lead guitarist of Queen’s, Brian May. I did wonder why the other surviving band members weren’t similarly honoured, but headlines of a different type have recently caught my attention, writes David Little, a partner in our Corporate and Commercial Law team.
The news since the start of the year has been unrelentingly gloomy, and you have to wonder what motivates journalists – and economists, too, for that matter – to get out of bed in the morning.
But stop. Amidst the carping that housebuilders are suffering as a consequence of the recent political chaos, higher interest rates and a ‘marked slowdown’ in the economy, not all the facts fit the headlines.
In the Evening Standard the lead business headline recently was “JD sports profits set to top £1 billion,” followed by the news that Sainsbury’s profits were £50 million above City forecasts following Christmas sales, in addition to their recent above base rate pay rises for all its lowest staff.
All the economic forecasters appear to be willing the recession to take place. Of course it’s been said before that the definition of an economist is someone who finds something that works in practice and wonders whether it would work in theory.
Let’s next consider the fuel crisis. The mild weather across the continent has unexpectedly resulted in a reduced requirement to burn fossil fuel fired power stations to heat homes and offices, resulting in gas storage – in spite of the war in Ukraine – now being full to capacity to cover the winter period.
Buried deep inside the Financial Times this week was another positive headline: “UK sets new record for wind generation thanks to blustery conditions.” Wind power has consistently made up to 46 – 59% of all UK electricity generation during the past week, they report according to National Grid data. “By comparison over the past week fossil fuels, natural gas and coal provided less than 15% of UK electricity generation, compared with an average during the past year of 43%.
So if the media look hard enough they can write good news stories, if they try.
As Jonathan Prynn in the Evening Standard concludes: “Be prepared for some of the more pessimistic forecasts for the economy to be quietly upgraded over the week ahead.”
David Little is a Partner at Bishop & Sewell in our expert Corporate & Commercial team. If you would like to contact him, please quote Ref CB374 on either 020 7631 4141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above is accurate as at 12 January 2023. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.