Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as the Bank of England sets UK interest rates
Marc-André Fongern of MAF Global Forex predicts the pound will weaken as the Brexit crisis intensifies:
We expect GBP to struggle ahead of next week’s vote as (a) the outcome remains highly uncertain (b) the UK is getting closer to the cliff edge. cc. @ING_Economics #Brexit #GBPUSD #EURGBP #FX pic.twitter.com/tgUA6ieygz
European stock markets are a mixed bag this morning.
Britain’s FTSE 100 has gained around 30 points, or 0.4%. That’s partly due to the weak pound boosting multinationals’ earnings.Continue reading...
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May at the Brussels summit where EU leaders will decide whether to delay Brexit by agreeing an article 50 extension
On the Today programme this morning Romano Prodi, the former European commission president and former Italian PM, said he thought EU leaders would agree to a longer article 50 extension. He explained:
I still think that there will be more time ... there will be some compromise in order to get more time because really the common will against a hard Brexit is real.
Theresa May travels to Brussels today to formally request an extension to article 50 that would delay Brexit behind Friday next week, when the UK was supposed to leave the EU. British prime ministers have often had difficult encounters with their EU counterparts over the years, but it is hard to think of one more demeaning for the PM, or one where the power gap between the UK and the EU27 has been wider. “Humiliating” is an adjective frequently overused in political reporting, but today it is the prefect description.
As if that was not bad enough, May seems to have hamstrung her own, slender chances of getting parliament to agree a deal next week by giving an evening address to the nation in which she blamed MPs for the Brexit deadlock. You can read the full text here, and it will make quite a good case study for the Guardian’s ongoing study of the new populism. “I am on your side,” May declared, as she framed the crisis as a clash between MPs and the people. Parliament was to blame because it “has done everything possible to avoid making a choice”, claimed May, apparently oblivious to the charge that she herself is an Olympic-grade procrastinator.
Theresa May's attempt to put Parliament against the people on #Brexit tonight is sinister. It is the populism of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. History will judge her brutally. Our country deserves so much better than this.
She's a national disgrace. I don't know why each time it surprises me. https://t.co/QKvmvuCNX1
The Prime Minister’s statement was disgraceful. Pitting Parliament against the people in the current environment is dangerous and reckless. Yesterday her government attacked their civil servants. Now she’s attacking the MPs whose votes she needs. It will have cost her support
I think democracy loses when a prime minister who set herself against the House of Commons and then blames MPs for doing their job.
And this is particularly worrying given she knows MPs are receiving hate mail in their inboxes. Some MPs are receiving death threats.
Of course, the logic of Theresa May’s assertion that Parliament’s indecision is frustrating the will of the people is to put the issue back to the people and let them decide. If she is confident that the people back her, what’s stopping her?Continue reading...
Scotland’s largest private landowners want to reverse years of land mismanagement, says adviser
The Danish billionaires who are now Scotland’s largest private landowners are trying to restore the Highlands for generations to come, one of their closest advisers has said.Continue reading...
Front pages react after the prime minister says it’s her and the people against parliament
Theresa May’s televised appeal to voters is the focus of much of the front page coverage today.
The Guardian’s splash is: “May: don’t blame me for Brexit crisis, blame MPs”. The paper calls the PM “defiant … as she blamed squabbling MPs for delaying Brexit” but says she faces a “furious backlash” from “infuriated backbenchers” who have called for her resignation.Continue reading...
Revenue from Spotify, Amazon and Apple rises as CD sales continue to fall
Music streaming services generated more than half of the income earned by record labels in the UK last year, as CD sales continue to plummet.
Subscription streaming platforms operated by Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music, made revenues of £468m in the UK last year, 54% of the £865.5m total income for the recorded music industry. It is the first time that subscription streaming revenues, which grew at 35% year-on-year in 2018, have accounted for more than half of total recorded music revenues for labels.Continue reading...
Former Question Time presenter says return to BBC One is ‘an intriguing invitation’
David Dimbleby is to return to BBC One just months after quitting as the presenter of Question Time – this time as host of Have I Got News for You.
The presenter has not been seen on screen since stepping down from the current affairs programme after 24 years but will be back on Friday 4 April at 9pm to host the long-running satirical TV show.Continue reading...