Charlotte Street Partners




Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate 
Edited by Harriet Moll, creative director
17 November 2020

Good morning,

In the last couple of months, I’ve travelled the world while lying on the rug on my stomach, first to a Croatian island, thanks to Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Flights and then on to Albania, with Rene Karabash’s Ostajnica.
Recognising the increasing number of armchair travellers like me, some forward-thinking booksellers back home have launched a digital platform called booktrips which fully resembles a travel metasearch engine, but with an unexpected twist – after setting your dream destination and ideal travel dates, the platform offers you the best ‘travel’ option in the form of a travel book.
Amidst travel bans and self-isolation, reading has been a pretty successful distraction for me from the million-dollar question: when will travel recover? 
Earlier this month, research showed that testing air passengers for Covid-19 after five days of quarantine is between 83% and 90% effective, suggesting that the UK’s 14-day quarantine strategy could be reduced to only five days. This has raised travel industry leaders’ hopes that the government could revise its travel quarantine policy and introduce pre-flight tests after England’s lockdown ends on 2 December.
The research gave aviation executives the means to press for a system which would see air passengers take a PCR test 72 hours prior to travel and then another high-speed test at the airport. The Department for Transport dashed some of these hopes yesterday though, after stating that most rapid tests are unlikely to meet the required standard of 99% specificity that would enable identifying only real cases and avoid false positives when testing passengers arriving in the UK.
With statistics showing that the UK’s aviation industry has been among those worse affected since March, much more than our wanderlust seems to be at stake, as the industry awaits an announcement from the Travel Task Force on potential routes to reducing the UK’s travel quarantine.


A new Covid-19 vaccine is nearly 95% effective, according to preliminary data from US company Moderna.  Following the news, the UK has secured five million doses of Moderna’s vaccine which would be enough to vaccinate around 2.5m people against coronavirus.
Boris Johnson reportedly told a virtual meeting of Conservative MPs yesterday that “devolution has been a disaster north of the border”, describing it as Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”. The SNP and Labour have both criticized Johnson for the remarks, but government sources suggested the prime minister had been making “more of a reference” to the SNP’s running of Scotland than devolution in general.
Meanwhile the prime minister is considering a temporary cut to foreign aid spending to help repair the nation’s public finances. Ministers have drawn up plans to reduce the proportion of Britain’s gross national income spent on aid from 0.7% to 0.5%, in a move that would save billions. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is pressing for the measure to be announced in next week’s comprehensive spending review. (£)

Business and economy

The EU is facing a crisis after Hungary and Poland blocked approval of its €1.8tn budget and coronavirus recovery plan over a clause that ties funding with adherence to the rule of law in the bloc. Without an agreement, projects financed by the EU’s seven-year budget will go without funds, as the €750bn Covid recovery fund won’t be activated.
Positive news of a coronavirus vaccine and the conclusion of the US election have led to a spike in global mergers and acquisitions, according to bankers and legal advisers. Companies across the globe announced nearly $40bn worth of deals on Monday alone, in a clear sign that chief executives are looking to make the most of cheap debt to carry out strategic M&A. (£)
Women are 20% more likely to apply for senior roles if they offer flexible hours, according to a government-backed study for Zurich insurance. It also found that using gender-neutral language in job adverts generated “significant change”. Last year Zurich became the first company in the UK to advertise all its vacancies with the options of part-time, full-time, job-share or flexible working. As a result, the number of women hired for senior roles has increased by 33%.
Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen house builder, is to make 60-80 redundancies from its 1,000 person workforce citing weaker trading during the pandemic. The slowdown in demand also reflects the slower trade in the oil and gas sector over the last six years bringing lower house prices and an oversupply of housing in Aberdeen.   

Columns of note

Only a week after Pfizer posted positive preliminary results from its Covid-19 vaccine trial, another vaccine candidate, Moderna, claimed 94.5% efficiency yesterday. Compared to Pfizer, Moderna’s vaccine has more data on potential side-effects and fewer logistical problems in terms of distribution. This may turn out to be fantastic news for a number of countries but one, as Ross Clark points out in The Spectator.  (£)
The prime minister is due to lay out plans for a ‘green revolution’ this week, and hydrogen is expected to be among the technologies key to halting carbon emissions. But views on adopting hydrogen for decarbonisation are still quite polarised, as this article by Nathalie Thomas in the Financial Times makes clear. (£)

Cartoon source: The Telegraph


The week ahead

London stocks closed yesterday on an eight-month high, following positive data from Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine trials along with signs of recovery in Asia. The FTSE 100 was up 1.66% at 6,421.29, and the FTSE 250 added 1.75% to 19,608.05.
Sterling was in a weaker state, strengthening 0.02% on the dollar at $1.319, while trading 0.13% weaker against the euro at €1.1139.
Similarly, Wall Street’s main indexes closed in positive territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reclaiming pre-lockdown levels reached in February. The index climbed 1.62% to 29,958.53, the S&P 500 gained 1.18% to 3,627.32, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.8% at 11,924.13.

In company news:
EasyJet has revealed the first annual loss in its 25-year history, shedding £1.27bn as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Sandwich and coffee chain Pret A Manger has launched a delivery-only dinner service in a bid to boost sales in lockdown.
TSB owner Sabadell has announced that is in merger talks with Spain’s second-biggest bank BBVA after confirming the sale of its US operations.

What’s happening today?

Finals EasyJet Focusrite Genedrive Petra Diamonds Interims Adept Tech. Assura Big Yellow Experian Gear4music Homeserve Intermediate Capital Palace Capital Scapa Schroder Real System1 Group Telecom Plus AGMs Bmo Real Est Craneware Dunelm Eagle Eye Marwyn Val. Physiomics Scancell Holdings Trading announcements Aggreko Ocean Out GMs Mulberry Group Shaftesbury SIG Annual report Netcall Petra Diamonds Int. Economic Announcements (13:30) Retail Sales (US) (13:30) Import and Export Price Indices (US) (14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US) (14:15) Industrial Production (US) (15:00) Business Inventories (US)
Source: Financial Times

did you know

Pilots and co-pilots never eat the same meals when they are working to ensure that the other pilot will not be affected and can take over if one is stricken with food poisoning.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Details to be provided – Mr Andrew Mitchell
National Security And Investment Bill: second reading
Motion to approve a money resolution relating to the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill – Jesse Norman
Permanent 18-tonne weight limit for Cleveland Bridge – Wera Hobhouse

House of Lords 

Lord Woodley
Oral questions
Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – report stage and third reading – Baroness Stedman-Scott
Fire Safety Bill – report stage – Lord Greenhalgh

Scottish Parliament 

Time for Reflection: Rev Dr Martin Ritchie, Minister at Greenbank Parish Church, Edinburgh

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Topical Questions (if selected)

Ministerial Statement: COVID-19

Ministerial Statement: Update on Scotland’s Social Security Benefits

Scottish Government Debate: Annual Veterans Update

Committee Announcements

Business Motions

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Decision Time

Members’ Business — S5M-23195 Claire Baker: Impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s Musicians and Music Industry

Share this post

Copyright© 2020 Charlotte Street Partners