Charlotte Street Partners



Rightly or wrongly

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate
Edited by David Gaffney, partner
22 September 2020

Good morning,

Today looks set to be a significant milestone in the context of the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the globe over the last seven months or so. 

In a sombre and sobering briefing yesterday, Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, gave every impression of men sent out to roll the wicket for the introduction today of tougher measures and tightened restrictions across the country.
Their task was not so much to provide the nation with the latest Covid statistics as it was to invite us to consider what that data tells us about where this virus is going over the next few weeks if its current spread is left unchecked. 

We were warned to expect 50,000 cases a day in less than a month’s time and, by November, 200 deaths every day. If you were waiting in expectation of positive news on the imminent arrival of a vaccine, this matter-of-fact duo were not minded to offer undue hope, playing down the promise of any such solution being widely available before next spring. 

All of which means, of course, that something’s got to give. That something, in this case, is likely to be our recently rediscovered liberty to move around more readily and mix more socially, patronising those hard-hit pubs, cafes, and restaurants up and down the country as we do so. The knowledge that the virus spreads most readily by aerosol transmission in enclosed spaces will undoubtedly shape the nature of policy interventions to come.

The job of ministers today – ideally in a coordinated, clear, and balanced manner – is to decide upon and then communicate the measures that will be sufficient to halt the spread of the virus while limiting any negative impact on education and an economy that was only just beginning to stutter cautiously back to life. Many people will be disappointed with the outcome, but survey data would indicate that many more will be relieved to see that action is being taken to protect the vulnerable as winter beckons.


Pubs, bars and restaurants across England will be forced to close by 10pm from Thursday under new restrictions in a bid to halt the rise in coronavirus cases. Police will have the powers to issue £1,000 fines and make arrests to enforce two metre social distancing in pubs and restaurants. In Scotland, the first minister Nicola Sturgeon is also expected to outline new coronavirus restrictions in an announcement at Holyrood later today.  

A coalition of 156 countries has agreed a “landmark” Covid-19 vaccine allocation deal. Known asCovax, the Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan has been set up to ensure the rapid and equitable global distribution of any new coronavirus vaccines between the world’s richest countries and those in the developing world.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread has announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs across its hotels and restaurants. The company reported a dramatic collapse in sales of almost 80% in the first half of its financial year, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis that forced it to shut most of its UK sites for four months during the lockdown.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance warned that without further measures the UK will see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October which could lead to about “200-plus deaths per day” by November. 

Business and economy

European aerospace giant Airbus has unveiled plans for the first ever commercial zero emissions aircraft, which it said could be in service by 2035. The designs rely on hydrogen as the primary source of fuel, which according to Airbus holds “exceptional promise” for an industry trying to clean up its carbon footprint. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan has shared plans to implement new restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the capital. Along with local council leaders from all parties and public health experts, Khan will be discussing a new London plan with the prime minister this morning.

Unilever’s Dutch investors have backed proposals to shift the consumer giant’s legal base to London, in that way defying politicians in the Hague who have threatened a revenge tax raid. The firm would still need to undergo an approval from British shareholders, who are expected to wave through the scheme in their own ballot on 12 October.

Columns of note

In the Financial Times Bill McKibben argues that for their “net-zero” plans to mean anything, banks need guidance on what a Paris alignment would actually look like for responsible financial institutions. (£)   

Writing in City A.M., Jame DiBiasio takes a historical perspective on money, comparing the modern shift to digital payments to the eleventh century advent of coins and paper banknotes. While it took governments many attempts at implementing paper banknotes in a manner that instilled a sustainable and healthy regime, the same is likely to be true of digital money, DiBiasio argues.

Cartoon source: The Telegraph


What happened yesterday?

In Europe, stocks closed in the red in their worst fall in three months, amidst rising fears of an impending second coronavirus wave. 

The FTSE 100 was among the worst hit-indexes, ending the session down 3.38% at 5,804.29, and the FTSE 250 was off 3.98% at 16,870.78. Sterling also ended weaker, falling 0.92% on the dollar to $1.2798, and losing 0.05% on the euro to €1.0903. 

In the US, Wall Street’s main indexed also finished weaker on Europe lockdown fears and potential delays in fresh stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.84%, to 27,147.7, the S&P 500 was down 1.16%, to 3,281.06 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.13%, to 10,778.80.

In company news:

HSBC‘ s share price hit its lowest level since the 1990s amid allegations of money laundering.

Lufthansa warned of further job cuts and announced that it will have to reduce its fleet by 150 planes due to the stalling recovery in air travel.

What’s happening today?

Bluefield Solar
Litigation Cap.

Ades Int.hdg, Alliance Pharma, Barr (A.G.), Cambridge Cog, Ergomed, Frenkel Topping, Inspecs Group, Judges Scientfc, Kingfisher, Longboat Energy, Nahl Group, Oriole, Parity, Personal Group, Tremor Int Ltd

Ashmr. Gbl.usd, Blue Planet, Cathay Intl Ld, Draper, Empyrean, Gail(india)gdr, Grafenia, Ilika Plc, Liontrust Asset Management, Manolete Partn., Miton Uk, Morses Club, Odyssean Inves., Pantheon International,  Prime People, Trifast, Utilico Em.mkts, Yourgene

UK economic announcements
(09:30) Public Sector Net Borrowing
(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys

Int. economic announcements
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In 2015, three Coca-Cola employees stole a new product from the company and tried to sell it to Pepsi, but Pepsi notified Coca-Cola who reported them to the FBI. Source: @qikipedia

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Justice (including Topical Questions)

Ten Minute Rule Motion
Planning (Proper Maintenance of Land) – Jonathan Gullis

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: Consideration in Committee (Final Day)

Grassroots arts and culture in Luton – Rachel Hopkins

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Recovery and diversification of the UK oil and gas industry supply chain – Lord Bruce of Bennachie

Oral questions
Diversity in the creative industries during the COVID-19 pandemic – Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury

Oral questions
Further devolution in England – Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Oral questions
Progress in removing dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings – Lord Young of Cookham

Agriculture Bill – Report stage (day 3) – Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Scottish Parliament 

Time for Reflection: Dr Sohaib Saeed, Honorary Muslim Chaplain, University of Edinburgh

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Topical Questions (if selected)

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Complaints Against MSPs – Amendment of the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Act 2002

Scottish Government Debate
Promoting Equality and Human Rights for Minority Ethnic People and Communities

Committee Announcements

Business Motions

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Decision Time

Members’ Business — S5M-22652 Liz Smith: Residential Outdoor Centres

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