Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Tax the rich?

Written by Li-Ann Chin, associate
Edited by Adam Shaw, associate partner

16 August 2021

Good morning,

It has been a big week in politics in both the UK and the US.
 
Wonder Woman or Wicked Witch – depending on which side of the US two-party system you speak to – congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, also known by her initials AOC, has been no stranger to public scrutiny since she ousted 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley to represent New York’s 14th District in June 2018.
 
Young, and with a substantial social media presence relative to her fellow members of Congress, you would be forgiven for mistaking AOC for a media personality rather than politician and activist. She has 8.7 million followers on Instagram and 12.7 million on Twitter. Thousands of people tune in to watch her re-pot her houseplants on Instagram Live or play the online multiplayer game Among Us on Twitch, allowing her to tap into an audience that few politicians have access to.
 
Heads turned and jaws dropped when she attended the Met Gala earlier this week, donning a white gown with bright red letters ‘tax the rich’ splashed across her back. The ensemble was accessorised with a matching slogan on her handbag.
 
It didn’t take long for AOC’s dress to draw ire from her legions of opponents on Twitter. While some praised her stunt as iconic, others were much less impressed. The conservatives, led by Donald Trump Jr., accused her of being hypocritical and out of touch. After-all, the buzzy Met Gala, hosted by Anna Wintour, is known to be an exclusive affair where individual tickets are priced at an eyewatering $35,000 and tables start at $200,000.
 
Be that as it may, the thing to remember about AOC is that she is no ordinary politician. She doesn’t talk about flipping seats and votes, but rather of winning hearts and minds. She is less concerned with elections than she is with creating a movement. The Green New Deal, which AOC advocates strongly for, has been lauded as “not a resolution but a revolution”.
 
Love or hate it, most of America can’t stop talking about AOC and her dress – and she knows it. A mere day later, President Biden tweeted in response: “It’s time the super-wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes.”
 
Taxing the rich is by no means a new concept in politics, but it is one that has historically struggled to gain traction in the US. AOC has put the issue firmly in the spotlight, fuelling the flames of a political debate that looks set to stay.

News

Boris Johnson undertook a major reshuffle of government ministers yesterday. Liz Truss was promoted to foreign secretary, replacing Dominic Raab who takes on the role of justice secretary, lord chancellor and deputy prime minister. Other big changes included Nadhim Zahawi replacing Gavin Williamson as education secretary, Nadine Dorries joining the cabinet for the first time in the culture, media and sport brief, and Michael Gove becoming secretary of state for housing and local government while retaining responsibilities for strengthening the union. The reshuffle is expected to continue today among middle-ranking and junior ministers.
 
Police will not launch a criminal investigation into former BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana, Scotland Yard has confirmed. The decision comes after Lord Dyson’s report into the 1955 documentary was published in May, which the Metropolitan Police stated they had assessed carefully in arriving at their decision.
 
Ministers are to announce later this week that vaccinated people arriving in England will soon no longer be subject to pre-departure Covid tests, in a bid to simplify travel restrictions and aid the UK’s struggling travel and tourism sector. The green and amber list are also expected to be combined into one single list of countries that travellers are allowed to visit.

Business and economy

Official figures indicate that the increase in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, surged 3.2% in the year to August, up from two per cent in July. This is the biggest jump since records began in 1997. The spike was attributed to higher prices for food, petrol and used cars.
 
Less than 15% of employees at PwC come from a lower socio-economic background, according to data published by the company for the first time. The median pay gap between staff from higher and lower socio-economic classes was 12.1%, higher than that of the company’s black or gender pay gaps.
 
The United Arab Emirates is to announce a big increase in investment in the UK as the Gulf state expands a multibillion-pound partnership with the British government. An official agreement that will commit the UAE to investing in UK infrastructure, clean energy and technology is expected to be signed today. The overall investment commitment over five years would be about £10bn. (£)

Columns of note

“Cordial but clinical” and “it was a butcher’s yard” was how yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle was described by a source at Downing Street. Sky News political editor Beth Rigby writes that a very clear theme in this reshuffle is rebooting the prime minister’s domestic agenda – with a particular focus on education and housing and communities – which clearly signals his determination to move on from the pandemic.
 
Eighteen-year old British teenager Emma Raducanu broke a bunch of records when shetriumphed at the US Open. She became the youngest Grand Slam champion since 2004 and the first British woman since 1977 to win a major title. She has since then been hailed by commentators as a sporting saviour, a model of resilience, an antidote to xenophobia, and a potential money-making powerhouse. Laura Snapes writes poignantly in The Guardian on our cultural obsession with building up exceptional teenage girls and young women before tearing them down.

Cartoon source: The New Yorker

Markets

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 fell marginally yesterday, despite being buoyed by gains for index heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell on the back of fast-rising energy prices across the globe.
 
The FTSE 100 ended the session down by just 0.025% to 7,016.49, while the FTSE 250 tracked the losses that were taking place across the rest of Europe, ending 10.07% weaker at 23,432.81.
 
Wall Street stocks rallied yesterday, as the Dow Jones and S&P 500 clawed back some of Tuesday’s losses.
 
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.68% firmer at 34,814.39.52, the S&P 500 rose 0.85% to 4,480.70, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.82% at 15,161.53.
 
In company news:
 
Goldman Sachs agreed to buy online loans provider GreenSky for $2.2bn, with shareholders paid the equivalent of $12.11 per share in stock, a more than 50% premium to the company’s current share price.
 
Primark pledged to making all of its clothes from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2031, promising that the strategy will not lead to price hikes.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Clinigen
Duke Royalty
Galliford Try
Kier

Interims
Checkit
Foresight Solar
Genincode
Hilton Foods
Keystone Law G.
Rtw Venture Fu.

Q1 Results
Dx Plc

AGMs
Eco Animal
Henderson Div
Real Est.cred
Reneuron
Ryanair
Sysgroup

Int. Economic Announcements
(10:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Retail Sales (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(15:00) Business Inventories (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 29, making her the youngest woman to be elected to the House.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Attorney General
 
Business questions to the Leader of the House
 
Backbench Businesss
General debate on the role and the response of the devolved administrations to COP26
General Debate on proposed reforms to the criminal justice system to better respond to families bereaved by public disasters

Adjournment
Future of Chatham docks

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Preservation of Britain’s historic counties
Ensuring leaseholders do not bear the costs of repairing building and fire safety defects for which they are not responsible
Government protocol for working constructively with the devolved administrations
 
Short debate
Intergenerational impact of proposed changes to social care funding
 
Debate
Role of behaviour change in helping the UK to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as set out in the report by the Climate Change Committee “Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament, published on 26 June 2020”; and of the case for a public engagement strategy
 
Motion
Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – motion to direct that the Measure be presented for Royal Assent

Scottish parliament 

General questions
Various
 
Members’ Business
SCVO Creates its 10,000th CJS Job in Scotland’s Voluntary Sector
 
Portfolio questions
Education and skills
 
Scottish Government Debate: A Land of Opportunity – Supporting a Fairer and More Equal Society

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