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October 2019
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A ‘No Deal’ Brexit will create an economic emergency

For GPSJ by Nigel Wilcock, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Development

Photo: GPSJ

I have arrived at a clear view that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will create an economic emergency – one that will impact economic development and regeneration professionals working for local and regional communities. It is considered likely that the impact of all of the factors outlined below will have a sufficiently detrimental effect – that any potential long-term upside (argued by some) will struggle to overcome the poor compound growth rate of a short-medium term slowdown. In other words, even the optimistic long-term view of hardliners will fail to address the short-term harm created for a generation. This is not project fear and the IED is absolutely non-political.  So why do I take this stance on ‘No Deal’? These are the facts, as I see them: 

  1. Immediate disruption

According to the Government’s own analysis, a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will result in additional paperwork, border delays, an immediate imposition of tariffs on large numbers of outbound goods and fewer tariffs to be charged by the UK. This only creates economic ills. Additional paperwork takes time, inevitably impacting on profit margins. Border delays will result in lost export orders or the need to increase inventory to cope with additional days of stock sat in transit. Tariff imposition will either make UK goods more expensive overseas (reducing sales) or will force exporters to cut their prices (reducing margin). The UK Government has set out its proposed tariff regime and also set out a light-touch approach. This means that for a large number of products, the cost of imports from outside the EU will fall – undermining UK suppliers. There is a view that food and fuel will be two product areas significantly affected – essential products where price rises have a disproportionate effect on lower income groups. There is no upside in the immediate aftermath of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Some companies may benefit (from stockholding and subsequent higher charges to consumers, for example) but the overall impact on the whole economy is neutral. There is an argument about scale, however it is clear that the immediate economic impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is entirely negative.

  1. Business investment

Analysis has shown that whilst the economy has avoided a recession since the EU referendum, business investment has declined. Cash hoarding on balance sheets is increasing and commercial borrowing is declining. Negotiation of a favourable and known deal could release this pent up investment potential – but a ‘No Deal’ scenario continues uncertainty for a considerable period. Business impacted by increased export difficulties, or concerned about its competitiveness position in the face of suddenly reduced tariffs on imports, risks investment capital until the competitive environment is clearer. There is no conceivable position where business investment increases in the short-term after a ‘No Deal’ Brexit – it may recover as a response to the new trading environment, but in the immediate term it will decline. Again, there is an argument to be made about scale, but it is clear that the immediate business investment impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is entirely negative.

  1. Macro-economic position

The macro-economic position of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit can be considered from a number of perspectives. In the short-term, from a narrow perspective, the evidence has shown that sterling has come under pressure amid uncertainty. A ‘No Deal Brexit’ is likely to result in further deterioration in the value of the pound. This will lead to inflationary pressures as a result of the increase in the cost of imported goods – and this will be exacerbated by the tariff impact on some products. Inflationary pressures will immediately reduce consumer demand but they are also likely to increase pressure on the Bank of England to increase interest rates to meet their long-term inflation targets. This will further impact on consumer spending. It will also result in greater economic hardship for the elements of society most reliant on borrowings. A responding Government stimulus effect through spending or fiscal measures is made difficult through the continued public sector deficit position. It is, therefore, difficult to envisage anything other than a negative macro policy position resulting from ‘No Deal’ in the short-term.

  1. Regional impacts

The immediate downsides of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ set out above suggest that lower income groups will be disproportionately affected (high proportion of spend on food, fuel and interest charges) and businesses involved in import/export trade (manufacturing, wholesale, retail) will face disruption. In addition, any business focused on domestic discretionary spend is also likely to be affected by a general economic slowdown. The result is that knowledge-driven, high-value added, flexible and fast-moving economies are likely to be least affected whilst those economies that are structurally more traditional will be less able to adapt. Generalisations in this area are dangerous but it is easy to foresee a scenario where the digital cluster of Liverpool Street, London (Silicon Roundabout) adapts and continues to grow compared to the automotive branch plant economies of Sunderland or Ellesmere Port. Economic analysis has suggested that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will worsen and hasten economic divides despite those economies being left behind in economic terms tending to favour Brexit. Certainly, whilst the scale is debatable, there is no foreseeable prospect of poorer and more traditional economy dependent regions out-performing others in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit world.

  1. Medium-term prospects

Short-term prospects after a ‘No Deal’ are regarded as definitely negative – and perhaps very negative. Medium prospects are more difficult to predict – but one area that the economic debate has somewhat overlooked is the impact of overseas ownership on the UK economy. Globalisation has resulted in flows of capital that have resulted in large changes in the ownership and control of companies. The UK has been particularly laissez-faire in policy regarding change of ownership of influential businesses – European businesses typically allow business councils influence over such decisions. Whether the influx of new foreign capital and influence into originally UK-owned businesses is a good idea is a matter for debate. Certainly, over a period of economic and legislative stability the outcomes would seem to have been relatively benign. In a period, however, of major economic disruption and uncertainty, there is a risk that remote UK subsidiaries bidding for Head Office investment against competing locations will now be disadvantaged. Large-scale foreign ownership, built up over time, may now result in a gradual flight of capital from the UK economy – and this capital is more likely to have been sticky if business had remained UK-owned. Government statements and business reporting in this area suggests that the level of foreign influence in UK corporate activity is significantly under-estimated. A further note on foreign ownership of the more dynamic businesses is that export policy is likely to be controlled from head office. The continued clamour for an increase in UK businesses to export is impacted by the ownership and control structure – German-owned businesses are likely to use their UK subsidiaries for the UK market, expansion to meet global needs is more likely to take place near head office – especially if UK exports face increased tariffs. Medium-term, therefore, I do not recognise any credible arguments for an economic upside – but continue to see a rationale for pessimism in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.  

  1. Longer term

It is difficult to provide any certainty on a long-term position – and I would question any organisation that appears able to offer such a view. One very well-evidenced economic model that does help predict future trade and investment with overseas markets is ‘Gravity Modelling’. Simply put, all other things being equal, economic links are most likely with the largest and closest markets. This predicts that shoppers in Reading, if they leave Reading, are more likely to shop in London than Bristol. Extrapolating this view, even if the German market becomes difficult for UK exporters, it is unlikely that the volume lost in sales will manage to find markets in the Far East. Equally, any investment lost to the UK from EU neighbours is unlikely to be replaced by investment from strongly-performing Asian economies who continue to see huge opportunities on their own doorstep. All in all, therefore, the arguments for long-term upsides are fundamentally difficult to fully reconcile with long-term economic evidence.

In summary – in my opinion, a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is an act of economic self-harm. It is considered to be particularly pernicious because not only is it likely to damage the economy irrevocably, the expectation is that it will damage the regional economies and economic groups least able to adapt. On this basis it represents an economic emergency.

RingGo partners with Go Ultra Low to encourage electric vehicle adoption

Joining Government and industry representatives, RingGo brings its wealth of experience in how parking can encourage electric vehicle adoption to the campaign 

RingGo, the UK’s leading cashless parking provider, today announced a partnership with Go Ultra Low, the national campaign for electric vehicles. Supported by a consortium of vehicle manufacturers and the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the Go Ultra Low campaign aims to reduce misconceptions and dispel myths in order to drive the continued adoption of electric vehicles (EV).

In support of the launch of the new Go Ultra Low campaign RingGo are helping to provide their customers with the information they need to make the switch to electric by including messaging and information on their website and app. They will also be working with Go Ultra Low to showcase the impact which the parking industry can have on helping to drive uptake of EVs.

Becoming a partner of the campaign reinforces RingGo’s focus on promoting EV usage and growth within the UK and builds on the work the company is doing in the environmental space to make cities cleaner, healthier and more liveable.

The Go Ultra Low campaign aims to normalise EV use and provide drivers with all the information they need to make an informed decision about switching from traditional, petrol and diesel cars to an EV. By reassuring drivers about the cost efficiency, range and infrastructure in place to support EVs and highlighting the positive environmental impact making the switch can have, Go Ultra Low hopes to encourage more drivers to make their next car electric.

RingGo strongly encourages more environmentally friendly driving and their parking solutions enable both providers and users to make better decisions around environmentally conscious parking and reducing carbon emissions. Councils and parking management companies can use emissions based parking tariffs to influence choice, while drivers can locate EV charging stations and ULEZ information – a solution that RingGo brought to market first.

“We have already seen through our emissions based parking solution that the adoption of electric vehicles is on the rise, but it still feels like we have a long way to go,” said Peter O’Driscoll, UK Managing Director, RingGo. “Making a positive impact on the environment through our work is something we, at RingGo, are passionate about so it is great to partner with a campaign like Go Ultra Low, who are aiming to achieve the same goal. Bringing our expertise together will help us encourage EV adoption and make cities across the country healthier and more liveable for generations to come.” 

“Registrations for battery electric vehicles have hit a record high, with a 93.1% increase in year-to-date registrations compared with 2018. Currently there are 223,000 electric cars registered in the UK compared to only 3,500 in 2013 – and we are just getting started,” said Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low. “This partnership with RingGo will help us to show drivers across the country how easy it is to make an EV work in their lives. RingGo has been championing EV adoption through its emissions based parking solution and now with its EV charging point locating capabilities, it’s easier to make the switch than ever. Working together we can continue to make monumental strides in the nation’s switch to electric.”

apT ecology team grows after new business wins

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

An ecology team at a pioneering public sector planning and development consultancy is expanding to cope with growing demand.

Telford-based apT’s team of ecological experts has trebled in two years, partly as a result of winning new consultancy work outside their home borough.

The team –  made up of ecology and green infrastructure specialists Mark Latham, Fran Lancaster and Nicola Stone –  will expand again later in the year as it continues to go from strength to strength.

Mark Latham of apT

Fran, who joined the Council in 2013, said the team’s wide range of skills and the innovative way in which apT was set up to offer its skills commercially whilst being a part of Telford & Wrekin Council, were huge factors in its success.

“Having grown from being the only ecologist in the department two years ago, our team now has a mix of commercial survey experience, protected species mitigation and licensing, statutory planning, specialist air pollution assessment and planning policy skills which allows us to take on complex projects and to provide our clients with the best possible service.

“The team has statutory roles within the planning system and in supporting other teams across the Council but also sits within apT and is able to engage in commercial work.

“We are successfully winning commercial survey work outside the borough and building capacity to continue to grow our local authority work and projects.”

Last year the team secured a series of contracts with both private clients and neighbouring authority estates departments. These have seen the team undertake surveys for amphibians, reptiles, badgers and breeding birds to inform schemes ranging in size and complexity from single home owner developments, self-build schemes to large residential developments.

Fran Lancaster of apT

Fran said the team’s local authority backgrounds meant they had specialist skills which other commercial consultancies could not always offer.

“We are particularly experienced in Habitat Regulation Assessment, both of plans and projects, and Nicola brings significant experience of assessing aerial emissions associated with livestock developments.”

The team has been particularly successful in declaring new Local Nature Reserves with Telford & Wrekin Council and was now working to finish an ambitious programme which will declare 16 LNRs covering around 520 hectares in the borough – three times the recommended standard.

Fran added: “We are actively involved in positively managing these sites with our colleagues in Neighbourhood Services, and alongside local communities, town and parish councils and friends groups.

“Our LNRs, alongside Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Wildlife Sites represent the best quality and most biodiverse habitats in the borough and are intended to be accessible to local communities for recreation, education and enjoyment.”

Nicola Stone from apT

The team is also working on two grant funded projects with Shropshire Wildlife Trust to deliver wetland habitat works at Apley Woods and Dothill in Telford and habitat improvements and community engagement schemes along the Newport Canal SSSI.

“The council has also allocated a further £50,000 of funding to the 200 Green Guarantee sites across the borough – small local green spaces in Council ownership which are being protected for public use. The ecology team is looking at how we deliver that programme of works at the moment.”

apT is the Midlands’ first public sector commercial planning, development and environmental consultancy.

SolarWinds and Kenson to attend HETT 2019

SolarWinds and its direct reseller, Kenson, will attend the annual Healthcare Excellence Through Technology (HETT) event at the ExCel in London, on October 1st and 2nd. The U.K.’s top healthcare technology event is a relevant platform for both companies to share their knowledge of, and promote awareness for, stronger cybersecurity practices in this sector.

In showcasing the security portfolio, developed by SolarWinds and supplied by Kenson, both organisations aim to put the spotlight on cybersecurity and offer solutions to help reduce cyberattack incidents. With nearly three quarters of NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups reporting that they experienced up to 50 attempted cyberattacks in 2018, according to a recent Freedom of Information survey conducted by SolarWinds, it’s an opportune time to talk to organisations in the healthcare industry about their cybersecurity postures.

If you are attending the HETT event, SolarWinds and Kenson will be at stand G32, where the following range of security products will be available to view:

SolarWinds Survey Explores the Tech Skills Gap and the Future of the IT Professional

Annual IT Pro Day survey highlights need to increase upskilling and tech pro confidence

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today announced the findings from its IT Pro Day 2019 survey: Building Confidence for Tech Pros of Tomorrow. The survey results explore what tech pros need to build confidence in managing both today’s hybrid, distributed tech environments and the complex environments of tomorrow. The survey supports IT Professionals Day, which is observed on the third Tuesday of every September (September 17, 2019), and emphasises appreciation for IT professionals, the critical role they play in end users’ lives, and in operating successful, modern businesses. This year’s findings reveal how technology professionals can prepare for the future.

“Tech pros may know where they want to go, but the road to career confidence can be challenging,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president, engineering, and global chief technology officer, SolarWinds. “Mapping out the necessary skills and understanding how best to gain those competencies can be difficult, as proven by our annual IT Trends Report from earlier this year. For IT Pro Day 2019, we’ve taken it a step further by exploring how tech pros can skill up and become more confident, and how we can help them on their path for career confidence. We’re excited to celebrate the fifth annual IT Pro Day by shedding light on their needs and dedication to their field.”

Tech pros are feeling the impact of the skills gap. Sixty percent of survey respondents have not actively pursued a new skill or completed a certification in the last six months; nearly 50 percent of tech pros who did start a certification process did not complete it due to lack of time to commit.

The IT Pro Day 2019 survey reveals how business leaders and tech pros can work together to address the need to upskill. Survey results found increased support and budget from IT and business leaders are the top two requirements for tech pros to become confident managing current and future tech environments. At the same time, developing skills in interpersonal communications is critical for continued career growth.

“Now more than ever, technology professionals work alongside business leaders to meet organisational goals. At the same time, they must keep up with the tremendous amount of work and responsibility that comes with managing today’s complex tech environments,” added Kim. “For the past 20 years, SolarWinds has dedicated itself to helping tech pros solve problems the way they want them to be solved. To celebrate the fifth annual IT Pro Day, we want to address this skills gap and empower tech pros to take their careers into the future.”

“At SolarWinds, we focus on enabling the IT pro with training resources and a user community where they can connect with other tech pros like them. Whether through our customer Success Center, our MSP Institute, and SolarWinds Academy, our THWACK® community of over 150,000 registered members, our annual, virtual, online learning event THWACKcamp, our SolarWinds Empower MSP, our bi-annual partner event, or in educational programming like SolarWinds Lab and TechPod, we want to help make IT pros’ jobs easier, so they can drive even more success for the businesses they support,” Kim said. 

Key Findings

The IT Pro Day 2019 survey: Building Confidence for Tech Pros of Tomorrow polled global technology professionals to gain insight into the skills gap and how it’s being addressed from their perspective and by the organisations they support.

    • Nearly 60% of survey respondents have not actively pursued a new skill or completed a certification in the last six months.
    • Some tech pros attempted to pursue a new skill: 63% of survey respondents started a certification process (such as Microsoft®, Cisco®, AWS®, VMware®) but did not complete the course.
    • Nearly half (47%) cited lack of time to commit to completing the course as the reason they stopped before completion.
    • Organisations are working to resolve the data centre labor shortage in ways that resonate with tech pros.
      • In-company trainings ranked as a top-three tactic for addressing the labor shortage, with 35% of respondents selecting this option.
        • Similarly, the majority of survey respondents (54%) cited full-day in-person workshops as providing the most value for the time spent when it comes to IT skills training materials.
        • Organisations using automation to address this gap (31%) point to business investment in new ways to help their staff develop skills.
    • Developing soft skills is becoming increasingly important in driving career growth.
      • Nearly half of survey respondents (46%) cited interpersonal communications skills as most critical for their continued career growth. Other top skills included:
        • Project management: 56%
        • Public speaking/presentations: 52%
  • While most tech pros feel confident communicating with business leaders, they’re not always equipped with the support and tools necessary to do their jobs effectively. 
    • The top two requirements for tech pros to become confident managing current and future environments are:
      • Increased budget/additional resources: (64%)
      • More support from IT or business leadership: (48%)
    • Most tech pros feel comfortable communicating with business leadership when it comes to requesting technology purchases and investing time/budget into team trainings:
      • Forty-four percent are very comfortable and nearly 50% are somewhat comfortable
  • Skills in application performance management (APM) are becoming increasingly necessary for tech pros across disciplines to possess. Tech pros have an appetite to develop APM skills further. 
    • Respondents cited application support, troubleshooting, and monitoring as responsibilities they are tasked with falling outside their core job description.
      • Specifically, 53% cited user experience monitoring of applications as an additional required skill to develop to confidently manage their environment, which points to the continued prioritisation of an exceptional end-user experience.

Fielded in August 2019, the survey was conducted by SolarWinds and yielded responses from 177 technology professionals from across the globe, including those from public and private sectors. 

IT Professionals Day

IT Professionals Day annually recognises and celebrates all IT professionals, regardless of discipline. Whereas holidays such as System Administrator Appreciation Day recognise one category of the profession, IT Professionals Day honours not only system administrators, but network engineers, database administrators, information security professionals, developers, MSPs, IT support technicians, and all other professionals serving in IT-related roles. Please visit ITProDay.org to learn more. 

Additional Resources

Connect with SolarWinds

CIOJ calls for more information about use of Snoopers’ Charter against journalists and their sources

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIOJ) has persuaded the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office to consider reporting more detailed information about warrants seeking journalists’ digital data and information that could identify their sources.

The IPCO is the oversight body set up by the controversial Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which is also known as ‘The Snoopers’ Charter.’

Institute Vice-President, Professor Tim Crook, has been asking for more detail about when state investigation bodies have applied to Judicial Commissioners for access to journalistic data that could be confidential information, or breach the protection of journalist sources.

Up until the present time the IPCO has only reported that in 2017 public authorities made a total of 755 applications to acquire data which related to persons who held sensitive professions and these could have related to ‘lawyers, journalists, members of parliament, ministers of religion or doctors.’

Professor Crook complained to the IPCO that given the importance of Article 10, freedom of expression rights to protect journalists’ confidential information and sources, this level of reporting was inadequate.

He said: “The 2017 report only stated that IPCO inspectors found no instances of the legislation being used ‘improperly to identify journalistic sources’. We need to know about those ‘proper’ instances when it has actually been used to reveal sources.”

He has asked for the exact figure of the times interception and use of journalistic data has been approved of by the judicial commissioners who evaluate the applications in secret.

The Institute believes the IPA 2016 legislation is a very poor substitute for the scrutiny of the courts under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984, when production orders against journalists have to be decided by judges with the parties represented by counsel.

The IPCO Legal and Policy Team told Professor Crook: “we will consider whether to include the information you have requested in the IPCO’s next annual report.”

The IPCO have defended their decision not to release any interim figures and information on the basis that they are “required to ensure that we do not cause national security or law enforcement concerns through the information we publish.”

£2m invested in tackling air pollution in Greater Manchester

Air quality research in Manchester has received a significant boost with the announcement of funding from two programmes, totalling nearly £2m.

The funding was announced at the launch of two Manchester-based research projects to help tackle air pollution; the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) air quality supersite, and the Manchester Urban Observatory.

The NERC supersite

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North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust delivers fast, secure access to applications for clinicians in A & E with Imprivata

Top Trust nationwide for A&E performance provides clinicians in emergency care with secure ‘tap and go’ access to NHS spine enabled applications

Imprivata®, the healthcare IT security company, has announced that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has deployed Imprivata Spine Combined Workflow to deliver secure, No Click Access® to applications on

Continue reading North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust delivers fast, secure access to applications for clinicians in A & E with Imprivata

Encryption and GDPR – Where do you Stand?

Reporter: Seymour Roach

Data encryption is nothing new as a need or requirement for an organisation, but since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last May, it allows anyone in the Government or public sector a simple and effective way to comply with the legislation.

Article 32 requires “the pseudonymisation and

Continue reading Encryption and GDPR – Where do you Stand?

SPINR enlisted by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to help those most vulnerable

SPINR, the data and API integration company, announced they are working with SYFR to facilitate data sharing between public sector organisations and the fire and rescue service. Only by working together in this way is it possible to identify those in need, so that targeted home visits can be carried out to the elderly and

Continue reading SPINR enlisted by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to help those most vulnerable

Tech and care industries unite to unveil case for a deal which could transform the learning disability sector

Reporter: Selena Darke

L-R Robert Longley-Cook, William and Gavin Bashar

A new report was launched in Parliament last month setting out the case for a deal for the learning disability sector, focusing on realising the potential of technology to boost investment and transform the way care is delivered.

National learning disabilities charity, Hft, supported

Continue reading Tech and care industries unite to unveil case for a deal which could transform the learning disability sector

David Hancock elected vendor co-chair at INTEROPen

David Hancock

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

The healthcare executive advisor at founder-member InterSystems wants the standards organisation to persist with collaboration and focus on adoption

David Hancock has been elected to the new role of vendor co-chair at INTEROPen, the collaborative set up to accelerate the development of open

Continue reading David Hancock elected vendor co-chair at INTEROPen

Wiltshire Council takes a step into the future

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Wiltshire Council has taken a significant step forward by welcoming the first of a team of virtual assistants (VAs) to its workforce. The VA team will complete high volume, repetitive but critical tasks to free up staff time so they can focus on activities that really make a difference to residents and

Continue reading Wiltshire Council takes a step into the future

Cumbria sergeant recognised with prestigious Bravery Award

Sergeant Kevin Milby

A police officer who single-handedly tackled a man stood in the street covered in blood and armed with an axe has had his bravery commended with a prestigious award.

Sergeant Kevin Milby was last week named as the North West winner at the 24th national Police Bravery Awards, hosted by the

Continue reading Cumbria sergeant recognised with prestigious Bravery Award