In most parts of the world, the Millennial Generation has more personal and economic freedom than any which preceded it, but is also facing a squeeze on wealth and assets not experienced in the last 70 years. The UK Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission considers that social mobility is in danger of going into reverse in some areas of the UK, and that inequality of assets between generations could worsen matters.
Referendums are transformative events. Governments may come and go, but a decision to stay in or leave an economic union like the EU is an irrevocable judgement on the nation’s destiny – the most important decision in the lifetimes of voters in the UK. The implications will affect everything from the regulation of the air we breathe to the pensions we invest in. For the financial services sector, the general investment climate in the UK, as well as the contours of central bank policy on the equity banks must retain as capital buffers will be shaped by the outcome on June 23.
The world of financial services is changing fast. The implications of blockchain technology or decentralised ledgers may not yet be a hot kitchen table topic but has the potential to utterly change the worlds of banking, insurance, asset management, and access to finance. In short, it could transform the economy around us. Though the US remains the largest base for investment in FinTech companies developing peer to peer finance and smart payment mechanisms with over $12bn investment in FinTech startups in 2015, more than doubling year on year growth, the UK is the fastest growing global market. With over £3.5bn annual investment in the sector in the UK, it is Europe’s FinTech leader over competition from Paris and Frankfurt.
2015 was a significant year for climate and energy policy and markets: from the momentous Paris agreement to Obama’s continuing push on the Clean Power Plan; from the new British Government’s fresh (and controversial) energy approach to, at last, some stability for the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which may have real implications for the longer-term.
The ways and means in which regulation is developed and implemented in the internet age have changed. Regulation across the globe can only follow the rapid expansion of new innovation and business models in, for example, online short-term rentals or car-sharing platforms. There is a continuing trend towards companies developing an idea and going to the market with it fast, with the result that regulation is so far behind it must adapt to the new business environment.
According to recent research by management consultancy A.T. Kearney, the global market for 3D printing is set to grow from $4.5 billion today to $17.2 billion by 2020. With this rapid growth will come added scrutiny from policy makers and regulators. To support its long term growth, and for the industry to fulfil its remarkable potential, a supportive regulatory and policy framework will be critical. To help build this framework, and to put in place policies that will stimulate industry growth and accelerate the uptake of 3D printing technology across the economy, it will be imperative for industry associations to play their part and to engage with key policy makers and regulators.
Like many growing sectors in the sharing and on-demand economy, meal-sharing platforms are changing how individuals interact and consume. Innovative businesses are providing alternative catering services, often with a community or social focus, that disrupt the traditional choice between restaurants, takeaways and home-cooking.
Politicians have shown they are serious - to achieve a positive outcome, the negotiators need to do the same.
For those not acquainted with the international negotiations on climate change - perhaps even more so for those who have that first-hand experience - they are at best an irritant, at worst a pointless relevance. Since the UNFCCC process began in the early 1990s after the international community agreed that “dangerous” climate change should be addressed, negotiators have gathered year after year in different parts of the world to discuss how the international community can take action to mitigate the climate problem and how the most seriously affected regions (usually in poorer countries) can adapt to the changes brought about by the steady increase in atmospheric and sea temperatures.
The technology sector has rightly become a source of optimism for all UK politicians in recent years. Rapid growth, job creation and sustained investment have become the norm. Recently published statistics from Tech City UK in its Tech Nation report indicate that digital job growth in the UK will outperform all other occupation categories by 2020. In addition, 1.46 million people - 7.5% of the entire UK workforce - are already employed in the digital industries. Importantly, the report found that 74% of digital companies in the UK operate outside of London, with significant clusters of activity in areas such as Greater Manchester, Brighton and Hove, Belfast and South Wales. The supply side is clearly getting stronger with the presence of not just a thriving tech start-up scene, but also a significant number of established and global tech players operating, and investing, across the UK. On the flip side, the demand side is becoming more demanding. Businesses and consumers increasingly expect digital, and not analogue, to be the default. This, of course, is both a great challenge and opportunity for the sector.
In Lima, at the beginning of this week, after two weeks of the usual tortuous negotiations, the 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) emerged with the Lima Call for Climate Action. This sets out the main priority issues for the parties in relation to the landmark COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 - the deadline for an international agreement on climate change - and attaches a 39-page document (a “non-paper”) containing various options for different elements of a draft negotiating text.
This note analyses Lima’s outcomes and the prospects for an international climate agreement in Paris 12 months away.
The battles lines ahead of next year’s general election have well and truly been set out by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, who, in the last Autumn Statement of this Parliament, unveiled a series of policies designed to neuter his political opponents. With key deficit reduction targets continuing to be missed and questions about where the public spending axe will fall, the Chancellor faced a potentially difficult afternoon. Balancing the books clearly remains a formidable task.
On 1 December representatives of the 196 parties (member countries) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Lima for the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) international meeting. The climate negotiations have in recent years - especially since the conspicuous failure of parties at Copenhagen in 2009 to agree an international treaty - tended to be regarded as a non-event, an interminable discussion from which nothing material ever emerges. Will Lima, COP 20, be any different?
The issue of deforestation and forest degradation, as explained in our previous analysis piece, has to be addressed urgently by donor and tropical forest countries alike. At present, these governments face the challenge of creating new regulatory frameworks to protect the world’s tropical forests. This, however, cannot be achieved without the collaboration of the private sector, a non-state actor which will play a key role in this process.
With the news on Monday that the UK Government has announced an independent sharing economy review, to be led by Love Home Swap CEO Debbie Wosskow, and also the recommendation last week from Labour Digital in its Number One in Digital report that the Government should “conduct a review the rules and regulations surrounding the sharing economy”, it is evident that this issue is becoming increasingly a topic at the forefront of politicians’ thinking. Given these developments, as well as the recent publication of reports from Nesta and PwC, it proved a timely moment for Inline to gather leading thinkers, business representatives and policy makers at both the Labour and Conservative Party conferences to discuss what this all means for the UK.
Following on from our event on Tuesday 23 September at the Labour Party conference, we have assembled another panel of leading thinkers on the sharing economy for an event at the Conservative Party conference on Monday 29 September. We will be discussing a number of issues such as the economic opportunity for the UK, and some of the emerging regulatory themes in the sharing economy.
We are delighted to be hosting fringe events at both the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences this year. We have assembled a panel of leading thinkers on the sharing economy to discuss everything from the economic opportunity for the UK, to some of the emerging regulatory trends. Panellists and event details for the Labour Party fringe event can be found below. The full Conservative Party fringe line-up will be announced early next week.
Deforestation, the “direct, human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land”, as defined by the UNFCCC, and forest degradation, are one of the greatest challenges of our time. As the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) reports, tropical forests cover approximately 7% of global land area and provide habitat for at least half of the world’s biodiversity. However, they are currently experiencing a net loss of 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon every year.
The concept of mobile payments (“m-payments”) has been around since the late 1990s, but original predictions of rapid growth turned out to be overly optimistic. A lack of interoperability between different services, combined with a lack of consumer trust in these new forms of payment, hindered widespread adoption of m-payment services.
Now that the dust has settled a little, it’s worth examining Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent reshuffle in more detail, and what it might mean for the coalition’s policies on climate change and energy between now and next May’s General Election.
Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) are popular tools amongst tech-savvy consumers, especially in the consumer goods, energy and financial sectors. The key to their attractiveness is that they allow consumers to quickly search for and compare the best deals in the market. PCWs usually operate on either a flat-fee, or a commission-based model and attract new customers via online and offline advertising. Some of the biggest players have become very profitable, thus attracting new companies to enter the market.