Some better Nouse for the current economic climate


In the face on inadvertent and unavoidable economic crisis, Nouse Business editor Jerry McMichael seeks to find the slightest glimpse of hope in 2020's global economy.

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Image by Simon Walker / HM Treasury

By Jerry McMichael

I think it's fair to say that
2020 hasn’t been a good one in any sense, least of all from an economic
stand-point. Being the Nouse Business editor throughout lockdown I’ve conducted
the same ritual every Friday morning. I arise at the reasonable hour of around
10:30, I go downstairs, make my Nespresso and I crack out the most recent
edition of ‘The Economist’. The inevitable result of which is finding myself
crying into my Le Cruset coffee mug by 10:45, least of all because of how
pathetically southern I am. So rather than dedicating the Nouse Business
section to the melancholy reality of the global economy, right now I’ve come to
the decision that I will endeavour to unearth however trivial and minor the
triumphs and success of the global economy in 2020. Words such as furlough and
national debt, taxation and contraction will not appear in the Nouse Business
section for the foreseeable future. So please join me in burying my head in the
sand as we explore this week in better Nouse.

1.) In March, the Chancellor
Rishi Sunak finally announced the abolition of the “tampon tax”, marking the
successful conclusion to a 20-year campaign by women’s rights activists.
Tampons and other women’s sanitary products currently have a 5 percent VAT, as
the Treasury in their infinite wisdom has never classed them as an ‘essential
consumer product’, the Treasury does however class crocodile meat and bingo as
essential products. The change to tax rules means that from the 31 December
sanitary products will be classed in the 0 percent VAT band, which is estimated
to save the average user over £45 in their life time and since tax reforms
brought in since 2001 a Nouse estimate puts the figure at £590.40.

2.) Global offshore wind energy
investment quadrupled in2020 despite slumps in the rest of the energy sector
due to the pandemic. Global investors have approved the development of 28 new
offshore windfarms in the first half of 2020 alone representing an investment
of over $35bn in the global renewable energy market. This was followed by an
announcement on Tuesday that the UK government will this year invest a further
£160 million into upgrading ports and factories for the building of turbines,
with a pledge from the prime minister that every home in Britain will be
powered by wind farms by2030. He further described that by 2030 ‘the UK will
become the Saudi Arabia of wind power.

3.) 2020 has seen the biggest
surge in demand for first time homebuyers in the UK since 2003, with the number
of mortgage applications being approved at a 13-year high. The surge in demand
has primarily been due to the Chancellors announcement that stamp duty on all
homes under the value of £500,000are exempt until the 31 March 2021,with
reduced stamp duty rates applied to higher value homes as well. According to
Rightmove the greatest demands has been in the age group of28 – 39-year olds
looking for first time homes, with the most viewed proper-ties being three-bedroom
detached houses. Data published by Rightmove also suggests homebuyers are
looking to the country and coastal towns to escape cities with searches for
towns and villages with a population of less than 11,000 doubling in the last three

4.) Ex-Nissan CEO &Nouse Business
regular Carlos Ghosn who reportedly escaped from Japan to Lebanon in a Cello
case in December2019, while under house arrest awaiting trial over allegations
of financial misconduct launches business pro-gram to revive Lebanon’s
struggling economy. The French Lebanese auto executive revealed on Tuesday
plans to coach business leaders, provide tech training and create start-up jobs
as part of a new a initiative to revive Lebanon’s struggling economy. The
announcement comes less  than two months
after the devastating blast a Beirut’s port rocked the city leaving 200 dead and
an  estimated 300 000displaced. When asked
his motivations behind the initiative Ghosne answered that it was simply his moral
duty as a Lebanese national to help his country in a time of crisis.

5.) UK companies since the crisis
began have given back over £215 million of government Covid-Relief funds since
the crisis began. In a remarkable show of civic unity, UK companies have
returned or denied claims to £215 million ($275 million)in funding, which was
either given to them in error, or went unused as part of Britain’s coronavirus
stimulus plan. According to HMRC, these returned funds came from 80,500separate
employers including some very large firms. When asked for comment HMRC
responded “HMRC welcomes those employers who have voluntarily returned CJRS
grants to HMRC because they no longer need the grantor have realized they’ve
made errors and followed our guidance on putting things right”. It’s events
like this that make me thankful the entirety of the U.K economy is not run by
Phillip Green.
 That just about concludes this
week in better Nouse, I hope for the few of you that have made it to the end of
the article that you are feeling ever so slightly less dejected about the state
of the world economy. Let’s hope we can all find a slight glimpse of hope in
that ever increasingly dark, depressing and endless chasm we call the 2020
graduate job market.