The UK officially left the EU on 31 January and is now embarking on an 11-month transition period during which formal trade negotiations will take place. Brexit has undoubtedly been an arduous process, costing two British Prime Ministers their jobs and dividing families the length and breadth of the country. However, since Boris Johnson won a landslide victory in December’s election with a mandate to ‘get Brexit done’, the UK had been heading inexorably towards the EU exit door. The final hurdle in the 1,317-day saga was safely cleared when the European Parliament rubber-stamped the Withdrawal Agreement on 29 January. And, at the stroke of 11pm on 31 January, the UK ceased to be a member of the EU; the divorce had finally been sealed……
INFLATION FALLS; RATES ON HOLD
Despite the rate of inflation in the UK falling to its lowest level in more than three years, the Bank of England (BoE) once again opted to leave interest rates on hold. Official ONS data showed that the Consumer Prices Index 12-month rate – which compares prices in the current month with the same period a year earlier – stood at 1.3% in December, lower than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. It was also lower than the 1.5% rate recorded during the previous month and means that prices are now increasing at their slowest pace since November 2016…..
BUDGET DATE ANNOUNCED
Chancellor Sajid Javid has promised an ‘infrastructure revolution’ when he delivers the country’s first post-Brexit Budget on Wednesday 11 March. The annual fiscal event, which was delayed from last autumn due to the general election, will allow the government to formalise spending commitments made during the election campaign. Announcing the revised date at a construction site in Manchester, the Chancellor pledged billions of pounds in infrastructure spending, with a shakeup of Treasury rules likely to see higher levels of investment directed towards projects in the Midlands and north of England…….