Review of the year as affecting Britain and the EU

It has been a year in which Britain has seen much progress in economy not least with the launch of over 600,000 businesses as well as scientific and technological innovation.


Andy jalil – –

It has to be said that 2016 will go down as one of the most momentous of years in several decades. It is of particular significance to the UK with the foundation of Brexit being laid for severance from the European Union.
It has been a year in which Britain has seen much progress in economy not least with the launch of over 600,000 businesses as well as scientific and technological innovation. In pointing out the major issues and attempting to reflect such an extraordinary year one sees how eventful each month has been.

January: Oil began the year languishing around $35 — motorists were not displeased. The influx of refugees in Europe gathered pace and in the UK anticipation of the referendum began to take hold.
February: Prime minister, at the time, David Cameron got busy putting together his new EU deal which even those close to him later conceded didn’t amount to much. He failed to get much of what he wanted for the UK. The London Mayor, Boris Johnson delighted the Leave campaigners by backing the Brexit cause while the City of London Corporation voted to officially back the Remain campaign which infuriated the financial districts’ small band of eurosceptics.
March: Chancellor George Osborne’s last budget took place, his aim of deficit reduction remained off target while he focused on a range of tax giveaways. In the EU Belgium was hit by three suicide bombings.
April: The first head-to-head mayoral debate took place between Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan. The Treasury was criticised for a desperate Brexit forecast in attempting to cause alarm and the major retail chain BHS was revealed to be on the brink of collapse.
May: Sadiq Khan comfortably won the vote for the London mayor. The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, infuriated Brexiteers with his warnings over a recession in case of a NO vote for leaving the EU. London was revealed to have more multi-millionaires than any other city.
June: While Michael Gove and Johnson worked tirelessly campaigning for Leave, Cameron became increasingly desperate in his endeavour to influence the Remain vote as he made appearances at gatherings pleading the case for Remain to the extent not expected from the prime minister himself. It proved to be counter-productive.
July: Theresa May replaced Cameron as Prime Minister and promised to make a success of Brexit. The Labour (opposition) party descended into civil war as MPs moved to challenge the leader Jeremy Corbyn. Law firm Mishcon de Reya began setting out its clients’ case against the triggering of Article 50, in a dispute which currently sits before the Supreme Court.
August: BoE governor unleashed a historic post-referendum stimulus. His critics say he over-reacted. Good economic news just kept coming, with August revealing a surge in the services sector. The prime minister set her sights on control of executive salaries and London took the top spot in accountancy firm PwC’s Global Cities of Opportunity report.
September: Recession fears (spread by Remain campaign) faded over the summer and the OECD became the latest body of experts to row back on Brexit warnings. British firm Micro Focus unveiled a $9 bn bid for the software arm of US giant HP while recruitment remained buoyant across UK firms. EU Commission President Jean Claude Junker said in his State of the Union address he had never known the EU to be less united.
October: Theresa May wrapped up the Tory party conference with a speech that alarmed the financial district and the EU. She pledged to clamp down on immigration and make life tough for the “citizens of nowhere” (the bosses in the financial district). The IMF U-turned on its Brexit warnings and business confidence reached pre-referendum levels.
November: Donald Trump’s victory in the US election came as a major surprise to the UK, a political event that may turn the world on its head. London retained the No 1 spot in a ranking of European cities best for companies to be set up. Chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped his predecessor’s targets (deficit reduction) and rules.
December: UK growth forecasts were revised upwards. Chancellor Hammond backed transitional Brexit arrangements. EU firms called for continued access to the UK market while UK government hinted at continuing to pay into the EU budget, following Brexit, in exchange for single market access.