08.09.21 Commercial Awareness Update
One Step Forward 10 (Downing Street) Steps Back
The Green Homes Grant was supposed to help 600,000 properties more energy efficient, installing low c-carbon heating, and generate 82,500 jobs
There were a lot of problems after its launch in September 2020 with those applying waiting an average of 138 days to receive a voucher and was scrapped in March.
The Government estimates that the scheme helped 47,500 households and created 5,600 total jobs
The National Audit Office says scheme was overambitious and not well executed
The failed £1.5 bn initiative was a key step in the government’s plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and support the economy after CO-VID 19 disruptions.
Though the government responds claiming that the scheme was designed for the short-term and has achieved its goals by stimulating the economy during the pandemic.
Financial Times: UK Green Homes Scheme Condemned as Badly Planned and Rushed by Camilla Hodgson
Financial Times: UK Households Face Energy Bills Surcharge To Fund Nuclear Plants by Nathalie Thomas and Jim Pickard
You Can't Sit With Us… Because We Don’t Have Sofas:
Shortages of timber, resin, and steel leave half of 600 furniture item catalogues out of stock early this year reports Temahome.
Manufacturers of cupboards, cards and computers are struggling to cope with the disrupted supply chains due to COVID-19, threatening the post-pandemic economy and increasing inflation.
Paired with rising consumerism as the economy reopens, shortages have led to decade-high inflation.
With one in three EU furniture stores affected by supply shortages, and affected by both material shortages, and truck driver shortages, one can not predict when the supplies will go back to normal
High shipping costs and delivery delays due to bad weather and COVID-19 shutdowns in Asian ports are also reported as part of the issue.
Transport costs are nearly seven times higher than in August last year (according to Freightos)
Ikea reveals their strategy to divert some supplies on to train from China to Europe to free up container capacity so that they can ship more to the US.
In the US, Hurricane Ida disrupts lumber supplies via truck through the southern states.
Financial Times: Supply Chain Squeeze: First Cars, Now Chairs and Cupboards by Valentina Romei and Martin Arnold
Coming To a Box Office Near You
The London office sector has suffered a blow as some companies scale back-office space due to a massive shift in home working during the pandemic on the assumption that hybrid working will become the new normal.
Developers are responding by investing in flexible, modern offices to give employees a good reason to return to the office.
In the Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership, the landowner makes a deal with The Office Group (property provide majority-owned by Blackstone) to create a 170,000 sq ft space to be designed for flexible working.
The offices will be located in one of two 13-story blocks that make up the building - the other a residential. Between the two, a ground floor will hold public or corporate events with spaces throughout offices for wellness and fitness.
The building is being designed by Piercy&Company. The building will be littered with areas that afford workers visual and acoustic privacy to account for how embedded video-conferencing has become a part of working practices.
The King’s Cross office is due to be completed in 2024.
Financial Times: Build It and They Will Come, Says Head of King's Cross Estate by Ian Smith
Leave Lloyds A LOAN!
Lloyds Banking Group is being sued in the High Court by 150 homeowners alleging that they have lost thousands after being sold mortgages ties to house price appreciation
The case has directly been made against the Bank of Scotland (Lloyd’s child company). The bank allowed customers to take out a loan for their houses as long as the bank receive a percentage of the equity growth when the property was owned
The mortgages were agreed in the late 1990s meaning that when house prices have quadrupled- some now owe the bank a hundred more than their initial loan.
The average price of a property in the UK has risen from 56,630 in April 1996 to 265,668 in June 2021 (Land Registry data)
Teacher Stern, the law firm acting for the homeowners, reveals that the claims may be worth as much as £50 million.
They make the case that the mortgages were unsuitable for customers and unfair under the terms of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act,, claims which the Bank of Scotland denies.
Financial Times: Lloyds Faces Court Battle Over Mortgages Tied To Property Value by Jane Croft
Boris Breaks a Promise:
Boris prepares to break the conservative 2019 election manifesto pledge not to raise tax rates to address weaknesses in the social care system.
Ministers will increase National insurance
Tory MPs greet tthe national insurance tax raise with hostility as they fear the party is risking its reputation for appearances. Sir Joh n Redwood a former Cabinet minister described the proposal as a bad idea
While Domonic Cummings (Johnson’s former chief adviser) warns that voters will not forgive the prime-minster nor the Conservative party for breaking its promise.
Businesses including the Federation of Small Businesses plead with Sunak not to increase taxes as they fear job tax could cripple businesses.
Financial Times: Johnson To Break Election Tax Pledge To Fund Social Care Reform by Sebastian Payne. Chris Giles, Sarah Neville and Jim Pickard.
To Me, To You: The Morrison’s Bidding War Story.
Private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice offers Morrisons £10.2bn but faces a rivalry led by Fortress Investment Group.
Morrisons’ stock is at 291p, which is 6p above the 285p per share that CD&R offered last month. The bid is a 55p increase from it’s initial approach, and has been recommended by Morrison’s directors
Fortress Investment Group, owned by Japan’s SoftBank, bid 270p and said last month that it will “consider its options” following the bid from CD&R.
Morrison's claims that it will give significant weight to the ownership of Morrison's including the interests of suppliers, customers and staff.
Analysts expect that either bidder will sell assets including freehold stores and manufacturing sites or warehouses in order to make a return.
Financial Times: Morrison's Takeover Battle To Go To Auction Next Month by Sarah Provan and Jonathan Eley