Birmingham, Baristas and Burgundy


Elisabeth Troni deputies for Richard Pickering this week

Brexit means Brexodus?  One week ago Britain started a process that has never been undertaken before and financial markets have taken it in their stride.That said, one of the biggest concerns has been of a potential Brexit-related jobs exodus. So headlines started flying when the day after Article 50 was triggered, Lloyd’s confirmed plans to open a new office in Brussels. But, the devil was in the detail – Lloyd’s were considering a possible move of just 100 employees. The general consensus within financial services is that London will retain its role as a global financial hub and any exodus will not materially affect this status. So Lloyd’s is merely doing what many other firms are doing – acquiring an option that it hopes will expire.

Relocation, relocation, relocation  The future location of Channel 4 (C4) is up for grabs as the government applies pressure on the public broadcaster to better ‘serve the country’ and redistribute creative jobs to the regions. Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds are in the race; but Birmingham has been quickest off the blocks, luring the broadcaster with an offer of two prime HQ locations, including a site near the city centre’s proposed high-speed rail station. It should not go unnoticed that C4 are sitting on a c.£100m headquarter building in Victoria, one of London’s fastest improving submarkets, which would no doubt help the coffers of a cash strapped government.

Wake up and serve the coffee  We are enjoying more takeaway meals, eating out more times a week and buying more flat whites than ever before and many indicators suggest this is a structural shift. A new report from the Local Data Company shows that while the convenience retail sector (newsagents, groceries) saw a net loss of stores last year, Food & Beverage (F&B) has continued its remarkable growth of the last five years. But, F&B’s growth plans are vulnerable to the high level of EU nationals who work across the industry ranging from baristas to Deliveroo couriers. With Pret A Manger recently announcing that just one in 50 job applicants at its stores is British, it’s not too hard to see how things would potentially grind to a halt.

It’s not easy being blue  The UK passport is routinely redesigned every five years to guard against counterfeiting (the current contract expires in March 2019, the year the UK is set to leave the EU) and rumours suggest that the passport cover could turn blue again. Some have suggested that the burgundy EU passport is a ‘humiliation’ and many favour a return to the colour of the past. While the Crown has been issuing travel documents since at least the 1400s, the blue passport introduced in 1920 only lasted for 68 years. Nonetheless Smythson will no doubt be licking its lips at the opportunity to sell EU style burgundy covers to Remain voters looking to heckle leave voters at border security checkpoints. And while we are on the subject of bringing things back, I vote for the three day week.


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