The weekend saw Boris Johnson announce a four-week national lockdown to try and curb the number of hospital admissions and avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed. The timing of the national lockdown has been questionable since the UK has been a late mover, with most other major European countries already in a lockdown phase again. All non-essential shops and leisure activities will be forced to close but the decision to keep schools, colleges, and universities open has faced significant backlash, although closure would cause long-term harm for children and students’ education. The Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove admitted that the national lockdown could be extended beyond its four-week period if the rate of transmission does not fall sufficiently.
Since this is the second national lockdown, we already know what to expect and what is to come, so the transition is expected to be much smoother. The job retention scheme has been extended during this month-long lockdown with employees able to receive 80% of their wage based on their current operating hours, however businesses are still facing rent and rates pressures.
Elsewhere, the US Presidential Election is entering its final stage, as Americans vote tomorrow. According to the latest polls, Democratic candidate, Joe Biden is in the driving seat over the incumbent Donald Trump. Ninety-five million Americans have already voted via post, which equates to 70% of the voting turnout in 2016, hence a much higher voting turnout is expected for this election and polls might not be as accurate. This has been the most expensive presidential election on record, with spending already at $14 billion.
The ongoing Brexit negotiations also enter their terminal phase with the rights to Britain’s fishing waters still in dispute. Chief UK negotiator, David Frost has been reluctant to concede the UK fishing territory since this is a significant source of income for domestic fisheries and the UK are justified to demand full jurisdiction on fishing in British waters despite EU pressures.
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