Budget 2 - spreadsheet Phil returns

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Budget 2 - spreadsheet Phil returns

With regular references to “embracing the future” and “looking forwards not backwards” the Chancellor of the Exchequer attempted to sound an optimistic note on our economic prospects, despite downgraded productivity forecasts. He was helped by new OBR figures that indicate the national debt has peaked and borrowing is predicted to fall.

2017 Autumn Budget word cloud

Philip Hammond’s job today was to pass his budget camel through the eye of a needle. His speech and the policy changes behind it attempt to juggle the concerns of populace growing tired of austerity, outmanoeuvre the opposition and placate critics from within his own party. With so little in the bank for giveaways, he put in a solid performance that was decidedly light on substance. The 'B' word was almost entirely absent, save for setting aside further £3bn in funds for “preparation’.

It was a good day for those who invested in their own future with a bet at 16/1 odd that the Chancellor would use the expression “long economicky words” in his second Budget this year. His joke was a reference to media reports that Michael Gove had, apparently, been using such lexicon around the cabinet table to “audition for the role of Chancellor”.

As was well trailed in the media, the focus of the Budget was on housing; with measures to increase homeownership, scrap stamp duty for the majority of first-time buyers. There was a lot of talk but less action on digital skills and infrastructure and much drum rolling for the Industrial Strategy White Paper which is due out next week. However, there were also changes to the minimum wage, tweaks to mitigate the harshest consequences of bringing in Universal Credit and some tax relief for small businesses.  

If you would like to read the Chancellor’s Speech in full you can do so here.

 

Labour's response

Always a hard task having to react on the spot to the Budget, Jeremy Corbyn had a long and wide-ranging pre-prepared speech which bore only passing relation to the Budget itself.

Focusing on many of his key themes which had been pre-trailed in the lead up to the Budget. He asserted the Budget did not reflect reality and predicted, as the Budget unravels over the next few days, people will be revealed to be no better off. He then rightly majored on the poor growth numbers and broken promises on eradicating the deficit.

Now that that tricky task is over, the Labour economist and policy guys will start to look at the detail and no doubt make hay over some of the real weak areas in the Government’s current economic performance.

Whether it will make an impact and force a u-turn remains to be seen. Remember, it wasn't Labour which forced the frantic back tracking in Spring, but Hammond's own party back benchers. We'll find out their reaction over the next few days...

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Moments that Mattered curated by Atlas Partners

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Moments that Mattered curated by Atlas Partners

Since we launched in November 2015, the worlds of media and politics have experienced momentous change.

Of all those moments, which mattered most?

We asked some of our famous friends for their answers. Visit our Moments that Mattered gallery to see what they said.

We obsessively follow the shifting changes in media, public opinion and our volatile political landscape. As professional contrarians, we debate the importance and impact of moments along the way, to inform the advice we give to our clients.

Some moments are funny, some serious, some seem insignificant at first but gain momentum or, on reflection, represent major turning points. Social feeds and editorial agendas are crowded, so each person has a different view on what matters most. 

The moments gallery reinforces how important sport is to our national psyche, with the power to bring us together. Sir Matthew Pinsent, Olympic rower and broadcaster, Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Immigration, and Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Shadow Minister for Sport, all chose uplifting sporting moments.

News moments also have the power to reveal something deeper about our social and cultural attitudes. Afua Hirsch, Broadcaster and writer, Sam Burne James, News Editor of PR Week, and Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women's Equality Party, all chose moments that highlight the struggle for equal acceptance and opportunity, whatever your race or gender, is far from over. 

Moments from Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor of the Sun, Anushka Asthana, Joint Political Editor of the Guardian, and Caroline Mulcahy MBE, FCO Head of Middle East policy, remind us that politics can fundamentally shift the direction of a country and its national debate. 

We are very grateful to all those who gave their time and thoughts to bring the Moments that Mattered exhibition together. Including Gemma Charles, Deputy Editor of Campaign Magazine, who reminded us that a moment doesn't have to be serious to have global impact.  

We'd love you to join the debate and see the full exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London SW1, on Wednesday 22nd November from 6.30pm - 9pm. Vote for your favourite moment to join us and raise a glass to surviving the last two years together...

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Where next for Scottish Labour?

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Where next for Scottish Labour?

As Kezia Dugdale steps down, friends of Atlas, Pagoda Porter Novelli, assess where the Labour Party can go next, and why GE2017 proved to be a fake victory for the Party North of the border. 

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Fox in the Sky hen house?

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Fox in the Sky hen house?

Rupert Murdoch’s quest to buy the one media company to rule them all is starting to make Frodo’s trip to Mordor look like a walk in the park. We look at what the fuss is all about and why PRs should care about media ownership. 

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'No Help from Berlin' Angela Merkel: Act Four

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'No Help from Berlin' Angela Merkel: Act Four

As Britain obsesses over Brexit and our future relationship with the EU, we are discovering a new-found interest for – or suddenly waking up to the importance of - continental politics. The fates of Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel matter more to us now than ever, as both have a hand in the future of the UK outside the bloc. With just over a month to go until the German elections on 24th September, friend of Atlas, Omar El-Nahry, explains the internal mechanics of the contest, and why no outcome is likely to enhance the UK’s negotiating position.

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41 Down, 8,959 Still To Go

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41 Down, 8,959 Still To Go

On the 6 April 2017, gender pay data became mandatory for all companies with 250+ employees, it is no longer something that can be ignored. So far, 41 companies have uploaded their data to the Government website. As we explore in our blog on the BBC’s recent gender pay tables – this is more than just compliance – this is about securing your reputation.

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Mind the Pay Gap: A Reputational Iceberg

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Mind the Pay Gap: A Reputational Iceberg

When we talk to communications professionals about the challenges posed by gender pay gap revelations, initial reactions are often dismissive. “It is an HR issue”, they tell us. “Our legal team are already on it”, they assure us. Here at Atlas, we recognise that preparing for gender pay gap reporting goes beyond HR and legal. As the BBC coverage demonstrates, it is a serious reputational issue.

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My work ATLASt

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My work ATLASt

Ellie McKenzie reviews her two weeks work experience with Atlas Partners...

I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first morning as I climbed up the stairs to open the office door into my two weeks work experience with Atlas Partners, but I had the assumption that it would involve making a lot of tea and coffee. I couldn’t be more wrong, the only tea I was close to was the communi‘tea’.

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Brexit goes nuclear...

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Brexit goes nuclear...

Little known before this week, the European nuclear co-ordination treaty, Euratom, has become the latest dividing line in Brexit negotiations. With consumer fears about life saving cancer treatments being threatened, a commons majority looks to be forming against one of Downing Street's Brexit red lines...

 

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Can May Survive Silly Season?

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Can May Survive Silly Season?

The Pimm’s is flowing. The sun is out. Wimbledon is on the telly. In Westminster circles, that can only mean one thing, ‘silly season’ has begun. But the serious story that may give rise to many as silly as #moggmentum is whether the Prime Minister will remain as leader of the Conservatives. We look at the conditions required for a challenge and the likely challengers. 

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The Best GIFs of the G20

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The Best GIFs of the G20

A day of rage descended on Hamburg last week as opponents faced off and old battle lines were re-drawn…and that’s without talking about the violent protests surrounding the G20 summit.

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The power of Select Committees in the House of Commons

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The power of Select Committees in the House of Commons

Parliamentary Select Committees have often formed the backdrop to some of the more consequential and confrontational moments of recent times in British politics. After each new election committee memberships are renewed and MPs jostle for the key chair roles. We analyse why this matters to communications professionals and what it tells us about Parliament

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LAB-REXIT: Labour, leadership and leaving the EU

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LAB-REXIT: Labour, leadership and leaving the EU

With the general election now over, and normal business resuming, the big issue now for the new ‘Corbynite’ Labour party is how to position themselves on Brexit. Of the 262 seats they won on June 8th, 162 of these voted Leave in 2016, with 70 of those seats voting to do so by over 60%.

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Playing the Parliamentary numbers

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Playing the Parliamentary numbers

One of the more significant Acts passed by the last government was ‘English votes for English laws’ (EVEL). This legislation enables a Bill to be declared as English, or English and Welsh. These changes give increased powers to English and Welsh MPs and change the legislative process, adding new stages for England, or England and Wales MPs only.

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Queens Speech 2017

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Queens Speech 2017

Today’s Queen’s Speech was dictated by parliamentary arithmetic, dominated by Brexit and derelict on manifesto promises.The lack of detail is testament to a Prime Minister and government under great pressure; unable to press on with their most radical plans and unsure whether they will still be in place to deliver the next one.

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How does #GE2017 affect Brexit negotiations?

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How does #GE2017 affect Brexit negotiations?

On Monday David Davis went to Brussels to kick off the first round of formal negotiations, with the urbane Michel Barnier. The FT have reported the weakness of May would cast a shadow over our Brexit negotiations, a view shared widely amongst the commentariat.  I sat down to challenge this bit of ‘received wisdom’.

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