Shocks & Stares » Ken Clarke H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 en hourly 1 FPS’ Friday Fiver Fri, 07 Oct 2011 16:54:19 +0000 Jonathan Henderson There’s a heady mix of central banking, political shuffling and cat hair in the Fiver this week. Feel free to let us know what you think. 

Thanks to Dave, Marie and Ed for their contributions this week. 

From thin air… The virtual printing press is being turned on once again. This week the Bank of England announced its plans to inject a further £75 billion into the economy through quantitative easing. Ed Conway of Sky has a handy explanation as to what this actually means and what it is meant to do. You can find it here.

 While perusing Twitter for reaction to yesterday’s QE announcement, a comment [below] from Mark Cobley of Financial News caught my eye.


What if this money were put into people’s pockets – like a Euromillions jackpot for us all – rather than circulated through the City?

 Three initial thoughts came to mind:

1)      Low consumer confidence and consumption is one of the key problems facing the UK economy – this might act as a shot in the arm

2)      However, eliminating the consequences of personal debt would set a dangerous precedent and potentially a “too big to fail” mentality even amongst the collection of individuals

3)      We’re meant to be moving to a more export driven economy rather than relying on the consumer spending

 My musings are of little consequence as it’s never going to happen, but to read Peter Wilby’s more considered explanation of the idea click here.


Good week/bad week… Pretty tough to find anyone who’s had a good week whereas the list of those feeling the 7 day blues is distinctly long. The winner of the latter probably has to go to George Osborne though, if nothing else than for his quote two years ago that “printing money {quantitative easing} is the last resort of desperate governments”. I wouldn’t be surprised if some young Labour party workers had printed a few copies of that phrase and attempted to infiltrate the Treasury to plaster it on various noticeboards.


Searching hard for a good week, about the best we can do is one of the winners from Labour’s shadow cabinet reshuffle, namely Rachel Reeves. Barely in Parliament for a year, she’s scored a top job as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Reeves had been capturing attention as a forthright and capable shadow pensions minister, and it’s fair to say those in the pensions community aren’t overly happy at yet another MP stepping so quickly off the pensions treadmill.

 Cat-gate… As a massive fan of felines a.k.a being a sad old cat lady, I find myself in camp Clarke on the issue of cat-gate. Teresa May clearly hasn’t felt the warmth of a purring  hairball on her lap as she tucks into a jumbo-sized Galaxy and watches Corrie in her PJs, or else she would never have ridiculed the process that kept the Bolivian bloke and his much-loved moggy together in the UK. It made perfect sense to me, despite some of my own reservations about the impact of the Human Rights Act.

[Oose - author Marie’s cat]

On a serious note though, Ken Clarke did raise some interesting and serious issues over the use of rhetoric and polarising positioning in public speaking and politics. Whether the cat or the case exists isn’t the whole point of his disagreement with May, it is the fact that she taking on the role of an alarmed Daily Mail headline writer about an issue which is fundamental, complicated and potentially explosive that irked him and rightly so. But the masses applauded and job done for Mrs. May and her speech writer. Meanwhile the real debate about Human Rights gets lost in the farce the story has now become. That said it did helpfully distract people from Cameron’s credit crackdown gaff but the Conference managers must also surely feel it was an unhelpful distraction overall.     

Umunna roll – Chuka’s meteoric rise… This afternoon, Ed Miliband confirmed what had widely been reported yesterday, that John Denham, the widely respected Labour figure would be resigning from his post as Shadow Secretary of State for Business. He would be joined by John Healey the Shadow Health Secretary and Ivan Lewis the Shadow Culture Secretary who was demoted.


What will surely grab the headlines however is the meteoric rise of Chuka Umunna – the British Obama – who has been promoted to replace John Denham and Shadow the wise old head of Vince Cable at the Department for Business. It has been pointed out Mr Cable, everybody’s favourite Liberal Democrat, is not only twice Chuka’s age, but has also spent longer in the Labour Party! 

Family Friendly… To finish the week, we’ll take a look at a piece of work conducted within the H&K FPS team. Working with leading children’s savings provider Family Investments, we wanted to help the business demonstrate just how well they understand their customers and family audience – particularly ahead of the new forthcoming Junior ISA which is going to be a competitive market. 

The FPS team created the Family Friendly Hotspots Report, a unique analysis revealing the best places to bring up children in England and Wales. The report was compiled using a unique analysis model combining more than 60 sets of data including education attainment from Ofsted, Land Registry property prices, police crime figures and ONS population data. 

These were all aggregated to generate overall scores for every single postcode region in England and Wales. The report listed the top 20 postcodes to bring up children and a tool was created for the Family Investments website which enabled individuals to type in their postcode and see how it scored.

Launched on 26th September 2011, the Hotspots report has so far generated over 200 pieces of coverage including 12 national articles, BBC online and BBC News pieces as well as 150 regional articles and no shortage of national debate.

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