Spring Statement, Boeing 737 Max, Facebook outage, Thameslink fine: your commercial news round-up
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While Theresa May attempts to get her EU withdrawal deal through for the third time in the coming days (see #BrexitMayhem on Twitter), there is one thing we know for sure about Brexit: nobody knows what will happen and how it will affect the British economy. So, is it a matter of keep calm and carry on? For a brief reprieve from the unknown, take a look at some relevant commercial news items from this week:
- The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, yesterday unveiled his Spring Statement which, among other promises, pledged £100 million to tackle knife crime and provide free sanitary products for schools. Hammond also vowed to spend £26.6 billion boosting the British economy if the UK leaves the EU with a deal. The statement was severely criticised by some for not tackling poverty in the UK by ending the freeze on benefits. Figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility predict that the UK economy will grow at 1.2% this year, the slowest pace since 2009.
- After this week’s fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash, US plane-maker Boeing has grounded its entire global 737 Max fleet. The Federal Aviation Administration had previously maintained that there were “no systematic performance issues” with the aircraft, but now admit that fresh evidence has prompted the decision to temporarily ban the jets. The US joins the UK, China, India and Australia in grounding the aircraft because of safety concerns.
- Much worse than Brexit and impending no-deal confusion, Facebook yesterday suffered a 14-hour disruption to all of its products which left Facebook, Instagram and their messaging services down across the world. The outage has not yet been explained by Facebook, and is the worst since 2008.
- Govia Thameslink Railway has been fined £5 million for the chaos induced by its introduction of a new timetable in May last year. The confusion led to hundreds of train cancellations and delays for hundreds of thousands of commuters. The investigation led by the Office of Rail and Road found that Govia did not effectively communicate changes to services and cancelled trains at the last minute.