Most years, we at Air Courier International distribute Christmas gifts and cards to you, our customers, as a small appreciation of the highly valued business that you send our way every year. Once before, we gave a donation to a worthy charity in place of these gifts and this year we have decided to do the same. The pandemic has affected all our lives over the past two years and charities have suffered due to fewer donations and support. The elderly particularly have struggled to navigate the ‘new normal’, so we have therefore decided to donate to ‘AGE UK’; the country’s leading charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.
Too many older people feel they have no one to turn to for support. This number has increased dramatically through Covid-19 due to lockdowns and social distancing. The over-sixties are the fastest-growing group in society and there are more in this age group than ever before. Age UK stand up and speak for all those who have reached later life and protect the long-term interests of future generations.
“Ageing is not an illness, but it can be challenging. Age UK provides services and support at a national and local level to inspire, enable and support older people.’
AGE UK exists to help older people when they need it the most; tackling loneliness, get older people active and offering support so they can stay independent for longer. They help millions of people to know their rights and make the best choices for later life and put people in control of the care they receive, while sharing best practice to improve services.
Ageing is not an illness, but it can be challenging. Age UK provides services and support at a national and local level to inspire, enable and support older people.
‘It can be no fun being lonely. The good news is, Age UK really helps the one million older people who are lonely in this country; get them out of the house a bit, support those in poverty, or just give them a friend to talk to. It’s simple really.’
We can hardly believe it has been over five years since the British public voted to leave the European Union. Below we will look at two main questions: Firstly, are the voters still content with their decision; secondly, how well voters think Brexit has been executed. After this, we will look at the real-life impacts; the good, the bad and the ugly. (okay..its really just the bad and the ugly!)
What we found to be quite surprising is that the UK is still evenly split as to whether we should rejoin or stay out of the UK. Back in 2016, 48% voted remain, 52% voted to stay. In the NatCen Panel surveys conducted throughout the last five years, it examines first whether individual voters have changed their minds about Brexit and whether collectively there has continued to be majority support for leaving the EU. The conclusion after analysis was that 48% would vote to rejoin the EU, and 52% would vote to stay out. It seemed to us, at least, that the consensus was that the public had started to think we had made a mistake – however this does not appear to be the case.
However, overall, voters feel quite strongly that we obtained a bad Brexit deal, with only 21% coming out in support of it. When we look at the real impacts of Brexit for the UK, it may explain why those that voted to leave have stuck with their decision. The larger more negative consequences have not filtered down through to the average voter yet: In fact, 6 out of ten people in the UK revealed that Brexit has not impacted their daily lives. But anyone who listens to the news will have heard about how underwhelming the deal that we received really was.
Brexit’s biggest disadvantage is its damage to the U.K.’s economic growth. Most of this has been due to the uncertainty surrounding the final outcome.
Uncertainty over Brexit slowed the U.K.’s growth from 2.4% in 2015 to 1.0% in 2019. The U.K. government estimated that Brexit would lower the U.K.’s growth by up to 6.7% over 15 years. It assumed the current terms of free trade but restricted immigration.
The British pound fell from $1.48 on the day of the referendum to $1.36 the next day. That helps exports but increases the prices of imports. It has not regained its pre-Brexit high. (Figure source)
Brexit hurts Britain’s younger workers. Germany is projected to have a labor shortage of 3 million skilled workers by 2030. Those jobs won’t be as readily available to the U.K.’s workers after Brexit.
Employers are having a harder time finding applicants. One reason is that EU-born workers left the U.K., their numbers falling by 95% in 2017. This has hit the low-skilled and medium-skilled occupations the most.
The U.K. must negotiate new trade agreements with countries outside of the EU, which had more than 40 trade agreements with 70 countries already in place
BREXIT IN IRELAND
Northern Ireland remains with the U.K. The Republic of Ireland, with which it shares a border, stays a part of the EU. The agreement avoids a customs border between the two Irish countries.
A customs border could have reignited The Troubles, which was a 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants. In 1998, it ended with the promise of no border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. A customs border would have forced about 9,300 commuters to go through customs on their way to and from work and school.
BREXIT IN LONDON
Brexit has already depressed growth in the U.K.’s financial center of London, which saw only 1.4% in 2018 and was close to zero in 2019. It also diminished business investment by 11% between 2016 and 2019.
International companies are less likely to use London as an English-speaking entry into the EU economy. Barclay’s moved 5,000 clients to its Irish subsidiary, while Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley switched 10% of their clients. Bank of America has also transferred 100 bankers to its Dublin office and 400 to a broker dealer unit in Paris.32
BREXIT IN SCOTLAND
Scotland voted against Brexit. The Scottish government believed that staying in the EU was the best for Scotland and the U.K. It had been pushing the U.K. government to allow for a second referendum.
To leave the U.K., Scotland would have to call a referendum on independence. It could then apply for EU membership on its own.
What has Brexit meant for us…?
We have tried to make the transitional period of Brexit as easy as possible for our customers but there have been some changes in the way we have to operate to the EU. Everyone shipping to the EU from the UK now needs to have their IORI numbers to ship which wasn’t a requirement before. More information on this can be found in our Q1 Newsletter, if you have any more questions about shipments, just give us a call.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way people have lived their lives over the past year. Lockdown has forced people away from pubs, gyms and shops and turned their attentions to online quizzes, zoom calls and Netflix binges. Office workers stopped commuting and began working from home while students became accustomed to learning away from the classroom. Some reinvented the way they exercised, while others took the time to become more charitable. (Like us, check out what we’re doing to support the British Heart Foundation HERE). Here’s 10 ways that Covid-19 has changed our lives for good since lockdown began:
Covid-19 has sped up the gradual decline of the traditional high street in the eyes of many, but some experts suggest it could have a positive effect on local businesses. Isabelle Szmigin, professor of marketing at the University of Birmingham, said: “I guess apart from the obvious increase in online shopping, the most interesting is the growth in local shopping. “We may see city high streets suffer and small, local shops and delivery businesses gain somewhat. This may link with a drive for more sustainable consumption, less driving to big shopping centres.
“But remember the queues outside Primark after last lockdown – some people still need their high street shopping fix.”
However, others warn the future is bleaker than ever for stores. Professor of consumer behaviour Andrew Smith, of Nottingham University, told the PA news agency: “Consumers have been retrained over the last year to shop from home. This change was happening anyway but Covid has induced a step change. “Some recreational high-end retail venues will likely benefit from the opening up but things will never be the same again.”
Millions of office workers have been working from home for the past year, which could force businesses to rethink how workplaces around the country operate post Covid-19.
Insurance brokerage firm Gallagher conducted a survey of 1,000 business leaders, with nearly half of respondents saying they will reduce office space by the end of 2025. It is estimated that around 18 million square feet of office space will become redundant in the next five years. Another survey suggests only one in five people want to go back into the workplace five days a week after Covid restrictions end. The polling, commissioned by the 4 Day Week Campaign, showed just over half of workers want to see permanent changes to working life after the pandemic. Workers showed support for a hybrid model of remote working and a four-day working week.
Lockdown has brought a huge disruption to face-to-face teaching, but it has brought several benefits to school-age education. Teachers have discovered tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom, which allow them to monitor their students’ progress. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department for Education launched the Oak National Academy, an online schooling platform, which saw students access two million lessons across the country in its first week. These online platforms could become a regular part of school life after lockdown is lifted, increasing the amount of teacher-student interaction.
The way GCSEs are conducted was temporarily replaced by teacher assessments last summer which could pose a viable permanent alternative to the previous examination system. The pandemic could also alter how university lectures are carried out, with students previously complaining about a lack of teaching time on their courses. Tutors are also able to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to allow them to interact with students more often.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said Covid-19 has changed how Britons view hygiene. He also said that some habits we have adopted will still stay with us. Back in January he told The Sun: “The pandemic has changed a lot of things. It has changed the way you and I approach hand hygiene.
“We all carry hand sanitiser around now. We all expect in most of the places we go into that hand sanitiser is provided at the door.” Hand sanitiser will become a mainstay in workplaces and public areas, it has been predicted.
Being in lockdown has massively increased society’s use of technology as a source of entertainment, shopping and communication. Broadband firm, Zen Internet, said its latest research showed demand for streaming services, news content and online work tools skyrocketed by 78% in the first lockdown in March last year. Remote work meetings will largely become normalised, experts have predicted, and certain appointments or engagements could shift to digital platforms. Hotel keys could also be scrapped in favour of phone-based applications alongside QR Menus.
Planes across the nation have been grounded, train and coach operators have suspended routes and there has been a major drop in the use of buses and cars. The AA has suggested that road and railway use be reduced further after the crisis, saying that people travelling up and down motorways to hold meetings is “not good for the environment”.
There has also been a shift towards cycle use over the pandemic, with Ebikes predicted to outsell electric cars within the next few years. The Government has made a series of announcements relating to funding boosts for sustainable transport as part of a £2 billion package introduced to get people walking and cycling, which is clearly going to a permanent investment for the ‘post Covid-19 era’.
Those living in the city have noticed an improvement in their urban environments, with fewer planes flying, cleaner-smelling air and calmer roads. Satellite data has indicated a fall in atmospheric levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. Global carbon emissions from energy usage also fell by almost 8% in 2020, the biggest drop in history, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It predicts a year-on-year reduction of around 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from energy use including electricity, transport and heating, bringing emissions to levels they were 10 years ago. The fall is down to predicted declines in coal, gas and oil this year and the impact of recessions. Others have also called for the pandemic to be used as an opportunity to reset the effects caused by global warming.
The coronavirus lockdown has showed the nation at its best in terms of community spirit and acts of charity. Thursday’s Clap For Our Carers, Captain Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts, local food deliveries and free book giveaways are among the many acts of kindness seen up and down the country over the past year.
A huge survey of nearly 160,000 people earlier this month indicated that society in the UK has pulled together during Covid-19. Most people have got to know their neighbours better, want to keep the benefits of closer communities and build on them, while millions have volunteered for the first time, said the report. Bishop Nick Baines said there is a “clear public appetite for a society in which we are more connected”.
The fitness industry has gone largely virtual in lockdown – a change which could continue for the next few years. Gyms across the country have moved classes online and many are looking into introducing more digital platforms, with millions of users engaging in daily home workouts. Joe Wicks has said lockdown has caused a “massive shift” in people’s attitudes towards exercise and has encouraged parents to work out in front of their children. The 34-year-old, known professionally as The Body Coach, said this could encourage those unwilling to pay a gym membership to exercise from home, making fitness more accessible.
Face masks are set to be around for much longer, according to scientists, and it is likely people will voluntarily choose to continue wearing them on public transport. Sir Patrick Vallance has said people in the UK may still need their face masks until winter, while Professor Van-Tam said it may shape attitudes for good. Prof Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference back in December that coverings “may persist for many years and that may be a good thing”. He has also previously said that Britons may make the “personal decision” to opt to wear a face covering while on the underground or any other form of public transport.