This week was authored by Isabella.
‘Twas an important week of finals, from the Lionesses’ stunning victory at Wembley to Davide and Ekin-Su taking home the Love Island crown. But with the next PM due to be announced on September 5th (unless hackers get in the way), we face a month-long final of Sunak and Truss going head to head for the title, as Rishi insisted in last night’s debate that he will not be stepping down despite Truss significantly leading in opinion polls.
If you aren’t entirely Truss’d and Sunak’d out, this Times podcast dives into the backgrounds of each candidate, from their upbringings to their experience of becoming Tory MP’s. Interesting from a PR perspective to look at the downplaying of privilege – it’s not like Johnson was in a position to shy away from his Etonian past, so time will tell how the Conservative Party will use this tactic to appeal to a wider audience in the next general election.
Reflection of the week
Now with increased interest rates, expected inflation of 13% and a looming recession, it can be difficult to find ounces of positivity amidst this turbulent news agenda. I did not have it in me to unpack that bleak forecast, and when I found out I was holding the pen for TWTW I knew I wanted to write on the historic women’s Euros win. But I thought – by the time we reach Friday, will people find this to be ‘old’ news? Then I had to stop myself in my tracks and think that if this were the men’s team we wouldn’t be hearing the end of it for years to come, so we absolutely should be shouting about it.
This victory from the England squad means so much to all the players that came before them, and will have inspired a whole generation of Lionesses to come. With women’s football being banned from 1921-1971 and the last senior football trophy being won by the men’s team in 1966, England have had a complicated history with the sport and this win was a long time coming.
Witnessing a packed Wembley stadium filled with young supporters, it was hard not to get emotional – and we cannot fail them. It’s great to see that demand and interest in football has skyrocketed but investment and accessibility are key in moving this forward. After the DfE refused to commit to ensuring girls have equal access to football in schools, the Lionesses penned an open letter to the next PM to change this. Now I was no Leah Williamson, but football was the only sport I actually enjoyed playing and the reason I stopped was because my new school didn’t offer it.
As the Euros squad put it, “this generation of school girls deserve more. They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe they can one day play for England…this is an opportunity to make a huge difference.”
Song of the week? I’ll leave that to the trophy winners.
I’m very excited to see what’s in store for Lionesses at the World Cup in 2023 – perhaps a firstlight trip to Australia and NZ to support? (Assuming that England qualify for the World Cup, unlike the last men’s Euros winners, but that’s a story for another day..)
What else was in the news?
It’s time to see what stories the media gurus team have pulled together this week:
Summary: As we’ve all heard, BoE has raised interest rates by 0.5 percentage points after members of the monetary policy committee voted 8-1. This is the sixth time in a row the central bank has raised interest rates in an attempt to stifle inflation which is predicted by some to reach up to 15% by the start of 2023.
So what? This is the biggest interest rate rise in 27 years and in real terms means an increase in mortgage bills for millions of home owners on tracker or variable mortgages that move in line with the rate. For a typical £250,000 London mortgage, it will add approximately £62 monthly. This aggressive move has raised fears that higher borrowing costs will choke consumer spending and business investment and tip Britain into recession (if we’re not already in it). This provides important context for clients like Tink which have lending as a key content pillar at the moment, as well as impacting any UK-based clients – especially those that provide consumer goods.
Summary: A leading thinktank has predicted that inflation will soar to “astronomical” levels over the next year forcing the Bank of England to raise interest rates higher and for longer than previously expected. They have also predicted a long recession that would last into next year and would hit millions of vulnerable households. The economy is also expected to contract for three consecutive quarters.
So what? This will have a huge impact on businesses and the economic climate for business growth, having an impact on our UK based clients.
Summary: This opinion piece in the FT by Pilita Clark discusses the reality of the UK being “lumbered” with a PM next month who ignores the scale of a changing global climate.
So what? As the US and Germany are both passing plans worth hundreds of billions of dollars to tackle climate change (although the bar is very low) it may suggest we are “on the brink of converting climate promises into a new period of concrete action.” However, you would not know it from watching Truss & Sunak – with Truss backing fracking and measures making it harder to zero-out emissions and Sunak vowing to keep a ban on new onshore wind farms. If the outlook for the climate wasn’t dire enough, one of these two being PM certainty won’t help, and everyone should be concerned.
Summary: A successful backbench campaign has ordered the immediate closure of the official UK government TikTok account. This follows growing security concerns in regards to China. The Chinese state has been accused of weaponising social media platforms, such as TikTok, in order to access sensitive information. Senior ministers have also called for MPs to follow suit and abandon their TikTok accounts.
So what? Recently, international tensions with China have worsened, following Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan (considered by China as within their sphere of influence). There is now mounting pressure for the West to push back against Chinese cyber-aggression, by boycotting CCP owned technologies. This combined with the Taiwan situation could lead to matters escalating further.
Summary: Meta and major US hospitals violated medical privacy laws with a tracking tool that sends health information to Facebook. Meta Pixel tracking tool is a tool that allows businesses to measure and build audiences for ad campaigns. An investigation found that this tool was installed on password-protected patient portals and was sending Facebook information about patients health conditions, doctors appointments and medication allergies. Meta claims that it requires groups using the tool to have the right to share the data before sending it on Facebook and that it filters sensitive health data. However, the lawsuits allege that Meta is knowingly not enforcing these policies.
So what? This is a clear example of personalised advertising going too far. In one of the lawsuits, a patient from one of the major hospitals was served targeted advertisements targeted to her heart and knee conditions. This is also not the first time Meta has come under fire for data tracking. As consumers remain concerned over how their data is being used, it is clear that using health data in advertising should remain a matter of ethics and sensitivity towards customers privacy.
Summary: London-based Revolut plans to increase its crypto headcount by 20% across Europe, the UK and US over the next six months. The Fintech firm has tripled its crypto headcount since July 2021 and Crypto assets account for 5%-10% of Revolut’s revenue globally.
So what? Revolut’s crypto expansion ambitions represent a rare ‘bright spot’ amid the dreary current climate for the digital-assets industry. Since the height of massive rally in 2021, cryptocurrencies have lost $2 trillion in value and talk of a ‘crypto winter’ is rife with increasing interconnectedness between crypto companies cited as a key reason that makes the current downturn different to what was seen in 2017-18. While it is unclear when the market will finally settle, Revolut see ‘crypto as a long-term play’ and see the current turbulence as an opportunity to acquire market share.
Summary: HR jobs are experiencing strong growth, with the number of vacancies in the sector expected to grow by 13.5% compared with 2021. Internal recruiters were in particularly high demand, accounting for more than a third of all vacancies in 2022, further demonstrating the increased role HR is playing in businesses amidst the global skills shortage.
So what? This news all but confirms that HR professionals and leaders have a solidified and important seat at the table, and are playing a crucial role in helping businesses navigate the turbulent economic times ahead. The scramble for talent is intensifying, and with this the HR sector is enjoying strong growth as businesses are clearly seeking to recruit those who can bring in the best people to their businesses. But with more investment coming their way, it is now on HR leaders to ensure that the industry is living up to its name in providing the best quality service and support to the businesses they work with.
Summary: There’s a growing subscription model in the automotive industry for OTA (Over The Air) software updates. Tesla leans particularly heavily on these for fixing issues such as battery issues. But there are issues with the model and customers are being asked to pay over the odds to fix issues caused by OTAs. Being called “battery ransom” one guy lost a third of his battery range overnight – through an OTA update he didn’t ask for – and was being asked to pay $4,500 for the required software update to fix it. There are others using similar models as it’s seen as a profitable new revenue stream for manufacturers. For context at the end of June Tesla claimed to have $2.7bn in “deferred revenues” tied to software upgrades on its books.
So what? There is clearly a huge market attached to software in cars, with massive profits earmarked it will be interesting to see how manufacturers squeeze customers moving forward or whether there will be pushback on this model.