ALEX BRUMMER: Economy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng should act immediately before another critical British defense champion disappears
- Kwarteng says he has an “active interest” in Advent’s offer for Ultra
- It is believed that it is a more determined stance than he took on the UK’s food security after the agreed Fortress deal for the Morrisons supermarket group
- When it comes to national security, Kwarteng will have all kinds of powers at his disposal
Economy ministers who recite the open market creed have a terrible habit of refusing to intervene in takeovers.
Forced by political pressure to obtain assurances about national security, headquarters and workplace regulations, these are often drawn up in a hurry and riddled with holes.
Such was the case when Melrose bought GKN and businesses could easily be undermined. The dissolution of Cobham by the asset stripper Advent and the sale of militarily sensitive flight refueling technology to a US competitor are another example.
Show “active interest”: Economics Minister Kwasi Kwarteng is keeping an eye on the ultra deal
Now, Cobham, acting as the pretext for Advent, has published an offer that on the surface looks like a full-price offer for Ultra Electronics. In addition to working on the Eurofighter and the F-35, Ultra is an important part of NATO’s naval defense against the Russian bear.
As we report today, Ultra’s sonoboys and electronic warfare play a vital role in monitoring Moscow’s behavior in the Mediterranean and other waters.
In his honor, Minister of Economic Affairs Kwasi Kwarteng says that he has an “active interest”. It is believed that it is a more determined stance than he took on UK food security after the agreed Fortress deal for the Morrisons supermarket group. When it comes to national security, Kwarteng will have all possible powers.
According to the Enterprise Act 2002, he can intervene to defend the Reich grounds. A predecessor, Andrea Leadsom, ordered a national security review of the Cobham deal but nodded in the middle of the night, despite an edited report finding it contrary to the national interest.
The new National Security & Investment Act will not come into full force until January 2022. That hasn’t stopped U.S. law firms from seeking prior authorization for certain deals that recognize unusual retrospective powers in the law.
But most importantly, Kwarteng has the “thug pulpit” of his cabinet status and with the right words could hurry the cross-border commuters away. He should act immediately before another critical British defense master commits a disappearance.
Rishi Sunak started a fire below UK property prices when he announced a stamp duty vacation at the start of the pandemic.
The July economic update issued by the International Monetary Fund warns that soaring property prices are among the factors that could lead to “persistently high inflation”.
The stamp duty hiatus that ended in June drove prices up, along with Help to Buy, mortgage guarantees for first-time buyers, and competition among providers.
Data from Zoopla shows that real estate prices are almost a third higher than before the financial crisis. The distribution is variable, as city dwellers sought out rural and coastal retreats during the pandemic.
A rise in prices creates a mirage for first-time buyers. There is more help than ever before, but with prices soaring and (until recently) falling average income. Nationwide estimates require first-time buyers to have a mortgage that is 5.6 times the salary versus 3.2 times the two-decade ratio.
The increase in the ratio can only serve to widen the intergenerational gap on a number of issues from retirement savings to the cost of higher education.
The Bank of England monitors prices and the social distortions they cause. There are concerns that lenders will face too much credit in a low interest rate environment. Britain has a history of real estate bubbles bursting after exuberance.
The bank has the tools to soothe excessive lending. It could lower the proportion of lenders who can make mortgage loans relative to total lending. Politics isn’t there yet, but big brother is watching.
Matthew Gregory may have been victorious in his battle with Coast Capital over the £ 3.4 billion sale of the two main US First Group companies, the yellow school bus and mass transit.
But he lost the war.
His decision to step down before a successor can be named and Chairman David Martin remains at the helm seems rash.
Gregory’s lack of transparency to the wider range of investors about allegations of child abuse on student buses, most recently in January, leaves a persistent bad taste, with legal action potentially subject to re-enforcement.
He’s a decent person who closed a pension fund gap. But it wasn’t enough to save his skin.