The week’s news included; Keir Starmer wins UK election, EU brings in new tariffs on Chinese EV imports, Greece introduces six day working week, Google’s emissions rise 48% due to AI.

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our X page, Facebook page, TikTok page and Instagram Page, for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.

Opinion articles of the week: 

  • BBC News – Levelling up: Can the next government help the UK games industry?
  • City A.M – What next for the Conservatives?
  • Wall Street Journal – How Nike Missed the Boom in Running Culture
  • BBC News – How Microsoft and Nvidia bet correctly to leapfrog Apple

1. UK ELECTION RESULTS

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has won the UK election by a landslide. The Labour party won  412 seats out of 650 seats. With just 239 seats held by opposition parties, Labour gained a huge majority of 172. In practice this means Labour will face little difficulty when passing legislation. Now, the election is done, what are some of Labour’s main plans for the country? Let’s take a look: 

  • Pledge not to increase existing income tax rates, National Insurance or VAT
  • Cap corporation tax at its current level of 25% and replace the business rates system
  • Set up Great British Energy and a National Wealth Fund to invest in clean energy industries and create 650,000 jobs
  • Turn the minimum wage into a real living wage that takes the cost of living into account
  • Set up Great British Rail to nationalise passenger railways as private company contracts expire
  • Change the minimum voting age from 18 to 16 years old in general elections

2. EU BRINGS IN CHINESE EV TARIFFS

The EU has announced new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle imports. Following similar action by the US, the EU aims to protect domestic manufacturers and avoid China flooding European car markets with cheaper products. Tariffs will range from 17.4% to 37.6% and will apply to a variety of products including batteries. This is not as severe as the US’s 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicle imports. The EU found that Chinese manufacturers receive heavy subsidies from the Chinese government at every stage of production. Consequently, Chinese products are sold for artificially low prices. The EU Commission claims the tariffs will protect European businesses.

Automakers in Europe however, were not pleased by the move and do not think the tariffs will have a positive impact on European markets. 

3. TUBI TO LAUNCH IN THE UK

Media giant Fox is launching its US streaming platform Tubi in the UK. Tubi is free to use and has gained nearly 80 million users in the US. Fox hopes to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ . Tubi hosts content from studios such as Disney, Lionsgate and Sony. It will also host Bollywood and Nollywood content. Tubi was bought by Fox in 2020 for $440 million. 

Streaming platforms have recently turned to charging more for ad-free viewing and have also cracked down on password sharing. This was in response to declining subscriber growth during the cost of living crisis. Whether Tubi can buck the trend in the UK and prove successful remains to be seen.

4. META DMA BREACH

The EU has found that Meta’s charge for ad-free Facebook and Instagram use breaches the Digital Markets Act. Meta introduced a new model in the EU offering users the choice of consenting to receive personalised ads or pay €12.99 a month for an ad-free experience. The EU claims this breaches the DMA. Users should be able to receive the same level of service in the event less users opt to give less of their personal data. There is concern that Meta are not offering users a genuine choice and are pushing users into handing over data. Meta could face a fine of up to 10% of global turnover if the breach is deemed significant enough. The investigation is set to be concluded by next year. 

This comes just a week after the EU found that Apple breached the DMA with its app store (see previous top 10).

5. VODAFONE VMO2 OFFERING

Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone have struck a deal to boost competition in the mobile network space in a bid to ease regulatory concerns. Vodafone is trying to push through its mega-merger with Three which is currently under CMA investigation. There is concern that the deal would weaken competition and disincentivise businesses from investing. Vodafone and Three on the other hand argue that this consolidation is crucial for them to deliver on pledges to roll out 5G networks nationwide and invest £11 billion. 

The deal agreed last week would see Virgin Media O2 purchase spectrum from the combined Three and Vodafone business. Spectrum refers to the electromagnetic frequencies on which all calls, messages and mobile data are sent across. There is a limited amount of spectrum and it is an asset that can be bought and sold. By increasing Virgin Media O2’s spectrum it can become more competitive. Whether this deal will be enough to sway the regulator remains to be seen.

6. GREECE INTRODUCES SIX DAY WORKING WEEK

Greece has become the first country to introduce a six-day working week. The country has long suffered from weak economic growth and productivity. The new legislation will only apply to companies that operate 24 hours a day. Employees will have the option to work 48 hour weeks instead of 40 hours and will be paid 40% extra for overtime. Tourist and food industries are not included in the new law. It is hoped that by incentivising longer working days through removing barriers, this will improve productivity and the economy. 

This new legislation is contrary to moves by other Western countries who are trialling 4 day weeks. Most trials show increased productivity from shorter working weeks.

7. BEZOS SELLS OFF $5BN IN AMAZON STOCK 

Jeff Bezos is selling off 25 million Amazon shares worth nearly $5 billion as the company hit a record high. Amazon hit a $2 trillion market valuation last month as investors continue to pour into the tech giant. Amazon’s shares have risen 30% this year alone. Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in 2021 but remains executive chairman. Bezos had not sold shares since 2021 before his announcement to sell off $8.5 billion worth of stock earlier this year. Jeff Bezos is currently the second richest person in the world worth $214 billion. He sits just behind Elon Musk.

8. CRYPTO MARKETS SINK

Crypto markets sank last week following major sell offs. Bitcoin fell beneath $60,000 and the wider cryptocurrency market was in decline. A large reason for the sell off is the announcement that collapsed exchange MtGox will begin refunding creditors. This could see as much as $9.4 billion of Bitcoin dumped back into the market, depressing the price. MtGox collapsed in 2015 after it was hacked. Futures traders are banking on the market declining further. $247 million in long liquidations of crypto futures were recorded last week. A long liquidation is when an investor who holds a position in a financial instrument is forced to sell that position due to a negative swing in the asset’s price. This usually only occurs when traders borrow cash to increase their position size.

9. AI’S ECO IMPACT

Developments in AI are having a huge environmental impact. Google, one of the major players in consumer AI tools, revealed that its own greenhouse gas emissions soared by 48% since 2019. AI systems require heavy computational power which requires a lot of energy. Google is even setting up new data centres in the UK and across the world to cope with the demand for AI. Google had set a target of 2030 to achieve net zero but this seems unlikely given the increased emissions due to AI.

A study by the Internal Energy Agency found that by 2026 electricity used by data centres may be double the amount used in 2022. As AI is still in its relatively infancy, businesses like Google will prioritise development over environmental concerns. While Western data centres do predominantly use renewable sources for their power, most centres in the Middle East, Asia and Australia do not. 

10. CINEWORLD RESTRUCTURING 

Cineworld is restructuring its business and will close around a quarter of its cinemas across the UK. Roughly 25 of its 100 cinemas could close as the chain struggles to stay afloat. Cineworld went into bankruptcy protection in 2022 and delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2023. It has since reshaped its leadership and business. It was recently considering a sale of its business to its competitors but it is now looking at restructuring. No formal announcement on the sites earmarked for closure has been made but roughly 25 cinemas could be affected. Many of the sites however, could be saved by competitors.