Politics returns with busy week of announcements

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21st September 2022

Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning You have to feel for the hundreds of employees at a US Honda factory who were mistakenly given a little extra bonus in a recent round of payslips, and now the company is giving them nine days to pay back the unexpected extra cash
Today's stories
  • Politics returns with busy week of announcements 
  • Butlin’s sold back to founders in £300m deal
POLITICS
Politics returns with busy week of announcements 


What happened?
After 10 days of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, politics is back with a slew of policy updates expected this week.

The events of the past fortnight led to a pause over political proceedings but as the country enters what could be a difficult winter amid a cost of living crisis, all eyes will be on the government to support households and businesses.
  • Today business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to announce details of the plan to help businesses survive soaring energy prices.
  • Tomorrow the Bank of England makes a decision on interest rates with another raise on the cards.
  • Also on Thursday health secretary Therese Coffey will announce plans to deal with the NHS backlog. 
  • Finally, on Friday, the new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver his mini budget widely expected to include tax cuts to ease the cost of living crisis.
Yesterday, in her first proper week as prime minster, Liz Truss flew to New York to join the United Nations General Assembly where she will hold talks with US President Joe Biden. But she delivered a downbeat message to journalists on the prospect of a US-UK trade deal admitting that it wasn’t a priority in the medium term. A trade deal with the world’s biggest economy was much hyped by Brexit supporters but in reality could be several years away.

The new PM isn’t afraid to be ‘unpopular’. Truss has said that she’s prepared to make difficult decisions that she believes will drive economic growth even if they aren’t popular. One such policy would be removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses that the chancellor is said to be considering as part of a shake-up of financial services rules.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
  • Travel disruption expected as rail strikes confirmed for October
  • Ministers to review Channel 4 privatisation and scrapping of BBC licence fee
  • New National Lottery operator hopes to double charity money
  • Santander hires law firm to investigate bankers' strip club visit
  • Apple to hike App Store prices across Europe
  • Deloitte to recruit 3,500 new consultants in £220m hiring spree
  • Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley to quit Frasers' board
LEISURE
Butlin’s sold back to founders in £300m deal 


What happened?
Yesterday US private equity house Blackstone announced it will sell Butlin’s to one of the founding families in a deal worth £300m.

How did we get here?
Butlin’s was founded in 1936 with the aim of providing affordable seaside holidays for working class families. Since the first site opened in Skegness it’s added locations in Minehead and Bognor Regis and which together attract over 1.5m holidaymakers every year.

The brand’s popularity waned with the rapid rise of foreign holidays but has enjoyed a renaissance since Covid hit as more Brits look to vacation at home.

Last year Blackstone bought Bourne Leisure Group, the parent company of holiday firms Butlin’s, Haven Holidays and Warner Leisure, for £3bn. Bourne was created by three families in 1964 and now one – the Harris family – are buying back Butlin’s under a newly formed company. Butlin’s contributed around 20% of Bourne’s profits and Blackstone will continue to own Haven and Warner Leisure.

Butlin’s property portfolio was already sold in July to the UK’s biggest private pension fund for £300m, leaving the wider holiday parks business still up for sale.

This means Blackstone will have made back around £600m from the £3bn it paid for Bourne. The firm plans to use the proceeds to renovate Haven and Warner Leisure sites and buy new ones. 

Looking ahead: Although many economists are forecasting a prolonged UK recession, staycation businesses like Butlin’s could be beneficiaries if consumers switch from foreign to domestic holidays to save money.    
Stat of the day

In the UK's biggest ever four-day working week trial, 86% of companies say they will move permanently to that model
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