Northern Powerhouse

The former Chancellor George Osborne peppered media interviews with references to the “Northern Powerhouse” but what’s next for the project since his departure?

Aussie rules?

Australia has been described as “the lucky country”, but is it entrepreneurial spirit or abundant resources that has driven its success?

Middle-income families in UK resemble the poor of years past, says IFS

Households on middle incomes receive 30% of income from benefits and tax credits, a rise on 20 years ago, report finds

Plunging levels of home ownership and an increased reliance on state benefits to top up salaries have meant that Britain’s middle-income families increasingly look like the poor households of the past, according to one of the UK’s leading thinktanks.

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that the old link between worklessness and child poverty had been broken, with record levels of employment leading to a drop in the number of poor children living in homes where no adult works.

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Martin Weale’s doubts over need for interest rate cut boost markets

Sterling rises and shares up after monetary policy committee member’s comments seen as less supportive of Bank intervention

Sterling rose and the City’s leading share index closed at its highest level for 11 months after a Bank of England policymaker said a lack of panic since Britain’s shock Brexit vote called into question the need for a knee-jerk cut in interest rates.

Speculation that next month’s meeting of Threadneedle Street’s monetary policy committee would unanimously back a comprehensive package of measures to boost growth was called into question when Martin Weale, one of its nine members, voiced doubts about the need for cheaper borrowing.

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The Guardian view on the ARM sale: foreign takeover not inward investment | Editorial

The prime minister and the chancellor welcomed the sale to a Japanese tech group. But any industrial strategy needs to integrate its forward-looking companies

Only a week after Theresa May promised an industrial strategy that was capable of stepping in to defend a nationally important sector, ARM, one of Britain’s most successful technology companies, is being sold to the Japanese tech group SoftBank in a £24.3bn deal. Inward investment, say Prime Minister May and her new chancellor, Philip Hammond, both consulted ahead of the announcement. Foreign takeover, suggests the Labour donor John Mills elsewhere on these pages. The official enthusiasm might owe more to relief that foreign companies still want to invest in the UK, despite Brexit – which, by causing sterling to depreciate sharply, made it such an attractive deal – than it does to a realistic appraisal of what it means to a sector that is the engine of the next industrial revolution.

ARM is a company of 4,000 people that has quietly and very profitably manufactured nothing at all for the last 26 years. Instead it has designed processors for others to build and around 80% of the world’s inhabitants now own something with an ARM-designed chip inside it. Most often these are in phones, but also in televisions, cars, printers – anything that needs reliable low-energy computing power, as almost everything built in the world now does. The purchase of ARM is a bet by SoftBank that computing power and connectivity will be embedded into almost every physical object in the world, from cars to wristwatches, from air conditioning to light switches, until it becomes as invisible, as ubiquitous and as indispensable as electricity.

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