UK firms report ‘robust confidence levels’ for 2018

PwC survey to mark opening of Davos finds most companies are optimistic about growth

Nine out of 10 business leaders in Britain are upbeat about the growth prospects for their companies over the coming year despite uncertainty about the impact of Brexit, the consultancy firm PwC has reported.

In its annual survey of chief executives to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, PwC found that optimism about the health of the global economy was boosting confidence.

Related: IMF lifts global growth forecast, but cuts UK growth in 2019 – business live

Related: The Guardian view on Davos and inequality: a demagogue takes advantage

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Bossy diet advice won’t save the NHS | Dawn Foster

The idea that disadvantaged people place undue strain on the system won’t go away. But the problem is underfunding – not people who eat too many chips

Anyone still observing dry January may be on to something: last week the Big Issue’s founder, John Bird, launched the magazine’s “NHS pledge”: a request for readers and supporters to “volunteer for the NHS by staying healthy” and not become “a drain” on its time and resources. The depiction of individual people as a drain on resources understandably left many of us bridling – as it fits the narrative promoted by the government and its supporters that the key problem facing our healthcare system is too much demand, rather than too little funding.

Yes, we could all do more to take responsibility for our own health. But health and the decisions we make about health are complex, as any doctor will tell you, and poverty is a crucial factor. Such admonishments about personal responsibility are invariably directed at the poor, so that the deserving/undeserving poor become deserving/undeserving patients. Eating habits in particular are endlessly scrutinised, with the “let them eat gruel” trope regularly trotted out. Why on earth do poor people go hungry, wonder rich people, when porridge is so cheap?

Yes, we could all do more to take responsibility for our own health. But the decisions we make are complex

Related: NHS crisis is main worry for Conservative voters, poll suggests

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Trump tax cuts will bring short-term global growth surge, says IMF

Davos report says changes will encourage investment, but that shot in the arm will only be short-lived

The global economy will grow faster than expected this year and next as Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts provide a short-term shot in the arm, despite fears over rising inequality and overheating financial markets, the International Monetary Fund has said.

Launching its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report at the annual Davos gathering of the global political and business elite in Switzerland this week, the IMF upgraded its growth forecast for the world economy by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019.

1. Extreme weather events

Davos is a Swiss ski resort now more famous for hosting the annual four-day conference for the World Economic Forum. For participants it is a festival of networking. Getting an invitation is a sign you have made it – and the elaborate system of badges reveals your place in the Davos hierarchy.

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