📈 An interest-ing decision

TOGETHER WITH...

In today's email, we've got:

  • a crash-course on what inflation is and why it's going up

  • Meta being forced to sell Giphy

  • how to access a bunch of Watson Glaser tests

If you take just one thing from this email...

Costs of things have been rising recently (which is called 'inflation'). Although there isn't one solution to the inflation crisis, the Bank of England is trying to balance things out by setting the interest rate higher. But when inflation is partially caused by external factors (like the war in Ukraine), it's unlikely this alone will do the trick.

EDITOR'S RAMBLE 🗣

It's that time. We've waited two years, but it's finally back...

That's right, I'm a Celeb is back on our screens. And for this week's ramble I wanted to do an I'm a Celeb version of 'Kiss, Marry, Avoid' (with a liberal dose of poetic license on the headings).

King/Queen: Babatunde Aleshe

Most likely romance/bromance: Chris Moyles and Boy George

First one voted out: Matt Hancock

Those are my predictions. What do you think?

- Connor

FEATURED REPORT 📰

📈 An interest-ing decision

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

The Bank of England (BoE) has increased interest rates in the UK to 3%. This is the biggest rate increase in 30 years.

What does this mean?

The rate set by the BoE influences the interest rates that banks and other lenders charge for mortgages, loans and other types of credit they offer people.

Interest rates have been raised in order to combat rising inflation. The BoE has had to go beyond any previous increases in order to help bring inflation down. 

What is inflation and why does it happen?

Inflation is when prices of things go up over time. It has been happening in loads of products that you buy every day and can particularly be seen in the cost of energy.

It's hard to say exactly why, but a major reason is the war in Ukraine. The war has led to:

  • higher gas and energy bills,

  • higher fuel and petrol cost, and

  • reduced access to grains, which are used in loads of foods. 

Why is it a problem for people?

People's salaries usually don't go up as fast as inflation, so you end up being able to buy less stuff as it gets more expensive. This means that the cost of living goes up relative to your salary.

Aside from making it more expensive to buy things you need, inflation also means that any money you have saved in the bank is losing value. Your money saved in the bank will be receiving very little 'interest' (meaning you're not getting any income from it sitting there). So, if your pile of money isn't getting bigger, but prices are getting bigger, you can afford less with that money. Another problem!

Why is it a problem for businesses?

The people who are affected by rising prices will want their salaries to rise to match it. So, businesses can find themselves needing to up their staff's salaries to keep them happy, so that they're not actually becoming worse-off over time.

Businesses will also be hit by higher prices of raw materials (and now staff too). So they'll find themselves starting to raise prices to offset this, which adds more fuel to the inflation cycle. 

But, when inflation is high, consumers become hyper-aware of the cost of goods. So, smart businesses may choose to fix the prices of some of their more popular goods. Instead they can try to recoup the money on other things they sell. 

Damn, inflation sounds bad. How do you fix it?

It's the job of the central bank to try and control inflation. In the UK, that's the BoE. They do this by setting the interest rate (the cost of borrowing money from them).

That is why they have raised interest rates so high now. The idea is that this can help because:

  1. Borrowing money will be more expensive (e.g. getting a mortgage or spending on your credit cards). The idea is that this encourages saving.

  2. Consumers will buy fewer things now, as it's expensive to borrow. This should mean that, in theory, demand for stuff drops and prices should drop too.

  3. It should also boost the value of the pound as investors will be encouraged to bring money into the country to take advantage of higher returns.

So, raising the interest rates will solve the problem right?

That's just the theory, and it doesn't always hold true. The BoE is responding to inflation with a lag, so it's always trying to guess what will happen. Sometimes they're playing catch-up and don't manage to do enough to solve the problem. And you've got to remember that they're guess as to what will happen is just that... a guess. There is no certainty in these forecasts, so it's always a bit of a gamble. 

Also, if inflation is being caused by external forces (like a war, in this case), then the rise in interest rates may not cause prices to fall enough. Prices of raw materials (energy, grains etc) will stay high, so prices of goods might stay high too. There is nothing that the BoE could do that would have an effect on those external factors. 

Also, the fact that people buy less poses the danger that the country could enter a recession. A recession is when a nation’s economy experiences negative growth for an extended period of time  As people buy less, firms will be less likely to produce and hire.

Solving high inflation requires a delicate balancing process that can be hard to achieve.

It's all doom and gloom then?

Although it can look a bit bleak, it's not all bad news. A raise in interest rates show that the BoE is actively trying to combat the problem. Although this change in interest rate won't stop inflation, it has been predicted that the rate of inflation will decline by next year. So, although prices will continue to rise, they will rise slower. 

The BoE has also said that it does not expect to have to raise interest rates quite as high next year. This means that, although the change is slow, it is expected to have an effect... let's hope sooner rather than later.

TOGETHER WITH THE LAWYER SPOT 🤝

Commercial awareness never looked so 🔥

How do you become commercially more aware? The age-old question. 

Contrary to what you may be told, there's a better way than just passively "reading the FT and BBC News" or memorising exchange rates.

Instead, you'll learn much better if you actively create something. 

Together with The Lawyer Spot, we've released the notebook you need to shake off your commercial unawareness.

This notebook has got:

  1. the quality of The Lawyer Spot's stationery,

  2. the frameworks of LittleLaw's commercial reports, and

  3. the ability to make improving your commercial awareness (ergh) an actual delight (wow).

 A BIT OF FUN 😄

Two headlines and a lie...

We always like to bring you the hottest news stories, but let's mix it up for a moment...

Credit: Giphy

Two of these are real and one is fake. Can you pick the false headline below?

  1. IKEA has threatened to sue a video game developer for creating a horror game which is set in a store almost identical to IKEA.

  2. Following Matt Hancock's participation in "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here", Boris Johnson is rumoured to appear on "The Masked Singer".

  3. Wolves in the Netherlands will be shot with paintballs to toughen them up.

Scroll down to the bottom to see the answers. 👀

IN OTHER NEWS 🗞

  • ⛽️ The UK is close to finalising a major gas energy deal with the US: The two are near to entering a partnership that will see the UK buying 10bn cubic metres of gas. This deal is planned to help the UK deal with energy supply shortages this year following the war in Ukraine.

  • 🎶 Kanye West loses his billionaire status: Following a turbulent few weeks, Ye has reportedly lost his status as a billionaire. This comes as both Adidas (who terminated their $250m agreement with Ye) and his talent representation both cancelled any relationship with him. The primary reasons for this were the string of anti-Black and anti-Semitic comments that Ye recently made.

  • 👫 There will be no law change for cohabiting couples: The UK government has announced it has no plans to reform the laws relating to financial remedy and succession for cohabiting couples in England and Wales, despite support for it from MPs and professional bodies. This is a major blow in the fight to give cohabiting couples the same rights as those who are legally married.

AROUND THE WEB 🌐

  • 👀 Applications: If you're worried about the Watson Glaser test, this awesome post lists where you can access a bunch of free tests.

  • 💻 Fun: This website lists a load of half-baked app ideas and you can vote for the ones you think are cool.

  • 😎 Interesting: The most money ever received for a cow at auction was $1.3m.

How did you find today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Quiz Answers: 

Number two is incorrect. Boris Johnson has no intention of joining any reality TV show... at this point in time anyway!