Steel - The end of an industry in the UK?

The UK steel industry was one of the major drivers of the global industrial revolution but, following Tata Steel’s decision to sell all its UK plants and assets, this entire sector could be on the point of no return. Which is why the UK Conservative government is actively considering all options - even a temporary nationalisation - to save the industry and thousands of jobs the Daily Telegraph reports. The UK industry has been in decline for decades but has been hit particularly hard by China’s economic slowdown that has seen Chinese steel producers flooding the global market with subsidised cheap steel. As a result, Tata Steel’s biggest UK operation in Port Talbot has been losing an eye-watering £1 million a day.

Commodity meltdown write down

Which leads us directly to Bloomberg and news that global commodity investors are scrambling to reassess the value of their energy and commodity holdings - “writing down” billions in value that can’t be realised in their economic projections. “The balance sheets of major mining and energy companies have shrunk by $856 billion over the past 12 months, putting the value of their total assets at their lowest level since 2011,” Bloomberg writes.

Is the gig economy all it’s cracked up to be?

From the depressing world of commodities to the supposed gung-ho “gig economy” where people can make a good living when they want by working for tech companies that help organise this new labor pool through smartphone apps. It’s the model that has made Uber billions and is now being aped by countless other gig economy start ups. The only problem, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that in this rush for Uberisation pretty much the only company raking it in is, yes, Uber. It cites two studies that found just 0.5% of people actively employed were working in the online gig economy and Uber employed the vast majority. Might not be time to give up your day job just yet.

GWR gets knuckles rapped for false advertising

British railway operator GWR has been chastised by the advertising watchdog for suggesting its service is publicly owned. The advert in question read: “The railway belongs to the region it serves.” Not strictly true of course when the railway in question is owned by publicly listed multinational First Group. But, on a day when the Conservative government is pondering nationalising the steel industry, at least GWR can say it was ahead of the curve on public ownership chic. 

The Times of London gives up on breaking news

Finally today, as the disruption/evolution of newspapers continues apace one august institution, The Times of London, is turning its back on breaking news, Digiday reports. When The Times initiated a hard paywall back in 2010 it risked becoming a minor player in breaking news and now management has taken the decision just to focus on in-depth analysis and features for its 400,000 print and digital subscribers. Which means The Times has essentially disrupted itself into a…magazine.

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