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The round-up of the stories that a budding Student Lawyer should be aware of this week. Sign up here to get these updates in your inbox every week.
The UK will now require new homes to have electric vehicle (EV) changers starting in 2022
Reported by Shaznee Seraj
The Government is set to require new homes to have electric vehicle (EV) chargers starting in 2022 with the hope of revolutionizing the electric vehicle industry by requiring hundreds of thousands of extra charge points. There has been an ongoing concern on the rollout of charging points says The Policy Exchange.
New homes and buildings such as supermarkets and workplaces, as well as those undergoing a major renovation, will be required to install electric vehicle charge points from next year, under new legislation announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the 22nd of November 2021.
With these new regulations, up to 145,000 extra charge points will be installed across England each year, in the run-up to 2030 when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end in the United Kingdom. The UK government has previously stated the aim to ban the sale of fossil fuels by 2030 and has previously mentioned that it is prepared to spend £500 million on building EV charging infrastructure in the country.
That said, the new regulation builds on the over 250,000 home and workplace charge points the government has already supported to date. This means that the new regulation would allow people to buy new properties that are equipped with the features of electric vehicles in the future. Such a law means that charging points would be readily available at new shops and workplaces across the nation. This Government is hoping to create ‘a new norm’ by implementing such regulations.
In addition to new homes and non-residential buildings, buildings that are undergoing large-scale renovations that leave over 10 parking spaces will also be required to install electric vehicle charge points. The aim is to make it more convenient for people to go electric by introducing simpler ways to pay while travelling such as contactless payment, at the new charge points.
At the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, Boris Johnson set forth the plan as to how the UK can create a ‘first-mover advantage in the biggest transformation of the global economy in 200 years, if the public and private sectors work in partnership to seize the opportunities of net-zero, from electric vehicles to clean power’ Prime Minister Boris Johnson believed that it is a pivotal moment and a change is required moving forward. In his speech at the CBI he mentioned
‘We have to adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution. We must regulate less or better and take advantage of new freedoms.’
The details of the rules and new regulations, like specifications and power outputs of the installations have not been released. However, Britain’s opposition Labour party noted that London and the southeast part of the country have more charging points “than the rest of England and Wales combined,” and the new law doesn’t help in that regard. Most importantly, It also said that it doesn’t include any provisions that would make EVs more affordable for lower- and middle-income families, the BBC reported.
It would be interesting to see how the Government is going to tackle the issue as an initiative to go greener while also making it more accessible to the public moving forward.
Find out more here or here.
Finance and economics
The Bank of England becomes the first central bank to raise interest rates since COVID Last 16 December
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
The Bank of England (BoE) became the first central bank to raise interest rates since the pandemic began three years ago, benefited well-known UK
banks as shares jumped immediately after.
The announcement came as a second surprise for investors, following the announcement on 4 November. According to Reuters, the BoE voiced that it had to act now, despite the newly discovered Omicron variant’s warning. Eight out of the nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted for the raise from 0.25% to 0.1%.
It was said that there is an underlying inflation pressure to take precautions and prevent the recent jump in prices before it creates a long-term problem.
According to the Governor of the BoE, Andrew Bailey, it was unclear whether the Omicron would ease or add to the inflation pressure, giving them more reasons to take action.
The BoE signalled the “modest tightening of monetary policy” over its three-year forecast period. It saw that Britain and the world economy were in a “materially different” situation since the pandemic started.
The BoE also expected unemployment to fall from approximately 4.2% to 4 % before the end of this year, as many employers faced severe staff shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit last year. The argument was supported by the fact that there was no sign of a jump in unemployment after the government’s job supporting scheme ended in September.
CMA obstructs Meta (Facebook)-Giphy Acquisition
Reported by Shaznee Seraj
Meta, the holding company of Facebook, is considering an appeal following the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s decision. After the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered it to sell the animated image Giphy platform, Facebook parent company Meta is considering an appeal. The CMA asserted that Meta’s acquisition of Giphy, which had been completed last year for a reported $400 million (approximately £301 million), would reduce competition between social media platforms and in-display advertising in line with its Phase 2 provisional findings released in August. Hence, the CMA ordered it to sell the animated image Giphy platform.
“The tie-up between Facebook and Giphy has already removed a potential challenger in the display advertising market.” according to the chair of the CMA’s investigation, Stuart McIntosh. McIntosh added that by requiring Facebook to sell Giphy, they are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, had intended to incorporate Giphy’s features into Instagram, the photo-sharing social media platform it acquired in 2012. The deal could, however, limit competitors’; access to Giphy-created GIFs and drive more traffic to Meta’s own sites – Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram – which already account for 73 per cent of users’; time spent on social media in the UK, according to the regulator (statistics obtained from Gov.UK)
Moreover, Giphy’s advertising services had the potential to compete with Facebook’s own display advertising services, according to the CMA. They would have also encouraged others in the market, such as social media sites and advertisers, to innovate more. At the time of the merger, Facebook terminated Giphy’s advertising services, effectively eliminating a significant source of potential competition. It also expressed concerns that Meta had slashed off Giphy’s advertising services in the United States at the time of the merger. The CMA has also stated that the services could have been expanded into the UK, potentially posing a threat to Meta, which currently controls nearly half of the £7 billion display advertising market. However, Meta’s spokesperson stated that the company disagrees with the CMA’s decision and that the company is "considering all options." At the time of writing, the company has four weeks to file an appeal.
As part of its in-depth investigation, the CMA looked into how the deal would affect the display advertising market. Giphy had previously launched innovative advertising services, which it has been considering expanding to countries outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom. Most importantly, companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi used Giphy’s services to promote their brands via visual images and GIFs that may influence users.
The CMA fined Facebook £50.5 million in October for failing to comply with an order to provide full updates on the Giphy acquisition and not to integrate the company while the investigation was underway while Peter Broadhurst, a partner at an international law firm Crowell & Moring hailed the CMA’s decision as hugely important and said “This is the first time the CMA has ever blocked a major digital tech deal and indicates the direction of travel for U.K. regulator’s oversight of similar deals going forward,” he said in a statement.