On 16 March, UK Chancellor George Osborne delivered his 2016 budget. Some of the key points worth highlighting are that:
-The UK was the fastest growing G7 economy in 2014 and is forecast to be the fastest growing major advanced economy in 2016.
-Since 2010 the deficit has more than halved as a share of GDP.
-The Government is committed to creating a supportive climate for businesses with a fairer, more competitive tax system and a 17% corporate tax rate from 2020.
BABC PNW members will also have seen the news about the deal that the Prime Minister has struck for Britain’s relationship in a reformed European Union. The British Government’s approach has been that the EU needs reform if it is to be more economically competitive and more responsive to its people. The reforms that the Prime Minister secured at the European Council in February are important steps towards that flexible and economically competitive EU. The deal will give the UK a special status: benefitting from the parts of the EU that work for us, like the free-trade single market, EU trade agreements, and EU-wide co-operation on crime and terrorism; but outside of the parts that don’t work for us, like the Euro, Eurozone bailouts and Schengen. The British Government’s view is that Britain will be stronger, safer and better off in a reformed Europe than out on our own. This will now be put to the British people in an in/out referendum on 23 June.
In the last couple of months, we’ve enjoyed hosting Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary at the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills for a public roundtable about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. And my UK Trade & Investment colleagues from San Francisco and Los Angeles have continued to pay regular visits to Seattle, supporting US companies considering setting up a presence in the UK. Please let me know if you or your company would like to talk to them on one of their next visits.
The Seattle Public Library is hosting a one-month Shakespeare First Folio exhibition that opened on 21 March. It’s timed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, and celebrates the legacy and enduring influence of Britain’s most famous playwright, poet and actor. Learn more about the exhibition.
On 31 March, we’re bringing the £10 million Longitude Prize to Seattle. We hope it will encourage the Pacific North West’s life science community and entrepreneurs to enter this UK-hosted global competition to find a diagnostic solution to the global challenge of anti-microbial resistance.
A delegation of UK and Northern Ireland aerospace companies will be in Seattle for the biennial Aerospace & Defense Supplier Summit on 14-15 April. If you plan to attend the summit, they’d love for you to visit the UK pavilion.
And, if you’re passing the Bell Harbor Marina anytime from mid-April, look out for the UK’s GREAT and Derry-Londonderry-Doire yachts berthed amongst the other 10 yachts in the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race, resting after their journey from Qingdao and preparing for leg 7 to New York.