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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-30-12

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Predictions for 2018
Part 1 of 2...

AS the sun sets on 2017, we look at what could be in store for us in 2018. So what might we expect?

Well, as we look at 2017, we should sadly expect to see more terrorist acts. In the UK, we will probably an increasing perception of the need to routinely arm our Police. We are also expecting sadly to see an increase in gun crime, with young gang members and other criminals using arms more and more. We should also expect to see an increase in toxic and corrosive chemicals being used by criminals. On crime, 2018 will most likely see an increase in cyber crimes, as more and more vulnerabilities in Apple products and other previously less targeted devices are exposed, as they become more and more popular. However counter measures are also becoming more sophisticated too...

Even though Windows 7 in 2017 has held its ground against Windows 10, we are likely to see more operating systems challenging their still dominant position within the work place. Interestingly, we will also see lots of older software being released for free, like the source code from Apple's original 1983 operating system, Lisa, due to be released in 2018. Artificial intelligence will be taking a major leap forward. For Merseyside, expect to see some interesting developments with some large software and internet companies moving in to the area.

Banking will be a very hot topic of debate, both nationally and internationally, but locally, we should expect to see quite a few local branches closing. This will push the need for businesses to become more and more internet dependent.

Internet companies in 2018 will become more and more under the spotlight as will telecommunications companies. Russian activities in 2017 in and around transatlantic cables as well as other related incidents, including the NHS computer crisis has highlighted our vulnerability to commerce online. Also, expect more attempts to regulate Social media and non regulated media outlets that ‘report' news. When it comes to news, we will likely see Trump using the term ‘Fake News' more and more in 2018, blurring the true and very worrying issue of real fake news. Also, the likes of Google will be coming under very close scrutiny, as the new version of Google's Search Systems are increasingly pushing larger firms and pushing out of the results, small businesses and news organisations. On the issue of fake news, Google will also see its search system increasingly investigated, as its latest system is often promoting unaccredited news outlets and a few very selective credited news outlets, opening the door to the danger of real fake news strongly influencing the views of nations. Often this includes advertisements. Interestingly, watch this space, as the advertisements agency in late 2017, ran an advert about how it enforces advertisement regulation, which itself gave a very misleading view to the public in the UK. So keep watching!... IMPRESS will also assume more importance in 2018, with press regulation again being a topic for review, with the reappearing allegations of national news organisations having misled the UK public over Brexit, in 2017.

In 2017, local charity shops, instead of closing, turned to eBay, to sell items as well as in store. This type of business more should be encouraged for small shops and businesses, but many do not take these types of opportunities, mostly due to outdated business practices and issues with banking systems. In 2018, more businesses in the UK will start to realise that it's not the internet that is causing the small shops on high streets to fail, by losing out the bigger businesses; it's the lack of willingness to adapt. This lack of understanding of the global nature of trade, that we are all now face, along with the fact most UK based businesses, especially small ones, are just not taking advantage of the opportunities the internet offers will become more and more relevant throughout 2018.

2018 will be a very turbulent year for the UK; it's not going to be an easy year. Brexit is getting ever closer and we are still no nearer to sorting out deals and the EU is set to make an example of the UK. Theresa May will survive as prime minister through 2018, but mostly due to the fear of a hard Brexit, but it's going to be very tetchy time ahead for her and her party. We might even see another General Election called, if things go to wrong, but in UK politics, anything could happen as of late.

On Merseyside, we will see our Liverpool City Region will become increasingly more and more financially unstable, with many very hard choices being forced upon our local Councils. Locally, as well as nationally, the Universal Credit problems will affect even more claimants, increasing pushing people into difficulties. Small businesses will be also increasingly facing pressures, as Councils look to make up the short falls in their budgets. We should brace ourselves to see even more shops and businesses close in 2018. Plus, if more wage increases are forced on businesses and the increase in NI and pensions, rents and insurance premiums, many will be forced to close up for good as, Will 2018 see the authorities waking up to the fact that small businesses are invariably struggling and simply cannot absorb all these additional welfare provisions for staff, however merited, It is not their responsibility to make up the shortfall which results from large companies' tax avoidance! Unlike the international firms, they can't threaten to pull out of the UK. This, on top of intimation of quarterly returns to the tax office, which would quadruple accountancy costs. We will also see an increase in strikes, especially on the Transport Networks.

Protests about the new road to the Port of Liverpool are inevitable. This issue is itself a classic example of lack of forward thinking. This need should have anticipated and tackled years ago, before valuable resources were used to provide, now much appreciated nature areas.

>>> Continued on the next page... >>>

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