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With temperatures nearing zero at times and daylight hours shortening, the UK’s economy is also looking fairly bleak. At the beginning of November, the Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates and warned the UK is heading for its longest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The country faces a “very challenging” two-year slump, according to the BoE, as prices of goods such as food, fuel and energy keep soaring.

Surprisingly for a country in recession, the unemployment rate remains low (currently at 3.5%, its lowest level since 1974) thanks to a jobs boom as the economy started to recover from the pandemic. But experts had already been warning that the tide might be starting to turn owing to a fall in the number of job vacancies over recent months. The BoE is predicting that the unemployment rate in the UK will increase significantly over the next two years to 6.4%.

Inflation is currently running at around 10% and, seeing as the BoE’s target is to keep it around 2%, further interest rate rises are likely. Analysts now think they could peak at around 4.75% next year.

During what would normally be a busy time of year, non-ferrous metals merchants and traders are reporting quieter-than-normal conditions, with some of the former saying they do not expect to see the usual pre-Christmas uplift and predicting suppliers will be taking earlier and longer Christmas holidays this year.

The economic gloom did not affect the buzz at the British Metals Recycling Association’s recent Annual Dinner in London - attended by over 530 people, including some of its international partners. Each of the following fellow associations was recognized with a token of appreciation: BIR, the Global Recycling Foundation, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation, the Material Recycling Association of India, the Bureau of Middle East Recycling, the Spanish Federation of Recovery and Recycling (FER), and the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

The BMRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing an outstanding contribution to the metals recycling industry, was conferred on Roger Brewster of Metal Interests who, in 2008, led a project to produce the BIR’s “Report on the Environmental Benefits of Recycling”, which remains a valuable reference document to this day.