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February 20, 2018

Tuesday briefing: Brexit won’t be like Mad Max / Venezuela finds new ways to print money / Gig economy’s day in court

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Tuesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Brexit won’t turn the UK into a Mad Max-style dystopian future

People may have flocked to see the latest instalment of the Mad Max movie franchise in their thousands but it’s not a future the UK’s Brexit secretary David Davis sees for the UK.

The successful Mad Max series of action films portrayed societal collapse in a lawless future world — unsurprisingly, government officials are keen for this to be avoided.

Davis, speaking in Vienna in the latest in a series of cabinet speeches called the road to Brexit, is today hoping to calm fears around the UK’s exit from the European Union and will say it won’t lead to Britain being “plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction”.

Last week the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, delivered what was intended to be a rallying speech in support of Brexit.

Venezuela will today launch its state-controlled cryptocurrency

Venezuela’s new state-controlled cryptocurrency — called the petro — will go on sale for the first time today, designed to raise money for the troubled socialist government and as a way to pay suppliers.

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro has said the cryptocurrency will fight off the effects of US-led sanctions and is backed by the country’s dwindling oil reserves.

Maduro claims that about 100m petro tokens worth some $6bn will be issued and that each petro token will be backed by one barrel of the country’s oil — much of which has yet to be drilled.

Gig economy has its day in court

Companies and workers operating in the so-called gig economy will be closely watching a legal battle brought by a plumber to the UK’s supreme court today.

The gig economy has been defined as “a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs” and companies such as Uber, Deliveroo, and TaskRabbit all operate within it.

The Supreme Court is considering a legal appeal brought by the London-based Pimlico Plumbers and its founder, Charlie Mullins, over whether a tradesman is an independent contractor or a worker entitled to certain rights.

Last year, the Court of Appeal concluded that plumber Gary Smith was a worker because he was required to use the firm’s van for assignments and was contractually obliged to do a minimum number of hours per week.