We’re not going to lie, 2016 was a shocker. Still reeling from the deaths of Alan Rickman and David Bowie, we knew we had to scrape together 16 positive outcomes just to give people a reason not to hit the mulled wine with full gusto.
It’s fair to say that 2017 has been a fairly difficult year too. However, scientific breakthroughs, unforgettable TV moments and good news for UK businesses means there is still plenty to smile about as the year draws to a close.
1. UK unemployment rates fell again
It’s where we started things off last year, and it seemed only fair to do the same this time around. The latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported an unemployment rate of 4.3% for Aug-Oct 2017, down 0.5% from last year and the lowest rate since 1975.
2. These children crashed a BBC segment
Back in March, the two children of Professor Robert E Kelly won the hearts of the nation when they burst in on their father during a rather serious interview about South Korea. The iconic clip has since been viewed over 25.5 million times.
3. 80 beach-goers formed a human chain to rescue a drowning family
When nine people were caught in a deadly rip tide in the Gulf of Mexico, around 80 beach-goers formed a human chain out into sea and passed each person along the line and back to safety. According to reports from eye witnesses, some people in the chain couldn’t even swim themselves, but were so desperate to help. Thanks to this amazing display of human compassion and selflessness, everyone survived the ordeal, despite 67 year old Barbara Franz suffering a heart attack in the water.
4. England cricketers won the Women’s World Cup
In what was surely one of the most closely contested cricket finals in history, the England’s women’s cricket team won the cricket world cup this summer, beating runners up, India, by only nine runs. With dropped catches, missed stumpings and everything in between, England certainly didn’t make things easy for themselves. However Shrubsole’s inspired performance under pressure, taking 6 wickets for 46 in the final overs, saw the England ladies crowned champions.
5. The General Election had the highest turnout in 25 Years
Whether you were pleased with the results of the 2017 General Election or not, what can’t be denied is that the record number of voters is good news for everyone. Nearly 70% of Britons voted - the highest number in 25 years.
6. Blue Planet was the most viewed British show of 2017
Back with a bang after a long 16 year wait, with better technology and the same loveable presenter, was the second series of Blue Planet. Presented by national treasure, David Attenborough, the second series proved even more popular than the first, captivating young and old alike, and earning it’s rightful place as the most watched British TV show of 2017.
7. A new treatment for ALS was approved
Cast your mind back to the summer of 2014, and you may have a vague memory of people emptying buckets of ice water on their heads in the name of charity. The viral social campaign raised $115 million dollars for research into treating ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This money led to a huge scientific breakthrough last year into reversing the effects of the disease, and this year the drug has been FDA approved. It’s the first new ALS therapy for 22 years.
8. First time buyers had a Stamp Duty win
The autumn budget this year included significant tax relief for first-time buyers, who will no longer have to pay stamp duty for properties under £300,000. This will offer a significant financial advantage to those looking to make their first steps onto the property ladder.
9. More small UK businesses than last year
According to the Office of National Statistics, there were more small businesses in the UK this year than there were last year (109,000, to be precise). This is a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit of these UK business owners, who have had to navigate the tempestuous post-EU referendum economic waters.
10. Prince Harry got engaged
It came as heartbreaking news to some, and great news to many, but overall we have to say we were very pleased to see Prince Harry get engaged to American actress and humanitarian campaigner, Meghan Markle. We’ll be even more pleased if we get a day off for their wedding in 2018, of course.
11. Siri saved a man’s life
Whether you find the ever-improving intelligence of bots such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana alarming or impressive or, like us, a bit of both, there’s no denying that for Christopher Beaucher, it meant the difference between life and death. The American man suffered horrific burns to his face and hands after an house explosion, and managed to use Siri to phone for help as he felt himself go into shock.
12. Stranger Things 2
Here at Expert Market, we were huge fans of Stranger Things 1, and so the news of a second series caused widespread delight in the office. But did it live up to the first series? Absolutely, in our opinion, and we can’t wait to see what Eleven and the gang get up to next.
13. Electric black cabs launched
The London taxi company released their new, eco-friendly black cab this November. The improved model runs on electricity for up to 70 miles, and is then able to switch to a petrol engine for up to 400 miles. The new model will phase out the old, diesel-fueled ones, and the firm hopes they will be adopted by cities nationwide.
14. British Vogue hired its first black editor
When Vogue’s editor of 25 years, Alexandra Shulman, stepped down from her role, her position was filled by a two-time first for the 101 year old publication; Edward Enninful is black, and he is a man. His first cover was evidence of his intention to shake up a publication that has previously been criticised for being elitist and lacking in diversity. With no mention of trends or make-up essentials, the cover instead featured a list of influential figures, ranging from Sadiq Khan to Skepta.
15. Business rates dropped
As part of the autumn budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced some good news for UK businesses in the form of lower business rates. From April next year, the rates will increase in line with the lower Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI). It’s a shift that will cumulatively save UK businesses an estimated £2.3 billion over the next five years.
16. Frida the Labrador saved victims of the Mexican earthquake
In the wake of the most devastating disasters, real heroes emerge. Now there have been several disasters this year, and countless heroes, but Frida the labrador definitely deserved a mention. Having saved 52 people in her short six year life, she was filmed plunging into the rubble in the wake of the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico in September this year, desperately searching for survivors. Complete with protective goggles and khaki padded waistcoat, she captured the hearts of the onlooking world, and some even suggested that she run for office.
17. England won the football Under-17 Men’s World Cup
The second incredible sporting achievement for British athletes, the young squad came from 0-2 down in the world cup final to beat Spain 5-2 in an incredible display of skill and stamina. It’s clear that these guys all have big things ahead.