UK firms to be paid £1,000 bonuses to hire young people

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 6th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a raft of big-spending measures aimed at creating thousands of jobs.

Companies will be paid £1,000 bonuses by the government to hire young people as trainees, the chancellor will announce as part of his rescue plan for Britain's post-coronavirus economic recovery.

In a hotly anticipated “emergency budget” on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak will unveil a raft of big-spending measures aimed at creating thousands of jobs to replace those lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bonuses for employers who hire young people into training programmes in England will come in a £111m scheme which will pay direct government subsidies for taking on trainees for the first time.

The money will be available for trainees aged 16 to 24 and will be capped at 10 jobs per employer, or £10,000.

Employers will be able to determine how to spend the £1,000, as long as it directly or indirectly contributes to training.

The scheme, in which thousands of young people will be given the skills to secure a job, will be part of the largest-ever expansion of traineeships the country has ever seen, the chancellor is expected to tell MPs on Wednesday.

Unveiling his plan to help kick-start the economy, following on from Boris Johnson's “New Deal” speech last week, Mr Sunak will say he aims to give more 16 to 24-year-olds “the tools they need to enter the world of work”.

The government is concerned that many of the people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are in industries such as hospitality where the bulk of employees are under 30 and many under 25.

The chancellor's statement this week is not officially a budget and there will not be the photo outside 11 Downing Street with the famous red box, but it will be a response to huge job losses and dire forecasts of mass unemployment.

As part of the new traineeships, which will last from six weeks to six months, young people will receive maths, English and CV writing training as well as guidance about what to expect in the workplace.

They will also receive a high-quality work placement of 60 to 90 hours.Government vows £1.57bn lifeline for arts – but no plans to resume live shows

Evidence shows that three-quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds who complete traineeships move on to employment or further study within 12 months.

The expanded scheme will be in place in England from September.

The government will also provide £21m to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through the Barnett formula so they can follow suit.Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

A Whitehall source said: “Young people's employment prospects are expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus.

“Expanding traineeships will be part of a wider package to support young people and to ensure they have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.”

But according to the UK's biggest construction trade union, the PM's promise to “build, build, build” the UK back to economic health will not work unless urgent action is taken to avert a crisis in skills and apprenticeships.

Unite claims a lethal combination of employers' long-standing reluctance to invest in apprentices, widespread redundancies because of the pandemic, and a reluctance to recruit new entrants is likely to result in 20,000 fewer apprentices this autumn, vastly down from the 47,284 in England last year.

“The prime minister's pledge to ‘build, build, build' the country's way out of this pandemic-caused crisis won't get very far without a workforce,” said Unite's assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail.

“Construction apprenticeship training is in danger of collapsing as an after effect of the pandemic, which is why we're calling on the chancellor to make it clear when he announces his plans for recovering the economy this coming week that our young workers will be given a chance of a career in construction,” Ms Cartmail added.

“At the moment, for every one good quality apprenticeship, there are 1,000 applicants. Young workers have to scale this huge mountain so it is only right that they have the chance to complete their apprenticeship and have a job at the end of their training.”

By Jon Craig Chief Political Correspondent

Accountancy giants face revamp amid criticism

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 6th July 2020) London, Uk – –

The UK's biggest accountancy firms have been told to ring-fence their audit arms from their consultancy units by 2024 in a major shake-up of the sector.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has told the “Big Four” they must submit separation plans by October.

It follows the collapse of several high-profile companies that had been approved by auditors, such as government contractor Carillion.

The FRC said the changes would lead to better audits “in the public interest”.

It said separating accountancy firms' audit departments from the rest of their operations would protect auditors “from influences from the rest of the firm that could divert their focus away from audit quality”.

The watchdog also said it would ensure “auditors act in the public interest and work for the benefit of shareholders of audited entities and wider society”.

The Big Four accountancy firms – KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte – came in for heavy criticism in the wake of Carillion's collapse which cost 2,400 people their jobs and – according to the National Audit Office – left the taxpayer on the hook for £148m.

At the time, MPs said the failure Carillion exposed the UK's audit market as a “cosy club incapable of providing the degree of independent challenge needed”.

Since then holiday company Thomas Cook, which was audited by PwC and subsequently EY, has gone bust.

More recently, the German payments firm Wirecard disclosed a €1.9bn (£1.7bn) hole in its accounts, and subsequently filed for insolvency. It was audited by EY.

The FRC's chief executive, Sir Jon Thompson, said: “Operational separation of audit practices is one element of the FRC's strategy to improve the quality and effectiveness of corporate reporting and audit in the UK.”

Among the 22 principles for operational separation that accountancy firms should implement, audit practices should produce a separate profit and loss account.

Firms should also have a separate board to ensure “independent oversight of the audit practice”.

How Nintendo Switch became one of the most popular consoles on the market

Source: CNBC

Over the last 40 years, Nintendo has provided countless hours of video gaming entertainment. But with the rise of the Switch, the company took a huge step forward. And during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, finding one was harder than finding toilet paper. Here’s how the Nintendo Switch took the gaming world by surprise and became one of the most popular consoles on the market.

Three of Europe’s biggest airlines end legal challenge to UK’s quarantine policy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Three of Europe’s biggest airlines said on Friday they would end a legal challenge against the British government after it scrapped its quarantine rule for travellers coming from some of the most popular tourist destinations.

The government said the policy would be ended for English holidaymakers to countries such as France, Spain and Italy, although it would be maintained for the United States.

The policy announcement coincided with a planned court hearing for a legal challenge to the measures by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

The airlines heavily criticised the government’s introduction of a blanket rule that all travellers arriving from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days on June 8, saying it jeopardised the industry’s recovery from the crisis.

However, they agreed to end the legal challenge after the government said it would publish a list of countries to which the rules would not apply.

“The blanket quarantine introduced by the UK Government on everyone entering into England was irrational and has seriously damaged the economy and the travel industry,” the airlines said in a statement.

“Today’s publication of a list of countries is a first step. We look forward to the publication of the rationale behind the decision-making and the continued lifting of the quarantine from safe countries.”

Tom Hickman, representing the airlines, had earlier argued that the restrictions on travellers were stricter than those imposed at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, and that the rate of infection in different countries should be taken into account.

The government said the policy was a crucial step to avoid a second wave of COVID-19, and their lawyers said that the measures had been justified and proportionate.

By Alistair Smout

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply published, for those arriving back in England

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, Uk – –

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply to people arriving back in England has been published.

Countries including Greece, Spain, France and Belgium are on the list, which comes into effect from 10 July.

But countries such as China, US, Sweden and Portugal are not, meaning arrivals from those have to isolate for 14 days.

Scotland and Wales are yet to decide whether to ease travel restrictions and described the changes as “shambolic”.

The quarantine rules will also remain in place in Northern Ireland for visitors arriving from outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The restrictions came into place in early June in a bid to stop coronavirus entering the country as the number of cases was falling.

Speaking at the Downing Street press briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Instead of quarantining arrivals from the whole world, we will only quarantine arrivals from those countries where the virus is sadly not under control.”

People travelling from the 59 places and 14 British overseas territories on the list will not have to quarantine on arrival in England unless they have travelled through a place which is not exempt.

Passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in England.

Some of those on the list include popular short-haul destinations such as Turkey and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.

However, some countries will require visitors to isolate on arrival or will bar them from entering at all, such as New Zealand.

The Foreign Office is expected to update its travel guidance on Saturday, including naming which countries will have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK and not require British visitors to quarantine on arrival.

A proposed traffic light system, which would have seen countries marked as red, amber or green depending on the prevalence of the virus, has been dropped, the Department for Transport confirmed.

A list of countries which will be exempt from the Foreign Office's advice against “all but essential travel” from Saturday has also been published.

The advice has been lifted for Portugal but only for the Azores and Madeira.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: “We are very disappointed with the decision of the British authorities. We think it is senseless and unfair.

“It is quite absurd the UK has seven times more cases of Covid-19 than Portugal so we think this is not the way in which allies and friends are treated.”

His prime minister, António Costa, tweeted comparing the UK's number of coronavirus cases with that of the Algarve, a popular holiday destination, saying: “You are welcome to spend a safe holiday in the Algarve.”

The government said information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published in due course by the devolved administrations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said finalising the list of countries had been delayed – after scrapping the quarantine was announced last week – in the hope that the four UK nations could reach a joint decision.

He said there was “still an opportunity” for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to co-ordinate and therefore make the changes more simple.

But the first ministers of both Scotland and Wales have criticised the government, with Nicola Sturgeon saying Scotland could not be dragged along by the UK government's “shambolic decision making”.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the approach had been “utterly shambolic”.

However, he added it was likely the Welsh government would impose the same measures as in England, provided the chief medical officer for Wales gave approval.

Mr Johnson said in a televised coronavirus briefing from Downing Street that the nations of the UK were following “very similar paths but at different speeds”.

Asked if a family from Scotland could drive to England and fly out and back from an overseas country to get around different quarantine rules the prime minister said that while he knew the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales had a “slightly different take” on it the “convoy is very much going in the same direction”.

“I'm sure we'll get there together and common sense will apply.”

The introduction of the quarantine on 8 June was met with criticism from the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and the easing of restrictions on arrivals from some countries has been welcomed.

A statement on behalf of airlines Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways said the move to quarantine people had been “irrational” and had seriously damaged the economy and industry.

It added the carriers wanted clarification on how countries included on the lists were selected.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airline UK, said the lists gave “a clear path to opening further predominantly long-haul destinations in the weeks ahead”.

TUI UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham said the company was pleased the government had confirmed “summer holidays are saved” and said it was a “significant step forward” for the industry.

The chief executive of Booking Holdings, which owns the brands Booking.com and Kayak.com, called for a coordinated effort from governments around the world to set out principles as to why someone can travel from one country to another.

Glenn Fogel told BBC World News current measures were “totally chaotic” but he welcomed England's announcement saying the UK is “an important part of the global tourism industry”.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said the lifting of travel restrictions for some of the “largest and most valuable visitor markets” was a “timely boost” for the industry.

Pilots union, the British Airline Pilots Association, said it was an important first step and said it was working with authorities to make sure the return to operations would be safe for pilots, passengers and crew.

An Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) spokeswoman said there was likely to be a strong demand for holidays and it was important people considered how this might affect their plans.

“It is especially important that customers also check the latest Foreign Office travel advice before booking, to establish if there are entry restrictions or self-isolation procedures on arrival, or any other measures they need to comply with, in the destination they are planning to visit,” she said.

A High Court challenge by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair against the government's 14-day quarantine is set to be withdrawn, their barrister Tom Hickman QC said.

Primark to place over £1bn in fashion stock orders for the autumn and winter season

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 2nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Associated British Foods signals confidence in demand among shoppers ahead but forecasts a slump in Primark profits.

The owner of Primark says it is placing over £1bn in orders for the autumn and winter season ahead following an “encouraging” start to coronavirus lockdown re-openings.

Associated British Foods (ABF) used a trading update to the City to paint a largely upbeat picture of Primark's fortunes, despite recording a 75% slump in sales during its third quarter and forecasting a hit of almost two-thirds to the chain's annual profits.

It comes as high street rivals announce thousands of job losses – with the parent firms of Topshop and even Harrods among those cutting staff on Wednesday alone.

Primark closed all its stores in March as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions demanded the shuttering of all non-essential retail.

It was unable to trade at all during that time because of its refusal to launch online.

All 153 stores in England resumed trading, in line with the easing of rules, on 15 June.

ABF said that since the re-opening of its first European stores on 4 May, sales on a like-for-like basis were just 12% down during the seven weeks to 20 June.

Sales in the week ended 20 June, which had more than 90% of total Primark selling space open, hit £133m with trading in England and Ireland ahead of the same week last year, ABF said.

It said its retail park stores had been particularly busy as pent-up demand among shoppers resulted in queues outside many outlets, though it admitted city centre shops had not proved as busy because of weak tourism and commuter activity.Coronavirus recovery plan: Boris Johnson channels 1930's US ‘new deal' with building strategy

The company said the fashion chain had already placed orders worth £800m for the looming autumn-winter season and that sum would exceed £1bn soon.

The company said: “Nearly all Primark stores are now trading again and we estimate that, absent a significant number of further store closures, adjusted operating profit for Primark, excluding exceptional charges, will be in the range £300-350m for the full year compared to £913m reported for the last financial year.”

ABF's third quarter trading update showed group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks ended 20 June was 13% lower than the same period last year – with Primark's woes partly offset by growth in its grocery and ingredients arms.

Shares – down 24% in the year to date – closed 4% higher on Thursday after the trading update.

Pippa Stephens, retail analyst at GlobalData, said Primark's value offer would help maintain its appeal in the months ahead.

She wrote: “Though Primark has severely suffered since the outbreak of COVID-19, as store closures and a lack of a transactional website forced it to suspend trading for nearly three months, its sales since reopening have been promising.

She added: “Since online penetration for clothing & footwear will remain strengthened in the long term as a result of the pandemic, Primark should rethink its bricks-and-mortar only strategy for the future, in order to mitigate the impact of reduced in-store sales densities and capitalise on spend shifting online.”

By James Sillars

Dozens of countries exempt from UK travel quarantine from Monday

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 2nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Dozens of countries will be exempt from a travel quarantine from Monday, UK government sources have indicated.

Currently, most people arriving into the UK from anywhere apart from the Republic of Ireland have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Ministers had previously indicated they were working to establish a relatively small number of travel corridors.

Travel and tourism companies have been calling for urgent clarity over the corridors amid rising bookings.

Last weekend, the government said it would relax its advice on travel abroad and would rate countries as either green, amber or red, depending on the prevalence of the virus.

Now government sources have indicated that a very long list of countries is likely to be published by the end of this week.

It is possible that up to 75 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's quarantine from Monday, 6 July.

Some of the countries on this new list do still have restrictions on people travelling in the other direction, from the UK.

Other higher-risk countries, such as the US, will be categorised as red.

Analysis: Tom Burridge

So the government is about to announce something which aviation bosses, many MPs and some scientists have advocated from the beginning – a targeted quarantine which only impacts people arriving into the UK from high risk ‘red' countries.

It is the opposite of the government's blanket-style approach which has been in place for less than four weeks.

You could call it a ‘U-turn'.

For days, if not weeks, the government has indicated that it wanted a relatively small number of bilateral-style ‘travel corridors', namely with European nations, where the virus is under control.

It appears that approach hit a number of hurdles.

Some countries, like Greece, weren't willing to reciprocate in the short-term.

While there was nothing to stop people travelling into the UK from a higher risk country, via a lower risk one to avoid the quarantine.

The optics concerning Portugal are illuminating. First it seemed to be top of the list of exemptions. Then last week sources indicated it was off the list. The situation regarding Portugal now is unclear.

The process was further complicated by both the Welsh and Scottish governments saying they might follow a separate approach.

Travel companies will be pleased about a much longer list of exemptions but they've been pulling their hair out over the confusion, and the delay in making a final announcement, which is now expected by the end of this week.

And critics will question why the government did not go for a more nuanced approach in the first place.

Presentational grey line

It seems that agreeing a small number of travel corridors with specific countries was fraught with risk. The Scottish government has expressed concern about plans to relax the quarantine and it is still in discussion with officials and politicians in Westminster.

Travel companies have called on the government to publish its list as soon as possible, to end the confusion.

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of travel company Red Savannah and long-time critic of the quarantine rules, told the BBC he was “very encouraged” by news that a clarification was imminent.

He said the restrictions had been “a disaster for the industry, which had been prevented from getting back on its feet”.

Your travel rights

Most people intending to travel overseas when restrictions are lifted may find their travel insurance does not cover every risk created by coronavirus.

A number of new policies will now cover medical treatment for Covid-19 which has been caught while in a resort.

However, people who need to cancel a holiday because they develop symptoms before going away, or are told to self-isolate at home, might not be covered.

People who bought an annual policy before the outbreak could have greater protection, depending on the terms and conditions of the cover.

Those on package holidays will get a refund or can rebook if travel restrictions are re-imposed but, as with new travel insurance, most will not get their money back if they pick up symptoms or are told to self-isolate just before they are due to travel.

UK property values down by 0.1% compared with June 2019 – Nationwide

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed 7th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Property values down by 0.1% compared with June 2019, says Nationwide

Annual house price growth ground to a halt in June, with property values down by 0.1% year on year, according to Nationwide building society.

It was the first time annual house price growth has been in negative territory since December 2012, with a month-on-month fall of 1.4% taking the average UK house price to £216,403. The monthly fall was less severe than a 1.7% decline recorded in May.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “It is unsurprising that annual house price growth has stalled, given the magnitude of the shock to the economy as a result of the [coronavirus] pandemic.

“Economic output fell by an unprecedented 25% over the course of March and April – almost four times more than during the entire financial crisis.

“Housing market activity also slowed sharply as a result of lockdown measures implemented to control the spread of the virus.”

Gardner said that as lockdown measures eased, housing market activity was likely to edge higher in the near term, albeit remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

He added: “Nevertheless, the medium-term outlook for the housing market remains highly uncertain. Much will depend on the performance of the wider economy, which will in turn be determined by how the pandemic and restrictions on activity evolve.”

As well as releasing monthly house price figures for the whole of the UK, Nationwide published quarterly figures, looking at house price growth across the UK’s nations and regions.

Gardner said no UK regions had price falls when comparing April, May and June with the same period in 2019.

He said: “The north-west was the strongest performing region, with annual price growth picking up slightly to 4.8%.”

He said average house prices in London were just 3% below all-time highs recorded in 2017 and 55% above their 2007 levels.

Across the UK, house prices remain 19% higher than in 2007.

Gardner said: “Scotland was the strongest performing nation in quarter two, with annual price growth picking up to 4.0%.

“Conditions remained subdued in Wales and Northern Ireland, which saw annual price growth of 1.0% and 0.1% respectively.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: “Prices are being kept in check by affordability issues and more supply gradually becoming available.

“But demand is picking up as some buyers emerge from enforced confinement in unsuitable property and/or relationships to take advantage of continuing low interest rates, while sellers are more realistic.”

UK should consider increasing its unemployment benefits after lockdown – IMF

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 1st July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should consider increasing its unemployment benefits to help get people into the kind of work that is likely to be in demand after the coronavirus lockdown, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund said.

Gita Gopinath told lawmakers in Britain’s parliament on Wednesday that the first priority for governments was to scale back gradually their support programmes for workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including state job retention schemes.

Then, as governments seek to get people back to work, the focus should be on reallocating resources in the labour market, or moving people into jobs where demand will be strong, which would initially increase reliance on unemployment support.

“In case of the UK, you could make a case for temporarily increasing the support under that because the UK has one of the lower replacement rates among advanced economies in terms of unemployment insurance,” Gopinath said.

Britain’s job retention scheme currently covers more than 9 million jobs – equivalent to around one in three private sector employees – and it is due to expire at the end of October.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain is very likely to need a bigger employment support programme.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak is due to spell out the government’s next moves to support the economy on July 8.

By William Schomberg

EasyJet pilots at risk of redundancy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 30th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Easyjet has begun talks with unions on cutting up to 1900 UK-based jobs including more than 700 pilots after the collapse in air travel due to coronavirus.

The airline also said it was looking at the closure of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle, though the airports would remain part of its route network.

Easyjet had already announced last month that it was cutting up to 4,500 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, as a result of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the carrier said that as part of this it had begun formal consultations with trade unions Unite and Balpa relating to all UK pilots and crew.

That number totals 1900 but the airline said it would seek to work with unions to try to minimise job losses.

Chancellor Sunak to expand £500m fund for UK startups hit by coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 30th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Chancellor extends Future Fund to include firms that have moved their HQs abroad

The chancellor is expanding a £500m fund for UK startups hit by the coronavirus crisis, to ensure firms that shifted their headquarters abroad can still access the scheme.

The Future Fund will now benefit companies that are seen as British in all but name, having moved their parent company to tap US investors or take advantage of so-called accelerator programmes. Accelerators like US-based Y Combinator often ask firms to set up a US entity in order to access financing, mentorships and expert networks overseas.

Future Fund applicants will still have to prove that at least half of their staff are based in the UK and that they make at least 50% of their revenues from UK sales, the Treasury said.

“This change means that those startups who have strived to be the very best, and taken opportunities to grow their business, will be able to benefit from our world-leading Future Fund,” chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

The changes come amid a surge in demand for the scheme, which will see the government take stakes in British startups that struggle to repay loans due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Future Fund offers convertible government loans worth between £125,000 and £5m to companies that have previously raised at least £250,000 of equity investments. Those loans are matched pound-for-pound by private investors, but the government debt will convert to equity if the loans are not repaid.

The fund is meant to help startups, in sectors like tech and life sciences, that may have otherwise struggled to survive, let alone grow, throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The government initially committed £250m in loans as part of a £500m fund that was equally shouldered by private investors. However, the government has now approved £320m worth of future fund loans to more than 320 early-stage firms.

The Treasury has not confirmed whether there is a cap for the expanded fund, which originally launched on 20 May.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said: “As we restart our economy, it is crucial that our innovators and risk-takers get all the support they need to flourish.

“Our decision to relax this rule recognises the importance of many of the UK’s most cutting-edge startups as we bounce back from coronavirus.”

Unlike other government programmes, such as the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) and the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), Future Fund loans are distributed by the state-owned British Business Bank rather than high street lenders.

Figures released on Tuesday showed that the trio of government-backed loan schemes led by commercial banks – covering BBLS, CBILS and the scheme for larger businesses known as CLBILS – hit a milestone, with more than 1m firms granted emergency funding so far.

Government data showed that banks had approved more than 1m loans worth £42.9bn as of 28 June. More than 1.3m businesses have applied.

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Waitrose fulfilment centre, in Greenford west London to create 800 jobs

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 29th June 2020) London, Uk – –

The supermarket chain moves to further bolster its own online operation as a delivery partnership with Ocado nears its end.

Waitrose says it is to open a third warehouse in London to cope with surging demand for grocery deliveries in the capital amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

The John Lewis Partnership said it expected the fulfilment centre, in the Greenford area of west London, would create 800 jobs once completed.

The COVID-19 lockdown since March has forced the supermarket sector to bolster online shopping capabilities to cope with a rising tide of orders.

Waitrose said it had seen online orders surge by more than 100% over the past few months and admitted it had been unable to meet demand within London.

The chain had announced in May that it was to open a second warehouse in Enfield by September.

Waitrose said the third centre, to be operated with logistics specialist Wincanton, would “significantly further increase the availability of delivery slots for customers in and around the capital”.

It hoped to have the Greenford site operational in time for Christmas saying that, when completed, it would have quadrupled the number of delivery slots available to customers in London in under a year.

Waitrose has a current delivery partnership with Ocado but it will be going it alone completely in the autumn as the pure online grocery retailer enters into a joint venture with M&S.

New Waitrose executive director, James Bailey, said: “While we've already pulled forward our online expansion plans by six months we know there are still lots of people who want to shop online with us and currently can't.

“This is especially the case in London, where we've seen a significant and prolonged surge in demand for our online offer. This new centre will help us better serve the London area with a much broader range of slots.”

By James Sillars

Coronavirus: Eased travel restrictions see holiday bookings ‘explode’

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 29th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Travel companies say holiday bookings have “exploded” after the government announced current restrictions will be eased.

Ministers said from 6 July, blanket restrictions on non-essential overseas travel will be relaxed in the UK.

Holidaymakers will be allowed to travel to certain European countries without having to spend 14 days in quarantine upon their return.

A spokesperson for TUI said the move was a “hugely positive step forward”.

“We've already seen bookings increase by 50% this week, versus last [week], with holidays to Spain and Greece looking the most popular this summer,” said Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK and Ireland.

Lastminute.com said it experienced an 80% increase on holiday sales compared to last week, largely attributed to the announcement of Spain lifting the quarantine for Brits.

The list of travel corridors with the UK is due to be published next week and is expected to include Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany and Norway – but not Portugal or Sweden.

It comes as it was announced a further 100 people had died from the virus in the UK, with a further 890 people testing positive, as of 27 June.

‘Traffic light system'

John Keefe, director of public affairs at Eurotunnel, said phones had been “ringing off the hook”.

Eurotunnel saw an increase of bookings weeks ago, suggesting that many holidaymakers had already started to “discount the quarantine measures”, said Mr Keefe – but bookings “exploded” when the announcement was made on Friday.

Foreign Office advice against all but essential international travel has been in place since 17 March.

Under the new rules, a traffic light system will be introduced – with countries classified as green, amber or red depending on the prevalence of coronavirus. The UK is likely to discuss arrangements with countries over the coming days.

A government spokesman said measures would give people “the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad” while also boosting the UK economy – but stressed the relaxation depended on risks staying low.

The government said it “wouldn't hesitate to put on the brakes” if the situation changes.

While the UK government is responsible for border controls, the Scottish and Welsh governments say that public health and the response to the pandemic are devolved matters.

Both warned they had yet to decide to implement the measures.

Ministers in Scotland said it was “disappointing” that the announcement was made before all four UK nations held discussions.

Tourism businesses in Wales are not due to reopen until 13 July, a week after the travel restrictions are due to ease elsewhere.

In a statement, it said: “The Welsh Government continues to explore the UK Government's proposals for Air Bridges and awaits confirmation of a four-nation ministerial meeting to discuss the issue further.”

Portugal has seen a rise in the number of new cases in and around Lisbon recently, while Sweden is also unlikely to be on the list because the infection rate there is higher than in the UK. They are both likely to be classified as red.

But the government spokesman conceded there would be nothing to stop someone avoiding quarantine by flying into a Spanish airport, driving over the border into Portugal for their holiday and returning by the same route.

UK travellers will still have to hand over the address they plan to stay at on their return from abroad, no matter which country they are coming back from. And they will also be legally required to wear face coverings on planes and ferries.

How do holidaymakers feel?

Jon San Jose, 38, will be travelling to Spain with his wife and two young children in August to celebrate his mother-in-law's 60th birthday.

To minimise risks, they have decided to take the Eurotunnel to France and then drive to Alicante, Spain, where they will be joined in a villa by the rest of the extended family.

Jon and his wife Karleen welcomed the government announcement, after having doubts the birthday celebration would still go ahead, and said they are doing all they can to limit risks.

“We probably won't eat out more than once or twice,” said Jon. “We're probably going to stay in the villa for most of the time. If anything it will be less risk going there than staying [in the UK] at the moment.”

Portugal's Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Baptista Marques told BBC Breakfast her country had been named the most secure destination in Europe by the World Tourism and Travel Council and is a “clean and safe destination”.

She added that the situation is “completely under control”, with significant testing being carried out.

But Greece's Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis suggested that it could be up to three weeks before the country is happy to open up an air bridge to the UK, as discussions with health experts are continuing.

Spain lifted its state of emergency last Sunday, reopening its borders to visitors from most of Europe and allowing British tourists to enter the country without having to quarantine.

Travel industry group ABTA said the travel sector “eagerly” anticipates confirmation of the list of countries, which “should encourage customers to book”.

“The blanket Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel is still a major impediment to travel, however, and we look forward to the government adopting a similar risk-based approach to that advice,” it said in a statement.

The UK introduced rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on 8 June. It was widely criticised by the travel industry and MPs of all parties.

What are the current quarantine rules?

  • People arriving in the UK should drive their own car to their destination, where possible, and once there they must not use public transport or taxis
  • Arrivals must not go to work, school, or public areas, or have visitors – except for essential support. They are also not allowed to go out to buy food, or other essentials, where they can rely on others
  • Those arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, while they face a £480 fine in Scotland. The maximum fine for repeat offenders in Scotland is £5,000

“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world – giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business,” said a government spokesman.

“But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge.”

Why The New Media Loves Fortnite

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: What is Fortnite? How do you spell Fortnight? Why the new media loves fortnite? Why do guys like fortnite so much? Why is fortnite so bad? Why fortnite is good for your brain? Why is fortnite addicting? Is fortnite a sin? Does fortnite make you dumber? Is fortnite ok for 10 year olds? Should fortnite be banned? Is fortnite OK for 7 year old? Can fortnite damage your brain? Is fortnite OK for 9 year olds? Does fortnite make you smarter? Is fortnite OK for kids? Who is the best fortnite player? How long should you play fortnite a day? Why is fortnite bad for kids? What game is the most addictive? How do I quit fortnite? Is fortnite dying? Is fortnite game Dangerous? s Minecraft better than fortnite? What does fortnite stand for? Is fortnite suitable for 12 year olds? Is fortnite appropriate for 11 year olds? Why is fortnite so successful? Is Roblox bad for kids? Why is fortnite a 12? What is the concept of fortnite? What is the point of fortnite? Is fortnite OK for kids? What kind of game is fortnite? Should a 7 year old play fortnite? Is fortnite shutting down in 2020? Why is fortnite so addictive? Is fortnite dying? How do you get free V bucks? Is fortnite good for your brain? Why is fortnite shut down? What does whisper mean in fortnite? Is Roblox better than fortnite? Why is fortnite a 12? Is Roblox bad for kids? Is fortnite OK for 9 year olds? What is fortnite's birthday? How can you tell a fortnite bot? Is Ninja still good at fortnite? How much does Ninja make a year? How much is the Ninja skin on fortnite? What is Ninja's fortnite name? Who is best fortnite Player 2020? Does Fortnite pay ninja? Who is the richest gamer? Who is the highest paid gamer? How much is Ninja worth? Is Ninja still making money? How much did Microsoft pay for ninja? Who is the best fortnite player? Is fortnite losing popularity? Does Ninja play warzone? What team is Ninja on in fortnite? Why is fortnite banned in China? What country is fortnite banned in? Who has the most kills in fortnite?

This Spectacular 700-square-foot FLOATING HOME is Self-Built and Fully Off-Grid

Source: Exploring Alternatives

This stunning 700-square-foot, self-built float home is fully off-grid with solar power, a pellet stove, a composting toilet, and an evaporation grey water system that ensures nothing is dumped overboard! It has an open concept kitchen, living and dining space, a master bedroom and bathroom on the main floor, two bedrooms on the second floor, and the wraparound deck up top gives 360 degree views.

Marks & Spencer and Next vying for control of British operations of Victoria’s Secret

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 26th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Sky News has learnt that the pair are interested in becoming Victoria's Secret's parent company's new UK franchise partner.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Next, Britain's two best-known clothing retailers, are vying to take control of the British operations of Victoria's Secret, the lingerie brand.

Sky News has learnt that the two high street giants are among the parties interested in becoming Victoria's Secret's parent company's new UK franchise partner.

At least one other unnamed party is also understood to have expressed an interest in a deal with Deloitte, which was appointed as the chain's administrator earlier this month.

News of the talks has emerged on the same day that Victoria's Secret is reopening roughly a third of its 25 UK shops following the three-month coronavirus lockdown.

Industry sources said that any bidder wanting to franchise the Victoria's Secret brand in the UK and retain a physical footprint would seek fundamentally restructured rental terms from any ongoing stores.

The Victoria's Secret shops which reopen on Friday are said to have struck revised rent deals with their landlords.

The interest from M&S and Next effectively sparks a bidding battle between the two most prominent clothing retailers in Britain.

M&S's involvement is likely to be of particular interest to retail analysts.

At its recent full-year results, the company said it would open its digital platform and largest stores “to complementary guest brands to broaden appeal and increase online growth”.

M&S already controls 27% of the UK lingerie market, with 36% of the market for bras, so it is unclear whether any franchise deal could attract interest from competition watchdogs.

Analysts suggested that Next was a more likely franchisee for the Victoria's Secret brand, owing to its success selling third-party products from the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, Boss and Under Armour.

The sale process, which is at an early stage, was triggered last month when one of the world's most prominent women's underwear groups announced that its UK arm was pursuing a ‘light touch' administration – a process that allows its existing management to remain in control of the business while offering protection from creditors.

The insolvency only affects the UK operations, and has no impact on its presence in the US or other markets.

Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, had been in discussions about being taken over by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, before the talks were abandoned last month.

Despite its profile, Victoria's Secret has struggled financially in the UK, making an operating loss of £170m in the year to 20 February.

Uncertainty over the future of its UK outlets underlines the broader trend in British retailing, which has seen vast numbers of chains refusing to pay their full rent bills for the third quarter, with footfall and sales at a fraction of the usual levels because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts believe that the pandemic has accelerated a structural shift across the industry, with clothing retailers such as Cath Kidston, Debenhams, Laura Ashley and Monsoon Accessorize among those to fall into administration since March.

Some have emerged to resume trading, but with drastically reduced physical footprints.

At the time of Deloitte's appointment as administrator, Rob Harding, a partner at the firm, said: “This is yet another blow to the UK high street and a further example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire retail industry.

“The effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, has resulted in a funding requirement for this business, resulting in today's administration.”

M&S and Next declined to comment, while a spokesman for Victoria's Secret UK said: “We continue to work closely with Deloitte to review a range of possible outcomes.”