House prices bounced back in July, says Nationwide

( via – – Fri, 31st July 2020) London, Uk – –

House prices bounced back in July, climbing 1.7% during the month compared to a 1.5% fall in June, according to the Nationwide.

“The bounce back in prices reflects the unexpectedly rapid recovery in housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions,” it said.

Activity has been boosted by pent-up demand and the stamp duty holiday.

But the lender warned: “There is a risk this proves to be something of a false dawn.”

The average price in July was £220,936, according to the Nationwide. However, while prices were up 1.5% from a year earlier, July's price was 1.6% lower than in April at the beginning of lockdown.

However, it was a marked change to June's prices when the market posted its first annual fall in eight years.

The rebound in prices reflected a number of factors, said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

He said pent up demand was coming through, from people who had already decided to move before lockdown began. But some people were moving because of their lockdown experience, he said.

“Behavioural shifts may be boosting activity, as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown,” he said.

“Moreover, social distancing does not appear to be having as much of a chilling effect as we might have feared, at least at this stage.”

He said the upward trends look set to continue in the near term, and will be further boosted by the recently-announced stamp duty holiday.

But he added a note of caution. “Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as a result of the after effects of the pandemic and as government support schemes wind down.

“If this comes to pass, it would likely dampen housing activity once again in the quarters ahead.”

Lenders cautious

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, also warned that the future may not be so positive for the housing market.

“Lenders remain keen to lend but also cautious as to borrowers' financial positions, given the impending end of the furlough scheme and a number of redundancies which have already been announced,” he said.

Anna Clare Harper, author of Strategic Property Investing, warned: “What no one can forecast is what happens next, with some nerves among homeowners, investors and economists as to what the future may hold.”

Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of Garrington Property Finders, said lockdown would have a lasting effect on the property market.

“Like so much else that has been transformed by the pandemic, the property market map is being redrawn as people reassess what they want from their homes and when, or even if, they need to travel to work,” he said.

“Three months of being cooped up in the same four walls has led many people to consider a move.”

By Simon Read Personal finance reporter

BT sign-ups for UK’s ultra-fast broadband increase by 70% as Britons work from home

( via – – Fri, 31st July 2020) London, Uk – –

Company reports near-70% increase in upgrades as Covid-19 crisis keeps Britons at home

BT has reported a near-70% surge in customers switching to next-generation full-fibre broadband as the working-from-home revolution prompts people to upgrade to the fastest internet connection available.

The company said the number of sign-ups for full fibre broadband, which enables users to download a hi-definition TV show in 15 seconds instead of the typical three minutes or more with standard broadband, increased in June to 10,000 per week.

Prior to that, about 6,000 customers per week had been signing up for full-fibre broadband, BT said.

The company, which runs the UK’s broadband network via its Openreach subsidiary, said customers are continuing to sign up in higher numbers. Households are upgrading as more companies either continue to delay sending staff back to the office or make remote working a permanent fixture.

“We are 20% up on daytime data usage on our [broadband] network,” said Philip Jansen, BT’s chief executive. “People are using us more at home. We have had lots of people ringing us up and contacting us to get higher speeds to do things like get complete wifi and manage their connections better.

“It is part of that general trend of connectivity being seen as absolutely crucial, even more crucial than it was before because there are more people at home, kids studying online, gaming, work and all that.”

Boris Johnson has pledged to have next-generation broadband made available to every home by 2025, as the UK plays catchup rolling out the technology compared with most developed markets around the world. BT is spending £12bn rolling out full-fibre broadband to 20m homes by the late 2020s.

On Friday, BT revealed a near-£400m decline in revenue in the three months to the end of June. The company blamed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which meant it was unable to broadcast sport such as Premier League football on BT TV and in partnered pubs, as well as a drop in demand for its services from small businesses during the lockdown.

By Mark Sweney

Tour operator Tui to shut 166 high street shops in UK and Ireland

( via– Thur, 30th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Tour operator Tui is to close 166 high street stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the firm has announced.

Managing director Andrew Flintham said of the store closures: “We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it's in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.

“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.

“Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all Tui UK bookings taking place online.

“We believe COVID-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home.

“We have world-class travel advisers at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”

One in three furloughed UK workers back at work in early July – ONS

( via — Thur, 30th July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Roughly one in three furloughed workers in Britain returned to their jobs during the first two weeks of July as the hospitality industry reopened to the public, an official survey suggested on Thursday.

Some 7% of workers at businesses surveyed by the Office for National Statistics between June 29 and July 12 had returned to work within the previous two weeks, reducing the proportion who remained on furlough to 17%.

The sector with the largest number of workers returning was accommodation and food services businesses – which reopened to guests on July 4 – where 18% returned to work, though 43% remained on furlough leave.

Reporting by David Milliken

Barclays sets aside £3.7bn to cover possible loan losses

( via– Wed, 29th July, 2020) London, Uk – –

The bank says it has granted more than 600,000 payment holidays under its support for consumers and businesses during the crisis.

Barclays made provisions of £3.7bn in the first half of the year to cover possible loan losses as the coronavirus crisis took its toll on consumers and businesses.

The bank's latest financial results showed it set aside £1.6bn to cover bad debts during the second quarter – the three months to the end of June – as the lockdown in its core UK market came into full effect.

The credit impairment charges and loan loss provisions came in about £200m above the expectations of analysts.

They dented group profit before tax for the six months, which fell to £1.3bn compared to the £3bn achieved in the same period last year.

The bank's chief executive said its diversified business model – a key part of his strategy – had allowed Barclays to support its customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as income from its investment bank in particular offset weaknesses elsewhere.

The bank said: “Our consumer business income decreased by 11% in Barclays UK and 21% in CC&P (consumer, cards and payments) as a result of the lower interest rate environment, fewer interest earning balances, reduced payments activity and action to provide support for customers”.

That action, Barclays said, included more than 600,000 payment holidays up to 22 July and delivery of the government's loan schemes to support businesses through the crisis.

The bank said that since late March, it had helped deliver around £22bn of funding including 250,000 government-backed Bounce Back Loans totalling around £7.7bn.

It said it had handed out £2.5bn under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), under which the bank shares some of the risk.

Barclays' investment bank income rose 31% over the six months to £6.9bn – led by its markets business.

However, it confirmed there would be no interim dividend for shareholders.

Chief executive Jes Staley told investors a previously flagged boost to its reserves meant Barclays was in good shape despite the current challenges.

“Our CET1 (common equity tier one ratio) stands at 14.2% which underscores the strength of our balance sheet”.

But he added: “Although we will remain well capitalised and ahead of our minimum requirements, we may experience stronger capital headwinds in the second half of the year. The Board will decide on future dividends and capital returns at the year-end 2020.

“While the remainder of 2020 will be challenging, our diversified model means we can remain financially resilient and continue to support our customers and clients.”

Shares, down by more than a third in the year to date, rose initially before falling 1% in early trading.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said of the bank's charges: “Given the backdrop, a large increase in provisions for bad loans during the half was to be expected – and Barclays now expects disruption to drag well past 2020.

“For the high street business bad loan provisions are clustered in the credit card business, always a riskier area for lenders, but the bank also anticipates some large losses from its large corporate customers.”

Aston Martin Luxury car brand losses soar to £227m in first half of 2020

( via – – Wed, 29th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Luxury car brand’s sales down 41% after coronavirus pandemic shuts dealerships

Aston Martin Lagonda’s losses surged to £227m in the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic closed the embattled UK luxury carmaker’s dealerships and prompted an executive clear-out.

The carmaker was also forced to restate its income statements over two years after detecting an accounting error that led it to overstate profitability in 2018 and 2019.

Aston Martin has endured a torrid 12 months, as heavy spending on a new factory for a new car, the DBX SUV, followed by the pandemic pushed it close to bankruptcy. Its main plant, at Gaydon, Warwickshire, is only due to resume manufacturing at the end of August, later than originally planned.

In January the billionaire fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll led a consortium that in effect took control of Aston Martin in a bailout shortly before the pandemic forced a deep drop in sales. Stroll has focused on restoring profitability at the carmaker, as well as firing Andy Palmer as chief executive and in his place installing Tobias Moers, the former boss of Mercedes-Benz’s performance division, AMG.

The pandemic meant that Aston Martin sold only 1,770 cars in the first six months of 2020, down 41% compared with 2019. It sold only one of its highly lucrative “special” cars, such as the £2.7m DB5 Goldfinger Continuation, which comes with a smokescreen emitter and fake tyre slashers and machine guns to mirror the car made famous by the James Bond film. Last year it sold 36.

The carmaker’s revenues plunged by 64% year on year to only £146m as dealerships around the world were forced to close.

Aston Martin was also forced to restate its income statements for 2018 and 2019 after overstating profits by £15.3m in 2019.

The new management found an error in the way the US region was recognising revenues that meant it counted payments to dealers and discounts for retail customers later than it should have done.

Stroll, who took the role of executive chairman, said it had been “a very intense and challenging six months” and the company pointed to more difficulties ahead. Reducing the number of cars at dealerships, a key aim of Stroll as he tries to restore Aston Martin’s air of exclusivity, will continue until 2021.

In its statement to the stock market, Aston Martin said: “Trading remains challenging in many markets and the pace of emergence from lockdown and consumer recovery varies significantly.”

UK government close to giving backing to double virus tests which ‘could cut quarantine time’

( via – – Tue, 28th July 2020) London, Uk – –

People entering the UK from at-risk countries who test negative for coronavirus twice within several days might be allowed to leave quarantine early.

The UK government is close to giving its backing to a trial, according to travel industry sources.

Under current rules, those arriving in the UK from certain countries must self-isolate for 14 days.

The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to comment.

Details of the new programme are said to be still being worked out, but one key area of debate is the number of days required between tests.

The government has indicated that it is keeping all quarantine measures under review.

It is said to be considering an eight-day stretch between tests, whereas figures within the travel sector are keen for a five-day period.

The number of days required between each test is critical in reducing the possibility of “false negative” results.

A false negative result is possible if someone who has recently contracted Covid-19 is not showing symptoms.

France is about to launch a compulsory two-test regime for people arriving from 16 at-risk countries, including the United States.

The BBC understands that there are two broad options being considered.

The first would involve someone having a first test several days before they travelled to the UK, with the second test happening the day before they arrive. However, this might mean that in some cases people would need to be tested abroad.

That option could mean that people would avoid quarantine altogether.

The second possibility is that people would be tested on arrival in the UK, possibly at the airport, and then be required to have a second test several days later.

In the period between the two tests, the person would have to self-isolate at home in line with government rules.

Another question mark remains over how the trial will be funded.

Travel consultant Paul Charles believes that airports will have to foot part of the bill.

“The onus is on UK airports to invest, as restaurants and bars have done, in the measures which enable the economy to get going,” he said.

Like other figures in the travel industry, Mr Charles is frustrated by the fact that the government has still not given its backing to testing as a way of people avoiding the travel quarantine.

“Substantial investment in testing is the only solution to enable safer travel, keep corridors open to other countries and remove the disruptive need for everyone to self-isolate for 14 days.”

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told BBC News “the jury was still out” on having one single coronavirus test on arrival.

“Not enough work has been done on that and it may be that we need another test after five or eight days to get people out of quarantine early.

“As the UK's hub airport, I want to work with the government on some of these things – to try to find a balance to keep people safe but also to get the economy moving again and save as many jobs as possible.”

The test that would be used is the same Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-type test used by the NHS, and can cost about £150 each time.

Any trial of the double-testing scheme would likely initially be focused on one or two specific routes.

The BBC has been told that any trial would not initially be focused on people arriving from European destinations.

The aviation sector has been in discussions with Public Health England about how the testing could work.

If the scheme goes ahead, it is not expected to be implemented for several weeks.

Collinson and Swissport are the two firms spearheading the work on the trials in the UK.

Collinson chief executive David Evans said of the potential roll-out: “I would hope that the government would move and flex on their policy – I think they've got to have an armoury of tools at their disposal to do this.

“As soon as they do that, we should get this rolled out in the next couple of weeks.”

By Tom BurridgeTransport correspondent, BBC News

UK pension scams under investigation after relaxation in rules in 2015

( via — Tue, 28th July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers said on Tuesday they were launching an inquiry into pension scams following a relaxation in pension rules five years ago that has increased the scope for fraud, a problem likely to get worse during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under so-called pension freedoms introduced in 2015, over-55s have been able to choose how they spend their pension pots, rather than being forced to buy an annuity, which gives a fixed income for life.

Industry sources say the changes have encouraged investment in other financial products that offer higher returns than annuities, but have also increased the scope for scams.

“More flexibility means more potential for the unscrupulous to take advantage and scam savers out of what will very often be their largest financial asset, crippling their dreams of a comfortable retirement,” said Stephen Timms, chair of the work and pensions committee of lawmakers.

Some 180 people reported they had been the victim of a pension scam in 2018, losing on average 82,000 pounds each. Regulators believe only a minority of pension scams are reported, the committee said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to lead to a further increase in scams, said Andy Agathangelou, founder of Transparency Task Force, which lobbies for reform of financial services.

“People are suffering from lack of money, there’s an increasing lack of confidence in the pensions industry and scammers are getting ever more sophisticated.”

The work and pensions committee is seeking written submissions on pension scams by Sept. 9.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn

Gold hits record high as investors look for a safe place to put their money

( via – – Mon, 27th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Gold hit a record high on Monday as increasing numbers of nervous investors sought a safe place to put their money.

Rising political tensions between the US and China joined the ever-present worries over the continuing coronavirus pandemic to boost the spot price to $1,943.93 an ounce,

Covid-19 cases have risen to more then 16 million globally.

Many investors shun gold as it doesn't pay dividends or interest rates but it tends to rise in troubled times,

Interest rates are currently near zero and dividend returns from companies are uncertain at best, with so many struggling.

So far this year, gold prices have risen 28%.

Adrian Ash, director of research at precious metals trader BullionVault, said that the rising trend was likely to continue: “While gold could see this sharp spike pull back quickly, longer-term investment flows look set to stay strong.

“The permanent damage done to economic growth by the Covid catastrophe is likely to support the case for holding gold as a long-term form of financial insurance, because it will keep interest rates at or below zero while threatening mass corporate debt defaults and forcing government deficits to new peacetime records.”

A fall in the dollar is another factor that boosts the price of gold, which is quoted in the US currency. It means that buyers using other currencies can, in fact, be paying the same for their gold, as they are able to buy more dollars for their money.

In the latest development between the US and China, China took over the premises of the US consulate in the south western city of Chengdu. The move was in retaliation for the US closing down China's diplomatic base in Houston, Texas.

This sent the dollar index to its lowest since September 2018.

The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is meeting this week to decide on monetary policy.

Mihir Kapadia, head of Sun Global Investments, thinks that could also help boost the price further: “With eyes on the upcoming Fed policy meeting later this week and more concerns over geopolitical tensions, further gains can be expected with these factors likely to weigh heavily on the stock markets for a few more weeks to come.”

Fellow precious metal silver was also higher, It rose more than 6% to $24.36, its highest since September 2013.

AstraZeneca signs cancer treatment deal worth up to £4.7bn

( via – – Mon, 27th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Pharmaceuticals company buys global rights to new technology from Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo

Drugmaker AstraZeneca could pay up to $6bn (£4.7bn) for the global rights to a new Japanese cancer treatment.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company said it would pay $1bn (£800m) up front to its partner Daiichi Sankyo.

It has also promised to pay up to $1bn if the treatment gets approval from regulators and up to $4bn (£3.1bn) more if it sells as hoped.

The treatment, DS-1062, targets the Trop2 protein, which is overproduced by most breast and lung cancers. Honing in on the cells that produce too much of the protein allows the treatment to deliver selective chemotherapy to certain areas, rather than subjecting the whole body to the treatment.

The medicine has not yet been approved for use in any country, and its safety and efficacy have not been established.

“We see significant potential in this antibody drug conjugate in lung as well as in breast and other cancers that commonly express Trop2,” said the AstraZeneca chief executive, Pascal Soriot.

The deal will give AstraZeneca a slice of the global sales of the treatment, as the two companies have agreed to partner up to develop and then commercialise DS-1062.

However, Daiichi Sankyo will keep the exclusive rights to the Japanese market.

It is not the first time the two drug giants have collaborated.
In March last year, they started a similar partnership to develop and commercialise breast cancer treatment Enhertu.

“We are delighted to enter this new collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo and to build on the successful launch of Enhertu to further expand our pipeline and leadership in oncology,” Soriot said.

He added: “We now have six potential blockbusters in oncology with more to come in our early and late pipelines.”

The Daiichi Sankyo chief executive, Sunao Manabe, said the new treatment could become “best in class” for targeting and treating multiple tumours, including breast and lung cancers.Advertisement

“This new strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca, a company with extensive experience and significant expertise in the global oncology business, will enable us to deliver DS-1062 to more patients around the world as quickly as possible,” he said.

Press Association

The Rise And Fall Of The Mall

Source: BI

Starting with the opening of the Southland Mall in 1956 malls have been a vaulted piece of Americana for decades. Thousands were built across the country and for a while it seemed they would dominate the American landscape forever, but in recent years they’ve rapidly lost their value. So how did malls go from being a mainstay in American society to a quickly vanishing memory?

10 BEST Countries To Start A BUSINESS

Source: Alux

This Alux video will try to answer the following questions:

What's the best country to get an business opportunity? What are the 10 BEST Countries To Start A BUSINESS? What are the best countries to start a business in 2020? What is the procedure to start a new startup around the world? What is the best country in the world to start a business? What is the best country to start a business and live peacefully? What country is it easiest to start a business? Which country is best for business? What is the most profitable country in the world? Which country has the most small businesses? Which country has most entrepreneurs? Which country offers the most business opportunity? Which country is No 1 in ease of doing business? Which European country is best for business? Which country is the easiest to start a business?

Why RV Sales Are Booming

Source: CNBC

In the years that followed the financial crisis, sales of RVs began booming. Once considered a pretty dowdy way to travel, RVs have benefited from slick industry ad campaigns, low gas prices, and a renewed interest among Americans of all ages. Data indicate first-time buyers are pouring into RV dealerships and shows, looking for their own happy home on the road. But long-timers say new buyers need to do their research before buying, and understand what the RV life is really about.

Digital giant Revolut to announce additional funding of £63m from further share sale

( via– Fri, 24th July 2020) London, Uk – –

The UK-based digital bank has raised additional funding at a $5.5bn (£4.3bn) valuation, Sky News understands.

The British-based digital payments and banking app Revolut is raising tens of millions of pounds from a further share sale just months after crystallising its status as one of the UK's most valuable technology “unicorns”.

Sky News has learnt that Revolut will announce in the coming days that it has secured an $80m (£63m) investment from US-based private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners.

The share sale will take place at the same $5.5bn valuation at which it sold a $500m stake in February, an insider said on Friday.

Since then, the global coronavirus pandemic has buffeted both traditional banks and a number of digital lenders amid expectations of rising loan impairments amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

Sources suggested that Revolut's ability to raise new funding at the same valuation underlined its resilience, even as the cross-border travel on which its revenues partly depend faces a protracted recovery.

Founded by Nik Storonsky, Revolut has grown from a standing start little more than five years ago to have more than 2,000 employees and more than 10 million customers in well over 30 countries.

In February, it unveiled TCV – an early-stage backer of Spotify, Airbnb and Netflix – as a major new investor.

The mammoth funding round came soon after Revolut appointed the City veteran Martin Gilbert as its chairman.

Michael Sherwood, former boss of Goldman Sachs in Europe‎ and one of the City's most prominent bank executives, has also joined the company as a non-executive director.

The board changes came as Revolut was forced to respond to a series of reputational challenges including alleged links to the Kremlin – which it has strenuously denied.

Revolut said last year it was opening 12,000 accounts every day – equating to four million each year – and has received financial backing from some of the biggest names in the venture capital industry, including Balderton Capital, DST Global and Index Ventures.

Mr Storonsky added in 2019 that he would like Revolut to be worth between $20bn (£15.8bn) and $40bn (£31.6bn) before it contemplates a stock market listing, which is likely to be some years away.

Despite its multibillion pound valuation, Revolut continues to be lossmaking, although that hardly makes it an anomaly among prominent technology companies.

In results published last autumn, Revolut said it had made a pre-tax loss of £33m in 2018, compared with £15m the previous year.

However, revenues grew more than fourfold from £13m to £58m, with the company saying it was on course to triple revenues again this year.

The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority has challenged faster-growing firms under its auspices to adopt more rigorous stress-testing and evidence of greater challenge by board members.

Revolut declined to comment on Friday.

By Mark Kleinman

Portugal still on quarantine list for holidaymakers

( via – – Fri, 24th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Portugal remains off the list of countries that the government has exempted from quarantine restrictions.

In changes that apply to England, travellers from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines won't have to isolate.

It takes the list of countries that do not face travel restrictions into England to 80 nations.

The government also said it will update guidance weekly, meaning rules could change while people are away.

It said people should regularly check the advice. Previously, updates were provided every three weeks.

The guidance comes as infection rates begin to change across Europe.

On Friday, Norway announced that it was imposing a new 10-day quarantine on all travellers arriving from Spain after a spike in cases there at popular holiday resorts.

The latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed coronavirus infections in Spain had risen to 30.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Portugal's failure to make the exemption list will come as a huge blow.

Tourism is a major industry in the country and is popular with British holidaymakers, with almost three million UK visitors a year.

Aviation data analysts Cirium said there were 2,333 flights due to leave the UK for Portugal before the end of August.

‘Huge uncertainty'

Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, said it was a badly timed move by the government.

“The scale of those due to go there before end of August is enormous. The decision today plants huge uncertainty in the minds of those who are booked who will be looking for refunds and changes and most won't have a holiday. It's going to cause uproar for operators and industry.”

He added: “They are not prepared to open Portugal when situation is declining, but cases in Spain are soaring, with rapid rises in their case numbers.”

New face covering mandatory rules come into force on Friday

( via – – Thur, 23rd July, 2020) London, Uk – –

Banks, post offices and airports will also be subject to new rules, government confirms

Face coverings will be compulsory in takeaways, banks and post offices as well as shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and stations in England from Friday, the government has announced.

Coverings, such as cloth masks or bandanas, must be worn when buying food and drink to take away, but if sitting down and consuming their purchase in the same premises, a customer can remove their face covering in order to eat and drink there.

While shoppers must wear face coverings, the rules say it will not be compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear them. The government only says “we strongly recommend that employers consider their use where appropriate”.

New government guidelines, details of which were published on Thursday afternoon, confirmed that coverings must be worn in shops, banks, building societies and post offices and “travel hubs” such as train stations and airports.

It will not be compulsory for customers to wear masks or similar coverings in hairdressers, gyms, dine-in restaurants and pubs or cinemas, concert halls or theatres.

Banks, post offices and other businesses will be able to ask people to remove face coverings for identification purposes.Advertisement

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said:“As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.

“Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”

However, there was some criticism over the measures, with the hospitality industry querying the timing of the news. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UK Hospitality trade body, said: “The announcement lacked clarity around many issues affecting outlets offering both takeaway and on-premises dining. Furthermore, with the announcement at around 2.30pm the day before the measures come into effect, it left those venues a very short time to properly brief staff, prepare signage and take steps to encourage compliance.”

Police will have powers to enforce the rules and, from Friday, those who do not do so could face fines of up to £100, in line with the rules for wearing face coverings public transport. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

Shops can refuse entry to anyone without an exemption who refuses to wear a face covering and can call the police if people refuse to comply.

Major retailers said they would not ask staff to enforce the rules and some said they would also not require that staff wear masks if they were already working behind a perspex screen or similar protective set-up.

Tom Ironside, the director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, the trade body that represents most of the high street, said: “Retailers are doing all they can to support necessary safety regulations and will play their role in communicating and encouraging the government’s new policy on face coverings.

“While enforcement of this policy will be handled by the police, the ultimate responsibility remains with customers who must ensure that they wear a face covering when going into stores.”

Businesses are concerned about potential threats to staff if they try to enforce the rules too strictly. Many retailers have already reported aggressive behaviour from some customers when trying to maintain social distancing measures.

Richard Walker, the boss of the frozen food chain Iceland, tweeted: “If mandatory face masks in shops will make our customers & colleagues safer then they are welcome – but we won’t put our staff at risk by asking them to police this. The UK cannot afford a second wave, so we all need to play our part and show care and consideration for each other.”

The Co-op is introducing body cameras for workers after in-store crime soared by 140% in the past year. It said the numbers of violent incidents hit record levels with 1,350 attacks experienced by workers in its shops in the first six months of 2020.

The company said it had not asked staff to challenge shoppers who were not wearing face covering. “We are aware that there are reasons why some customers are exempt, and it is the responsibility of all non-exempt customers to ensure they are in adherence with the new legal requirements,” the Co-op said.

Other retailers said they would be increasing their use of signage to remind shoppers of the new rules, while some, including Sainsbury’s, said they would be making Tannoy announcements about the measures.

For shoppers arriving without masks, Tesco said it would offer them face coverings at the door.

The prime minister’s office said enforcement would be treated as a “last resort”.

“What I’m sure we’ll find, as we have with other aspects of the coronavirus response, is that the British public will voluntarily choose to follow the guidelines because they want to play their part in helping to slow the spread of the virus,” Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said.

By Sarah Butler and Simon Murphy

Dyson to cut 900 jobs amid company’s restructuring plans

( via – – Thur, 23rd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Dyson is cutting 600 jobs in the UK and a further 300 worldwide as the coronavirus impact speeds up the company's restructuring plans.

The firm, best known for the invention of the bag-less vacuum cleaner, said the pandemic was changing consumer habits as more people shopped online.

Dyson was founded by inventor Sir James Dyson, who in May topped the Sunday Times Rich List.

The company has a global workforce of 14,000, with 4,000 in the UK.

Most of the jobs will be lost in retail and customer service roles.

Dyson uses its own people to sell in department stores, for example at John Lewis, but the shift to online has cut necessity for a High Street presence. The jobs being lost overseas, where the company operates in 80 countries, involve similar roles.

A Dyson spokesman said: “The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated changes in consumer behaviour and therefore requires changes in how we engage with our customers and how we sell our products.”

He said the company would try to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible, and emphasised that it had not furloughed any staff nor drawn on any public money to support jobs anywhere in the world during the pandemic.

Most Dyson products are designed in the UK, where it has two technology campuses in Wiltshire, but manufactured in Asia.

Electric cars

Earlier this year the company joined the fight to produce medical ventilators for the NHS, amid fears it would be overwhelmed by coronavirus.

In March the government ordered 10,000 ventilators from the company, although Sir James later told employees these were no longer needed.

The company also tried to diversify into making electric cars.

But last year, it said that although its engineers in the UK had developed a “fantastic electric car”, it would not hit the roads because it was not “commercially viable”.

Sir James, a Brexit-backing entrepreneur, launched his first vacuum cleaner in 1993. He had previously, in 1974, invented a wheelbarrow which used a spherical wheel.

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, set a fresh record by added £10bn to his fortune in just one day

( via – – Tue, 22nd July2020) London, Uk – –

He was already by far the world’s richest person, but Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has set a fresh record increasing his fortune by an additional $13bn (£10bn) in a single day to take his personal wealth to an unprecedented $189bn.

The huge increase in Bezos’s wealth on Monday alone is equivalent of adding nearly 30 times the Queen’s £350m fortune. His total wealth now makes him worth more than Britain’s biggest company, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca which is valued on the stock exchange at £121bn.

Bezos’s fortune has been swelled by Amazon’s soaraway share price as hundreds of millions of people trapped at home by coronavirus lockdowns around the world turn to the online delivery giant to keep themselves fed and entertained.

It is hard to reconcile this obscene figure with the reality the rest of us are living through.Rebecca Gowland, Oxfam

While many businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and the beginnings of what threatens to be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Amazon’s shares have increased by 70% since the start of the year. On Monday alone, the share price rose by 8% to a record $3,197. (By lunchtime Tuesday they were changing hands at slightly below that peak.)

Bezos, who started Amazon in his garage in 1994 still owns 11% of the company’s shares, as well as space travel venture Blue Origin and the Washington Post. Since January, Bezos’s wealth has grown by $74bn.

Oxfam, the global development charity, said it was “truly shocking” that Bezos had managed to make so much money during the coronavirus crisis, which has forced hundreds of millions of people around the world to rely on food banks and government support.

“It is hard to reconcile this obscene figure with the reality the rest of us are living through,” Rebecca Gowland, Oxfam’s head of inequality campaign and policy, said. “At a time when hardship is commonplace, hunger is on the increase and half a billion more people face being pushed into extreme poverty, it is truly shocking that one already extremely wealthy individual has pocketed another $74bn already this year.”

Gowland said it showed global economic policies are “not fit for purpose” and “allow the super-rich to accumulate vast amounts of money at the expense of the rest of us when that money is desperately needed for healthcare and social safety nets”.

Bezos’s $189bn fortune, as estimated by Bloomberg Billionaires Index, means he is personally worth more than companies such as Exxon Mobil, Nike or McDonald’s.

In the UK, Bezos has more than enough money to buy the big four banks – HSBC, Barclays, RBS and Lloyds – and have enough change left over to pick up British Airways owner IAG as well as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer.

He has so much money, that his fortune now dwarfs the GDP of Hungary, Ukraine and Qatar. And he is within striking distance of overtaking Greece and New Zealand who are ranked by the World Bank as the 51st and 52nd biggest economies in the world.

John Teahan, portfolio manager at investment fund RWC Partners Equity Income, said Amazon’s runaway share price should make it “a candidate for the eighth wonder of the world”. Teahan said Amazon’s shares have delivered a return of 199,908% since it floated on the stock market in 1997. “It is a manmade creation that has so far defied the laws of finance,” he added.

The $13bn increase Bezos achieved on Monday is the biggest single-day jump in anyone’s net worth since Bloomberg began tracking the daily changes in fortunes of the world’s wealthiest people in 2012.

Bezos is now $71bn richer than the next-wealthiest person on the list: Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Gates, who was the world’s richest person until Bezos overtook him, and his wife Melinda have given more than $50bn to charitable causes, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Mircosoft founder has promised to spend billions on the fight against coronavirus. “It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing [vaccines] that don’t get picked because something else is better,” he said . “But a few billion in this, the situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars … being lost economically, it is worth it.”

Bezos has donated $100m to a food bank charity to help Americans struggling with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Amazon is also pumping $25m into an “Amazon Relief Fund” to support delivery drivers and “seasonal employees under financial distress”.

Critics pointed out Bezos’s $100m donation represents 0.05% of his fortune.

Bezos is unique among the world’s five wealthiest people as the only one not to have signed the Giving Pledge, a philanthropic initiative created by Gates and investor Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s richest people to commit to giving at least half their wealth to charity.

Bezos has given $2bn, amounting to just more than 1% of his wealth, to the Bezos Day One Fund to help address homelessness and improve education for children in low-income families.

Oxfam has called for a windfall tax on huge profits made during the pandemic to help pay for the recovery from the economic destruction wrought by the coronavirus.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities and massive failures in our economic system, leaving tens of millions of people in the US without jobs, devastating public services and bankrupting countless small businesses,” Irit Tamir of Oxfam said.

“Yet at the same time, thanks to a combination of government assistance and pure luck, a handful of companies are raking it in and making already rich shareholders even richer.”

Bezos would have been even richer, if he had not been required to give his ex-wife MacKenzie 25% of his Amazon shares when they divorced last year. The boom in Amazon’s share price, increased her fortune by $4.6bn on Monday and she is now the world’s 13th-richest person.

MacKenzie signed the Giving Pledge saying she had “a disproportionate amount of money to share” and promised to work hard at giving it away “until the safe is empty”.

By Rupert Neate 

Major airlines call for joint US-European testing scheme

( via – – Wed, 22nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Major airlines have asked for a joint coronavirus testing programme, so that travel may resume between the US and Europe.

The owner of British Airways and United Airlines are among the carriers that have signed a letter to US and European Union leaders.

Currently travel between Europe and the US is largely barred.

Carriers are struggling to survive as the coronavirus pandemic has majorly disrupted global travel.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to US and European governments, major airline chief executives called for a US-EU testing programme for passengers making trans-Atlantic trips.

Signees of the letter include bosses of International Airlines Group (IAG) – which owns British Airways – American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa.

“Given the unquestioned importance of trans-Atlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe,” the letter said.

It was sent to US Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European commissioner for home affairs.

“We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing programme for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together,” the letter added.

The EU doesn’t currently allow visits from US residents, although it has relaxed rules for non-essential travel from 15 countries with lower coronavirus infection rates.

The UK requires people arriving from the US to spend 14 days in self-imposed quarantine, while the US restricts travel by most passengers coming for Europe.

China wants testing

​China has also come out in favour of testing kits and wants passengers of inbound flights to provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) made the announcement on Tuesday as the government looks to further reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases.

The airline industry is facing a huge challenge amid a severe downturn in passengers. Most major airlines have announced job cuts and staff furloughs, while some smaller players have collapsed.

Ryanair to cut three bases of operations in Germany as pressure on pilots increase to accept new pay deal

( via– Tue 21st, July 2020) London, Uk – –

The no-frills carrier threatens the futures of three bases in Germany as it piles pressure on pilots to accept a new pay deal.

Ryanair has taken aim at three bases of operation in Germany after pilots based in the country rejected proposed pay cuts.

The Ireland-based carrier, which has agreed new deals with UK-based pilots and cabin crew as it navigates the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, said it would shut its base at Frankfurt Hahn Airport from November.

A memo to German pilots also revealed that pilots there would receive details of their notice period this week.

The no-frills airline warned it was “likely” to close two further bases – at Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf airports – following the summer season.

“We must move on with alternative measures to deliver savings, which regrettably will mean base closures and dismissals,” the email said.

There was no detail on how many jobs were under threat but it would be widely expected that both sides would come to an agreement to avert the closures.

The margin of the German pilots' rejection was small and recent experience, when Ryanair U-turned on plans to close down its Lauda subsidiary in Vienna, shows the airline is willing to back down when it gets what it wants.

The German Vereinigung Cockpit union had said in a statement before the base closure proposals were revealed that it had not given up hope of a deal.

“The employer would be well advised to get back to the negotiating table quickly now”, it said, though it maintained its opposition to the terms offered by Ryanair, saying the duration of the deal offered job security until March 2021 whereas pay cuts were demanded until 2024.