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The government has extended the ban on evictions enforced by bailiffs. Business, Media & Marketing News…

   NEWS / 11 Mar 2021

Published: 11 March 2021

By Suzanne Evans, Director, Political Insight


The government has extended the ban on evictions enforced by bailiffs in England until May, and extended the ban on commercial evictions until 30 June, which it says will help firms as they re-open after lockdown. The British Property Federation described the announcement as a "scandal" that should not be allowed to continue because well-capitalised businesses, who can afford pay rent, have chosen not to.
 
Ministers have confirmed that appliances such as fridges, washing machines and TVs will come with a legal ‘right to repair’ from this summer, meaning manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers. The move keeps a promise to implement EU rules aimed at cutting energy and bills and reducing the need for new materials and is said to be likely to save consumers an average of £75 a year on bills over their lifetimes.
 
The two top executives at Serco, one of the companies behind the government’s much-criticised £37bn test-and-trace scheme, were handed pay of £7.4m for 2020, including bonuses worth £5.5m. Chief executive Rupert Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, was paid £4.9m in total, taking his total earnings from the outsourcing firm to £23.5m since he joined in 2015. Chief financial officer Angus Cockburn, was paid £2.4m for 2020. Details of the awards came on the day that the government’s spending watchdog said there was no evidence that the government’s test-and-trace programme in England had contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels.
 
Network Rail is suggesting people ‘minimise travel’ over the Easter bank holiday weekend, despite it being the first weekend the ‘stay at home’ order is lifted, because of disruption caused by the 600 maintenance and repair projects it will conduct over those dates.
 
Aircraft-engine maker Rolls-Royce has reported an unprecedented loss of almost £4bn in 2020, against a £583m profit in 2019. Rolls Royce makes most of its money servicing engines, and the Covid-driven fall in airline travel has slashed revenues. The company expects to burn through another £2bn cash this year as it continues to restructure the business in the wake of the crisis.
 
Having relied solely on own-label products for decades, Marks & Spencer is to sell rival lingerie and clothing brands for the first time, to boost online sales. The retailer will introduce selected underwear items from Sloggi and Triumph, and clothing from brands including Hobbs, Joules, Phase Eight, SeasaltWhite StuffYAS, Sosandar, and menswear brand Jack & Jones.  The firm already sells just under a third of all UK underwear sales.  
 
Just EatTakeaway posted a huge jump in annual sales yesterday, saying revenues rose by 54% to €2.4bn (£2bn). The surge was driver by an increase in the number of returning customers, a higher number of average orders from each customer, and a higher average order value
 
Insurance giant Legal & General has posted lower profits due to a slowdown in housebuilding and lower life insurance demand during the pandemic. The FTSE 100 company said yesterday that operating profits dipped 3% to £2.2bn for 2020.
 
Wagamama-owner The Restaurant Group swung to a loss as revenue took a major hit amid the pandemic, but managed to raise £175m of capital and is optimistic about 2021, as lockdown restrictions are meant to ease. The company, which also owns Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, and dozens of pubs, had earlier announced it had secured £500m of new debt facilities.
 
Having asked 500 furloughed staff to loan the company 10% of their wages, restaurant chain Tomahawk Steakhouse has now paid the money back, plus 20% extra. All the workers agreed to lend their pay to cover pension and national insurance contributions. At the time, however, the GMB union claimed staff who refused were told their "suitability for the role will have to be reviewed". The firm denied the claim.
 
200 workers are being made redundant at the Aston Martin car plant in the Vale of Glamorgan, the company has confirmed. The plant, near Cardiff Airport, opened in 2018 and had planned to employ 700 people by spring 2020. The luxury car manufacturer added it was "also looking to release contractors", a spokeswoman added.
 
Fashion retailer Next has agreed to purchase a 25% interest in fashion brand Reiss for £33m. Reiss, which is owned by US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, will retain its management autonomy and creative independence.
 
Clay bricks and concrete products manufacturer Ibstock has swung to a full-year pre-tax loss of £24m, down from a profit of £82m in 2019. Ibstock said the full-year results reflect the "significant" impact of Covid-19, with first-half revenues down 36% as many of its customers temporarily curtailed operations.
 
Having apparently had access to an internal BP presentation, Reuters has revealed the oil giant's trading arm made nearly $4 billion in 2020, almost equalling the record trading profit in 2019.  BP does not publicly disclose trading revenue and would not confirm the authenticity of the document seen. Even with near record trading earnings, BP plunged into the red for the first time in a decade last year.
 
Shares in broadcaster ITV fell yesterday, seemingly in connection with the departure of morning show anchor Piers Morgan, over comments he made about Meghan Markle. ITV shares ended the day 3.8% down.
 
Adidas’ operating profit took a slight hit in 2020 due to store closures, but online shopping got a 53% boost. Fourth-quarter sales rose a currency-neutral 1% to €5.6bn euros (£4.8bn), while operating profit slipped to €225m from €245m in 2019.
 
Lego appears to have benefitted from more people being forced to stay at home, managing to grow revenue by 13% year-on-year to DKK43.7 bn (£5bn) while consumer sales grew 21%. Sales were up 13% to DKK43.7bn, which according to Bloomberg is the most the company has ever brought in during a single year. Consumer sales in all market groups grew double digits, with especially strong growth in China, the Americas, Western Europe and Asia Pacific.
 
Women are suffering from more anxiety and loneliness than men as a result of the pandemic, which has hit their well-being hard, latest data by the Office for National Statistics revealed. The study said women were more likely to be furloughed, and consistently spent more time on unpaid childcare and unpaid household work throughout the pandemic.
 
Research by Enness Global Mortgages, a mortgage broker for global-high-net-worth individuals, reveals foreign buyers buying an additional home in England or Wales face an average increase of £95,000 in the cost from 1st April, because of a 2% stamp duty surcharge being introduced on that date. It will be the first time a property tax has singled out overseas buyers. When domestic stamp duty payments are factored in, it will be one of the world’s highest marginal rates on property transactions.

Warren Buffett has finally joined the exclusive $100bn club that includes Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. The 90-year-old chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway saw his net worth edge above the magic number for the first time yesterday. While Buffett has long been known as one of the world’s richest men, his personal fortune hasn't topped $100bn until now, mainly because of his sizeable charitable donations; he has given away more than $37bn in Berkshire Hathaway stock since 2006.
 
Russia's state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has slowed down the speed of Twitter threatened to block the service completely over claims that the platform had failed to remove 3,000 posts containing illegal content from its site.


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