Published: 06 April 2021
Despite numerous denials that domestic vaccine passports were being considered, Boris Johnson has announced they will be trialled at the FA Cup final, the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield and a mass participation run in Hertfordshire, starting this month. The passes would include information on whether someone has a negative test, is fully vaccinated or has natural immunity from having caught the virus within the last six months. Other trial events will include an evening at a nightclub, a business conference and a cinema screening in Liverpool.
The beleaguered pub industry has hit out at government proposals to introduce vaccine passports and other "over-complicated" rules around reopening. In a rare joint open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping to state their “outrage” at the threat of more impositions on pub businesses. "It seems the hospitality industry could be burdened with vaccine passports, over-complicated test & trace rules and an inability not able to take payments indoors at reopening – a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who have been forcibly closed for months." the letter said. It also said the government review by Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, "looks likely to recommend that pubs and other hospitality venues must demand immunity proof from people, to allow them to enter – with the threat of fines for venues if non-compliant. This could prevent millions of young people visiting the pub for months."
The chief executives of several airlines, including of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic, as well as trade body Airlines UK, have written to the PM asking him to push ahead with allowing international travel. A letter seen by the PA Media news agency and the Sun states "there can be no economic recovery without aviation" and that the airlines have the necessary "tools" to allow for safe return to travel in May. The airlines also said vaccinated passengers should not be subject to travel restrictions and that testing can also reduce the barriers to travel including for areas considered to present risk.
The personal details of more than 500 million Facebook users, including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates and email addresses, have reportedly been posted on a website for hackers. According to Business Insider, which first reported the availability of the data, information of some 533 million people from 106 countries was online on Saturday. This included 11 million records on users in the UK, more than 32 million on American users and 6 million on users in India.
The value of gold holdings has climbed 41% over the last 10 years, while the value of cash ISAs has fallen 2% over the same period, new research from gold-based payments system Glint Pay Services shows. Glint says the collapse in the value of cash is down to rising inflation, continued government-backed quantitative easing and increased public borrowing. Interest rates – and the threat of negative interest rates – has also had an effect on where people put their money. According to research from AJ Bell, the real value of £10,000 in a Cash ISA 10 years ago has declined to be worth just £9,770 today, while cash savings accounts have also dropped 21% over the last decade.
Research from EY and London First found 75% of businesses have experienced some Brexit trade disruption, while 49% say they expect some sort of disruption to continue in the long-term.
The London Stock Exchange has posted its best first quarter for listings in 15 years. 25 companies raised £7.2bn through floats on its main market and junior market AIM in the first three months of 2021, the most raised in the first quarter since 2006 and the highest number of floats since 2015.
The collapse of the Deliveroo share price following its Initial Public Offering on Wednesday last week - which marked the worst first day performance in the City for at least a decade - has led to questions about how the bluechip investment banks that worked on the deal got it so wrong, and calls from Deliveroo investors for the board to withhold £18 million in the banks’ fees. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan were the lead book runners on the deal, while Bank of America, Citigroup, Numis and Jefferies worked as junior partners on the float. Deliveroo's listing prospectus disclosed it would pay the banks a fixed fee of 1.66% of the capital raised in the flotation - equating to £27.5m – plus an incentive fee worth close to 1.09% - or about £18m - payable at the discretion of the Deliveroo board. The slump has left tens of thousands of retail investors who backed the business facing steep paper losses.
Darktrace, the cybersecurity company founded in Cambridge in 2013, is expected to announce its intention to float next week, Yahoo Finance UK reports, with valuations of the company set around the £3bn mark. Darktrace uses artificial intelligence technology to spot cyber threats for businesses. Clients include BT Group, William Hill and Ocado. Its listing will be one of the most prominent to emerge from the UK’s cluster of tech unicorns - companies with a valuation of at least $1bn.
The head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Max Hill QC, has told the Financial Times he expects a rise in the numbers of scams involving cryptocurrency. He said: "Cases coming in are in low numbers now but my prediction is they will increase.” Action Fraud found that reports of scams involving crypto investments rose by 57% to 5,581 in the 12 months to December 2020.
Sky News has revealed that Britain's biggest defence contractor has handed its CEO a multimillion pound pay rise to prevent a rival FTSE-100 company poaching him. BAE Systems increased Charles Woodburn's base salary by well over £100,000 and awarded him an additional 'golden handcuffs' share package worth £2m to ensure his continued tenure at the company.
BT is back in discussion with Vodafone and TalkTalk about plans to hand them long-term access to its ultra-fast fibre network. Earlier talks had been shelved amid fears the move could break competition law, but Ofcom has now given BT’s broadband infrastructure arm Openreach more certainty and ruled it could charge higher prices for full fibre over the next decade.
London-listed finance and admin outsourcer Equiniti Group announced a 15.1% fall in revenue amid a "very challenging environment" in its final results on Thursday. The firm swung to a loss before tax of £6.6m, from profits of £39.8m in 2019. Equitini also announced that chief financial officer John Stier was stepping down and retiring from the company after six years in the position.
Credit Suisse has this morning replaced two key executives and cut bonuses amid the fallout from the collapse of Greensill Capital and hedge fund Archegos, with whom the Swiss banks had significant business relationships.
Infrastructure investor John Laing has sold its Glencarbry wind farm in Ireland to Greencoat Renewables for €31.2m (£26.6m) as part of its ongoing strategy to reduce its exposure to renewable energy assets. In a separate announcement, John Laing said it was moving into the German internet market, spending €30m on two acquisitions.
3i Infrastructure has agreed to invest €182m (£155.03m) to acquire a 60% stake in leading German telecoms company DNS:NET and provide additional funding to grow the business.
Quilter has agreed to sell its international business to life assurance company Utmost for around £483m as it looks to simplify the group and focus on its higher growth UK wealth management business. The transaction is expected to complete around the end of the year, conditional on shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Oxford startup Baseimmune has raised £685,000 to create variant-proof vaccines that have the potential to provide immunity against all future strains of various diseases. Founded by a group of Oxford University scientists, the biotech company is using artificial intelligence and big data to predict how viruses will change, and to identify “future-proof” antigens that will form key elements of the next generation of vaccines. In addition to covid-19, the firm is designing vaccines for malaria, HPV and others.
Online retailer Boohoo has launched an investigation after the BBC discovered the same items of clothing were being sold for much higher prices across a number of its own fashion labels. Dorothy Perkins and Coast, which are both owned by Boohoo, sold exactly the same coat but it cost £34 more at Coast.
Milk & More has faced a social media backlash after announcing plans to go online-only from 24th April, leaving elderly and vulnerable customers who are more likely to use its call centre and pay via bank transfer at risk of being cut off from its service. Milk & More said the move was crucial to “securing the future of the British doorstep delivery service” and would protect jobs and save administration costs.
All 15,900 full-time LinkedIn employees are on a company-wide week off. The firm started its “RestUP!” week yesterday in a well-being initiative allowing them to avoid burnout and recharge.
Mercedes-Benz is to start producing electric vans in the second half of 2023. The new version of its eSprinter electric vehicle will be made in Germany and the US.
Uber has been ordered to pay $1.1m (£790,000) to a blind woman who was refused rides on 14 separate occasions. San Franciso based Ms Irving brought the complaint against Uber in 2018 as a result of being "either denied a ride altogether or harassed by Uber drivers not wanting to transport her with her guide dog," according to the arbitrator's ruling. The arbitrator dismissed Uber's claim that it wasn't liable for its drivers conduct because they were contractors - a status that has been struck down in the UK after a lengthy legal battle - saying that Uber still had contractual supervision over the drivers.
South Korean tech company LG announced today that it is to stop manufacturing smartphones. LG will focus on making electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services. The smartphone division has made losses totalling around $4.5bn (£3.3bn) in the past six years.
North Korea has pulled out of this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo. The country's national Olympic Committee decided not to participate in the Games to protect athletes from the "world public health crisis caused by COVID-19," a website run by the North's sports ministry said. It is the first country to drop out of the delayed event - now scheduled to open on 23 July - which will ban international spectators.
The Suez Canal blockage was finally cleared on Saturday, after being completely blocked by stranded container ship Ever Given for six days.
Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways, has begun serving in-flight meals on grounded jets, offering passengers who normally fly economy the chance to sample life in First and Business class for a fraction of the price. A parked Boeing-777 has been dubbed the “winged restaurant” and onboard you can get a First Class meal for £390, or about half that in Business. There is no in-flight entertainment, but customers receive amenity kits and can also use the airline’s lounge at Haneda’s domestic terminal. The initiative copies that first launched by Singapore Airlines last October, which started offering meals on two A380 superjumbos parked at Changi airport from between £30 a head in economy, up to £360 in First Class, plus the chance to watch a movie. Tickets sold out in less than half an hour on launch.
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