Published: 26 November 2021
Location: London, UK
Ofgem says two more energy suppliers went bust yesterday: Mansfield-based Entice Energy and London supplier Orbit Energy, which have about 5,400 and 65,000 customers respectively, have become the latest victims of the rapid rise in gas prices in recent months. Since the beginning of September, a total of 24 energy suppliers have now failed and some industry experts are suggesting the number of suppliers in the market will fall to just 10 by Christmas, compared to 71 in January this year. Meanwhile, the UK’s seventh largest energy company, Bulb, which was put into special administration on Wednesday, has been handed about £1,000 per customer from the UK government to enable it to continue supplying energy. This will allow it to continue trading, run by administrator Teneo until a buyer can be found or until its customers have moved. The government loan of nearly £1.7bn will keep the lights on for Bulb's 1.7 million customers. However, Teneo estimates it will cost around £2.1bn to keep Bulb trading until the end of April next year. Bulb’s size meant customers could not be immediately transferred to other suppliers, as has happened with other failing energy providers.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday released its latest data on young people not in employment, education or training (NEET), GDP by UK regions.
10.1% of young people were not in employment, education or training in July to Sept 2021. This was up by 0.9 percentage points on the quarter (Apr to June 2021) but still down 0.9 percentage points on pre-pandemic levels in Oct to Dec 2019. 689,000 of those aged 16 to 24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in Jul to Sept 2021, up 58,000 compared with Apr to June 2021, but down 71,000 compared with Jul to Sept 2020. 421,000 of those aged 16 to 24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET) and economically inactive in Jul to Sept 2021. This was up a record 70,000 on the quarter from Apr to June 2021.
GDP fell in all four nations in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2021:
- England fell by 0.6%
- Northern Ireland fell by 1.0%
- Wales fell by 1.7%
- Scotland fell by 1.6%
The East Midlands (- 1.4%), and North East, North West and South East (-1.3%) saw the largest falls. The only region estimated to have increased was East of England, + 0.5%
Amazon workers in 20 countries - including the UK - are planning protests and work stoppages on Black Friday, which is today. The shopping-centric day is among Amazon's busiest all year, the BBC says, but strikes are backed by several British trade union and other organisations, including the GMB Union, the Trades Union Congress, the International Transport Workers' Federation, Momentum, and Labour Behind the Label. However, no UK Amazon warehouses are unionised, so many employees will be working on the day, with the campaign groups staging protests at Amazon buildings in Coalville, Leicestershire, Coventry, Peterborough and at its London headquarters. Worldwide, nearly 50 organisations have signed up to a list of "common demands", published by the Make Amazon Pay coalition, which include:
- raising warehouse workers' pay and adding hazard pay and peak time increments
- halting worker "surveillance" and strict productivity targets
- extending sick leave and improving Covid-19 tracking and reporting
- ending casual employment status and "union-busting" activities
- paying taxes without using loopholes or tax havens
Amazon profits tripled in the last 12 months, a rise the company attributed to its success during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pub group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) warned of "cost headwinds" in its latest set of full-year results released yesterday, despite hailing a return to profitability following the end of Covid-19 lockdowns, with total sales increasing 0.5%. The group also said it had strengthened its balance sheet through a successful £351m equity raise and refinanced debt arrangements. M&B owns popular high street food and drink establishments such as All Bar One, Toby Carvery and Harvester which were hit particularly hard by lockdowns. Investors cheered the news with the FTSE 250 company's stock gaining as much as 6% in early trade.
Vodafone has developed and is trialling an off-grid mobile phone tower, a development which could help the telecoms giant hit net zero by 2027, Yahoo Finance UK says. The new tech is self-powered and will be deployed across the UK if the trial is successful. The so-called "Eco-Towers" will also enable the deployment of new mobile sites in the most remote locations, without the major challenge and cost of connecting to the electricity grid. For the last two years, Vodafone and Crossflow Energy have been working together on the development of Crossflow Energy’s unique and innovative wind turbine technology, combined with the latest in solar and battery technologies, to create a self-powered mobile network tower.
BBC Three will return as a TV channel in February - six years after it moved online, regulator Ofcom has confirmed. The channel has since been responsible for major hits including RuPaul's Drag Race UK, Fleabag and Normal People - prompting calls for its resurrection. The broadcasting watchdog officially approved the move on Thursday, and the new channel will be available on Freeview, Sky, Virgin and Freesat.
Delivery company TNT which is owned by FedEx, has apologised to customers who have faced lengthy delays receiving their passports. Some have had to cancel travel plans in the run-up to Christmas. TNT has an exclusive contract to deliver travel documents for the UK Passport Office but there are reports of delivery dates being delayed multiple times, with some people still waiting after a month rather than the standard two days. Passports have also been lost.
A film studio in North Lanarkshire used by the hit TV series Outlander has been sold to US investors. Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld has been bought by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management. Located on a 14-acre former warehouse site, Wardpark is the largest film studio in Scotland. The sale price has not yet been disclosed.
Italian-owned paper manufacturer Industrie Cartarie Tronchetti (ICT) has submitted plans to build a new 700,000 sq ft factory in Deeside, North Wales. The huge investment is expected to create 463 jobs.
British hovercraft manufacturer Griffon has won a £25 million Japanese export order. The Southampton-based firm will supply three 12000TD craft to the Oita Prefecture government in Japan.
The US government has added a dozen more Chinese companies to its restricted trade list, citing national security and foreign policy concerns. Washington says that some of the firms are helping develop the Chinese military's quantum computing programme. Potential suppliers to firms on the list will now need to apply for a licence before they can sell to them, with applications likely to be denied.
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