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Global stock markets rallied yesterday

   News / 30 Mar 2022

Published: 30 March 2022
Location: London, UK

By Suzanne Evans, Director, Political Insight

Global stock markets rallied yesterday when it was reported that Russia is to "dramatically" scale back military operations near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv during peace talks. Russian and Ukrainian delegations met face-to-face in Istanbul for the first time in weeks yesterday.  
The Bank of England is urging people to spend or deposit their paper £20 and £50 notes before they stop being legal tender after 30th September this year, having been replaced by the newer plastic versions. The central bank believes there are more than £17bn worth of paper notes still in circulation.
Ten million people would struggle to cope and 15 million more would find a cashless society a “major inconvenience” a report by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) has found. Although only 17% of payments are now made with notes and coins, the RSA said the "dash to digital" held huge risks as finances were stretched. "For millions of people, their relationship with cash is critical to the way they manage their weekly budget," said Mark Hall, author of The Cash Census report. "Despite online banking and shopping becoming more common, our research shows the percentage of the population wholly reliant on cash is unchanged." Thousands of bank branches have closed in recent years, and access to cash withdrawals is under threat.
Financial research and ratings company Fairer Finance says grieving families face extra charges and a "bureaucratic nightmare" when informing financial firms of a loved one's death. Fairer Finance found some investment companies continued to take fees until an account was closed, which could be months after the death, and a small number charged extra fees to pay money out of accounts when somebody died. Fairer Finance is now campaigning for a change in the rules, saying investment companies should only be allowed to charge what is needed to cover their own costs, and that there should be a ban on cancellation and account closure fees when someone dies.
Government contractor Babcock International is reportedly in talks to offload the bulk of its emergency aviation services division, Avincis, which includes Britain's Air Ambulance fleet. According to Sky News, Babcock is in advanced negotiations with London-based infrastructure investor Ancala Partners about acquiring a substantial part of the business it bought in 2014 for £1.6bn. However, the deal rapidly became a huge financial and operational burden and Sky says the transaction, if completed, is expected to value the division at just £100m. Babcock has already sold its oil and gas helicopter aviation arm at a loss. It is not yet clear whether the Air Ambulance fleet would form part of the sale.
The British airport services company John Menzies has accepted a £571 million takeover bid made by National Aviation Services, a subsidiary of Agility Public Warehousing, which already holds a 19% stake in the company. The announcement follows two previous lower bids. The 608p per share deal is 81% ahead of Menzies’ share price before an offer by Agility was first announced in early February. The combined group will become the world's largest airport services company by the number of countries it operates in and third largest by revenue, Menzies said.
The World Bank has suspended four projects in Afghanistan worth $600m (£458m), after the Taliban reversed a decision to allow girls to return to secondary schools. The projects' aims included improving education, health and agriculture, and had a "strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support," the bank said.

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