Published: 10 May 2022
Location: London, UK
Wall Street stocks tumbled to their lowest level since March 2021 yesterday. The FTSE also plummeted to end the day 2.3% down following a grim warning from the Bank of England of a "very sharp slowdown" to come, widening concerns around inflation, the impact of China’s continued covid lockdowns, and the war in Ukraine. It was the worst one-day decline for global markets since the early months of the pandemic: the FTSE All-World index of equities lost 3%, its sharpest decline since June 2020. Andy Haldane, former chief economist at the Bank of England, told LBC radio yesterday that inflation had “surpassed my worst expectations”.
Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders said the neutral rate of interest - the level at which it neither stimulates nor restrains demand - might be somewhere in the range of 1.25% to 2.5%, higher than the current 1% level. Saunders was replying to questions after delivering a speech at the Resolution Foundation think tank yesterday. He said it was critical to get on top of inflation which is already at 9%, far in excess of the Bank’s 2% target. Saunders was one of three members of the Bank’s nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee(MPC) to vote for interest rates to go up to 1.25% last week.
Household energy bills could stay high even when gas prices drop under plans by energy regulator Ofgem to extend a scheme that penalises companies offering cheap tariffs. Under new rules in force until September, energy companies already have to pay households' existing suppliers if they want to offer a cheaper tariff when wholesale prices fall. The policy is designed to stop energy companies that have bought in advance at high prices being unable to recoup their costs, increasing their chances of going bust at a potential cost to taxpayers. The change has been criticised as "terrible" for millions of households struggling with the cost of living, and now the regulator is considering extending it indefinitely. "Essentially, it will make it quite unlikely that prices would actually drop much, even if wholesale prices dropped. It'd be difficult for consumers to find huge savings out there," said Richard Hall, an energy expert at Citizens' Advice.
Morrisons has seen off competition from the Issa brothers' EG Group to buy convenience store operator McColl's from the administrator. Morrisons will buy all McColl's 1,160 stores, which include 270 Morrisons Daily format stores, transfer all 16,000 staff, and take on McColl's two pension schemes. Morrisons - which was recently taken over by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice- said its wholesale supply agreement to McColl's stores will continue without interruption and the convenience stores will continue to trade. McColl’s went into administration on Friday after earlier talks with Morrisons and EG Group fell through.
BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have been awarded contracts worth more than £2 billion to build the Royal Navy's largest ever submarines. The Dreadnought programme supports almost 30,000 British jobs.
Shaftesbury and Capital & Counties (Capco), the West End’s two biggest landlords, confirmed over the weekend that they are in advanced discussions about a possible £3.5bn merger. Combining the two companies would bring together almost three million square feet of retail and office space in the London area, uniting Chinatown, much of Soho and Covent Garden under a single ownership.
Made.com has snapped up online homeware platform Trouva for an undisclosed sum to help expand its online marketplace business. London-based Trouva was launched in 2015 and has relationships with more than 700 boutiques across Europe, it said. It will continue to operate as a stand-alone operation, led by its current leadership of Alex Loizou and Dimple Patel.
Sales of secondhand electric cars in Britain have more than doubled in a year. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders released figures showing the number of transactions for electric cars increased from 6,600 in the first three months of 2021 to almost 14,600 in the first quarter of this year, a120% increase.
P&O Ferries has been told the Pride of Kent can resume sailings between Dover and Calais after passing a safety inspection at the fourth attempt.
Thousands of passengers have had to queue outside terminals at Birmingham and Manchester airports, and dozens have missed flights, in chaotic scenes underlining the aviation industry’s struggle to return to normal pre-pandemic service, The Guardian reports. It appears that staff shortages that led to congested terminals at Easter and widespread flight cancellations have persisted. Passengers described the experience as “manic” and “absolute chaos” on social media.
easyJet has launched a new recruitment campaign to encourage more girls to become pilots. The airline has released a film based on scenes from the famous aviation ’80s blockbuster Top Gun, in which the lead pilot roles were played by an all-male cast, but reversing the lead roles, so they are all played by women. Around 6% of pilots worldwide are women and easyJet has been trying to tackle the gender imbalance for a number of years. It has doubled the number of female pilots in its ranks since 2015.
Aviva Chairman George Culmer has hit out at “simply inappropriate” comments by shareholders after female executives suffered a torrent of sexist abuse at the company's AGM. One investor said that CEO Amanda Blanc, is “not the man for the job;” another who asked whether Ms Blanc should be “wearing trousers” as he mentioned some of her predecessors; and a third expressed appreciation for the fact women account for almost half of Aviva’s top directors, saying: “They are so good at basic housekeeping activities, I’m sure this will be reflected in the direction of the board in future.” Culmer said: “I’m not going to say thank you to everyone for your comments, because I think there were some comments in that session that were simply inappropriate, and I do not expect and would [not] want to hear at any future AGM. I’m flabbergasted, to be honest.”
Britain’s cybersecurity unit, The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), an arm of the GCHQ spy agency, has reported a record crackdown on internet scams after tackling more than 2.7m attempted frauds last year, a near-fourfold increase on the figure for 2020. NCSC said the interrupted scams included fake celebrity endorsements and bogus extortion emails.
Working from home could fuel bullying, the Law Society has warned. Suzanna Eames, chair of the Law Society’s junior lawyers’ division, said: “Report after report has demonstrated that the overall culture in law is damaging to many junior lawyers, leading to mental health problems such as burnout, depression, anxiety and (in the worst cases) self-harm and suicidal thoughts”. Eames added that a “lack of supervision” of employees working from home “can often lead to bullying going unseen and unheard” especially in relation to new members, “many of whom are junior lawyers entering the profession who don’t yet know how to speak up”.
“There’s also the other aspects of some bosses expecting employees to work longer hours and over lunch breaks if they work from home, as well as the possibility of exclusion. PwC and Lord Sugar have been involved in a social media spat after the Apprentice host called staff at the accounting firm “lazy” following their announcement they would allow employees to take Friday afternoons off all summer. On Twitter last week, Sugar said: “The lazy gits make me sick. Call me old fashioned but all this work from home BS is a total joke. There is no way people work as hard or productive as when they had to turn up at a work location. The pandemic has had [a] long lasting negative effect.” In a string of posts on LinkedIn, staff at PwC branded Lord Sugar’s comments “out of touch” and “childish”.
Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, has quit the company in protest over the tech giant’s demands that staff return to the office for three days a week, according to technology website The Verge.
A stop on Russian gas supplies to Germany would trigger a deep recession and cost half a million jobs, Achim Truger, a member of Germany's Council of Economic Experts, has said.
Gay dating and ‘hook up’ social networking platform Grindr says it itself has found a new partner, special purpose acquisition company Tiga Acquisition Corp which which it will combine to become a publicly traded company valued, out of the gate, at $2.1 billion (£1.7bn). The Los Angeles-based company expects to raise $384 million (£311m) when it then becomes Grindr Inc."Grindr is the leading platform focused on the LGBTQ+ community for digital connection and engagement," said CEO Jeff Bonforte.
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