Boris Johnson Announces Ban on Petrol and Diesel Cars from 2030

As part of a new green plan, Boris Johnson has announced a ban on all new cars and vans powered exclusively by petrol or diesel to be enforced from 2030. Dubbed by the PM as part of a “green industrial revolution,” the shift away from fossil fuels aims to control climate change and push for even more jobs in the field of nuclear energy. Despite the PM’s positive moves, critics have slammed what they consider a miniscule budget for the task in hand. While the high speed rail network HS2 has been allocated £100 billion in funding, the ten-point plan for the so-called green revolution has been granted a mere £4 billion. The PM’s ten-point plan aims to push for the following:

Offshore wind – expanding offshore wind power by a factor of four to produce a total of 40 gigawatts by 2030

Hydrogen – have five gigawatts of low carbon hydrogen production capacity to power industry, transport and homes

Nuclear – increasing reliance and capacity of clean nuclear energy by establishing a large new power plant and advanced small nuclear reactors

Electric vehicle – banning sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and supporting the expansion of electric vehicles

Public transport, cycling and walking – encouraging people to cycle and walk more by making the prospect of the two more attractive to the general public

Jet zero and greener maritime – to utilise cleaner and greener technologies to advance research projects concerning zero-emission planes and ships

Homes and public buildings – pushing for homes, schools and hospitals more energy efficient and installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028

Carbon capture – developing technology to capture and store harmful emissions to protect the atmosphere and remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030

Nature – protecting and restoring natural environment with plans to include the planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year

Innovation and finance – developing cutting-edge technologies and making the City of London the global centre of green finance

New Job Support Scheme to Pay up to Half of Wages

In recently announced measures, set to replace the furlough scheme, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced added support for workers affected by Covid restrictions. The move comes after considerable protestation from business owners affected by Tier 2 lockdowns. Under the rules of the new Job Support Scheme, which will replace furlough measures in November, employers will be required to pay less and workers will be required to work less hours to qualify for the scheme. Updated plans came about as a result of complaints from business owners in Tier 2 lockdown areas. Complaining that they would be better off under Tier 3 lockdowns, business owners convinced the chancellor to double the taxpayer subsidy.

Originally, according to the Winter Economic plan announced just last month, employers were required to pay a minimum of fifty five per cent of wages, in return for one third of the hours completed. However, with the new changes, employers will now be required to pay for at least twenty per cent of usual hours and five per cent of hours not worked. Furthermore, the chancellor has pledged to fund sixty two per cent of hours not worked, which means the taxpayer subsidy will rise to almost half. In monthly terms, the government will be paying up to a maximum of £1,541.75, to those qualifying for the Job Support Scheme.

As part of his statement announcing the new Job Support Scheme, the chancellor insisted, “I’ve always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves, and that is what we are doing today. These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs, I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families and communities. I hope the government’s stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.”

Coronavirus Energy Bailout

New rules from energy regulator Ofgem mean that vulnerable customers struggling to pay their energy bills this winter will be receiving help. To be enforced from the 15th of December, the new rules mean that suppliers will be required to provide struggling customers with emergency credit. This means that customers who are unable to top up prepayment meters must be offered the energy bailout. Furthermore, customers who face being in debt from the credit support must be put on “realistic and sustainable” repayment plans. The coronavirus energy bailout moves come after suppliers voluntarily pledged to support the most vulnerable, left further exposed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest move enshrines the suppliers’ will to support vulnerable people in the form of Ofgem’s newly updated licensing rules, which now obliges energy suppliers to support customers in financial difficulty. In recent months, Ofgem slashed the price cap on default tariffs and prepayment meters, as wholesale gas prices and energy costs dropped significantly. Essentially, the regulator has passed on the savings made by suppliers on to the people, in a move which will benefit millions of households across the United Kingdom.

Director of retail at Ofgem, Phillipa Pickford stated that “Suppliers have stepped up to the challenge of supporting their customers during the Covid-19 crisis, especially those in vulnerable situations. Customers who are struggling to pay their bills should contact their supplier as soon as possible. The extra protections we have announced today will help ensure they get some breathing space this winter.”

The move has been welcomed by support organisation such as Citizens Advice. In September, research by Citizens Advice showed that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, six million people have fallen behind on at least one bill. Chief executive of Citizens Advice Dame Gillian Guy stated, “This raft of new protections from Ofgem should help more people who are struggling to stay afloat. Energy is an essential service and everyone should be confident they can adequately heat their home and protect their health – especially during a global pandemic. We’ve been pressing for the measures agreed between government and energy suppliers to help people through the coronavirus pandemic to be extended and widened, so we’re very pleased to see this announcement from the regulator.”

Easyjet Appoints Tui Executive as New Financial Officer

The budget airline Easyjet has poached an executive from its rival firm Tui to become its new chief financial officer. Easyjet has appointed the former Tui aviation chief executive and business improvement director, Kenton Jarvis, to replace the outgoing finance chief Andrew Findlay. This new appointment comes following news earlier this month that the budget carrier Easyjet would reduce flying capacity for the fourth quarter due to changes to the UK’s quarantine regime.

 

On the rocks: Coronavirus Impact on Easyjet

As the airline industry as a whole is struggling, Easyjet announced it would reduce its flying capacity after a decision was made to add seven Greek islands to the ‘red list’ as this negatively affected customer confidence. Subsequently, Easyjet said it would fly at slightly less than the 40 per cent capacity that it had previously hoped to target for the rest of the year.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said:

“We know our customers are as frustrated as we are with the unpredictable travel and quarantine restrictions. We called on the government to opt for a targeted, regionalised and more predictable and structured system of quarantine many weeks ago so customers could make travel plans with confidence.”

 

Tough Job for New Chief Financial Officer

The decision to bring Kenton Jarvis onto the Easyjet team was made in the face of serious adversity faced by the airline industry and Easyjet.  Chief executive Johan Lundgren said Jarvis would be joining Easyjet during a ‘period of exceptional challenge for global aviation’. Jarvis has been praised by the Easyjet executives for his “depth of knowledge of the travel industry” as well as his “financial skills” that will be key in rebuilding following the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Jarvis was previously working at Tui for nearly 20 years. His start date at Easyjet has yet to be confirmed.

Domino’s Pizza Announce 5,000 New Jobs

As part of the government’s nascent Kickstart scheme, Domino’s Pizza has announced the creation of 1,000 new placements and 5,000 new jobs. The 5,000 newly created jobs will include a number of roles, such as pizza chefs, delivery drivers and customer service staff. News of the additional 5,000 jobs follows Domino’s Pizza’s creation of 6,000 jobs at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The government’s Kickstart initiative is a £2 billion Treasury scheme to create jobs. Under-25s in England, Scotland and Wales will be given training on the job, as well as access to e-learning modules on skills such as timekeeping and teamwork.

Chief Executive Dominic Paul

Domino’s new chief executive, who formerly headed Costa Coffee, Dominic Paul said, “It was a privilege to keep our stores open during Covid-19 and to now be in a position to offer thousands more people the opportunity to become a Domino’s team member. We’re also delighted to support the government’s Kickstart scheme, offering young people the chance to get back into work and to build lifelong skills through our training programmes. Together, these 6000-plus new roles will help Domino’s continue to safely serve our local communities as we head towards the busy festive period.”

Domino’s: An Enduring Legacy

Domino’s Pizza operates one thousand one hundred and eighty-four stores across the United Kingdom, employing more than thirty-five thousand people. Despite remaining open throughout the lockdown, the pizza giant operated a limited menu. Its London stores suffered from considerably reduced footfall, while the omission of popular items from the menu also affected revenues. The first Domino’s stores in the United Kingdom was founded in Luton, in 1985. Since then, the US-based franchise has proven extremely popular. Last year, the company sold the best part of 90 million pizzas. Only last week, Domino’s launched a new vegan range of products.

Pizza Hut Restaurant Closures

In an effort to prevent future job losses, Pizza Hut has announced it will be shutting down twenty-nine stores nationwide. With the closures, there is potential for there to be four hundred and fifty job losses, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic claims more victims. Despite recent offers and moves to increase revenue during the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, Pizza Hut continues to struggle. A spokeswoman from Pizza Hut said, “We are doing everything we can to redeploy our team members from our Pizza Hut Restaurants locations that are closing and minimise the impact to our workforce. We are therefore unable to share exact job loss numbers for each Hut. We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved and are supporting our team members as much as possible throughout this transition.” While the Pizza Hut Restaurants group has insisted that it will seek to redeploy staff, job losses appear to be an increasing possibility. Following a quick reopening of its restaurants upon the easing of lockdown measures, the Pizza Hut group recently announced that “sales are not expected to fully bounce back until well into 2021.”

Pizza Hut Restaurants Closing

Cambridge Regent St 19/21 Regent Street Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1AB

Leicester Haymarket 6 Haymarket Leicester Leicestershire LE1 3GD

Grantham The Manors Arm London Road Grantham Lincolnshire NG31 6HR

Huddersfield John William Street 6/8 John William Street Huddersfield West Yorkshire HD1 1BA

Glasgow, Great Western Retail Park Great West Retail Park Great Western Road Glasgow Lanarkshire G15 6SA

Cumbernauld South Muirhead Road Glasgow North Lanarkshire G67 1AX

Plymouth Royal Parade 76/78 Royal Parade Plymouth Devon PL1 1EW

Maidenhead Unit 3 Grenfell Island Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 1HJ

Oxford George Street 61/63 George Street Oxford Oxfordshire OX1 2BQ

Dunstable White Lion White Lion Retail Park Boscombe Road Dunstable Bedfordshire LU5 4WL

Bury St Edmunds Unit 2 2 Cornhill Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1BE

Chelmsford Moulsham St 5 Moulsham Street Chelmsford Essex CM2 0HR

Leyton Mill Leyton Mills Marshall Road London E10 5NH

Scarborough 4 Huntriss Row Scarborough North Yorkshire YO11 2EF

Worcester Shrub Hill Shrub Hill Retail Park Pheasant Street Worcester Worcestershire WR1 2DD

Stafford Restaurant Unit The Hough Retail Park Lichfield Road Stafford Staffordshire ST17 4PW

Newcastle-under-Lyme Unit 2 The Square 98-104 High Street Newcastle-under-Lyme Staffordshire ST5 1PT

Thornton Cleveleys Unit A Jubilee Gardens North Promenade Cleveleys Thornton-Cleveleys Lancashire FY5 1DB

Penistone Rd Unit B Penistone Road Sheffield South Yorkshire S6 2GF

Sheffield High St 41-47 High Street Sheffield South Yorkshire S1 2GB

Croydon North End 59/61 North End Croydon Surrey CR0 1TG

Maidstone King St 20 Kings Street Maidstone Kent ME14 1DE

Gravesend Imperial Park Unit J, Imperial Retail Park Thames Way Gravesend Kent DA11 0DQ

Salisbury 40 Blue Boar Row Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 1DA

Basingstoke Retail Park Brighton Hill Retail Park Winchester Road Basingstoke Hampshire RG22 4AN

Brighton City Centre 2 Dyke Road Brighton East Sussex BN1 3FE

Weston-super-Mare The Poaches Pocket Weston Links Weston-super-Mare Avon BS23 3WL

Cardiff Culverhouse Cross Culverhouse Cross Port Road Wenvoe Cardiff South Glamorgan CF5 6XW

Stratford 52/54 The Broadway Stratford East London E15 1NG

Action Fraud: How to spot HMRC Scam

Luring victims by tricking them into believing they are owed hundreds of pounds in tax refunds, a new HMRC scam has been identified by the charity Action Fraud. Action Fraud have revealed that the scammers are seeking to exploit vulnerable people by offering financial help following the Covid-19 pandemic. Posing as HMRC officials, fraudsters are contacting members of the public by email. As part of the scam, people are being informed that they are due a tax refund, worth up to several hundred pounds. The scam has been confirmed to be false by both Action Fraud and HM Revenue and Customs.

The scam basically consists of the criminals seeking to garner people’s bank and identification details. Victims receive an email which purports to be from HM Revenue and Customs in which they are told they are due a tax refund of a certain amount. To claim the tax refund, victims are informed they must confirm their bank and identity details. By handing over this information, scammers may be able to access the funds in the victims’ accounts. Action Fraud have reminded people that HM Revenue and Customs will never contact the public by text, email or phone to request bank details, PINs or passwords.

The Action Fraud charity has further advised that people must avoid clicking on links provided in suspicious emails, as they could compromise the security on their device. Furthermore, people are reminded to never provide any form of bank details, in response to an email, regardless from whom it may appear to be. Also, people should not respond to anyone asking for photographic confirmation of their identity by way of email. To avoid the risk posed by these emails, junk folders should be activated, suspicious emails are to be deleted immediately and suspicious contacts should also be blocked.

UK Finance: Home movers hit hardest by lockdown

UK Finance’s Household Finance Review for Q2 2020 shows the extent to which house purchase lending plummeted over the quarter as the housing market was halted due to lockdown, with home-mover activity hit severely.

The lockdown across the country had brought the economy to its knees as the country’s workforce had been pressured to work from home or not work at all. UK is now in a recession as the effects of the lockdown has shown through the lack of cash flow going through the various sectors.

Impact on Housing market

Following the first quarter, which showed flat year on year growth, lending turned immediately and sharply negative. For Q2 overall, house purchase activity was down 48% compared to Q2 2019. Volumes in April were less than half those seen a year previously with a similar annual rate of contraction in May.

With the market partially reopening in May, June saw an easing of the rate of contraction, but activity remained considerably below the levels seen in June 2019. With the overall contraction, the heaviest fall was seen in the home-mover numbers, which fell by over 60%. The first-time buyers and buy to let purchases also fell by significant amounts.

Despite seeing the worst of the initial wave of COVID-19 infections, the UK Finance data shows that the southern regions of England have been somewhat less severely impacted, although clearly very significantly down by nearly 50% year on year. The biggest impacts, however, have been seen outside England. Places like Northern Ireland have seen new mortgages for house purchase fall by nearly two-thirds compared with Q2 2019.

Comments from directors and executive officers at these housing firms are suggesting that customers will still need support despite the steady growth in people returning and investing into new apartments and houses.

 

 

Amazon: Plans to Create 7,000 New UK Jobs

Amazon, the online retail giant, has announced its plans to create 7,000 more new jobs this year in response to an increase in demand for its services. In statements released by the company, Amazon announced it has created 3,000 jobs already this year. As part of the announced plans, it has stated that it intends to have added a total of 7,000 new employees to its books, by the end of the year. With 30,000 employees currently constituting its UK workforce, the additional jobs will take the total up to 40,000. Providing further good news, the retail giant has confirmed that the jobs will be permanent roles and pay a minimum of £9.50 per hour. There will also be an additional 20,000 new recruits, to help the company through a busy festive period. During the global coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has witnessed exponential growth, as shoppers remained confined to their homes.

Online Retail Boom

Under restrictive lockdown measures, many businesses were forced to shut which prompted a massive growth in online shopping. Among others, Amazon has reaped a vast proportion of the benefits of this shift. Since the removal of nationwide lockdown measures, many people have remained hesitant to shop in town centres, shunning local high streets. Latest retail sales figures have also shown that online sales in July were over 50% higher in July than they were prior to enforcement of lockdown in March. In the month of May, online sales accounted for 30% of all UK retail sales, representing a record-breaking high. In July, online sales levels dropped back slightly, to 28.1%.

UK Job Losses

News of Amazon creating jobs has been welcomed, after the retail sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the most recent figures, employees on payrolls across the United Kingdom fell by a staggering 730,00.

Endless cycle of sexism: Women hit harder by financial recession

ISA savings are held by many in the UK, with the tax perks they provide making them a favourable option for stocking up on savings. Despite this, ISAs are likely to offer very low interest rates which makes money held in them quickly outpaced by inflation, a problem affecting a specific section of people quite hard.

What are ISAs?

ISA stands for Individual Savings Account. The main difference between an ISA and any other savings account is that it offers tax-free interest payments, so you could get more money for your money.

There is, however, a limit to the amount of cash you can put into an ISA in each tax year, which is called the ‘ISA allowance’. ISA accounts can come in many forms but one of the most popular types is the cash ISA. HMRC have released data on how people are engaging with cash ISAs and analysis from some groups have shown that women hold the highest number of all cash ISAs available.

Dilemma for women

The ratio for groups using ISAs have not changed much in recent years, making women be more than half of all cash ISA holders. Cash ISAs are a common part of many savings plans but they do not often offer great returns through interest. This means that women in particular could struggle with their monetary holdings, especially when considering that they tend to not seek further guidance and help on the issue.

Financial assets need to manage carefully and regularly to get the best possible result. Various institutions, including the government, urge the public to seek financial advice wherever they can.

Jill Elliott, a Chartered Financial Planner, commented on HMRCs figures and stated that “we need to break the cycle of women being over exposed to low returning savings products”. Professional advice is what is strongly recommended to women, rather than leaving the problem to sit.