- Here’s your business, mooring and news round-up for Sunday, June 21
Chancellor hints two-metre rule will be relaxed
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has given the biggest hint yet that the two-metre social-distancing rule will be relaxed in England, saying the Prime Minister’s review ‘will make an enormous difference’ to businesses.
Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement this week on pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels – with their reopening in England an ambition from July 4 to start reviving the economy.
He is under pressure from leaders of the hospitality sector and his own MPs to lessen the two-metre rule, which aims to slow the spread of Covid-19, but places major constraints on businesses. The result of the PM’s review is expected in the coming days.
Second wave ‘almost inevitable’ says scientists
A second wave of coronavirus could hit the UK as early as late August or September, according to scientific experts.
Dr Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick told the BBC he believed the arrival of spring has helped control the virus here, but how fast and what lockdown measures are lifted could have a direct impact on a second wave.
Scientists point to the Spanish Flu pandemic which saw a second wave of the virus return which was more deadly than the first. Read more on the BBC here.
London City Airport reopens after three-month closure
London City Airport reopens today after being closed to commercial flights for nearly three months.
The airport has introduced a series of new safety and hygiene measures, including enhanced cleaning, limiting terminal access to those with a ticket and mandatory face coverings.
Its first flight following the restart will be operated by Loganair on behalf of BA CityFlyer from the Isle of Man and is due to land shortly after 6pm. Initial routes will mainly be restricted to those within the UK and Ireland.
Four in 10 drivers concerned by state of other cars due to MOT extension
More than four out of 10 motorists (45 per cent) are concerned about the condition of other vehicles on the road because of the MOT extension, a survey suggests.
But only two per cent of the 2,000 drivers polled for retailer Halfords feel there might be an issue with their own vehicle. This is despite the failure rate for MOTs being around 30 per cent.
A Halfords spokesman said the survey ‘indicates a worrying false sense of security for many motorists’.
Covid-19 has accelerated demise of high street
Covid-19 has ‘accelerated’ the demise of high streets as shopping destinations, and paved the way for a new retail landscape, according to the former boss of Wickes and Iceland.
Retail expert Bill Grimsey said nearly half of retailers were in danger of ‘going bust’ even before the pandemic, but a boom in online shopping has quickened the process, adding the ‘old high street is finished’.
He said the high street can only survive if the government hands over more powers to local authorities and people who have a ‘vested interest in their communities’. His comments came after the third Grimsey Review looking into the state of the UK high street was published yesterday.
Financial firms ‘need thousands of extra customer support staff’
Thousands of additional work-from-home financial services staff are needed by banks, insurers and credit card firms to help people deal with the impact of coronavirus on their finances, according to a recruitment firm.
Mortgage negotiators and staff dealing with affordability are among the most in-demand roles, contingent recruitment firm Momenta Group said.
Many customers have been requesting payment holidays on products such as mortgages and credit cards in recent months, as well as help with overdrafts.
Wood Group takes 19 per cent earnings hit from Covid and oil price
Oil services giant Wood Group has warned that its earnings fell by almost a fifth as the company took a double blow from the coronavirus pandemic and a battered oil price.
Wood said that it had seen like-for-like revenue drop by around 11 per cent in the first half of the financial year.
Meanwhile, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation dropped 19 per cent. Chief executive Robin Watson said the company had gone through a time unlike any before.
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