- Here are the headlines on Wednesday, March 10
Greece aiming to reopen for UK holidaymakers in May
Greece is aiming to reopen its borders by mid-May in a boost for UK holidaymakers.
Tourism minister Haris Theoharis said the country hopes to welcome foreign tourists from May 14, depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic.
People living in England could be permitted to take foreign holidays from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s road map.
MPs say ‘no clear evidence’ Test and Trace scheme works
There is ‘no clear evidence’ the £22bn Test and Trace scheme contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels, a cross-party group of MPs have said.
Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee behind a critical report, urged the government to justify the ‘staggering investment of taxpayers’ money’.
The MPs urged the scheme led by Tory peer Dido Harding to ‘wean itself off’ reliance on thousands of ‘expensive’ consultants and temporary staff, with some receiving £6,624 per day.
Three times more businesses slide into debt
More than three times more businesses applied for financial support last year as they tapped into government-backed Covid-19 support schemes, new figures have revealed, prompting calls for more support in paying back the debt.
In total 45 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises applied for financial support, up from 13 per cent a year before, figures from the British Business Bank show, while gross bank lending was nearly £104bn.
Between 2015 and 2019, annual gross lending never reached higher than £59.2bn. Around 1.6m businesses have borrowed £73bn from three loan schemes administered by the bank.
Bank reveals scams causing biggest losses during pandemic
Impersonation scams account for the bulk of losses that victims have been reporting during the coronavirus crisis, according to a bank’s analysis of its customer data.
TSB said its internal data from February 2020 to March 2021 shows impersonation scams recorded the biggest proportion of total losses (43 per cent), followed by ‘safe account’ scams (30 per cent) and purchase fraud (11 per cent).
The bank has its own fraud refund guarantee to protect customers who become innocent victims of scams. TSB said it has refunded 99 per cent of all fraud cases with an average loss of £2,360 per case.
FTSE 100 lags behind international peers
Hampered by a strong pound and falling metal prices, London’s top index was unable to mirror the jumps of its European and US counterparts yesterday.
After a rollercoaster day which saw it rising by nearly one per cent in the morning before turning into negative territory for part of the afternoon, the FTSE 100 finally settled the day at 6,730.34 points, up 11.21, or 0.2 per cent.
In Europe, Paris’s Cac index rose 0.4 per cent, while the Dax in Frankfurt ended the day up 0.6 per cent.
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HSBC launches record £15bn fund to help small firms
Banking giant HSBC has unveiled a record £15bn lending fund for Britain’s small businesses to help spur on their recovery from the pandemic.
The group said two-thirds of this year’s fund, its biggest ever for SMEs, will be allocated to specific regions to ensure companies throughout the UK are able to benefit.
It will also include a £2bn ring-fenced pot for firms trading overseas, as well as £1.2bn for those in the agricultural sector and – for the first time – allocations for technology firms and franchise businesses, at £500m each.
Audi shows off the interior of the Audi Q4 e-tron
Although we won’t see the outside without camouflage until next month, we’ve been given our first look at the interior on the Audi Q4 e-tron.
It has some interesting new technology, such as an optional augmented reality head-up display with sat nav directions projected onto the windscreen.
The steering wheel also has new touch-sensitive features, with a black panel that’s back-lit to indicate the buttons, while it allows for swipe gestures similar to a smartphone.
Gale force winds on way
Much of the UK will be cloudy, wet and breezy today with further outbreaks of rain, says the BBC. However, parts of Scotland will be dry and bright this morning before rain becomes widespread here in the afternoon.
Much of the UK will see further showers or longer spells of rain tonight. Turning increasingly blustery with strong and gusty winds. Gales for parts of Wales and western and northern England.
Much of the UK will have a mixture of sunny intervals and blustery showers, accompanied by a strong westerly wind. Showers most frequent in the west. Wintry showers over upland areas in the north.
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