- Here are the headlines on Thursday, March 18
Fears of delays to lockdown easing
Reduced vaccine supplies could slow the easing of lockdown restrictions, an expert has warned, after health officials said volumes for first doses will be ‘significantly constrained’ from the end of March.
More than 25m people in the UK have now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, but the NHS has warned of a month-long ‘significant reduction’ in weekly supply of the jabs.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, said while it was not yet known why the delay had occurred, the ‘ripple effects could last for months’.
‘It will undoubtedly make the meeting of the target dates for lifting restrictions more difficult than they otherwise would have been,’ he said.
90% would back using speed cameras to catch tax and insurance cheats
A road safety charity is calling on the police to take note of the overwhelming support for using cameras to catch motorists flouting driving legislation.
A study of more than 2,000 UK drivers by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart revealed 90 per cent backed the idea that speed cameras should be used to catch those without valid insurance, MOT or vehicle excise duty.
UK halfway to net zero as emissions tumble in pandemic,
The UK is halfway to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero after a record annual fall in pollution during the pandemic, analysis shows.
But emissions are likely to increase as the economy recovers, highlighting the challenge in cutting carbon in areas such as transport and housing to meet the goal to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
The assessment by climate and energy website Carbon Brief estimates that UK greenhouse gases fell by 11 per cent in 2020, the biggest annual fall in at least 30 years.
Bank to ‘sit tight on rates’ amid growing recovery optimism
Bank of England interest rate setters are expected to remain in wait-and-see mode today amid hopes the vaccine rollout will help the economy bounce back faster than first thought.
Economists expect the Bank to keep rates at the record low of 0.1 per cent and hold its quantitative easing programme at £895bn after official data showed a smaller-than-feared hit to the economy from the latest lockdown.
Bank governor Andrew Bailey said on Monday that he is more positive over the future of the economy and now expects it to return to pre-pandemic levels at the end of the year.
Covid-19 reinfection more common for those above age 65
Most people who have had coronavirus are protected from catching it again for at least six months, but those aged 65 and over are more prone to reinfection, new research suggests.
Large-scale assessment of reinfection rates in Denmark in 2020 confirms that only a small proportion of people (0.65 per cent) returned a positive PCR test twice.
However, while prior infection gave those under the age of 65 years around 80 per cent protection, for people aged 65 and older it only gave 47 per cent protection.
Government to break up Big Four dominance
The UK’s accountancy regulator should be scrapped and replaced with a new body that has legal powers to improve the quality and standards of the auditing profession, the government has said.
A consultation has been launched with ministers saying the new rules, backed with legislation, will help avoid future large scale company collapses with auditors able to spot problems sooner.
Proposals include plans to break up the dominance of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms – KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY – in the auditing sector to avoid conflicts of interest.
Lockdown delays ‘biggest government failure’
The government’s biggest failure during the pandemic has been its delay in imposing lockdowns, according to a think tank report.
The Resolution Foundation said the biggest failure has been imposing restrictions too late, costing thousands of lives and deepening the economic crisis.
It estimates that delaying January’s lockdown led to an extra 25,000 Covid-related deaths in England, compared to if restrictions were put in place earlier to prevent the death rate rising from early December.
London shares drop
Retreating from Tuesday’s two-month high, the top index in London fell yesterday as mining companies faced a rough afternoon and traders waited on news from the US Federal Reserve.
The FTSE 100 lost 0.6 per cent of its value, dropping 40.94 points to end the day at 6,762.67.
The Cac in Paris, was flat, and the Dax in Frankfurt, up 0.3 per cent.
Millions of payment holidays granted to borrowers
Banking and finance customers will continue to be supported as the country moves forward from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a trade association has said.
UK Finance released figures showing the breadth of financial support given to customers as the anniversary of the national lockdowns approaches on March 23.
Some 27m interest-free overdrafts, 2.75m mortgage payment holidays, 828,000 personal loan payment holidays and 1.18m credit card payment deferrals were offered to customers as the crisis unfolded.
Car Dealer Podcast: This week things didn’t quite go to plan
UK aviation industry hardest hit
The UK has lost more than twice as many jobs in aviation and related industries during the coronavirus pandemic than France or Germany, according to new figures.
Analysis commissioned by trade union Unite found that 61,973 UK jobs have been lost across aviation and aerospace since February 2020.
This includes 12,000 at British Airways, 3,150 at Virgin Atlantic, 3,000 at Rolls-Royce and 2,200 at Airbus. Germany and France have lost 28,964 and 20,409 jobs respectively.
Pandemic sales surge boosts Just Eat chief’s pay
The boss of Just Eat Takeaway has seen his pay packet for the past year jump by more than half as sales rocketed during the pandemic.
Just Eat Takeaway’s latest annual report has revealed that chief executive officer Jitse Groen was handed a pay deal worth 1.13 million euros (£970,000) for the year to December.
It represents a 57.9 per cent increase on his 720,000 euro (£617,000) full remuneration for 2019.
The 720S GT3X is McLaren’s hardcore racer unleashed
McLaren has revealed the ultimate track-focused version of its 720S supercar.
Based on the GT3 race car, the 720S GT3X has been modified by the firm’s motorsport arm without having to comply with any competition regulations.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine combines aspects of the road and race car units, with 710bhp and a ‘push-to-pass’ button that adds an extra 30bhp of boost.
Calmer days ahead
Parts of Scotland will be dry, bright and exceptionally mild today, with hazy sunshine. Northern Scotland, as well as eastern England, will be cloudy and dull, with light rain and drizzle.
Tonight, areas of drizzle will persist for a time in eastern areas of England, clearing southwards through the night to leave the odd lingering shower. Remaining largely dry but cloudy elsewhere.
Tomorrow will be largely dry with extensive cloud and the occasional shower in southern areas. Sunshine will develop from the south-east during the afternoon, but much of the UK will remain overcast.
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