- Here are the headlines on Wednesday, March 24
PM says rising European cases means holidays ‘look difficult’
Boris Johnson said it was ‘too early to say’ whether foreign holidays will be allowed but rising cases in Europe meant ‘things certainly look difficult for the time being’.
The PM said he hoped to give more information about foreign travel on April 5, a week before the government’s global travel task force is due to report.
‘A lot of people do want to know about what’s going to happen on the holiday front and I know there’s a great deal of curiosity and interest,’ Johnson said at a No 10 press conference. ‘All I can say is it’s just too early to say and my advice is to everybody to wait for the global travel task force to report.’
UK jobless rate falls for first time since Covid-19 crisis hit
Britain’s jobless rate has fallen for the first time since the pandemic struck, despite the latest lockdown shutting large parts of the economy, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics said the rate of unemployment edged back to five per cent between November and January, down from 5.1 per cent in the previous three months. Economists had expected the rate to rise to 5.2 per cent.
Trustpilot kicks off £1.1bn London IPO in style
Customer review website Trustpilot has made a strong start to life on the London stock market, as shares jumped soon after its £1.08bn initial public offering.
The Danish group, which allows customers to leave reviews of businesses, priced its shares at 265p each ahead of conditional dealings.
But the stock jumped eight per cent to 286.2p soon after opening, having surged as high as 308.5p at one stage.
VW Golf owners get live football updates to their car’s infotainment
Drivers of the latest Volkswagen Golf will be able to get the latest football news, tables and scores directly to their car’s infotainment system via a newly-unveiled app.
Called ‘We Score’, the free app integrates directly into the latest Golf’s system and allows users to pre-set three clubs and one national team, following them in the latest competitions.
All of the information can also be read out loud via a ‘text-to-speech’ function, while push notifications bring the scores to the forefront of the screen. A live ticker gives real-time match updates, too.
54% of public will miss some aspects of coronavirus restrictions
More than half of the UK public say they will miss some aspects of the coronavirus restrictions introduced during the past year, according to a survey.
Some 54 per cent said they will miss some aspects of lockdown, such as family time, quieter roads and staying at home, according to research by Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos Mori.
The study of 2,442 adults aged 16 and over also found 21 per cent said their finances had improved.
Covid-19 scams linked to losses of £34.5m in past year
Coronavirus-related fraud has resulted in losses of £34.5m in the past year, police have said.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud, has received 6,073 reports of Covid-linked fraud and cyber crime since March 1 2020.
This has led to more than 2,000 websites, phone numbers and email addresses being taken down, with City of London Police arresting 156 people.
Tui plans 48 more high street store closures
Tui is planning to close 48 more retail stores in the UK.
The UK’s biggest tour operator said the travel industry and the high street ‘are both facing unprecedented pressure’ due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All 273 employees affected by the decision will be offered new roles in other locations, it added.
Car dealers face ‘biggest changes’ in coming years
Snows Motor Group executive Neil McCue believes car dealers are heading for the ‘biggest change’ they’ve ever seen as agency sales models begin to become more popular.
Speaking to the latest Car Dealer Podcast, chief operating officer McCue said agency sales – where car makers sell vehicles directly to consumers via their websites and offer dealers a handling fee to hand them over – are the ‘way forward’.
In the Podcast, which you can listen to below, he also also chatted about getting ready for the reopening on April 12, his thoughts on online car sales and whether they’re here for the long run and his shock at the changes to the plug-in car grant last week.
Home sales surged by nearly 50% in February
The number of home sales recorded in February surged by nearly 50 per cent compared with a year earlier as people rushed to beat a stamp duty holiday deadline which has since been extended, HMRC figures indicate.
Some 147,050 transactions took place in February 2021, marking a 48.5 per cent increase compared with 99,000 transactions recorded in February 2020, the provisional figures showed.
The February 2021 total was also a 23 per cent month-on-month increase.
FTSE slips amid EU vaccine concerns
The FTSE 100 finished lower amid concerns over vaccine distribution in the EU and the threat of a potential vaccine export ban.
The FTSE 100 closed 26.91 points, or 0.4 per cent, lower at 6,699.19 yesterday, as airline stocks suffered another slump. The German Dax decreased by 0.03 per cent and the French Cac moved 0.39 per cent lower.
Cineworld confirms plans for May reopening
Cineworld has confirmed it plans to reopen its 127 outlets in May following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK as part of the government’s road map to economic recovery.
A deal has been struck with Warner Bros that gives the cinema chain, which also owns the Picturehouse franchise, exclusive rights to show films over streaming services.
The phased reopening will start with a limited number of cinemas opening in the US first for Godzilla vs. Kong on April 2, followed by screenings of Mortal Kombat from April 16. The UK will follow.
Changing weather ahead
Cloudy in the south and south-east for much of the day with patchy light rain at times, says the BBC. Drier and brighter elsewhere, but the north-west will be windy with showers.
Tonight, a band of rain will move across Scotland and northern England and Wales. A mix of clear spells and variable cloud elsewhere, along with a few showers in the north-west.
Tomorrow will be cloudy and windy in Scotland and northern England with showery rain. Drier and brighter in England and Wales with the odd isolated shower. Sunshine and showers in Northern Ireland.
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