- Here’s your business and news round-up for Sunday, May 24
25,000 recruited for test and trace system
An army of 25,000 staff have been recruited ahead of the launch of a new test-and-trace system aiming to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The system, which involves tracing and advising people who may have come into close contact with someone testing positive for the virus, is set to launch at the end of the week.
The government has been aiming for human contact tracers to be in place for June 1 as its trial of a contact-tracing app on the Isle of Wight has been hit by delays.
PM under increasing pressure to sack aide
A fierce row over the actions of the Prime Minister’s top aide continues as Dominic Cummings faces more allegations that he broke lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure to sack Cummings after reports surfaced that the 48-year-old made a second trip to County Durham, where his family lives, despite social restrictions.
The PM pledged his ‘full support’ to his chief adviser and said he wouldn’t be ‘thrown to the dogs’, after it emerged he had travelled 260 miles to the North East in March to self-isolate with his family while official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys.
Commission should have been included in furlough staff’s pay
An official update to the furlough scheme has clarified what commission can be included when car dealers work out salespeople’s pay – and dealers who refused to include it were WRONG.
Confusion has surrounded the fact the government stated ‘discretionary commission’ should be excluded when working out furlough payments – but now official guidance by the Treasury has confirmed it should have been included in calculations all along.
Lawgistics director Joel Combes said: ‘We said these were just badly written contracts and if commission was paid monthly as part of a salary, it should be included in the calculations. This confirms we were right.’ Read the full story here.
Sailor rescued 500 miles off Cornwall coast
A sailor who got into trouble 500 miles off the coast of Cornwall has been rescued.
A beacon alert was received for the UK-registered Helena in an area 500 miles south west of Lizard Point, at around 12.20am on Friday, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.
The lone sailor’s 10-metre vessel was eventually located drifting without a mast in the Atlantic by a French maritime patrol aircraft, according to the agency after a prolonged search.
Govia Thameslink operator expects profit to halve
The company behind Govia Thameslink Railway and Southeastern has said coronavirus could almost halve its profit, even after the government stepped in to support bus and rail companies.
Go-Ahead Group said its operating profit is likely to be between £63m and £75m in the 12 months to the end of June. The previous year saw an operating profit of £121.1m.
Shares dropped heavily on the news, losing as much as 21 per cent of their value at one point. However they later settled back to only around 10 per cent down.
Nationwide will not repossess homes for next 12 months
Britain’s biggest building society has pledged not to repossess homes for the next 12 months in cases where borrowers are in arrears because of coronavirus and working to get back on track.
Nationwide Building Society made the announcement as it unveiled a support package to help protect the homes and finances of those who have been hit hard by Covid-19.
It said no Nationwide mortgage member falling into arrears as a result of Covid-19 will lose their home in the next 12 months – until the end of May 2021 – as long as they work with the society to get their finances back on track. It also said it will give mortgage holders payment breaks of up to six months if they need it.
Burberry boss says it will ‘take time to heal’
The boss of Burberry has warned it will take time for the luxury fashion brand to ‘heal’ from the impact of coronavirus after it caused sales to tumble.
Burberry said total sales slid by 27 per cent in the three months to March after 60 per cent of its stores were forced to shut.
It said it has taken a £241m hit as a result of the pandemic, including £68m related to stock. Pre-tax profits for the year to March fell by 62 per cent to £169m.
Bus fares reintroduced in London
Charging for bus travel in London resumed yesterday, said Transport for London.
The requirement to touch in a contactless, Oyster or concessionary card when boarding will initially be required on 85 routes served by single-door and New Routemaster buses.
It will be rolled out across all buses ‘once further safety measures have been introduced to protect bus drivers’. Twenty-nine London bus drivers have died after being infected with coronavirus.
Retailers see double-figure collapse in sales
April saw record-breaking falls in retail sales as hundreds of thousands of businesses were forced to shut up shop to help tackle coronavirus.
The total volume of retail sales fell by 18.1 per cent in April compared to the previous months, the Office for National Statistics reported.
There had already been a drop of 5.2 per cent compared to February. Clothing sales were the hardest hit, falling by 50.2 per cent compared to March, a month which had itself seen drops of 34.9 per cent from February’s figures.
Car Dealer Live next week
- Monday: No show (bank holiday)
- Tuesday: Eden Motor Group CEO Graeme Potts
- Wednesday: Cap HPI valuations experts
- Thursday: Peter Waddell, Big Motoring World
- Friday: Stuart Foulds, Trust Ford, CEO and chairman; Julia Greenhough, marketing director
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