Daily coronavirus cases have risen by nearly 40 per cent in a week to 3,240 while deaths remain flat at just six as 537,000 more vaccinations were carried out in England yesterday. It comes as ministers prepare contingency plans to extend restrictions beyond June 21, amid fears that a surge in cases of the Indian variant could lead to a spike in hospital admissions and deaths. Department of Health figures published this afternoon show that daily cases have risen from 2,325 last Sunday to 3,240 today, while deaths rose just one in a week - from five last Sunday to six.
More than £700,000 is lost to bank transfer scams every day, which works out at £491 a minute, according to research by the consumer body Which? It claimed the banking industry’s approach to reimbursing victims of this type of fraud was “unfair and inconsistent,” with less than half of losses being returned to those affected. - Guardian.
Boris Johnson has been warned by business leaders that a fresh package of economic support would be required if rising Covid-19 infections prevent the further relaxation of pandemic restrictions next month. After the reopening of hospitality venues indoors across all four nations of the UK, the Guardian’s latest monthly assessment of economic developments suggests the country is on course for a short-term growth boom this summer. - Guardian.
The total value of homes sold in the UK is expected to reach £461bn this year, a jump of 46% on 2020, indicating the current housing market boom is likely to continue, according to a new prediction. The property website Zoopla said its projections indicated the property market in 2021 was on course to be the busiest for 14 years. - Guardian.
The amount of CO2 production financed by Britain’s banks and asset managers is nearly double the UK’s annual carbon emissions, according to a new report. The study, published by environmental campaign groups Greenpeace and WWF, shows the City provided loans and investments for projects and companies that emitted 805m tonnes of CO2 in 2019. That is 1. 8 times the UK’s own annual net emissions for the same year, which totalled 455m tonnes when discounting aviation and shipping, sectors that the UK government also does not include in its emissions calculations.
British businesses have the opportunity to create 240,000 low-carbon jobs and boost green exports by billions of pounds to radically transform the UK economy over the next decade, the CBI has said. The UK’s foremost business lobby group said businesses across the country stood to gain from an “early mover advantage” by leading a campaign to decarbonise the global economy to avoid a climate meltdown. - Guardian.
Health chiefs have boosted hopes of a June 21 reopening, saying the numbers are “looking very good” with just six deaths recorded from the Indian variant. Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said experts were “increasingly confident” about the effectiveness of vaccines against the strain in preventing severe disease. - Sunday Telegraph.
Carlos Ghosn, the fugitive automotive executive, has been ordered to repay £4. 3m to Nissan and Mitsubishi by a Dutch court after he failed in the first step in a legal claim. Ghosn led the Japanese carmaker Nissan and France’s Renault in an alliance, before falling from grace spectacularly. At the end of 2018 he was arrested by prosecutors in Tokyo, charged with concealing his income, but fled to Lebanon a year later. - Guardian .
Boohoo has bowed to pressure from shareholders and linked a £150m bonus scheme for its top managers to improvements in conditions at the factories it uses. The company said that the board would have the power to reduce the pay out to 15 key managers, including co-founders Carol Kane and Mahmud Kamani, if the group’s Agenda for Change programme was not implemented in full. The changes include establishing a whistleblowing system and responsible sourcing plan as well as publishing the names of all factories used by Boohoo worldwide.
Shell has faced a significant shareholder rebellion on a vote calling for the oil company to set firm targets to wind down fossil fuel production. A shareholder resolution calling for the Anglo-Dutch company to set binding carbon emissions reduction targets received 30% of votes at the oil company’s annual meeting on Tuesday. - Guardian.
Britain risks mirroring Italy’s economic woes unless it develops a strategy for tackling the five seismic changes that will shape a decisive decade for the country, a report has warned. A joint project by the Resolution Foundation thinktank and the London School of Economics said the UK was neither used to nor prepared for the challenges posed by the aftermath of Covid-19, Brexit, the net zero transition, automation and a changing population. - Guardian.
Britain’s employers are struggling to hire staff as lockdown lifts amid an exodus of overseas workers caused by the Covid pandemic and Brexit, industry figures reveal. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the recruitment firm Adecco, employers plan to hire at the fastest rate in eight years, led by the reopening of the hospitality and retail sectors as pandemic restrictions are relaxed in England and Wales on Monday. - Guardian.
Pfizer’s most senior UK executive has criticised the call to forgo patents on Covid vaccines, warning that it would lead to a global shortage of raw materials. Ben Osborn, who leads the American drugs giant in the UK, said an intellectual-property waiver was “not the answer”. “We would see a very rapid short-term impact,” he said. “It could allow any organisation to start procuring some of these basic raw materials across multiple countries. ” Osborn, 44, said it could even mean that existing vaccine manufacturers — which include Astra Zeneca and US biotech venture Moderna — would be unable to fulfil their obligations to deliver doses.
The star technology investor James Anderson has taken a parting shot at fellow fund managers addicted to the “near pornographic allure” of earnings reports and macroeconomic headlines, as he claimed the industry was “irretrievably broken”. The outgoing co-manager of the FTSE 100-listed Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust said his own “greatest failing has been to be insufficiently radical” over the past two decades. - Guardian .
The head of the UK financial regulator has promised to consider imposing restrictions on a system that allowed the now collapsed bank Greensill Capital to operate in the UK without a licence. Nikhil Rathi, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told MPs that Greensill’s failure had led the regulator to look “much more closely at the systems of control that the principle has in place and potentially also plac[e] some restrictions on the scale of business that can be undertaken through this mechanism”.
David Cameron lobbied ministers and senior officials 56 times at the height of the pandemic in an increasingly desperate attempt to beg the government to support a controversial bank he worked for and owned a stake in. The scale of the former prime minister’s chummy lobbying – by text, WhatsApp, email and phone calls – on behalf of Greensill Capital was revealed by Parliament’s Treasury select committee on Tuesday. - Guardian.
Many workers employed across the £37bn NHS test-and-trace service are being paid through networks of opaque small companies that experts fear could be defrauding the Treasury via a notorious tax scheme. The Guardian investigated after sources working at Covid-19 call centres, testing sites, mobile testing units and laboratories raised concerns about their payslips and employment terms. - Guardian.
Electric cars and vans will be cheaper to produce than conventional, fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2027, and tighter emissions regulations could put them in pole position to dominate all new car sales by the middle of the next decade, research has found. By 2026, larger vehicles such as electric sedans and SUVs will be as cheap to produce as petrol and diesel models, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF, with small cars reaching the threshold the following year.
AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot was last night at the centre of an extraordinary row among City investors over his multi-million-pound bonus. The French chief executive has been lauded for rolling out Astra's life-saving Covid vaccine at no profit, as well as fighting off predatory buyers and boosting the company's share price since he took charge in 2012. But Astra's major shareholders are understood to have been locked in heated talks for days after the drugs giant proposed to boost his bonus and performance-related share award by £2.
A coalition of organisations including City of London police and the consumer body Which? is demanding the government make tech giants such as Google and Facebook legally responsible for fake and fraudulent adverts. In a joint letter to the home secretary, Priti Patel, the 17 organisations have urged ministers to force search engines and social media sites to vet all adverts they publish to protect the public from an “avalanche” of scams involving investments and other financial offers.