Coronavirus: Why is it taking so long to help the self-employed?

  • 24 March 2020
  • From the section Business
A textile designer in a studio Image copyright Getty Images

There are five million self-employed people in the UK, generating about £300bn for the economy.

But while the government moved last week to subsidise the wages of direct employees, there is still no support package in place for this significant part of the workforce.

How come?

It's important to note that government officials and civil servants are working round the clock to try and fix this under extremely trying circumstances.

Our first thoughts are rightly with the heroic efforts of frontline services like the NHS. But in economic terms, these people also deserve our respect and thanks for trying to tackle a crisis not seen in our lifetime.

Read full article Coronavirus: Why is it taking so long to help the self-employed?

Virus: Will government rescue package be enough for firms?

  • 23 March 2020
  • From the section Business
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during a daily press conference at 10 Downing Street. Image copyright Getty Images

The government has announced the biggest intervention in private sector business since the Second World War to help fight the economic impact of coronavirus.

The questions it will try to answer later on Monday are: "How will it work? How do I get the money? What will it mean for my business and my staff?"

Read full article Virus: Will government rescue package be enough for firms?

Coronavirus: Supermarkets 'drastically' cutting product ranges

  • 19 March 2020
  • From the section Business
Busy tills at a UK supermarket Image copyright EPA

Supermarkets and their supply chains are beginning to buckle under the strain of customer behaviour in the face of coronavirus.

Several chains are "drastically cutting" the product ranges in store.

Read full article Coronavirus: Supermarkets 'drastically' cutting product ranges

Size doesn't matter - it's all about speed

  • 18 March 2020
  • From the section Business
Rishi Sunak Image copyright Getty Images

The size of yesterday's intervention by the chancellor was impressive.

At over 15% of total national income it's a package that measures up favourably against measures announced by other countries including France and the US.

Read full article Size doesn't matter - it's all about speed

Budget 2020: Firms could collapse without emergency cash injection

  • 10 March 2020
  • From the section Business
A woman using a till Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The hospitality sector has been particularly affected by the outbreak

This could be a mercifully short blog. The three things that business wants government to recognise as important in tomorrow's Budget are, in no particular order, cash, cash and cash.

Not that they want handouts - but what businesses of every size are struggling with is an issue that can kill off any business, no matter how healthy they were before the coronavirus hit. Cashflow.

Read full article Budget 2020: Firms could collapse without emergency cash injection

Metro Bank scales back expansion after heavy loss

  • 26 February 2020
  • From the section Business
shop Image copyright Getty Images

Metro Bank has reported a bruising pre-tax loss of £130.8m for 2019 after an accounting scandal, down from profits of £40.6m the previous year.

It said it planned to cut costs and more than halve branch openings.

Read full article Metro Bank scales back expansion after heavy loss

Barclays: Why the bank's board did not fire Staley in December

  • 13 February 2020
  • From the section Business
Jes Staley Image copyright Getty Images

It has been no secret that Jes Staley had a professional relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein moved in rich circles, and as a head of JP Morgan's investment bank and sometime head of its wealth division so did Staley.

Read full article Barclays: Why the bank's board did not fire Staley in December

Flybe: Government considers ownership stake in Flybe

  • 10 February 2020
  • From the section Business
Flybe stake Image copyright Getty Images

The UK government is considering taking a stake in troubled airline Flybe.

The government is in talks with Flybe and the European Commission to ensure any rescue deal does not break state aid rules.

Read full article Flybe: Government considers ownership stake in Flybe

Chicken or fish? UK and EU clash over trade menu

  • 3 February 2020
  • From the section Business
Boris Johnson holding a fish Image copyright Reuters

From today's menu which fight would you prefer? The chicken or the fish? Boris Johnson's speech today confirmed what sources in Defra have been telling me for some time. The UK will take US chicken before sacrificing UK fish.

While saying that the UK would not accept any diminution of food standards, in a speech in which he bemoaned the number of American "bashers" he tellingly added that "science would be the guide" in setting standards.

Read full article Chicken or fish? UK and EU clash over trade menu

Fishing will be a 'red line' in Brexit negotiations

  • 31 January 2020
  • From the section Business
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Media caption'You have to be optimistic as a fisherman'

The UK government will make getting a better deal for UK fishermen one of its five key negotiating principles with the EU.

It is the only industry to figure specifically in the list of negotiating priorities and is described as a "red line" issue.

Read full article Fishing will be a 'red line' in Brexit negotiations