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UK cross-party group to lobby for Covid funds in areas that depend on airports | Business

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A cross-party group of national and local politicians will this week lobby the government for emergency funds to tackle the impact of Covid-19 on workers whose livelihoods rely on airports.

The aviation industry has been identified as one of the business sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – costing the local economy of Hounslow, which neighbours Heathrow airport, a total of £1bn over three years, a study commissioned by the local council suggests.

Steve Curran, the Labour leader of Hounslow council, and Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, which includes Gatwick airport, said their two constituencies “have the awful distinction of heading the national league tables for numbers furloughed and unemployed” and that “at the end of the summer 40% of our workforces were being supported by the state, [with] this number … likely to worsen.”

In an opinion piece shared with the Guardian, the politicians said: “In all, some 733,000 jobs in, and connected to, Britain’s international and regional airports, are at risk from a prolonged downturn in air traffic.

“Little mention is made of the support workers, among them the cleaners, mechanics, attendants, drivers, waiters, kitchen staff, who toil behind the scenes … Many of these jobs are low-skilled and pay low wages. Many of those who do them are from the younger and older age groups of the working population; many too, are from BAME communities. They’re likely to have difficulty in finding alternative suitable employment.”

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Representatives of Hounslow and Crawley, plus other affected areas around UK airports, said they will meet on Tuesday “to assess the economic and social harm”, as well as to ask the government to establish an “aviation communities fund” to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of workers reliant on airports.

In July, Hounslow commissioned a study by the forecasting group Oxford Economics, which stated that 11,000 of the borough’s residents work in jobs directly linked to Heathrow out of a total workforce of about 150,000.

The research paper added that up to 43,000 jobs were associated with the airport’s “catalytic impact”.


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Shops to be allowed trade around clock to recoup Covid losses, says Jenrick | Business

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Shops will be given permission to trade around the clock as the high street tries to recoup some of the losses it has suffered during the pandemic, a UK cabinet minister has said.

Retailers normally have to go through a lengthy process to apply to local authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act if they wish to extend hours outside the window of 9am to 7pm.

The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said he wanted to remove the bureaucracy to encourage greater trade – allowing shops to open for up to 24 hours a day in December and January.


Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “With these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport. How long will be a matter of choice for the shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council, but I suggest we offer these hard-pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.

“As local government secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond.”

It comes after Jenrick suggested some areas could be moved into a lower tier when the first 14-day review of the latest system of tiered local controls takes place in mid-December.

Tier chart

A record number of shops closed during the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to research from the Local Data Company and PwC.

A total of 11,000 chain operator outlets shut between January and August this year, while about 5,000 shops opened, leaving a net decline of 6,000 stores, almost double the drop during the same period last year.

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which runs the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, has been revealed to be on the brink of collapse with about 15,000 jobs at risk.


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Arcadia on brink of collapse; record month for stock markets – business live | Business

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A Topshop branch in Leeds, West Yorkshire, last night

A Topshop branch in Leeds, West Yorkshire, last night Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Arcadia is on the brink of becoming the biggest corporate casualty of Britain’s Covid-19 crisis. Sir Philip Green’s retail group is expected to filed for administration as soon as today, having failed to agree a rescue deal to keep the company afloat.

The move would put 13,000 staff at risk at Arcadia’s 500 stores, at its Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins chains, and probably end of Green’s career as a retail magnate.

Covid-19 has been a severe blow for Arcadia. Having failed to seize the opportunity of online shipping, it was already struggling to match faster-growing and more nimble rivals like Asos and Boohoo.com.

The pandemic, which has forced its stores to lock down twice this year, has deepened its plight.

As one insider put it to the BBC:


This is obviously a sad day, we tried to save it a year ago when £200m was put into the business and the pension fund, but it’s impossible to operate now.

“You don’t know when you’ll be open, you don’t know what stock to buy.”

Arcadia’s current and former staff also face uncertainty now – as there’s a black hole up to £350m in its pension fund. Add in the bills owed to suppliers, and Arcadia’s collapse could cause serious damage to the wider UK retail sector.

Markets round off record month

Arcadia’s plight is the climax to a particularly dramatic November. There’s been plenty of bad news this month, with Covid-19 deaths approaching 1.5 million, and cases surging at a record rate in America.

In Europe, the second set of lockdowns are threatening to push the eurozone and the UK towards double-dip recessions.

But November has also brought uplifting news – encouraging vaccine trial results, and the prospect that president-elect Biden will attempt to tackle the pandemic while also pushing through a new stimulus package.

And for those reasons, this has been a staggeringly successful month for share prices.

MSCI’s All Country index of stocks has surged by over 13% this month, hitting fresh all-time highs, and on track for its best month since it was created in 1990.

ACEMAXX ANALYTICS
(@acemaxx)

(global equities) MSCI all-country Index is on track for the biggest monthly gain since 1990 inception, chart @BloombergTV https://t.co/hUImQCXNSm pic.twitter.com/t3q0FnVXDL


November 27, 2020

The UK’s FTSE 100 has also had a stellar month, having underperformed for most of the year. With one day to go, it’s gained over 14% during November, close to the record month – January 1989, when it jumped 14.4%.

Chris Weston of Pepperstone says November has been “a breathtaking month for equities, and a poor month for the US dollar and gold”.

Why? Because investors are anticipating a return to normality in 2021 as vaccines are rolled out, and – crucially – as central banks continue to provide unprecedented support (through record low interest rates, quantitative easing, and cheap credit).

European markets are expected to dip back this morning, though.

IGSquawk
(@IGSquawk)

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 6330 -0.60%#DAX 13251 -0.64%#CAC 5567 -0.56%#AEX 608 -0.62%#MIB 22230 -0.55%#IBEX 8144 -0.57%#OMX 1921 -0.84%#STOXX 3502 -0.73%#IGOpeningCall


November 30, 2020

The agenda

  • 9.30am GMT: UK mortgage approvals figures for October
  • 1pm GMT: German inflation figures for November
  • 2.30pm GMT: Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro speaks at a Resolution Foundation event
  • 3pm GMT: US pending home sales figures for October



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