United Kingdom

Britain will issue up to 800 temporary visas to foreign butchers in an effort to alleviate a labor shortage in the pork industry that has already led to the culling of some 6,000 healthy pigs, the Washington Post reported. The stopgap measure was crafted in response to “a unique range of pressures on the pig sector over recent months,” said George Eustice, a British minister in charge of food, in a statement. Among the causes he mentioned were the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and import restrictions China has placed on British suppliers.
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Two of the Bank of England’s policy makers signaled they’re in no rush to raise interest rates, the first signs of a push back against market expectations for a move by the end of the year, Bloomberg News reported. Catherine Mann said she “can wait” before raising rates because markets have already tightened financial conditions. That was hours after Silvana Tenreyro, considered to be one the BOE’s most dovish policy makers, warned against a “self-defeating” hike to contain temporary inflation pressures.
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Britain said that Brexit minister David Frost would meet with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic in Brussels on Friday to see if a "substantial gap" between the two sides over the transit of goods to Northern Ireland can be bridged, Reuters reported. A British government spokesperson welcomed the "considerable effort" made by the EU to address issues with the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol but said "a substantial gap" remained between the two sides. "Both we and the EU now have proposals on the table.
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U.K. disposable incomes are set for their biggest drop in a decade next year as rising inflation, tax hikes and tighter monetary and fiscal policy put the squeeze on consumers, according to Credit Suisse, Bloomberg News reported. The bank predicts a 1.5% drop in real disposable incomes in 2022, the biggest fall since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2011. That will in turn damage the prospects for economic growth, analysts including Sonali Punhani wrote in a note. The forecast is the latest sign of concerns around a looming crunch in the U.K.
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A collapse in cryptocurrencies is a "plausible scenario" and rules are needed to regulate the fast-growing sector as a "matter of urgency", Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Risks to financial stability from the application of crypto technologies are currently limited, but there are a number of "very good reasons" to think that this might not be the case for very much longer, Cunliffe said. "Regulators internationally and in many jurisdictions have begun the work.
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British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates, Bloomberg News reported. Payrolls climbed by a record 207,000 last month, according to data from the U.K. tax authority. Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics showed job vacancies rose to 1.2 million, also an all-time high.
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European travel is reviving and easyJet is increasing flights between now and December, the British airline said on Tuesday, after running up an annual loss of over 1 billion pounds during the pandemic, Reuters reported. For the autumn period, easyJet said that it would fly 70% of its pre-pandemic capacity, a jump from the 60% it had been aiming for only a month earlier, as demand for holidays surged, particularly in the UK where travel rules have been loosened.
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British consumer morale has fallen to its lowest since February, when the country was under heavy COVID-19 restrictions, due to worries about the economic outlook and about rising prices, a Bank of America report showed on Friday, Reuters reported. The survey chimed with other gauges of consumer confidence in Britain that have suggested a growing cost-of-living squeeze has started to drag on the economy's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Surveying the rows of purple cabbage that stretch across one of her fields, Katharine Nundy says the outlook for her farm is gloomy. Like other farmers across the U.K., she used to rely on an influx of seasonal workers from the European Union to bring in the harvest, and is struggling without it this year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The U.K. left the 27-member bloc last year and brought an end this year to the free movement of EU citizens into the country in the midst of a pandemic that has created labor shortages in many major economies.
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Credit Suisse Group AG said that it will front “as much as possible” of the legal and advisory costs to recover cash for investors in supply-chain finance funds it ran with the now-defunct Greensill Capital, Bloomberg News reported. The majority of expenses incurred in recovering the money has not been passed onto investors, Credit Suisse said in a statement published on Wednesday. It estimates it will spend around $145 million for the process in 2021.
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