User login

Home

Feed aggregator

How many cases in your area?

BBC Oxford - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Oxford

How many cases in your area?

Dorset BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Dorset

Coronavirus: Cases in Kent, Sussex and Surrey

BBC Sussex News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:56
Cases of coronavirus reported in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
Categories: Sussex

Sunak says investors have nothing to fear over tougher tech M&A regulation

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:52

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said proposals from the UK’s competition watchdog for tougher scrutiny of M&A deals in the startup industry are reasonable and not intended to discourage early investors in UK tech companies.

“I don’t think people need to be that anxious about it,” he told reporters at a tech event in London.

“No one should come away from that thinking we’re somehow against this activity,” he said. “In fact we are passionately supporting tech investment.”

Sunak was pressed on the issue after a new survey by startup body the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) revealed that over half (55 per cent) of investors in UK startups said they would significantly reduce the amount they invest in the country’s early stage companies if the ability to exit was restricted.

A further 23 per cent of investors said they would stop investing in UK startups altogether if the proposed tougher takeover regulation was introduced.

It came after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended that the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) – the new public body launched by the government in April and tasked with regulating the UK’s powerful digital sector – is given expanded powers to investigate M&A deals in the sector.

But the proposed reforms were simply “a case of having a broader sense of whether an acquisition is going to be more beneficial than harmful for the UK,” the chancellor said.

In 2019, an expert panel led by Obama’s former chief economist Jason Furman consulted the government on digital competition and published a report that claimed: “Over the last 10 years the 5 largest firms have made over 400 acquisitions globally. None has been blocked and very few have had conditions attached to approval, in the UK or elsewhere, or even been scrutinised by competition authorities.”

The CMA’s potential reforms are designed to prevent tech giants swooping in on smaller firms and stamping out competition in a way that may be harmful to the rest of the UK market, the chancellor insisted, saying: “Making sure we have competitive markets, it’s useful to look at the stats.”

Currently, the CMA intervenes in mergers or acquisitions “on balance of probabilities”, for example if there is a greater than 50 per cent likelihood that an acquisition will lead to a substantial lessening of competition (SLC).

But the DMU has proposed lowering this bar to a tougher new criteria of a “realistic prospect” of SLC.

Focusing on tech giants

This, Coadec argues, goes further than the proposals made by Furman’s Digital Competition Expert Panel to introduce a “balance of harms” approach that takes into account the scale of a merger and the startups involved, as well as the likelihood of harm.

By clamping down harder than this, the DMU “threatens the foundations of the tech ecosystem”, Coadec said in the new report, arguing that in fact it made it harder for the UK’s startups to compete with Tech Giants – the opposite to what Sunak implied.

Coadec’s survey also found that 70 per cent of investors felt the UK’s watchdog only thought about tech giants when designing competition rules.

If the watchdog goes ahead with its proposed tougher takeover rules, Coadec estimates that venture capital invested in UK companies could drop by £2.2bn and dent UK economic growth by as much as £770m.

The post Sunak says investors have nothing to fear over tougher tech M&A regulation appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Bridgepoint revenues and assets up by over 50 per cent in first half

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:52

Private equity firm Bridgepoint’s assets under management swelled by 54 per cent year-on-year to €29bn in the first half of 2021, as the economy recovered from its pandemic lows and investor interest in its alternative asset classes surged.

Upon listing in July, the buyout group’s shares soared by up to 30 per cent, and have since consistently remained up by around a fifth from its initial IPO 350 pence per share price.

Bridgepoint’s shares were up 0.8 per cent on the news of its results on Wednesday morning, at 518 pence per share.

Assets under management jumped from €18.5bn in the first half of 2020 to €28.5bn in the period this year and fee-paying assets swelled by 41 per cent to €17.7bn.

Revenues surged by 55 per cent year-on-year to £122.2m, up from £78.7m a year earlier, fuelled by the group’s acquisition of EQT Credit Business and the launch of its fourth fund, the £1.56bn lower middle market BDC IV, which started earning fees in January.

In a separate announcement on Wednesday, Bridgepoint announced it has acquired supply chain risk and performance management company Achilles for an undisclosed sum, subject to closing conditions. It represents the firm’s third investment through its £1.5bn BDC IV fund.

In line with expectations, Bridgepoint said it had deployed €2.7bn in the first half of 2021, investing into six companies in the UK, US, Ireland and Switzerland. This was a marked recovery on the €600m deployed during the first half of 2020, during peak Covid disruption to the economy.

As European economies gradually recovered from their pandemic lows, the buyout group raised €2.1bn in the first half from “strong realisations” on its various exits during the period.

Bridgepoint made a confident forecast for a continued strong demand to invest in its funds looking ahead, and said its Bridgepoint Europe VII fund was now in the market with a target fund size of €7bn.

“In line with expectations, we delivered strong growth in revenues and profits in the first half of the year,” said Executive Chairman William Jackson.

“Looking forward, whilst we continue to expect market volatility as economic conditions recover from the initial shocks of the pandemic, we are confident in the growth prospects for our business and our ability to continue to source attractive opportunities for our Funds.”

Bridgepoint’s IPO marked a rare entrance to public markets for a private equity firm and placed it among the biggest listed on the London Stock exchange.

It now sits alongside London-listed 3i Group and Intermediate Capital Group, who both listed in London in 1994 – before Bridgepoint was formed in 2000 following a management buyout from Natwest Equity Partners.

Since 1994, the largest private equity firms have stayed privately owned.

It came amid a flurry of private equity dealmaking as buyout groups, flush with cash, move in on companies that have been left reeling from the pandemic.

Looking at the wider multibillion pound trend emerging from the pandemic for private equity, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday said that foreign investment firms’ recent surge of interest in British listed companies is a “sign of confidence” in the UK economy.

“If international investors, whoever they are, are keen to invest their capital in the UK, that is something that is good news for our economy,” he said.

The post Bridgepoint revenues and assets up by over 50 per cent in first half appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Loughborough and Northampton create joint women's team

BBC Northamptonshire - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:43
Premiership club Northampton Saints and Premier 15s side Loughborough Lightning join up to create an elite women's team.
Categories: Northamptonshire

Former IS teenage bride Shamima Begum offers to help fight terror in UK

BBC London News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:35
The 22-year-old, who left London at 15 to join the Islamic State group, says she could be useful.

Reshuffle: Grading fiasco brought down gaffe-prone ‘Private Pike’ Gavin Williamson

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:12

Gavin Williamson came under repeated pressure to resign over his handling of disruption to schools during the pandemic and the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students amid cancelled exams.

After more than two years in the job, his time as Education Secretary has finally come to an end as he declared he was “proud” of his post-16 education reforms “despite the challenges” of the pandemic.

Only last week, the 45-year-old MP for South Staffordshire faced further criticism after he said he had met footballer Marcus Rashford online, when he had instead talked to rugby player Maro Itoje.

In an interview, Williamson – who acquired the nickname Private Pike, after the hapless Dad’s Army character – said he believed he had met Rashford, who forced the Government into a U-turn on free school meals provision during the pandemic, on a video call.

But he had met England rugby star Itoje, who has campaigned for ministers to close the digital divide.

Born and raised in Scarborough, Williamson went to a local comprehensive school and sixth-form college before studying at the University of Bradford.

His state school background was not enough to win over many teachers, students and parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, which dominated Williamson’s time in office and led to a series of U-turns.

In summer 2020, he faced calls to resign over the A-level and GCSE results row after the Government was forced into a U-turn following protests over the downgrading of thousands of results.

He also received criticism over the recovery plan to help pupils catch up and confusion around children returning to class amid Covid-19.

In December, heads and unions were not happy when Williamson threatened legal action against Greenwich council if it failed to keep its schools open to all pupils until the end of term, despite a rise in cases.

Weeks later, the Government announced national school closures.

Williamson also faced calls to step down amid criticism of inadequate free school meal provision for pupils, and again after the schools catch-up tsar resigned over the Government’s £1.4 billion education recovery fund.

Announcing his departure as Education Secretary, the former fireplace manufacturing firm managing director said he looked forward to “continuing to support” the Prime Minister and the Government.

It is unclear whether he will take another cabinet role, but Williamson is no stranger to ministerial posts.

Before his time at the Department for Education, he became known for a tendency to put his foot in his mouth as defence secretary.

At the height of the furore over the Salisbury Novichok attack in March 2018, Williamson urged Russia to “go away and shut up”.

He was sacked as defence secretary in May 2019 following an inquiry into the leak of information from a National Security Council meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in the development of the UK’s 5G mobile network. Williamson denied being the source of the leak.

Before this, Williamson had been a vital part of Theresa May’s inner circle after being appointed as her chief whip when she took office in July 2016.

As a whip, he was best known in Westminster for keeping a pet tarantula named Cronus in a glass box on his desk, which is said to have provided added menace when dealing with errant MPs.

The post Reshuffle: Grading fiasco brought down gaffe-prone ‘Private Pike’ Gavin Williamson appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

NFT marketplace OpenSea confirms executive is guilty of insider trading

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:10

OpenSea marketplace has confirmed a company executive is guilty of insider trading, using confidential information to profit big on NFTs.

Yesterday, a Twitter storm broke out when the company’s Head of Product, Nate Chastain, was publicly accused of purchasing NFTs destined for the website’s front page before their public listing. The digital artworks would then spike in price once they were featured prominently on the OpenSea website allowing Chastain to cash in.

Hey @opensea why does it appear @natechastain has a few secret wallets that appears to buy your front page drops before they are listed, then sells them shortly after the front-page-hype spike for profits, and then tumbles them back to his main wallet with his punk on it?

— Zuwu???? ???????????? (@ZuwuTV) September 14, 2021

OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, confirmed the news in a statement which labelled the incident “incredibly disappointing.” 

“We want to be clear that this behavior does not represent our values as a team. We are taking this very seriously and are conducting an immediate and thorough review of this incident so that we have a full understanding of the facts and additional steps we need to take,” the statement read.

While insider trading is not explicitly illegal in the crypto space OpenSea has said it will create new policies to prohibit frontrunning by staff.

Under new guidelines OpenSea team members will be disallowed from buying or selling artworks while they are featured or promoted on the company’s homepage. Using confidential information to purchase or sell any NFTs, whether available on the OpenSea platform or not, will also be forbidden under the rules.

OpenSea has seen transaction volumes of $4.1bn over the past thirty days, up 236 per cent on the previous month amid surging interest in NFTs.

Read more: NFTs – what am I buying?

The post NFT marketplace OpenSea confirms executive is guilty of insider trading appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Reshuffle: Robert Jenrick leaves cabinet after one controversy too many

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:05

Robert Jenrick sought to present himself as a clean-cut professional in the Cabinet, but the axe fell on the housing secretary after a string of high-profile and damaging accusations.

His sacking from Boris Johnson’s top team followed the unlawful approval of a Tory donor’s housing development and his eyebrow-raising journeys during lockdown.

As Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he was also in charge of the planning reforms that have provoked persistent ire from fellow Conservatives.

Johnson brought the MP for Newark, and a former international managing director at auction house Christie’s, into the Cabinet fold swiftly after entering Downing Street in July 2019.

The Prime Minister stuck by Jenrick despite anger over his approval of media mogul Richard Desmond’s 1,500-home Westferry Printworks development in east London.

The permission came the day before a new council community levy would have cost Desmond’s company an extra £40 million.

Jenrick, a father of three, later had to quash his own approval, conceding the decision was “unlawful” due to “apparent bias”.

However, Downing Street insisted in June last year that the Prime Minister retained “full confidence” in the embattled minister despite widespread criticism.

Lockdown saga

Then, as the nation was ordered to stay indoors and give up social contact during the first lockdown, Jenrick was forced to explain his own movements in April last year.

The 39-year-old travelled 150 miles from his London property to his Herefordshire home, and then travelled for more than an hour to visit his parents in Shropshire.

Amid mounting criticism, he defended his actions – and kept his job – by saying he went to deliver food and medicine to his isolating parents.

Planning reforms were always going to present a major challenge for a Tory government, while trying to hit its target of building 300,000 new homes a year and keeping constituents in leafier areas on side.

Jenrick being the face of those proposals did nothing to improve his appeal on the Tory backbenches.

On Tuesday, he said it had been a “huge privilege” to serve in the Cabinet, thanking his colleagues in the housing ministry and adding: “I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

“I will continue to support the Prime Minister and the Government in every way I can.”

Johnson thanked him for his “drive and commitment” in a statement from Downing Street.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: “Robert Jenrick has led crucial work over the last two years, most importantly driving reforms to build more houses so home ownership becomes a reality for many more people.”

The post Reshuffle: Robert Jenrick leaves cabinet after one controversy too many appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Emma Raducanu 'hungry' to improve after US Open win - but not sure on Indian Wells

BBC Kent - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:05
Britain's Emma Raducanu says she is "hungry" to improve after her US Open win but wants a few days' rest first.
Categories: Kent

Emma Raducanu 'hungry' to improve after US Open win - but not sure on Indian Wells

BBC London News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:05
Britain's Emma Raducanu says she is "hungry" to improve after her US Open win but wants a few days' rest first.

Reshuffle: Dominic Raab pays the price for 'beach is closed' holiday in Crete

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:00

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been removed as Foreign Secretary, moving to the Justice Department whilst also being formally appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.

His demotion from foreign secretary follows widespread criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

He was on holiday in Crete as the Taliban swept across the country and was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island as members of the militant group entered Kabul, although he insisted he was in touch with officials and ministerial colleagues.

Boris Johnson’s decision to move the Esher and Walton MP to the Ministry of Justice from the Foreign Office marks a setback in Raab’s ambitions.

He had designs on the Tory leadership in 2019, although he fell at the second hurdle and subsequently backed Johnson.

However, when Johnson was admitted to hospital with coronavirus in 2020, Raab, as first secretary of state, found himself effectively leading the Government during some of the darkest days of the pandemic.

That role has now been formalised with Raab picking up the title of Deputy Prime Minister.

Karate black belt Raab had played up his image as a Brexit hard man during the leadership race in an attempt to win support from the Tory right.

In 2018 he quit his Cabinet role as Brexit secretary in protest against Theresa May’s approach to the issue.

The 47-year-old has been MP for Esher and Walton since 2010 and before that was a Foreign Office lawyer.

‘Obnoxious bigots’

His political career suffered an early setback, with May taking particular offence at his description of some feminists as “obnoxious bigots” in a 2011 online article in which he attacked the “equality bandwagon” and said men were getting “a raw deal”.

During the 2019 leadership contest he said he would “probably not” describe himself as a feminist although he was “all for working women making the very best of their potential”.

In 2020, at the height of Black Lives Matter protests, Raab suggested “taking the knee” was a symbol of subjugation which originated in TV drama Game Of Thrones, adding he only kneels for “the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me”.

The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Raab was brought up in Buckinghamshire and took a law degree at Oxford University before switching to Cambridge for his masters.

He competed in karate for 17 years, winning two British southern region titles, and making the UK squad.

Raab also enjoyed boxing at university and claims it has been “pretty good in terms of preparing me for other big moments”, although “nothing has ever wracked me with nerves quite the same way”.

The senior Tory denied claims, made by his former diary secretary in 2018, that he insisted on the same Pret A Manger lunch every day.

The “Dom Raab special” apparently consisted of a chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, superfruit pot and a vitamin volcano smoothie.

The post Reshuffle: Dominic Raab pays the price for 'beach is closed' holiday in Crete appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Covid: Which children are being vaccinated and why?

Cumbria BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:57
All children aged 12-15 across the UK will be offered one dose of the Pifzer vaccine.
Categories: Cumbria

Get rich quick: 78 per cent increase in young money mules

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:51

Money mule activity – people paid by criminals to launder cash – involving people young than 30s is rising rapidly.

During the first half of this year, there has been a 78 per cent increase in accounts belonging to people aged under 21 bearing the hallmarks of money mule activity and a 76 per cent rise among those for people aged 21 to 30.

The figures, provided by not-for-profit fraud prevention organisation Cifas to BBC’s Crimewatch show, compare January to June o f this year with the same period in 2020.

There was also a smaller 26 per cent increase in accounts belonging to people aged over 30 with signs of potential money mule activity.

Money mules

Money mules are paid by criminals to launder cash, and many do not realise they are involved in criminality.

Some people may see such “get rich quick” schemes advertised on social media and think it appears an easy way to make money.

Money mules allow their bank accounts to be used to transfer money to be used in the proceeds of crime, but if they are caught they can face up to 14 years in prison, as well as the financial repercussions of having their bank account closed and finding it hard to apply for credit.

The money being moved around could be linked to criminal activities such as scams, drug dealing, sexual exploitation or human trafficking.

Once someone becomes a money mule they may be threatened with violence if they try to stop.

Amber Burridge, head of fraud intelligence at Cifas, who appeared on BBC1 to explain the schemes said: “Two-thirds of the UK population now use social media as a way to communicate with each other.

“This activity is being marketed in such a way that it doesn’t seem illegal and we know from previous research that a quarter of those aged between 18-34 think that money muling is a reasonable behaviour.”

The post Get rich quick: 78 per cent increase in young money mules appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Dowden defends Channel 4 privatisation push as 'needed' to fend off streaming giants

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:23

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has restated his view that changing Channel 4’s ownership is the best path for the channel, in the latest sign that the government intends to push forward with plans to privatise the state-owned broadcaster.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the government launched a consultation on the future of the commercially funded but state-owned broadcaster, Dowden will later today argue that the investments Channel 4 requires to compete with streaming giants like Netflix “should not be underwritten by a granny in Stockport or Southend.”

“I believe that if Channel 4 wants to grow then at some point soon it will need cash,” he will tell a Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge. “It can either come on the back of the taxpayer, or it can come from private investment.”

It comes after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed Dowden had appointed JP Morgan to provide corporate finance advice on the broadcaster’s remit, ownership and obligations relating to a change in ownership.

The American investment bank’s involvement and Dowden’s comments come hot on the heels of the government’s public consultation on the next steps for Channel 4, which only closed on Tuesday night, and which shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens condemned as a “sham”.

Channel 4 bosses have strongly disputed Dowden’s privatisation push, arguing that the channel is financially sustainable and stronger than ever after it posted its best-ever financial results in 2020, despite the pandemic.

Chief executive Alex Mahon has warned that shifting to a for-profit model would harm Channel 4’s ability to support independent producers, its spending outside London, and its reach among younger audiences.

“We have always got to be careful about doing something that might be irreversible and possibly damage things we do for the sector and the UK,” she said.

Meanwhile, chief content officer Ian Katz recently told the Edinburgh TV Festival “selling off Channel 4 would be tantamount to an act of self-harm against one of the most successful sectors of the British economy.”

Youth-oriented Channel 4, which was launched in 1982, is publicly owned but commercially funded. The lion’s share of the broadcaster’s revenue comes from advertising, accounting for 90 per cent, which helps fund its show commissions for its target younger, diverse audience.

But alongside other traditional broadcasters it is facing tough competition from new streaming rivals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Youtube, which are increasingly attracting younger audiences.

Yet the UK’s top advertising chiefs, including execs from Publicis, Havas and M&C Saatchi, have urged the government to rethink its plans and signed a joint letter to Dowden and Boris Johnson arguing that privatisation would be “short-sighted.”

“We ask you to think again,” they wrote in the letter. “The broadcaster’s current structure allows it to offer advertisers a brilliant platform to build their brands and drive the UK economy.”

The post Dowden defends Channel 4 privatisation push as 'needed' to fend off streaming giants appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Covid: People are vaccinated - so why are there so many cases?

Cumbria BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:20
More than four out of five UK adults are now fully vaccinated, but daily case rates remain high.
Categories: Cumbria

Covid: People are vaccinated - so why are there so many cases?

Dorset BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:20
More than four out of five UK adults are now fully vaccinated, but daily case rates remain high.
Categories: Dorset

Covid: People are vaccinated - so why are there so many cases?

BBC Berkshire - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:20
More than four out of five UK adults are now fully vaccinated, but daily case rates remain high.
Categories: Berkshire

Essex: Children harmed by mental health service failings

BBC Essex - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 14:15
Inspectors rate an NHS trust as inadequate and ban it from admitting new patients.
Categories: Essex