Rishi Sunak, give business a long-term Covid plan now

The £4.6bn support package is welcome but firms need clarity long before the March budget

Thanks for the latest £4.6bn support package, chancellor, but when will you be serving the main course? That was the gist of the business world’s response to Rishi Sunak’s announcement of grants for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. One could call the reply churlish, but companies’ demand for clarity – and soon – is entirely fair.

Decisions on jobs and investment for the spring are being made now. If Sunak intends to extend the business rates holiday beyond March, or the furlough scheme beyond April, he needs to hurry up and make the announcement.

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No need for Entain to rush into accepting MGM Resorts offer | Nils Pratley

Owner of Ladbrokes and Coral right to take a wait-and-see approach ahead of US online betting bonanza

It feels surprising that the big beasts of the US gambling scene, Las Vegas casino companies, are such digital dunces that they require UK-listed companies to tell them how to run an online betting business. But a pattern has been established. Slick back-office technology, proved over years in Europe, is seen as critical to cracking the liberalising US betting market.

Caesars Entertainment last year agreed a £2.9bn purchase of William Hill. US money is flowing into Flutter Entertainment, owner of PaddyPower and Betfair. Now MGM Resorts has bid £8.1bn for Entain, as GVC, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, calls itself these days.

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Bitcoin hits record high on 12th anniversary of its creation

Cryptocurrency passes $30,000 as financial institutions express growing interest

Bitcoin has surged to a record high amid rising interest from investors and claims that the volatile cryptocurrency is on the way to becoming a mainstream payment method.

Having quadrupled in value during 2020, bitcoin began 2021 strongly by breaking through the $30,000 (£22,000) mark for the first time, less than three weeks after first trading above $20,000.

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Covid-19 changed many things. It should change housing policy too

Ministers must reconsider the dash to build pokey dwellings when so many more people may work from home in future

There is a growing divide between those who want to rethink their lives after Covid and those who want to return to some kind of pre-virus normality. Thinktanks and academics have begun to ask how many people will change their work and social life, and what that will mean for employers, high streets, culture and even people’s ability to meet a partner, fall in love and have children.

At the moment, they can only speculate. A poll might tell us how a random sample wants to work – some might view a return to the office or factory as the best outcome, while others say they prefer to work more from home more often.

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