Nearly 9m people in UK increased their borrowing in 2020, says ONS

People, many among Britain’s poorest, have taken on more debt to cope with effects of pandemic

Almost 9 million people, many of them among Britain’s poorest, were forced to increase their borrowing last year to cope with the pandemic, according to figures that illustrate the damaging effect of the first two lockdowns on the finances of vulnerable households.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the proportion of this group borrowing £1,000 or more increased from 35% to 45% since June, and its statisticians are warning of a widening financial gap that is particularly affecting those on low pay, the self-employed and parents with school-age children.

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Reuters announces White House team, post-presidency Trump team

Reuters announced three correspondents joining the White House team to cover the Biden administration, as well as the creation of a new team to cover the Trump post-presidency. Nandita Bose, Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett...

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JD Wetherspoon doesn't need any more beer money from Sunak | Nils Pratley

While smaller pubs ‘hang by a thread’, big chains amass war chests to capitalise on likelihood of those threads breaking

JD Wetherspoon’s pubs are shut, so one doubts the chairman, Tim Martin, is any less grumpy than usual. He should, though, view his pint as half full. The stock market clearly buys his thesis that conditions are ripe for big players, including Wetherspoon, to prosper by snapping up boozers at knock-down prices.

Look at the response to the company’s latest £93.7m fundraising. You might have assumed that a second pandemic equity placing, plus confirmation that cash is still being burned at a rate of £4m a week, would depress shareholders. Far from it. The shares rose 5% to £12.44, continuing their steady recovery from lows of 600p last March. Suddenly Wetherspoon’s pre-pandemic share price of £15 doesn’t look far away. Mitchells & Butlers, still working on its rights issue plan, … Read the rest

Reuters names Bose to White House team

Reuters reporter Nandita Bose has been named to its White House coverage team. “It’s been a long way from my start in the Bombay newsroom in 2006 as an intern to this exciting assignment,” she wrote...

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Entain plays a strong hand in a show of far-sightedness

The Ladbrokes and Coral owner’s rejection of MGM’s offer is a rare example of long-termism by a UK board

Aren’t Las Vegas casinos meant to be tough operators who don’t take no for an answer? It turns out that MGM Resorts doesn’t fit the caricature. Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, rejected MGM’s £8bn takeover offer a fortnight ago and blunt refusal has done the job. The US firm has walked away, muttering about “discipline” in bidding, which is usually shorthand for not being able to afford what you want.

This turn of events is surprising, but not wildly so. Entain’s hand in this negotiation – or non-negotiation – was always decent. For starters, the board had the backing of its major shareholders in rejecting MGM’s all-share offer. There was even macho talk among investors about the US firm being a 20th century land-based Luddite desperately seeking Entain’s whizzy … Read the rest

The Markup hires Kerr to cover labor

The Markup has hired CNET senior reporter Dara Kerr to cover labor. Kerr has been covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She previously was a freelance reporter who wrote stories on everything from El Salvador’s...

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