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  • Daily business and finance update 12th July 2023

Daily business and finance update 12th July 2023

Postal breakthrough

Good morning. Today we're talking about Royal Mail’s pay resolution, Microsoft’s gaming win and record pay growth.

Big Stories

Postal breakthrough

Postal workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept a three-year pay deal with Royal Mail, ending a long-running dispute. The deal includes a 10% pay rise and a one-off lump sum of £500. The dispute had led to 115,000 workers striking for 18 days in 2022, causing disruption to mail deliveries including during Christmas. The Communication Workers Union, which represents postal workers, said the deal was "a victory for our members and for all working people”. Royal Mail said the deal was "fair and reasonable" and would help to "secure the future of the company". The company said it was "pleased" that the dispute had been resolved.

Microsoft gaming win

A US federal judge rules that Microsoft can proceed with its proposed $70bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard, clearing the way for the tech giant to take control of one of the world's largest video game publishers. The ruling comes after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had attempted to delay the deal, arguing that it would harm competition in the gaming industry. However, the judge ruled that the FTC had not presented enough evidence to support its claims, and that the deal would in fact benefit consumers by allowing Microsoft to invest more in new games and technologies. The approval of the deal is a major victory for Microsoft, which has been looking to expand its gaming business in recent years. Activision Blizzard is the publisher of popular games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush, and its acquisition would give Microsoft a major foothold in the gaming market. But the deal also faces opposition from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which blocked the takeover in April. An appeal is scheduled for 28 July.

Record pay growth

Average earnings in the UK grew by 7.3% in the three months to May, the highest rate since comparable records began in 2001. The increase was driven by strong growth in private sector pay, which rose by 7.7%. Public sector pay growth was more modest, at 5.3%. The record wage growth is a sign of the tight labour market in the UK, where there are more job vacancies than unemployed people. This is putting upward pressure on wages, as employers compete for workers. However, the record wage growth is also being eroded by high inflation, which is currently running at 9%. The data puts even more pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates for the 14th time in a row next month in an attempt to bring inflation under control.


Soaring rates: Mortgage costs have hit the highest level for 15 years after the rate on a two-year fixed deal surpassed the peak in the aftermath of the mini-budget.

RIP: Founder of fintech Nutmeg Nick Hungerford has died aged 43.

Rail retaliation: A campaign against rail ticket office closures is being stepped up with dozens of protests across the country.

Cutting back: Microsoft announced a new round of layoffs adding to the 10,000 jobs cut at the start of the year.

AI controversy: An Indian CEO is being criticised after he said that his firm had replaced 90% of its support staff with an artificial intelligence chatbot.

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