Daily business and finance update 26th July 2023
Good morning. Today we're talking about the pay gap between London and the rest of the UK, Virgin Media O2 job cuts and Unilever’s profit jump.
London’s highest earners have reaped the biggest pay raises since the start of the pandemic, widening the gap between the richest and poorest people in the UK for the first time in two decades, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found. Average earnings for workers in the capital have increased 5% to £4,400 a month before tax since February 2020, almost double the 2.7% national average. The highest pay raises went to those working in business services including finance, accounting and law, which are concentrated in London.
More telecom job cuts
Telecoms giant Virgin Media O2 has announced that it will cut 2,000 jobs or 12% of its UK workforce. The company was created in 2021 through a merger between mobile operator O2 and broadband provider Virgin Media. The company said that the job cuts would affect a "wide range" of roles across its business, including customer service, engineering and IT. Virgin Media O2 is the latest telecoms name to announce redundancies as the industry faces increased pressure to cut costs in order to invest in fibre broadband and 5G networks. In May BT and Vodafone announced cuts of 55,000 and 11,000 roles respectively over the next few years.
Unilever inflation-boosted profits
Consumer goods giant Unilever has reported a 21% jump in pre-tax profits to €3.9bn in the first half of the year after it increased prices by nearly 10%. The maker of Magnum ice cream, Vaseline and Dove soap has faced criticism for raising prices amid the cost of living crisis. The company has said that it is only passing on a portion of its increased costs to consumers, but some have accused Unilever of profiteering. Chief executive Hein Schumacher added that he believes that inflation had peaked and that Unilever’s profit margins remained well below those before the pandemic as it had been forced to absorb cost increases.
Another Twitter rival: Chinese-owned video streaming app TikTok says it will offer text-only posts as competition between social media giants heats up.
On the brink: City AM, the London-based business newspaper, is close to calling in administrators after a weeks-long search for a buyer failed to produce a solvent deal.
Banking regrets: Dame Alison Rose, the CEO of NatWest Group, has resigned after a row over the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account with the private bank Coutts, which NatWest owns.
Elon Musk’s decision to change Twitter’s name to "X" wiped out anywhere between $4 billion and $20 billion in value, according to analysts and brand agencies.
Not a subscriber? Sign up for free
Want to reach an audience of UK business leaders, young professionals and 1,000+ other smart, ambitious people? Reply to this email and we'll be in touch.