12th April 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning Could the fountain of youth have been discovered? Cambridge researchers have rejuvenated a 53-year-old woman’s skin to that of a 23-year-old. The eventual aim is to develop treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
- UK economy grinds to a near standstill
- Sony and Lego invest $2bn in Fortnite maker
UK economy grinds to a near standstill
What’s going on?
Why is this important?
February data from the Office of National Statistics paints two different pictures of the economy. On the one hand there was a resurgence in tourism, leisure and hospitality as pandemic restrictions eased and consumer confidence returned.
But then this was almost completely offset by a slowdown in the production of cars and computers which have been hampered by a global shortage of vital microchips.
It means the UK economy grew at a slower pace than many expected. But it is now 1.5% larger than it was before Covid. Services – 80% of the economy – is 2.1% higher than in February 2020 while manufacturing and production are 1.9% below pre-pandemic levels.
But there are fears that there could be much worse to come as the economy lurches from one crisis to the next.
February was largely unaffected by the war in Ukraine and since the Russian invasion, energy prices and general economic uncertainty has risen.
The 54% increase in the energy price cap and 1.25% increase on National Insurance at the start of this month are expected to squeeze household budgets. And let’s not forget the 30-year-high inflation that is adding further pressure on the Bank of England to raise the cost of borrowing higher and faster.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- Government weighs up plans to float Channel 4 on the stock market
- Thousands of barristers to strike over legal aid fees
- M&S slashes the price on everyday essentials amid cost-of-living crisis
- Heathrow says it is 'stretched' as it races to hire 12,000 new staff
- Energy giant Ineos asks to build fracking test site
Sony and Lego invest $2bn in Fortnite maker
Stat of the day
An estimated 21.5 million trips will be made over the bank holiday, the busiest Easter on record
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