27th September 2021
Good morning Imagine paying tens of millions of dollars for a flat plagued with noise and flood issues and lifts that don’t work. That’s what’s happened to the uber wealthy residents of 432 Park, a luxury apartment block in New York. Last week they filed a $250m lawsuit against the developers, claiming there are 1,500 defects in the building.
- Help wanted – Temporary visa scheme for lorry drivers
- Crypto no go – China bans crypto transactions
Temporary visa scheme for lorry drivers
What’s going on?
Yesterday the government announced plans to temporarily allow HGV drivers and poultry works into the UK on a new visa scheme. It comes after panic buying of petrol over the weekend and continued supply issues affecting retailers.
Why is this important?
The shortage of lorry drivers has been a growing problem for years due to the ageing population of the industry but in recent months the affects of Brexit and Covid has made it more acute.
During the pandemic many drivers went back to their native countries and many have not returned. Lorry driver training takes many months and there is a major backlog of tests that were put on hold during the pandemic. Drivers are not on the approved list of skilled workers eligible for a special visa post Brexit so recruiting from Europe is difficult.
Industry experts estimate that 100,000 lorry drivers are needed and have been calling for the government to take action to make it easier for foreign workers to enter the UK. But the Department for Transport had resisted the pressure saying that companies should invest in domestic workforce instead of relying on foreign labour.
However panic buying of petrol over the weekend led to fuel shortages which ultimately led to a government U-turn. It announced it will issue 5,000 short-term visas to lorry drivers and 5,500 to poultry workers. The temporary visas will expire on Christmas Eve.
It also drafted in Army examiners to conduct lorry-driving tests over the next 12 weeks to start clearing a huge backlog created by the pandemic.
The HGV industry have called the government measures “a thimble of water on a bonfire”, urging for longer term solutions to ensure the UK’s supply chain doesn’t grind to a halt.
China bans crypto transactions
China has been turning up the heat on crypto for years, from outlawing cryptocurrency exchanges from operating within the country to forcing the closure of the mines that create the digital token.
But on Friday it threw a knockout punch when it banned all cryptocurrency-related transactions.
China is one of the world's largest crypto markets. Changes there often impact the global price of currencies like Bitcoin. The price of Bitcoin fell by more than $2,000 in the wake of the announcement.
China’s main issue is that cryptocurrencies are unregulated and many argue that this facilitates illegal activities like money laundering.
But the country isn’t against crypto in principle. It’s has been testing its own digital currency, the digital yuan. Having an official digital currency will allow China to better monitor citizens’ economic activity, and enforce rules accordingly.
This ban is not unexpected. Crypto-related companies and mining operations were already moving out of the country as the Chinese government, over the years, has become less welcoming to them.
Stat of the day
The EU has proposed a law for a common charger port for all electronic devices and predicts it could help save EU consumers €250m a year
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- Chilled food delivery group collapses putting over 400 jobs at risk
- Unilever remote staff must have 24-hour commute to the office
- Linklaters offers £107,000 starting salary for 24-year-old solicitors
- Turkey farmers blame Brexit for labour shortage that would ruin Christmas
- Octopus to take on failed Avro Energy’s 580,000 customers
- Huawei CFO reaches agreement with US to resolve fraud charges
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