7th March 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning After a three year hiatus Glastonbury Festival will return this June at Worthy Farm in Somerset. Over the weekend the line up was announced featuring over 80 acts including Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar.
Sir Paul will become the festival's oldest ever headliner at 80 while, 20-year-old Billie Eilish, will be the youngest. Don’t despair if you don’t already have tickets (most were rolled over from 2020), organisers are holding a resale event later this month. Although no doubt you’ll have a lot of competition.
- More Western companies exit Russia
- London startup raises $5m to helps smooth freelancer pay
More Western companies exit Russia
What’s going on?
A growing list of Western businesses are suspending operations in Russia in response to the war in Ukraine.
Why is this important?
For the foreseeable future Russian consumers will find it more difficult to use goods and services from their favourite Western brands.
From payment firms to retailers and tech firms, over the weekend a deluge of companies announced that they were pulling out of Russia as the country faces growing international isolation over the invasion of Ukraine:
- Amex, Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards issued in Russia will no longer work abroad and any cards issued outside Russia will not work in the country. Russian issued cards will continue to work in the country as they can use a national payments system instead.
- Spanish global fashion giant and Zara owner Inditex has closed its 502 stores in the country, with a “special support plan” for its 9,000 workers.
- TikTok has temporarily banned new video uploads and livestreams on its app in Russia blaming the new “fake news” law in the country as the reason.
- Big4 auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers will sever ties with its Russian arm that will affect 3,700 partners and staff in the country.
- Netflix has suspended its streaming service days after it announced it would pause future projects in Russia.
- Microsoft has halted all new sales of its products and services.
Several leading multinational companies have now distanced themselves from Russia as they forfeit profit in favour of taking a stand. These boycotts come in addition to the sanctions imposed by Western governments and mean that daily life for ordinary Russians will certainly change in a way their government can’t hide from them. For now the economic fallout has yet to change President Putin’s course of action so the question remains how far will the West go and how long can Russia stand this isolation.
London startup raises $5m to helps smooth freelancer pay
An app that helps freelancers even out their notoriously volatile income has just raised $5m to expand.
London-based SteadyPay, tops up workers’ bank accounts when their earnings fall and allows them to repay this loan in interest-free instalments, with users paying £4 a week for the service.
An estimated 4.4m Brits are now gig economy workers, a figure that has more than doubled in the past five years. These workers lack regular pay cheques and often find it difficult to access traditional loans from banks that they could use to make end meets.
Launched in 2018 SteadyPay has over 9,000 UK users on the platform mostly between the ages of 22 and 40 years old. The new funding will be used to widen its customer base by targeting small business owners, who often face similar income challenges to freelancers.
Stat of the day
More than 1.5m Ukrainians have fled their homeland since the Russian invasion began
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- Oil costs soar to 2008 high of $130 as ban on Russian crude is considered
- Tanker docks in France as UK workers protest Russian oil
- Companies with female leaders outperform those dominated by men, data shows
- £46m invested in GB News to challenge BBC
- TUI: Holiday bookings fly back to pre-pandemic levels
- Royal Mail announces big hike in stamp prices
- Octopus Energy sets tariff for existing customers £50 below price cap
- Poundland to launch online store amid major transformation
- US jobs numbers beat predictions, with 200,000 new jobs added in February
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