Daily Press Briefing
Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, headed todays press conference. Mr Sharma reiterated
yesterdays’ message that the lockdown measures will continue for at least a further three
weeks and that a sustained and consistent fall in cases needs to be seen before current
measures will be changed. He added that the worst thing we could do now is to ease up
too soon and allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and the British people. It was
announced a new government-led vaccine taskforce will accelerate the development and
manufacture of vaccines in the UK. A vaccine is the clearest exit strategy. But vaccine
research normally takes years or in some cases decades. And the world is desperately
trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine in just months. It was stated today that the
number of new cases reported in hospitals has become flat over the last few days. But the
aim of completing 100,000 tests a day is still to be hit.
Other breaking news today, the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of June.
More than 9 million workers are expected to be furloughed under the governments job
retention scheme. This is an extension of one month.
It was also in todays news that people struggling with car finance borrowing will be granted
a payment holiday under plans by the Financial Conduct Authority(FCA). The FCA wants
motor finance firms to grant a three-month freeze for those experiencing money problems
as a result of the Covid outbreak. The FCA also said that companies should not alter
contracts in an unfair way, such as using the temporary fall in car prices caused by the
pandemic to change the so-called balloon payment expected at the end of an agreement.
Last week, the watch dog announced a three-month freeze on loan and credit card
repayments for those needing assistance.
A few days ago, I commented on the fantastic fund raising of Captain Tom Moore, who
was raising money by completing 100-laps of his garden. Every time I have seen an update
on this story the tally of funds raised has increased by a million! And today, or at least at
the time of writing, the new tally stands at £19m raised by this amazing guy who is due
to celebrate his 100th birthday on the 30th April. A nice story to be watching at a time when
so much in the news is not so light-hearted.
Daily Updates on the Markets
Each day we include market data showing how the markets closed. Today I thought it
would be useful to include a review of the week. Below you can see that, although volatile
daily, a peak will follow a drop. And this does also illustrate the point from yesterday that
timing is key if you wanted to take advantage of these low points.
And for those readers interested in cryptocurrencies
Much has been written in the press in recent weeks of the importance of maintaining good
health during the lockdown and the period of social distancing, including the subject of
mental health issues. With the coronavirus outbreak affecting the way many of us live our
lives, its normal that this may affect people’s mental wellbeing. It was suggested by a
reader that a link to available support could be worth a mention.
I wish you all a wonderful and safe weekend.