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Week 12 lockdown: Slowly does it

Do I really want to return to commuting...

Lockdown continues to slowly ease in the UK, it is increasingly hard to remember when out… Queue lines are closer and everything feels very laissez-faire. Tensions abound, however, with demonstrations in the UK and around the world. A cause which has caught the eye and support of many of us here.

With the throngs on the street, together with crowds on the beach and even VE day, you just wonder if this is building for another pandemic wave…. maybe the summer, sun and fresh air will help… I still hope this is the case. Here are the lockdown themes for this week.

  • With the easing of lockdown, have trying to arrange some trips out. However have actually struggled to get time in the diary; a zoom catch up here, a video evening get together there… so not much different to normal really…!
  • I realize I really have discovered new things (and suppliers) as a result of lockdown – ones that will continue. For example my local flour mill of all things (during the flour shortage), really very good – made fresh pizza this week, which did not help the diet plan!
  • Work wise everyone is still planning for the upcoming wave of work. Very busy still, but somewhat eerie. We have been refreshing our guidance and also pulling together a few video shorts which will hopefully be out soon.

The week is about to start… have a good one everyone… @chris_w_tweet

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FCA guidance, spending and sleeping less: Weekly Roundup – June 5 2020:

It feels like the developments each week are gradually starting to slow for now. Updates for this week.

Cabbage White butterfly preparing to eat my vegetables this year...!

The FCA released its updated guidance on the mortgage holiday scheme extension. There is definitely a direction towards the greater use of digital interaction, it being mentioned as a specific option (whilst also needing to provide alternatives). This of course is how most of the volume was managed first time around and is the main option for managing any extension. In addition, the guidance details customer options for exit and contacting customers early to discuss these. You just wonder if payment holidays (or deferrals) are going to be a much more popular feature going forward. However, the digitalization theme continues apace.

The other interesting news has been how the pandemic has suppressed the use of cash and hastened its decline. Nearly half of all payments last year were by card and reportedly now over 7m live life without cash. The direction to the cashless economy seems clear, and for some a concern.

Consumers also seem to be spending less in general, saving more. Some of this excess cash is clearly going to pay off credit card debt and loans. Clear sections of the population are managing just fine for now.

It feels like the situation is gradually stratifying into clear groups. Those that are managing easily or those struggling (or not at all) – this will be one to watch and treat carefully going forward.

More grim news on the jobs front, but other more subtle, some positive, changes are also being seen. The gradual change and retooling of the economy is also continuing.

  • Hardly any passengers at Gatwick – will they ever return? Will this make flying a more pleasurable (albeit more expensive) in the future?
  • Robotic deliveries in Milton Keynes. These have been around for a while, but seem to be successful, growing and undoubtedly useful these days. Will we see more of these in more locations?
  • Online learning. Webinars are now everyday and with a wider move to online learning, will this put traditional courses and the price of online courses under pressure (upwards). The value of a course, is not just the knowledge mind you. The whole experience and who you meet on the course can in someways be almost as valuable and certainly as stimulating. I for one would miss this, and some students are clearly also disguntled. However this is also an opportunity to save time and access courses you would not normally be able to. Also with widespread internet access and remote working is this the opportunity that some parts of the world have been waiting for? parts of Africa for example – (where there is internet access I should add) – think economic development, this could be good news for many

Lastly, it seems like we are all not sleeping as well during all this (you are not alone). Fortunately, daylight, being outside helps – maybe this will help us all as lockdown eases and it is the summer.

More next week no doubt – have a good weekend everyone – @chris_w_tweet

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Week 11 lockdown: Exit or not?

Another interesting week and it does feel like we have all forgotten lockdown even existed. Maybe it is the weather, maybe we are just used to it, but there is a sense that everything feels more normal than maybe it really is…. lockdown themes for last week

  • You know you have been locked down too long when you start to recognize delivery drivers, and they recognize you
  • I have found some great live streams on Twitch and YouTube. Some of these folks really understand how social media and online works… they were really very good and I really felt very old
  • Definitely more cars on the road and people about… still not too many planes in the sky though
  • Exit plan discussions and refreshing of details continued at work… now advanced and there is a real sense of the quiet before the storm going on

Another week starts, hopefully more great weather. Have a good week everyone… @chris_w_tweet

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