Insulating the economy?: Weekly Roundup 10 July 2020

A key theme for me this week has been the announcement of more financial assistance to get people back to work. In the UK chancellor’s summer statement £30bn of measures were announced; from VAT relief for the hospitality industry, a stamp duty cut, to funding for younger workers and those on furlough returning to work. It was about getting the economy moving again.

And this is needed with the economy across Europe and the UK starting to struggle. Both in the numbers and on the ground.

One benefit of lockdown has been the environment. We have reduced the amount of travelling, commuting and related fossil fuels use as a result. However, energy use at home has increased, with homes being generally less fuel efficeint than the office. All of this could take us away from net zero, and the funding announced to assist with insulating homes was nice to finally see. It has the added benefit of extra employment too.

In financial services news, a couple of other key announcements this week

  • The extension of the payment holiday scheme for credit cards came into effect.
  • New guidance for motor loans was also announced, with a 3 month extension for the scheme

Interestingly in Australia; the initial 6months (which we have in the UK) has just been extended by another 4months. Is this the sign of things to come here too?

We will need to watch all this carefully on how this plays out, especially with local lockdowns coming more into play. It could all get very complex.

Finally, other interesting news to monitor

  • The pandemic is changing the way we eat. A return to home cooking and comfort food of our younger selves?
  • Businesses continue to look at efficiencies in the new way of working. Yet more announcement of permanent home working and how this may change the structure of retail forever.
  • With the much discussed on the (maybe too early) demise of cash, EU banks are working on their own payment infrastructure as an alternative to the likes of VISA and Mastercard.
  • Lastly, an interesting article on AI and its acceleration. Digital underpins a lot of the changes we are seeing, so we should expect more (or is that ‘Moore’) in this space

Have a good weekend everyone… @chris_w_tweet

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