There was quite a bit in the news this week, what with the budget in the UK and the imminent start of relaxation of restrictions in the UK. Most of us here are hoping that this is the last lockdown and things now start to return to normal.
The impact from, what has been a massive change in the economy, can be seen, however. Many of us have adapted to what is a more digitally-driven lifestyle, something that was always mooted, but now much more of a reality. The realization that this works and created new habits for many of us.
Internationally, the COVID pandemic picture is different by region and market. Some, by nature of early, tough action, so far have remained less impacted, others are now starting to see the impact of new variants, some of which have already been in places like the UK already.
What is evident, however, in talking with people from all around the world (one of the wonders of video calls these days), is just how many people think that their country has handled the situation poorly, especially in comparison to other countries. Perspective is everything and it seems no-one is happy.
We cannot of course all be right. It is all a very messy picture and one we need to all pull together to get everyone back to a sense of normality as soon as possible!
Below are some key stories from the week…. have a good weekend everyone
- FCA confirms contactless payments rise from £45 to £100 – contactless has been widely adopted during the lockdown, and it is a sign of confidence rising in the form of payment
- Two in ten Brits would favour a cashless society – Linked no doubt with contactless too. Many people are now shunning cash
- Extra 1.3m people in UK to start paying income tax over next five years – from the budget with freezing the tax thresholds. These could be seen as stealth tax rises, you only pay more when you earn more, and I suppose does also assume rising wages
- UK car industry reports worst February sales since 1959 – during lockdown 1 the sector was booming as consumers bought cars to avoid public transport. It seems like some of this has stalled during the latest lockdown
- Households paid back £2.4bn of debt in January – the paydown continues. For those in work, many have been able to save money. Remember however it is still very difficult for those in sectors where they have lost their job
- UK’s biggest lenders to unveil plans for ‘open banking’ rollout – Open banking has been a hot topic recently, seems like there has been pressure on large banks to adopt and leverage this technology too
- ‘Crypto Collectibles’ Wave Assigns Big Value To Digital Art, Avatars On The Blockchain – The FOMO and being first, albeit an interesting idea to prove provenance.