Weekly Finance Round Up

9 million jobs at risk as business cash reserves fall dangerously low

Almost 9 million jobs are at risk as some 600,000 UK employers could collapse in the spring, due to a lack of cash reserves as the pandemic continues to take its toll on all sectors.

Research from the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that the number of firms with less than three months’ cash reserves, considered a danger point for a business, rose sharply over the four months to the end of January – from one in four to one in three. This was despite two new rounds of cash grants for some firms.

The IPPR said said a significant number of jobs could be lost if the cash crisis for firms of all sizes is not quickly addressed and the government doesn’t extend its support, which is due to end in the next couple of months.

Existing business support schemes, including loan guarantees, the business rates holiday and furlough support will end in late March and April.

Most companies will soon be expected to begin repaying government-backed loans made during the pandemic, and to start paying backdated VAT bills for the past year.

The IPPR said it is “calling for rapid action by the chancellor to save the businesses on which UK economic recovery will depend when the lockdown is gradually eased, by extending and enlarging business support now.”

Lockdown leads to 20% rise in romance scams

“Romance scams,” in which victims are tricked into sending money to criminals who they believe they are in a genuine relationship with, are on the rise ahead of Valentine’s Day. This is especially as online dating sees an increase due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Victims have lost money via bank transfer, money transfer, sending fraudsters gift cards and vouchers or presents such as phones and laptops, and providing them with access to their bank account or card.

There was a 20% increase in these scams between January and November 2020 compared to the previous year, with the total value of these scams rising by 12% to £18.5m ($25.5m), according to UK Finance, a banking and finance industry body.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, noted that “with the rising use of online dating service users during lockdown, criminals are using clever tactics to exploit people who think they’ve met their perfect partner online.”

“Romance scams can leave customers out of love and out of pocket,” she added.

These scams involve people being tricked into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship.

“They use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise alarm bells,” UK Finance said in a new report.

These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit the victim if they are overseas.

GameStop day trading fiasco game

GameStop has been at the center of business news for the past couple of weeks, not because of anything the company did but because of booms in day trading that began. This has encouraged whimsical games based upon the absurdity which was the GameStop day trading fiasco to be created, such as http://plays.org/game/gamestonks/.

In this particular game, you can collect coins and beat your previous high score, with fabulous and creative sounds running in the background of the game.

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