Sunak pushes back stimulus plan until autumn

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is delaying his big stimulus package of tax cuts and spending commitments until the autumn, damping expectations of a summer Budget to kick-start the British economy.

Mr Sunak, who has already spent £133bn mitigating the economic damage wrought by coronavirus, wants to wait until the problems facing the economy are clear before making irreversible spending commitments.

The Treasury confirmed on Friday that he was still considering an economic update in July that could include a limited package of measures but it would fall far short of an emergency Budget. The department said: “We will be taking stock of the economic situation, and looking at if and where further support makes sense ahead of the more significant moments in the autumn.”

There has been concern in the Treasury that the importance of a “summer statement” has been exaggerated by Number 10. “It is not a Budget or a

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UK housing market nervously reopens for business

The UK housing market is coming out of its deep freeze. After two months of online-only viewings, estate agents are donning masks and gloves to start showing properties to buyers, with the owners retreating outdoors to stay at a safe distance

But despite upbeat statements from housebuilders such as Taylor Wimpey, which said on Friday it was now seeing more “sustained demand”, there is intense unease about the potential for the coronavirus crisis to trigger a house price crash to rival that seen after previous recessions.

“It’s nervy times,” said David Boyden, managing director of an estate agency in Colchester. In the last month, he had seen inquiries rise at all price levels, but had also seen transactions fall through as buyers got cold feet or tried to lower offers. “There is a lot of hot air, a lot of activity, but not a lot of fat on the bone

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Virus transmission starting to rise in England, scientists warn

Evidence suggests that the transmission rate of coronavirus across England is beginning to increase, scientists have warned, as lockdown restrictions are eased. As a result the current decline in the national death rate may not continue beyond mid-June, they said.

The study by Public Health England and Cambridge university highlights regional differences in Covid-19 transmission, with north-west England an area of particular concern. The R reproduction number there is probably just above 1, meaning that the number of infections is likely to rise.

On Friday the UK’s official coronavirus-related death toll breached the symbolic figure of 40,000 — double the number the UK’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said he hoped the UK would stay below. The government confirmed another 357 people who tested positive for the virus had died, taking the total official deaths figure to 40,261.

Sage, the government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies, estimated that R for

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Coronavirus lockdown pushes Victoria’s Secret UK into administration | Business News

Hundreds of jobs are under threat after the UK arm of Victoria’s Secret fell into administration.

The lingerie retailer has 25 UK stores and 785 employees have been on furlough while non-essential stores are closed under government lockdown rules.

Administrators from Deloitte have been hired and the insolvency firm said it would conduct a “light touch” administration as it seeks to find a buyer.

Rob Harding, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “This is yet another blow to the UK high street and a further example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire retail industry.

“The effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, has resulted in a funding requirement for this business, resulting in today’s administration.

“We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the business.

“As administrators

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