Accenture to cut 900 UK jobs as pandemic hits demand

Accenture will cut up to 900 jobs in the UK as the US-listed consultancy lowers costs due to a decline in work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company told its 11,000 employees in the UK this week that about 8 per cent of jobs at all levels would be cut. Redundancies will start this month and conclude by September.

Demand for consultants has dropped during the financial downturn caused by the pandemic, as companies have paused deals and put large transformation projects on hold. Source Global Research, which advises the professional services industry, estimated the size of the global consulting sector would constrict by nearly a fifth to $130bn in 2020.

The UK’s large advisory and accounting firms Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY have cut partner pay by between 20 per cent and 25 per cent since March to preserve cash as fees, particularly from management consulting and tax work,

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Fuel demand, coronavirus in focus

An aerial view shows a cruise ship (L) and tanker vessel anchored near the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 28, 2020 off the coast of Long Beach, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Oil prices dipped on Thursday after the United States recorded its biggest one-day spike in coronavirus cases and California reimposed some lockdown measures, stoking worries a resurgence in COVID-19 cases will stall a recovery in fuel demand.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $39.72 a barrel at 0148 GMT, trimming a 1.4% rise from Wednesday.

Brent crude futures eased 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $41.97 a barrel, after rising 1.8% in the previous session.

California sharply rolled back efforts to reopen its economy on Wednesday, banning indoor restaurant dining in much of the state, closing bars and beefing up enforcement of social

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UK Treasury plans Future Fund expansion after demand surge

The Treasury is set to expand a coronavirus bailout scheme aimed at supporting British start-ups to include those that have been blocked after moving their headquarters overseas to tap US investors.

The government is expected to end up with stakes in scores of the UK’s start-ups under its Future Fund programme, which offers loans of up to £5m that can convert into equity stakes in promising tech businesses that are struggling to survive the lockdown. 

The scheme is now set to be expanded, according to people familiar with the matter, to allow more start-ups to join given the strong demand in its first month in operation.

The Future Fund has so far been open only to companies incorporated in the UK, although this has meant that British entrepreneurs who have moved their legal headquarters overseas to raise funds from international investors have been left out.

Treasury officials have raised concerns

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Coronavirus, fuel demand in focus

A kayaker passes in front of an offshore oil platform in the Guanabara Bay in Niteroi, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

Dado Galdieri | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oil prices rose in early trade on Friday, extending gains from the previous day on optimism about recovering fuel demand worldwide, despite surges in coronavirus infections in some U.S. states and indications of a revival in U.S. crude production.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $38.87 at 0009 GMT but were on track for a slight drop for the week.

Brent crude futures rose 22 cents, or 0.5%, to $41.27, but were also heading towards a decline for the week.

Analysts said satellite data showing strong pick-ups in traffic in China, Europe and across the United States pointed to a recovery in fuel demand.

Congestion in Shanghai in the past few weeks was higher than

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