Entrepreneur takes financial hit to protect customers from rising cost of living

Entrepreneur takes financial hit to protect customers from rising cost of living

In 2022, mobile phone accessories manufacturer juice donated £70k worth of desperately needed chargers to the Ukraine.

What the company did next is an example of selfless business practice and the ultimate act of customer care.

Founder and CEO of juice, Jolyon Bennett, made the decision NOT to put up the prices on any juice products, despite a rise in inflation in the UK and the economic impact of foreign issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and post-Brexit trade.

As a result, the ownership of juice took a financial hit and the company’s profitability is the worst it has been for 10 years. Even with the cost of goods increasing 15% due to the exchange rate, the team stood by not moving on its prices to save customers a few pounds to spend on necessities.

The decision to keep prices the same was driven by a genuine motivation by the juice team to give their loyal customers a bit of a break during such hard times. They also felt that their retailers shouldn’t have to increase their prices in an attempt to protect consumers further.

Bennett, commented: “We at juice are very grateful to our … Read More

London retains crown as Europe’s leading hub for tech investment

London retains crown as Europe’s leading hub for tech investment

Global tech investors continue to put their faith in London, with latest end of year VC investment figures from Dealroom and London & Partners showing that the UK capital’s tech firms raised an impressive $19.8bn last year.

Despite a challenging economic climate, London’s tech firms raised double the amount of investment than any European city in 2022 and ranked fourth on the global stage.

London helped boost the total amount of VC funding secured by UK tech firms in 2022 to $29.9bn, making it the third largest country for tech investment behind the US and China. Some of the biggest funding rounds into London companies last year included: a $1bn Series D round for Checkout.com; a $312m Series G round for Go Cardless and a $200m Series D for Paddle.

According to the data, 2022 global VC funding experienced a 33% dip from the record levels seen in 2021, with a total $485.2bn raised last year, compared with $723bn the previous year. This trend was replicated at a European level, with a total of $94bn raised in 2022 – a 22% decline on the $120.8bn raised in 2021.

High levels of dry powder building up in UK capital

The … Read More

Royal Mail unable to despatch items abroad after ‘cyber incident’

Royal Mail unable to despatch items abroad after ‘cyber incident’

Royal Mail has said it is facing severe disruption to its international export services after a “cyber incident”.

The company is temporarily advising customers to hold any export mail while it tries to resolve the issue.

Royal Mail added that it had launched an investigation into the incident, was “working with external experts” and “sincerely apologised” to customers for the disruption.

Its import services remain operational, but with minor delays.

“We are temporarily unable to despatch items to overseas destinations,” the firm said.

“Some customers may experience delay or disruption to items already shipped for export.

“Our import operations continue to perform a full service with some minor delays.”

A National Cyber Security Centre spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident affecting Royal Mail Group Ltd and are working with the company, alongside the National Crime Agency, to fully understand the impact.”

The National Crime Agency confirmed it is also looking into the incident.

The incident comes at a difficult time for Royal Mail, which is currently embroiled in a bitter row over jobs, pay and conditions with the Communication Workers Union that resulted in a series of strikes last year.

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Around 100,000 civil servants to go on strike on 1 February after PCS announces industrial action

Around 100,000 civil servants to go on strike on 1 February after PCS announces industrial action

Around 100,000 civil servants will strike on 1 February in a worsening dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the Public and Commercial Services union has announced.

It will be the largest civil service strike for years and coincides with the TUC’s “protect the right to strike day” announced yesterday in response to new government legislation.

The action will involve members in 124 government departments and follows walkouts last month involving Border Force staff, driving examiners and National Highways workers.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka hinted at the prospect of coordinated strike action with other unions on the same day, telling Sky News: “I think as long as the government retains its position of refusing to put money on the table, we will see more and more cooperation and coordination between unions. I don’t believe we will be the only union on strike on 1 February.”

The PCS union is calling for a 10% pay rise, protections to pensions and protections from job cuts.

“We warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen – and we’re as good as our word,” Mr Serwotka said.

He accused the government of “treating its own workforce worse than anyone else … Read More

NatWest provides debt extension for those struggling with borrowing repayments

NatWest provides debt extension for those struggling with borrowing repayments

Struggling NatWest borrowers have been given an extra six months to pay back unsecured loans and overdrafts.

The part state-owned bank said it has “not yet” seen “significant” increases in the number of defaults or people in arrears but said the measure is designed to act as a support to communities.

As a result of the extension, from early next month, NatWest customers who have missed several payments will have 24 months to repay, an increase from 18 months.

Government had urged banks to do more to support customers.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt met major mortgage lenders last month to issue a warning and, subsequently, a range of forbearance measures were reported to have been agreed late in December.

Policies used during the financial crash are said to be among the tools being deployed to aid consumers struggling with debt, including moving mortgage holders to interest-only deals and moving them to fixed-rate deals, the Financial Times reported.

People earning least have been most impacted by inflation and more than a million of the bank’s 19 million customers now spend more than 10% of their income on fuel or more than 30% on groceries, or both, the lender said.

NatWest also said … Read More