More than 1,000 UK startups ‘collapsed’ due to COVID-19

Cars and cyclists pass through the Silicon Roundabout area, a technology cluster of high-tech companies located in Shoreditch and St. Lukes in East London. (Credit: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)
Cars and cyclists pass through the Silicon Roundabout area, a technology cluster of high-tech companies located in Shoreditch and St. Lukes in East London. Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

More than 1,000 of the UK’s high-growth businesses have filed for administration, liquidation or dissolution since lockdown began, according to new research released today by Plexal and Beauhurst.

During this period, September brought a record number of filings — the highest monthly figure in 10 years – as the full impact of COVID-19 started to be revealed. 273 fast-growth companies filed for administration, liquidation or dissolution in that month alone, out of a total of 1,067 since the beginning of lockdown. That’s a 181% month-on-month increase compared with August.

While government schemes provided “valuable support to cash-strapped early stage companies struggling from the COVID-19 crisis,” said the researchers, “the sharp rise in startup deaths highlights the fading preservative effect of government support schemes.”

“Government initiatives alone are not sufficient to support startups most in need of funding and cash flow in the current economic climate,” said Andrew Roughan, managing director of Plexal. “It’s these businesses that will provide the innovation and jobs that will drive the UK’s economic recovery, and they need our urgent support.”

Earlier this year, the UK government announced a £1.25bn ($1.53bn) package of support for startups and tech businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK startups get £1.25bn COVID-19 support from government

A new £500m investment fund was set aside for high-growth startups, while £750m of grants and loans for startups doing research and development were also handed out.

The fund provides convertible debt to startups, so if they can’t pay it back, it turns into equity. To date, the government has lent over £720m to more than 700 startups.

The Treasury

Gap shoppers order hundreds of pounds worth of clothes for free due to website glitch

GAP shoppers claim they were able to order hundreds of pounds worth of clothes for free due to a website glitch.

Instead of paying full price on items, an error on the Gap website saw customers only charged a £4 delivery fee.

Hotukdeals users shared screengrabs of their orders which showed only delivery had been charged

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Hotukdeals users shared screengrabs of their orders which showed only delivery had been charged

The glitch was reported on deals website Hotukdeals with customers sharing screengrabs of their orders.

One customer said they placed an order for £60 while only paying postage, while another shopper said they ordered £85 worth of clothes.

Separately, one person said the glitch worked on orders up to £200, although another customer said they ordered £214 worth of goods.

But some shoppers were quick to shame other people for taking advantage of the deal when the retail industry is struggling.

One shopper said they were able to place an order for £84.90 - but it's unclear if Gap processed it

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One shopper said they were able to place an order for £84.90 – but it’s unclear if Gap processed it
Gap hasn't commented on the website glitch

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Gap hasn’t commented on the website glitchCredit: Alamy

The high street has been under threat from mass job cuts and store closures after non-essential businesses were ordered to close for three months to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Dire figures published in August 2020 showed 43,000 retail jobs had been axed since the start of lockdown with more roles feared to go when the furlough scheme ends this month.

In June 2020, Gap said it’s lost almost £1billion since the start of lockdown.

The company reported a loss of £740million in the three months to May, compared with a profit of £203million in the same period last year.

One person said: “Does anyone understand what is happening in the world companies going under people not having jobs? I am sorry but this is not the time to take

11 Ways Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year Due To Coronavirus

It’s safe to say the 2020 holiday season will be a completely different experience. Many Americans will skip their annual trip home to visit family as a precaution against COVID-19, while others will be hoping for the Christmas miracle of a full-time job.

There will be big changes to the retail landscape, too. Whether you’re planning a scaled-back holiday or expect to celebrate the same as always, here’s what you should know about shopping and saving money through the end of the year.

1. Most People Plan To Shop Despite Financial Strain

The coronavirus pandemic has touched most everyone’s lives in some way. For many, it’s had an effect on their finances. From higher expenses related to learning and working from home, to loss of jobs and income, many Americans are facing a tougher-than-usual holiday season.

Even so, 66% of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount of money or more this holiday season to create a sense of normalcy and keep traditions alive, according to a new survey by RetailMeNot.

Amazon Prime Day is expected to be the top shopping day in Q4, with 67% of people planning to make a purchase during this event. The next most-planned shopping days, according to the survey, include Cyber Monday (65%) and Black Friday (59%).

The most popular purchases are expected to be electronics (61%), followed by clothing and accessories (52%) and shoes (33%).

2. Shopping Kicks Off Much Earlier

Amazon Prime Day, which usually takes place in July, will span two days: Oct. 13 and 14. “Prime Day will open up the holiday shopping season, setting off a cascade of holiday sales that are likely to continue through early December,” said Nathan Burrow, deals expert for Wirecutter.

This push for early holiday shopping is practical as

What the workforce will look like in 2025 as it morphs due to pandemic

Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has radically altered the way we work, and companies of all sizes are experimenting with new ways to manage their far-flung virtual organizations. According to experts, remote work is here to stay and even when the health crisis ends, a good portion of the workforce will remain working from home. The challenge is how to keep employees connected, drive innovation and collaboration, and keep a steady talent pipeline when people are geographically dispersed.

Companies are prototyping new HR models to keep up with this rapid pace of change. Some are embracing artificial intelligence and automation to keep operations on an even keel, gather data-driven insights about their employees, improve the talent search and manage global risk.

It’s a daunting task and it’s happening at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with economic shutdowns, health-care concerns, an upcoming U.S. presidential election and societal upheaval.

What will the future of work look like in 2025? A recent McKinsey & Co. global survey of 800 executives in a range of industries reveals key trends. These include: a push towards automation; the shift to remote work or hybrid remote workforces; an increase in the use of freelancers, and growing reliance on artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to manage the workforce and other key functions.   

These shifts are already happening. Since the pandemic, 85% of respondents had accelerated digitalization of employee interaction and collaboration, and 67% have accelerated automation and artificial intelligence, according to the survey. Industries on the forefront include technology, finance and insurance.

For a glimpse of how companies are in the midst of this transformation one can look at Cisco, a network hardware company with more than 75,000 employees headquartered in San Jose, California, at the heart of

Coronavirus UK latest: Nearly 16k new COVID-19 cases missed due to computer glitch | UK | News

Britain reported a surge in daily COVID-19 cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday after authorities admitted a technical issue had meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers. The technical problem, which was identified on Friday and has now been resolved, led to 15,841 cases not being uploaded into reporting dashboards used by the NHS contact-tracing system.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to give a statement in the Commons later today to explain the blunder amid reports the missing results exceeded the maximum file size.

Political commentator Andrew Neil described the new as a “government shambles”.

News of the glitch was likely to cast further doubt over the robustness of the national test-and-trace system, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would be “world-beating” but which has experienced a series of delays and setbacks.

In terms of tracing the contacts of the infected people, Public Health England (PHE) said the information had been transferred to the relevant systems over the weekend and contact tracers were now working urgently to catch up.

The authority said all the people concerned had been given their results in a timely fashion, and that those with positive results had been told to self-isolate.

PHE said: “NHS Test and Trace have made sure that there are more than enough contact tracers working, and are working with local Health Protection Teams to ensure they also have sufficient resources to be urgently able to contact all cases.

“We are also increasing the number of call attempts from 10 to 15 over 96 hours.”.

PHE’s interim chief executive, Michael Brodie, added: ”We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey