Business Briefing

UK’s tech success a result of ‘drive and dynamism’

Trump’s net worth drops by $700m, no shouting at Disney parks, and other breaking business news

Abstract cityscape of skyscrapers

1

Technology

UK tech investment hits record high of $15bn

While the pandemic and Brexit have had a negative impact on many sectors of the economy, the UK’s technology industry is growing despite the challenging conditions.  

According to a report by Tech Nation, venture capital investment in UK technology hit a record high of $15bn (£10.8bn) in 2020 – the third highest amount globally behind the US and China. 

“The gap between the UK and the two global powers is closing compared to previous years,” Yahoo! Finance reports. A contributing factor was 63% of investment into UK tech coming from overseas last year, up from 50% in 2016.

Tech Nation CEO Gerard Grech says the UK’s success “is the result of foresight, drive and dynamism”. He believes that this is “just the beginning of what the UK can achieve”. 

The study also found that the UK tech start-up and scale-up ecosystem was valued at $585bn (£418.7bn) last year – a 120% increase from 2017. 

2

Entertainment

No screaming or shouting when Disney parks reopen

After more than a year of being closed, Disney has announced that its two theme parks in California will reopen at the end of next month. Although visitors will be pleased to see Mickey Mouse and Co, they will still “feel the impact of the pandemic”, the BBC says. 

As well as a limit on numbers, required face masks for anyone above the age of two and temperature screenings at certain locations, there could also be a number of other rules put in place. 

In order for the safe reopening of parks, the California Attractions and Parks Association has issued a list of steps to slow the spread of Covid. The steps specifically highlight “no scream, no shout, no letting it all out”, says the Daily Mail.

3

Retail

Uni to use former Debenhams store as lecture hall

The closure of Debenhams has left a major hole on Britain’s high streets, but this week a number of plans have been revealed to change the use of the empty retail spaces. 

In Leicester property developer Hammerson has submitted plans to convert the empty Debenhams store into flats for rent, The Times reports, while in Gloucestershire a former shop will be converted for healthcare tuition and community cultural events. 

After purchasing the site in Gloucester, the University of Gloucestershire will transform the store into lecture halls and training spaces for nurses and healthcare workers. 

It is the “latest reinvention of a department store building as consumers switch to online shopping”, says The Guardian.

The university is hoping that students will begin studying at the new site by September 2023. 

4

Transport 

ScotRail to be nationalised in 2022

The Scottish government has announced that train operator ScotRail will be nationalised at the end of March next year. An “arms-length” Scottish government company will take over the running of train services and all ScotRail staff will transfer to the new entity, the BBC reports. 

Dutch firm Abellio, which was awarded the franchise in 2015, remains proud of its record despite ministers “snatching ScotRail from its grasp”, The Herald says. In a statement, Abellio ScotRail said it will “ensure a smooth transition to the new operator, to deliver stability for customers and railway staff”.

5

People

Trump’s wealth decreases by $700m

In his four years as president of the US Donald Trump saw his net worth drop from $3bn (£2.14bn) to $2.3bn (£1.64bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The impact of the pandemic and two rounds of impeachments have “wreaked havoc” on Trump’s empire of commercial real estate, resorts and hotels, Business Insider reports. And after the Capitol attack in January his brand also took a major hit with many business partners severing ties with the former president.  

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