Business Briefing

Long working hours cause 745,000 deaths a year, WHO study reveals

Last Debenhams stores close, Amazon plans UK recruitment drive, and other breaking business news

1

Employment 

‘Working 55 hours or more is a serious health hazard’

Long working hours led to 745,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016 - a 29% rise since 2000, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization. 

The study, published in Environment International today, found that between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.

With the pandemic causing a huge shift in work patterns, the “number of people working long hours is increasing, and currently stands at 9% of the total population globally”, the study revealed. This trend puts “even more people at risk of work-related disability and early death”. 

“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of environment, climate change and health at the WHO. “It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death.”

2

Hospitality 

4,204 fewer food-led venues in the UK after Covid

It’s a big day for the hospitality industry with indoor dining allowed once again. But for many food outlets their doors will remain permanently closed after failing to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

According to the CGA AlixPartners Market Recovery Monitor, the number of food-led venues dropped by 4,204 to 38,922 in April, compared to 43,126 sites in March last year. 

Mid-market “casual dining” venues have fallen by 19.4% and while the data suggests that many pubs and bars have also struggled to survive the pandemic, “it is restaurants that have fared worst”, the BBC reports.

“Unfortunately, with the burn of costs of rent and other costs of business, for a number of restaurants, that was simply too much to keep going through the period of closure,” said Graeme Smith, managing director of AlixPartners. 

3

Retail 

Debenhams

Leon Neal/Getty Images

Last Debenhams stores close for the final time

After more than 200 years Debenhams is no longer on the British high street. The department store giant closed its remaining shops on Saturday, “marking the final nail in the coffin in its 243 years of trading”, Retail Gazette reports. 

The store closures were part of the company’s liquidation process, but Debenhams will continue to exist online-only after the Boohoo Group bought the brand in a £55m deal in January. 

4

Economy 

Amazon to create 10,000 new jobs in the UK this year

Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open new operations in Hinckley, Doncaster, Dartford, Gateshead and Swindon in 2021 - and in turn create 10,000 new permanent jobs in the UK.

Amazon’s latest recruitment drive will take its total UK workforce to more than 55,000, Sky News reports. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng hailed the announcement as “a huge vote of confidence in the British economy”.

5

Tourism 

The Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge will feature onboard the Disney Wish

The Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge will feature onboard the Disney Wish

Disney/Twitter

Bookings for Disney’s new cruise ship go live this month

Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, will set sail on its maiden voyage next summer. Early booking starts today for Castaway Club members and select Disney Guests while reservations open to the general public from 27 May.

The ship will feature the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, the AquaMouse water ride, as well as the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge and Wish Tower Suite, a 1,966 sq ft “penthouse in the sky”. 

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