Business Briefing

Cash to be used for just 7% of UK shop payments by 2024

Heinz serves up ketchup production in Britain, builders face cost rise for materials, and other breaking business news

1

Money 

‘Decline in cash use has accelerated’

A rapid switch to card and mobile payments, fuelled by the pandemic, could see just 7% of UK in-store purchases made in cash by 2024, according to a report by Worldpay. Last year cash payments had fallen to 13% and usage will continue to drop over the next three years.

The research shows the “speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behaviour in just 12 months” and Worldpay expects that mobile will make up a third of payments by 2024, The Guardian reports.

The “decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated”, said Worldpay’s Pete Wickes. “While this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimise and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked.” 

2

Economy 

OECD upgrades UK recovery but warns of economic ‘scar’

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that the UK’s post-Covid economy will grow faster than predicted. It has upgraded its projections for UK economic growth from 5.1% to 7.2% this year and from 4.7% to 5.5% next year.

However, despite the growth forecast, OECD says the UK’s pandemic economic “scar” will be the worst of all G7 nations, Sky News reports. The OECD’s Economic Outlook signalled that this was “more a consequence of Britain’s departure from the EU than Covid itself”.

3

Food 

Heinz to serve up ketchup production again in the UK 

Heinz tomato ketchup is to be produced in Britain again after Kraft Heinz announced it will invest $199m (£140m) in a UK food manufacturing facility over the next four years.

The announcement means its popular condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise and salad cream – will be made in Britain for the first time since 1999, the BBC reports. It will be the firm’s biggest expansion of a manufacturing site outside the US in more than 20 years.

4

Construction 

Travis Perkins warns of cost increase for building materials

Travis Perkins, Britain’s biggest builder’s merchant, has told customers to prepare for a 15% rise in the price of bagged cement, 10% in chipboard and 5% in paint. The warning of “considerable” cost increases will “fuel fears of an inflationary price spiral as the economy pulls out of its Covid-19-induced recession”, The Times reports. 

In a statement the company said: “In instances where we have seen some challenges posed by global demand for raw materials or inflationary pressures, we continue to work closely with our suppliers and partners to minimise price increases where possible, whilst also ensuring healthy stock availability for all of our customers.”

5

Property 

Homebuyers’ wish list: outdoor space, broadband and parks

British homebuyers consider outdoor space, broadband connectivity and proximity to parks as the most important demands when searching for a new property, Yahoo! Finance reports.

According to data from Market Financial Solutions (MFS), 92% of UK buyers consider the garden or outdoor space to be the single most important factor when house-hunting while 89% said square footage was the most important.

“It is no secret that the pandemic has altered people’s perspective on what they want and need from their homes,” said Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS. “Remote working and social distancing mean the majority of Britons now spend much more time in their own homes, while access to outdoor space for both exercise and socialising has become far more important.”

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