Coronavirus

Coronavirus Could Lead To 24.7M Unemployed; Argent Gives King’s Cross Tenants Three Months Of Waived Rent

COVID-19

The coronavirus could lead to tens of millions of unemployed workers and could change how businesses operate. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world, with a focus on Europe.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) said as many as 24.7 million jobs could be lost around the world because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The ILO also forecasted a “low” unemployment case of 5.3 million. ILO Director General Guy Ryder said, per the report, that COVID-19 is no longer just a “global health crisis, it is also a major labor market and economic crisis.” Its estimates occur as the coronavirus outbreak has made nations limit citizen movements and make sure that lockdowns are followed in some instances.

Meanwhile, to help businesses impacted by COVID-19, the landlord of the King’s Cross development in London will not require tenants to pay rent for a few months, the Financial Times reported. The estate’s owner and developer, Argent, however, will still be taking service fees. Argent’s retail lead, James Rayner, said, per the report, “This is the only real measure available to us to help.” Eateries, bars and retail locations on the King’s Cross estate won’t need to pay rent for three months from March 25 regardless of whether they have to shutter or stay open.

On another note, trade organizations are asking the government of Britain for a payment holiday on taxes like VAT and national insurance after many firms reportedly stopped making HM Revenue & Customs contributions, the Financial Times reported. HMRC said, per the report, that “businesses of all shapes and sizes” had phoned into the new helpline of the authority to discuss referrals for taxes. Dan Neidle, London head of tax at Clifford Chance, said, per the outlet, that companies can’t halt rent of wage payments. “It’s hard to see how HMRC could say no to a request to cease some tax payments,” he noted, per the report.

In other news, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial regulator, cautioned that consumers are facing challenges as companies have shuttered or modified their operations, and insurers have to be adaptable as well, Bloomberg reported. Those who have medical, home, travel and auto policies are likely to shift their method of living. The group’s interim chief executive officer, Chris Woolard, said, per the report, that “customer behavior is changing.” He also noted, “We expect all firms to be clear and not misleading whenever they communicate and be fair and professional.”

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LIVE PYMNTS ROUNDTABLE: MODERNIZING & SCALING FOR THE NEW NORMAL

The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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