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Monday newspaper round-up: Gambling industry, rate hikes, Unilever

Britain’s biggest cities have lost almost a year’s worth of sales during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdowns and a lack of office workers and tourists caused a collapse in consumer spending. As offices have started to reopen following the relaxation of plan B restrictions, the Centre for Cities said Covid-19 had “levelled down” historically more prosperous high street destinations. – Guardian

A committee of MPs has produced a report criticising the gambling industry regulator for trying to reduce addiction and urging ministers to take it into special measures. The findings by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on betting and gaming have been described as “ludicrous” by a campaigner for regulatory reform and met with a frosty reception from the regulator. – Guardian

Office workers returning to their desks this week will no doubt mark their comeback with a lengthy analysis of the morning commute. Miserable and footsore, they will reunite with colleagues by regaling their tales of nightmare train delays and packed carriages. As the trains fill up over the coming weeks, so too will the everyday grumbles of the commuter as pre-pandemic frustrations resurface. – Telegraph

The Bank of England has taken too long to raise interest rates and will need to “move faster” to get a grip on inflation, one of its former deputy governors has said. Sir Charlie Bean, who was a senior official on Threadneedle Street throughout the financial crisis, criticised the Bank’s recent decision to hold off from raising rates until December and said households should brace for a looming “shock”. – Telegraph

Unilever’s management is facing more difficulties after it emerged that Nelson Peltz’s activist hedge fund had acquired an interest in the group. News that Trian Partners has taken a position in the company was disclosed by the Financial Times yesterday after a torrid week for Unilever in which its £50 billion pursuit of GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer arm was abandoned in the face of investor opposition. – The Times

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