Tuesday newspaper round-up: Cash payments, supermarkets, Covid relief

(Sharecast News) – More than a third of shoppers have been blocked from paying with cash since the start of the Covid crisis, prompting calls for urgent action to protect the millions who rely on the UK’s “critically endangered” cash network. The consumer group Which? said mixed messages about the safety of cash was partly to blame. The Bank of England has since clarified that “any risk from handling cash should be low”, especially when compared with touching shopping baskets, self-checkout screens or products in stores. – Guardian
Supermarkets face increased inspections from local councils to make sure they are Covid-19 secure amid a push from the government to clamp down further on coronavirus transmission. Local government officials have been asked by ministers to target the largest supermarkets for inspection to ensure companies are enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and limits on shopper numbers. – Guardian

Britain could be spared a massive tax raid if the economy bounces back strongly as vaccines are rolled out, a Treasury minister has said. Jesse Norman raised hopes that the country can get back on its feet without the burden of crippling extra levies to pay for an unprecedented peacetime borrowing spree which has funded the fight against Covid. If households and businesses burst out of lockdown and unleash pent-up demand, it could mean the biggest recession in 300 years gives way to a major boom – boosting tax revenues and slashing Government borrowing automatically. – Telegraph

The government is under mounting pressure from business leaders to provide more support to the economy before the budget in early March. The CBI has written to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, calling for the furlough scheme, the business rates holiday and the deferral of VAT to be extended until at least the summer. Tony Danker, director-general of the lobby group, said that business resilience was at a “sobering new low” and added that staff morale had taken a hit from the latest lockdown restrictions. – The Times

Bosses of big businesses will be asked to commit personally to settling small suppliers’ bills in no more than 30 days as part of an overhaul of a government-backed scheme that promotes fair treatment of supply chains. About 3,000 signatories of the Prompt Payment Code will be told that they will need to pay 95 per cent of invoices from small companies within 30 days if they are to remain on the programme. – The Times

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