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Wednesday newspaper round-up: Liberty Steel, Serco, Archegos

When Boris Johnson announced the first stay-at-home order, effectively shutting down whole sections of the economy, it was hoped the tide could be turned within 12 weeks. As many months later, lockdown measures are being relaxed for a third time and Britain still faces a lengthy road to recovery from the worst recession for 300 years. As restrictions ease, the chief economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, warned that despite the reopening of the economy, the risk of a “jobs equivalent of long Covid” remains for workers across the country. – Guardian
The government “talks a good game” on supporting steelmakers but should set targets for the use of British steel in big infrastructure projects, the industry trade body has said. As the financial turmoil threatening 5,000 jobs at Liberty Steel reignited concern about the sector, UK Steel said ministers had failed to come up with practical action to arrest the decline of an industry that has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent years. – Guardian

Senior managers at outsourcer Serco carried out a “fraud on the taxpayer” by hiding the scale of its profits so that civil servants would not cut payments from the public purse, a court heard. The FTSE 250 firm made a £27m profit from keeping track of criminals and defendants for the Ministry of Justice between 2010 and 2012, but claimed it had only made £15m, prosecutors allege. – Telegraph

Regulators are questioning banks’ multibillion-dollar fire sale of shares in the past few days which were linked to the stricken investment firm Archegos Capital Management. America’s Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK are examining the actions of several banks over the way they unloaded large blocks of shares after US-based Archegos failed to meet margin calls. – The Times

Britain’s biggest fund management house opposed the election of more than 4,700 company directors around the world last year as it voiced concerns about their corporate governance. The investment arm of Legal & General, the FTSE 100 insurer, said that it had conducted 21 per cent more engagements with companies compared with 2019 as it stepped up its efforts to force change at businesses. – The Times

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