The Independent

Business news in brief


Night-time worker numbers down by more than 720,000

The number of night-time industry workers in the UK has plunged by 723,000 over the past five years, in the latest sign of pressures on beleaguere­d bars and restaurant­s. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number employed in the sector was down to 8.7 million in 2022, down heavily on the recent peak of 9.5 million seen in 2016.

The ONS data also shows how reliant the night-time sector is on workers born outside the UK. Between 2012 and 2022, the

number of night-time workers born outside the UK rose by 32.6 per cent to 2 million; in the 24-hour health and personal services grouping of industries, this number rose by 69.1 per cent to 500,000 million. PA

Surge in companies facing collapse as Covid debts called in

The number of companies in critical financial distress increased by more than one-third year on year at the end of 2022, according to insolvency specialist­s Begbies Traynor. It warned that the government and HMRC are chasing down Covid debts that could cripple small businesses forced to repay loans. The firm’s “red flag alert” report revealed a 36 per cent increase in the number of companies rated as being in “critical financial distress” in the last three months of 2022, compared with the same period a year ago.

The report marks the sixth consecutiv­e quarter that “business in critical distress” levels have risen. Many of these small businesses also still have Covid-related debts to repay, such as bounce-back loans. PA

Amazon staff on strike in UK for first time

Workers at Amazon will today stage their first strike in the UK, in a dispute over pay. Members of the GMB at the company’s fulfilment centre in Coventry voted to walk out in protest against a pay rise the union said is worth 50p an hour. Stuart Richards, GMB’s senior organiser, said: “They’re taking on one of the world’s biggest companies to fight for a decent standard of living.”

An Amazon spokespers­on said: “A tiny proportion of our workforce are involved. We’re proud to offer competitiv­e pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.” PA

Mini-heater save energy bills

ads banned for claiming they could

Four advertisem­ents for electric mini-heaters have been banned for misleading­ly suggesting they could provide cheaper heating than gas and save householde­rs money. The ads, for the InstaHeat, Keilini, Heater Pro and Heater Pro X, all suggested they were a cheaper alternativ­e to gas central heating and could rapidly warm a room.

The Advertisin­g Standards Authority sought advice from the Energy Saving Trust, which said gas is currently cheaper than electricit­y and it is more efficient to heat a room with one radiator than with a plug-in mini-heater. It said: “Ads should take care not to mislead around how much they cost to run, or imply that they’re more cost efficient than central heating without sufficient evidence to back up the claim.” PA

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 ?? (PA) ?? There were 8.7 mi ll ion staff in the night - time sector l ast year – down from a peak of 9.5 mi ll ion in 2016
(PA) There were 8.7 mi ll ion staff in the night - time sector l ast year – down from a peak of 9.5 mi ll ion in 2016
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