UK battery start-up Britishvolt makes majority of 300 staff redundant after entering administration

Hundreds have lost their jobs after British electric car battery company Britishvolt fell into administration.

The majority of Britishvolt’s approximate 300 staff have been made redundant, administrators said, after the group made an application for administration to the courts on Tuesday.

It followed talks with investors over a possible sale to keep the firm afloat.

Britishvolt has been on the brink of collapse since £100m of promised government funding to build a planned battery gigafactory was delayed due to key targets for the investment being missed.

The move will have implications for Britain’s vehicle manufacturers, which experts say need battery factories to stop much of the country’s car production from shifting to mainland Europe.

Downing Street issued a statement soon after the news was announced saying it was aware of the speculation but would not comment directly on the firm, saying “we will await further updates from that specific company”.… Read more

UK commits to further talks with EU to break Northern Ireland Brexit impasse

The UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, and the European Commission’s vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, have committed to further talks to resolve the dispute over Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Following a “stock-taking” meeting on Monday afternoon, they agreed to continue what they described as “scoping work” to find potential solutions in a “constructive and collaborative spirit”.

UK government sources said there were still “significant gaps” in approaches to the Northern Ireland protocol and the sides were some distance from an agreement.

“The two sides discussed the range of existing challenges over the last two years and the need to find solutions together to tackle comprehensively the real-life concerns of all communities in Northern Ireland and protect both Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s internal market and the integrity of the EU’s single market,” they said in a joint statement.

“They agreed that this scoping work for potential solutions should continue … Read more

UK employers determined to keep hiring in battle to retain talent

UK employers have signalled they are determined to keep hiring even against the backdrop of high inflation and an economic downturn.

That according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,030 UK employers and asks if they intend to hire additional workers, maintain current headcount, or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter (January to March 2023). It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic indicator by both the Bank of England and UK Government.

Although UK employers intend to keep hiring at pace to maintain productivity and business as usual, the latest Outlook does mark a decline of five percentage-points on Q4 2022. With a stretched and tightened labour market to contend with, retaining skilled talent will be a key priority for many organisations.

“Talent retention … Read more

Royal Mail ransomware attackers threaten to publish stolen data

Royal Mail has been hit by a ransomware attack by a criminal group, which has threatened to publish the stolen information online.

The postal service has received a ransom note purporting to be from LockBit, a hacker group widely thought to have close links to Russia.

Royal Mail revealed that it had been hit by a “cyber incident” on Wednesday, and said it was unable to send parcels or letters abroad. The company asked customers to refrain from submitting new items for international delivery, although domestic services and imports were unaffected.

Ransomware attackers exploit gaps in organisations’ security to install their own software and encrypt files so they are unusable. They then ask for a ransom, often in cryptocurrency, which can be harder to trace because it is not reliant on the banking system.

Printers at a Royal Mail distribution site near Belfast in Northern Ireland started printing ransom notes, … Read more

Liberty Steel plans to cut 440 jobs in UK and reduce production

Liberty Steel has announced plans to cut 440 jobs and suspend manufacturing at its plant in south Wales, in a sign of difficulties in Sanjeev Gupta’s metals empire.

The steelmaker on Thursday said it would turn its Newport manufacturing plant into a distribution centre, make idle a site at nearby Tredegar and another at West Bromwich, in the West Midlands, and cut back production of primary steel and steel products at Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Liberty Steel companies in the UK have been struggling since the collapse of Greensill Capital, which was formerly a financial backer of Gupta’s collection of companies known as Gupta Family Group (GFG). The new restructuring plan is the latest in a series of changes made to try to revive its fortunes.

Gupta’s companies face a string of problems, ranging from the resignation of the auditor of several key companies in September, to an investigation announced in May … Read more