Gold price hits $2,000 per ounce for the first time

Gold price hits $2,000 per ounce for the first time after rising by more than 30% this year

Safe haven: The price of gold has risen by more than 30 per cent this year

The price of gold hit $2,000 per ounce for the first time last night.

It capped a huge rally in bullion, which has risen by more than 30 per cent this year.

Prices have been driven higher by the weak dollar, depressed bond yields and fears about the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. This is because market turmoil tends to push investors towards so-called ‘safe haven’ assets, with gold often used as a way of storing cash.

Central bank stimulus packages have pushed bond yields to record lows, making gold more attractive, and the dollar has weakened sharply, making bullion cheaper for buyers using other currencies. The previous high was $1,921 (£1,471) in 2011.

Plan to extend Bereavement Support Payments to unmarried couples

Government plan to extend Bereavement Support Payments to unmarried couples who live together

The Government said last week it had a plan to extend Bereavement Support Payments to couples who live together

Unmarried parents denied crucial benefits after losing their partner have been given new hope the injustice will soon end.

The Government said last week it had a plan to extend Bereavement Support Payments to couples who live together.  The benefit is £3,500, followed by £350 a month for up to 18 months.

Those who are not entitled to child benefit receive £2,500 and £100 a month.

The shift has taken almost two years since the Supreme Court declared the current law incompatible with human rights.

15 tips for free family fun: Our ideas to keep the kids entertained

15 free frolics for families: Running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained this summer? Try our top tips

  • Summer camp may be off but there are free online versions for arts and sciences 
  • Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh
  • The Stop Motion Studio app helps children create their own animation films 

After months stuck at home, many parents are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. 

With budgets tight, here Money Mail has rounded up 15 tips for free (or almost free) family fun.

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items

1. GO BIRD WATCHING

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items. See rspb.org.uk.

2. SPACE MISSION

Your child’s summer camp may be cancelled, but there are free online versions for arts and sciences. 

For example, Cosmoto is a five-week space-themed course for children, aged five to ten. Visit cosmotospace.org.

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don't charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don’t charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting

3. FARMYARD FUN

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don’t charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting. 

St James City Farm in Gloucester, for example, is free to visitors. Contact your local farm online.

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh

4. LISTEN IN

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh and Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. 

You don’t even need to download the app, just listen online through your desktop or smartphone. See stories.audible.com.

5. MOVIE MAGIC

The Stop Motion Studio app helps children create their own animated films such as Wallace And Gromit. 

It’s free to download, but there are in-app purchases. 

For example, you need to pay 79p to use images from your phone. You will need an iPhone or iPad to use it. Go to apps.apple.com.

6. WALK AND TALK

Many walking tours are free aside from an optional tip for the guide. Sandemans New Europe runs free walking tours in Edinburgh. Visit neweuropetours.eu.

7. MAP A ROUTE

Orienteering is a fun way to teach kids map reading skills. The National Trust has trails on its website. 

For example, the Wildflower Trail in Stonebarrow, Dorset. Go to nationaltrust.org.uk.

8. MAZE RUNNING

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection at the V&A museum

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection at the V&A museum

Many mazes are now starting to re-open. Some don’t charge for entry, including the Minotaur Maze at Kielder Castle, in Northumberland. Book in advance. See visitkielder.com.

9. SPORT FOR ALL

Most councils run free activity and fitness sessions. Islington council has set up a Summerversity for teenagers with kayaking and tennis. Go to summerversity.co.uk.

10. VISIT A MUSEUM

Many museums are re-opening. The V&A in London is welcoming back visitors from August 6. 

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection. You must book online at vam.ac.uk.

11. PICK UP A FREEBIE

Before heading to the shops to buy a bike or paddling pool, search the website Freecycle (freecycle.org.uk). 

Enter your local area and see what is up for grabs. Try Facebook Marketplace, too.

12. RAINY DAYS

If it’s too wet to play outside, download a free indoor treasure hunt activity sheet to track down items in your home. Find details at dayoutwiththekids.co.uk.

13. FLORA AND FAUNA

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more. See plantsnap.com.

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more

14. USE UP VOUCHERS

Many families will have enough reward points or vouchers for a free day out. For example, turn 50p of Tesco Clubcard vouchers into £1.50 towards a ticket for Legoland, Windsor. 

Tickets are priced from £29 at legoland.co.uk.

15. BOOKWORM FUN

Many local council libraries encourage children to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge. See summerreading challenge.org.uk.

[email protected]

How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job cuts: Millions face redundancy

How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job losses: As millions of Britons face the grim reality of redundancy… here’s our guide to weathering the storm

  • latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10% by the end of the year 
  • Pizza Express warned 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World axed 800 staff
  • Winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge
  • Here a range of experts explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market 

For many, it doesn’t bear thinking about. But millions of Britons are facing the grim reality of redundancy in the coming months, possibly for the first time.

This country has faced mass job losses before but rarely on this scale. The latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10 per cent by the end of the year.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff.

Will it be worse than 2008? Shocked workers leaving Lehman Brothers in London’s Canary Wharf after the firm collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis

The only advantage we have is that we can see the storm coming.

The winding down of the Government’s furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge, but it also gives time to prepare.

That’s why Money Mail is today launching a jobs crisis special to guide you through every stage. We have spoken to a range of experts who explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market and focus on a job search.

The two-week series will also offer a ray of sunshine amidst the gloom. Redundancy can provide time to reassess and reorientate your life around a new career. We’ll tell stories of those who have turned loss into opportunity — and offer advice about how to do the same.

And we will explore how some have taken the plunge and started their own business from scratch after losing their jobs.

Boris Johnson says his approach to the pandemic is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It might be a good mantra for the jobs market, too. So what can you expect if the worst does happen?

WHAT WILL I BE PAID?

You should receive redundancy pay if you’ve been working for your current employer for two years or more.

You’ll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you worked if you’re under the age of 22.
  • One week’s pay per year, age 22 to 40.
  • One-and-a-half week’s pay per year aged 41 or older.

The payout is capped at 20 years and a maximum of £538 per week. You may get more under your particular work contract. The first £30,000 is tax free.

If you have been on furlough or maternity leave, your redundancy pay should be calculated based on your full wage. As a rule, being furloughed does not affect your rights.

You should receive the money by your final payday at the latest, unless agreed beforehand.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff

WHAT NOTICE WILL I GET?

  • At least one week if employed between one month and two years.
  • One week for each year employed between two and 12 years.
  • Twelve weeks if you’ve been in your employment for 12 years or more .

Check your contract. Your employer may give you more than the statutory minimum.

Your employer should either pay you through your notice period or pay you in lieu of notice. ‘Gardening leave’ means you are not working for your employer, but you are still employed, so you cannot start elsewhere yet.

HOW TO CHALLENGE IT

If the employer is making fewer than 20 redundancies, there are no rules about how they should carry out a consultation. 

For between 20 and 99 redundancies, consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals. It must be 45 days if there are 100 job cuts or more.

Discussions must cover ways to avoid layoffs, reasons for the cuts and how to keep numbers to a minimum. You can appeal by writing to your employer if you feel you’ve been unfairly selected. The next step is an employment tribunal.

WAS IT FAIR?

The grounds cannot be discriminatory: for example, based on age, disability, race, gender or religion.

Commonly used selection methods include ‘last in, first out’, asking for volunteers, and staff appraisals. You may be asked to reapply for your own job

NEW ROLE OFFERS

You may be offered ‘suitable alternative employment’, for example if it is similar to your current job. You may lose your right to redundancy pay if you turn down a suitable role without good reason.

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think the alternative job is not suitable.

You are entitled to a trial period.

TIME OFF TO LOOK 

If you’ve been employed for two years, you’re allowed time off to look for a job elsewhere or for training. Your employer has to pay up to 40 per cent of a week’s pay for this.

[email protected]

Short cuts to making long-term gains 

 By MARTYN JAMES of consumer complaints website Resolver

With up to half of all working Britons worried about losing their jobs, these are stressful times. But with a few simple steps, you can head off the worst of the storm by battening down your finances.

BUDGETING BASICS

A simple spreadsheet is all you need, or just a blank piece of paper. List when regular payments are due and, in a separate column, your food bills, entertainment and takeaways. Then total up the cost and compare it to what’s coming in.

Check your bank statements, going back 13 months, and ask your bank to cancel payments you do not recognise, and reclaim money if unauthorised.

CONTACT CREDITORS

If you’re struggling financially, lenders, utility firms and banks should offer solutions to buy you some time. They should also consider suspending interest and charges for a short period. 

Loan and credit payment holidays are available, too. If you are yet to take a mortgage holiday, the deadline to apply is October 31, but they do seem to be harder to get.

Prioritise your debts in order of the most serious consequences. For example, non-payment of council tax carries a three- month prison term. You could lose your home if you fall behind on your mortgage.

GET A (FREE) PLAN

Never pay for a debt management service — there are many free options, such as the debt charity StepChange. They’ll contact your creditors and negotiate payments you can afford.

SWITCH AND SAVE 

Energy price reviews happen around August, so this is a good time to switch providers. Take your meter readings and ask for a revised bill. While you’re at it, check if you can find cheaper mobile, broadband or annual insurance.

AND FINALLY…

The Government has banned home repossessions during this period. If you need help with living costs, you could be eligible for Universal Credit — go to gov.uk/universal-credit.

How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job cuts: Millions face redundancy

How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job losses: As millions of Britons face the grim reality of redundancy… here’s our guide to weathering the storm

  • latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10% by the end of the year 
  • Pizza Express warned 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World axed 800 staff
  • Winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge
  • Here a range of experts explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market 

For many, it doesn’t bear thinking about. But millions of Britons are facing the grim reality of redundancy in the coming months, possibly for the first time.

This country has faced mass job losses before but rarely on this scale. The latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10 per cent by the end of the year.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff.

Will it be worse than 2008? Shocked workers leaving Lehman Brothers in London’s Canary Wharf after the firm collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis

The only advantage we have is that we can see the storm coming.

The winding down of the Government’s furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge, but it also gives time to prepare.

That’s why Money Mail is today launching a jobs crisis special to guide you through every stage. We have spoken to a range of experts who explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market and focus on a job search.

The two-week series will also offer a ray of sunshine amidst the gloom. Redundancy can provide time to reassess and reorientate your life around a new career. We’ll tell stories of those who have turned loss into opportunity — and offer advice about how to do the same.

And we will explore how some have taken the plunge and started their own business from scratch after losing their jobs.

Boris Johnson says his approach to the pandemic is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It might be a good mantra for the jobs market, too. So what can you expect if the worst does happen?

WHAT WILL I BE PAID?

You should receive redundancy pay if you’ve been working for your current employer for two years or more.

You’ll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you worked if you’re under the age of 22.
  • One week’s pay per year, age 22 to 40.
  • One-and-a-half week’s pay per year aged 41 or older.

The payout is capped at 20 years and a maximum of £538 per week. You may get more under your particular work contract. The first £30,000 is tax free.

If you have been on furlough or maternity leave, your redundancy pay should be calculated based on your full wage. As a rule, being furloughed does not affect your rights.

You should receive the money by your final payday at the latest, unless agreed beforehand.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff

WHAT NOTICE WILL I GET?

  • At least one week if employed between one month and two years.
  • One week for each year employed between two and 12 years.
  • Twelve weeks if you’ve been in your employment for 12 years or more .

Check your contract. Your employer may give you more than the statutory minimum.

Your employer should either pay you through your notice period or pay you in lieu of notice. ‘Gardening leave’ means you are not working for your employer, but you are still employed, so you cannot start elsewhere yet.

HOW TO CHALLENGE IT

If the employer is making fewer than 20 redundancies, there are no rules about how they should carry out a consultation. 

For between 20 and 99 redundancies, consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals. It must be 45 days if there are 100 job cuts or more.

Discussions must cover ways to avoid layoffs, reasons for the cuts and how to keep numbers to a minimum. You can appeal by writing to your employer if you feel you’ve been unfairly selected. The next step is an employment tribunal.

WAS IT FAIR?

The grounds cannot be discriminatory: for example, based on age, disability, race, gender or religion.

Commonly used selection methods include ‘last in, first out’, asking for volunteers, and staff appraisals. You may be asked to reapply for your own job

NEW ROLE OFFERS

You may be offered ‘suitable alternative employment’, for example if it is similar to your current job. You may lose your right to redundancy pay if you turn down a suitable role without good reason.

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think the alternative job is not suitable.

You are entitled to a trial period.

TIME OFF TO LOOK 

If you’ve been employed for two years, you’re allowed time off to look for a job elsewhere or for training. Your employer has to pay up to 40 per cent of a week’s pay for this.

[email protected]

Short cuts to making long-term gains 

 By MARTYN JAMES of consumer complaints website Resolver

With up to half of all working Britons worried about losing their jobs, these are stressful times. But with a few simple steps, you can head off the worst of the storm by battening down your finances.

BUDGETING BASICS

A simple spreadsheet is all you need, or just a blank piece of paper. List when regular payments are due and, in a separate column, your food bills, entertainment and takeaways. Then total up the cost and compare it to what’s coming in.

Check your bank statements, going back 13 months, and ask your bank to cancel payments you do not recognise, and reclaim money if unauthorised.

CONTACT CREDITORS

If you’re struggling financially, lenders, utility firms and banks should offer solutions to buy you some time. They should also consider suspending interest and charges for a short period. 

Loan and credit payment holidays are available, too. If you are yet to take a mortgage holiday, the deadline to apply is October 31, but they do seem to be harder to get.

Prioritise your debts in order of the most serious consequences. For example, non-payment of council tax carries a three- month prison term. You could lose your home if you fall behind on your mortgage.

GET A (FREE) PLAN

Never pay for a debt management service — there are many free options, such as the debt charity StepChange. They’ll contact your creditors and negotiate payments you can afford.

SWITCH AND SAVE 

Energy price reviews happen around August, so this is a good time to switch providers. Take your meter readings and ask for a revised bill. While you’re at it, check if you can find cheaper mobile, broadband or annual insurance.

AND FINALLY…

The Government has banned home repossessions during this period. If you need help with living costs, you could be eligible for Universal Credit — go to gov.uk/universal-credit.

How Chinese social media app TikTok became centre of a political storm

TikTok has grown into one of the world’s most popular social networks – with more than 2bn downloads – and become a sensation among teenagers.

But the Chinese-owned service is now at the centre of a struggle involving Beijing, Washington and London.

The row yesterday saw Donald Trump accused of making mafia-style threats over the proposed sale of Tiktok’s US arm to American giant Microsoft.

Protectionist: President Trump has been accused of making mafia-style threats over the proposed sale of Tiktok’s US arm to American giant Microsoft

Such a deal is being considered after the White House threatened to ban Tiktok in the US, where it is thought to have 80m users. 

A takeover by Microsoft, Trump hopes, will neutralise the perceived security threat from the app, amid concerns that data on its users could be accessed by Beijing.

But the president, who backs a takeover by Microsoft, wants a fistful of cash in return.

He claimed this would come from either China or Tiktok’s American buyer and serve as compensation for Tiktok being allowed to operate in America.

‘A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States,’ the president said, referring to Tiktok’s potential sale.

‘The United States should be reimbursed or paid because without the United States they don’t have anything. It’s a little bit like the landlord-tenant. 

Without a lease, the tenant has nothing. So they pay what’s called ‘key money’, or they pay something.’

Trump added: ‘It would come from the sale – whatever the number is, it would come from the sale. Which nobody else would be thinking about but me. But that’s the way I think.’

Internet tycoon: Tiktok’s founder Zhang Yiming was once named as one of '100 outstanding entrepreneurs' who 'resolutely uphold the communist party's leadership'

Internet tycoon: Tiktok’s founder Zhang Yiming was once named as one of ‘100 outstanding entrepreneurs’ who ‘resolutely uphold the communist party’s leadership’

The claims prompted an angry response in China and baffled experts, who said it was not clear how the US Treasury could secure a major share of Tiktok’s sale price when it was not a shareholder in the company or Microsoft.

Julian Sanchez, a fellow at the Washington-based Cato Institute, said the ‘extortion threat’ amounted to a ‘mafia business model’.

He said: ‘Trump’s full explanation of why the Treasury should get a ‘cut’ of a Microsoft-Tiktok deal is, somehow, even more grotesque and shameless than I had anticipated.

‘There doesn’t seem to be any consideration of whether this sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to engage in similar protectionism against us.’

China Daily, which is controlled by communist leaders in Beijing, claimed China would resist the ‘theft’.

But it was also just the latest ruse from Trump as he ramps up his row with Beijing ahead of November’s presidential election.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is in a dispute, with US officials hitting it with economic sanctions and urging allies – including the UK – to stop using its equipment.

Washington claims Beijing could access networks to spy on Western countries. More broadly, the White House has become alarmed by China’s policy of civil-military ‘fusion’, which says commercial companies must share technological breakthroughs with the armed forces.

That is fuelling concerns about Tiktok too, which is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance.

Tiktok denies the claims and says it has 'never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked'

Tiktok denies the claims and says it has ‘never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked’

Zhang Yiming, its billionaire founder, was once named as one of ‘100 outstanding entrepreneurs’ who ‘resolutely uphold the communist party’s leadership’.

And the video-sharing service has been accused of censorship, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming data on its users could be vulnerable to spying.

Tiktok denies the claims and says it has ‘never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked’.

But Peter Navarro, Trump’s senior economic official, said: ‘Can we trust any company that operates in China, has servers in China, has software in China, to protect your children?’

The takeover of Tiktok proposed by Microsoft, which also owns social network Linkedin and the Xbox gaming brand, would largely seek to eliminate those concerns, by ensuring data is stored in the US.

Microsoft would gain access to valuable data on consumers, which could help it develop new products and get a foothold in advertising.

Unlike rivals Google and Facebook, it is not being investigated by US authorities over competition concerns and is seen as having the clout to take on big rivals. 

But there is confusion over how a part-takeover of Tiktok will work and why the UK, where it is reportedly considering moving its HQ to, is not part of the proposed deal.

Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, said: ‘If part or all of Tiktok is banned, it almost creates the beginnings of the US version of China’s ‘Great Firewall’, where they censor what users are allowed to see,’ he said. ‘You effectively get a splintered version of the worldwide web.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

How to hunt down a job if the worst happens

Re-entering the jobs market can be a bewildering experience at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.

Money Mail has spoken to market experts to help you get back on the ladder as quickly as possible …

Daunting: Re-entering the jobs market can be a bewildering experience at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic

WHERE TO LOOK

Cast your net wide. Generalist job sites, such as Indeed, are fine for an initial exploration, but don’t simply search these each day.

Mark Ferries, of the Government’s National Careers Service, says employers often advertise on specialist websites because it is a more targeted way of finding workers.

If you are looking for a job in a particular industry, register with a recruiter or job site that specialises in that area.

In some industries, up to 85 per cent of vacancies are not advertised. To find these, you need to network. 

Social media is increasingly pivotal in the jobs market and online communities can help direct you to a job that is not being advertised. But still keep an eye out in the wider media.

USING AGENCIES

Registering with more than one agency can increase your chances of finding a job.

Call and ask if they deal with vacancies in the field you’re interested in. Examples of major recruitment agencies include Adecco, Reed and Venturi. 

Jobseekers can filter searches for agencies by industry and location at agencycentral.co.uk. Do not use any agency that asks for money as they should be getting paid by the employers.

Keep in regular contact and let them know what specialist skills you have and your availability. Ask for feedback if you’re not getting results.

ADVERTISE ONLINE

LinkedIn is the main platform used by recruiters, so get a profile if you don’t have one.

Barney Ely, managing director at recruitment firm Hays, says: ‘It is a living, breathing version of your CV’, which employers can access.

He says your page should have a professional photo, but ‘to really stand out’ make your profile interactive by including work-related videos and posts.

You should also include keywords in your profile that are related to the industry you are hoping to work in to help recruiters find you.

Employers are increasingly looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so make sure what they see there about you is not off-putting.

DON’T DO IT ALONE

There is no shame in asking for help either from personal contacts or charities, whatever your age.

The National Careers Service can provide one-to-one consultations to anyone within 12 weeks of their redundancy date, before or after.

Its advisers can signpost you to relevant industry training programmes, job boards, recruiters and regulators, as well as answering any other questions.

I shook for two days… then sprang into action 

Advice: Christina Patterson

Advice: Christina Patterson

For me, it was like falling off a cliff. It was only after I left the office that I started shaking. I didn’t stop for two days.

First, there’s the shock. Then there’s the shame. Then there’s the panic. Your head is a jangled mass of thoughts. Failure! Fear! Bills!

This, at any rate, is how it was for me when I lost my job seven years ago, at the age of 49. It had taken me a long, long time to get a staff job as a writer and columnist on a national paper. I was single and didn’t have a family; work was my world.

Losing a job is a bereavement. You will rage, you will panic, you will grieve and you will worry, because losing a job is no picnic at the best of times and we can safely say that a pandemic isn’t one of those.

Allow yourself a few days of grieving, then kick into action. Get up at the same time every day. Exercise, eat well and try to develop a good sleep routine, because you are now in training for a marathon.

You will need to look at your situation, or get other people to help you take a look, with cool eyes.

Are you in an industry that’s likely to recover and need your skills again?

If not, will you need to get new ones? Who can help you? Is there any free online training?

Get on with claiming benefits! This is no time to be proud.

When I lost my job, I learnt how my journalistic skills could be of use to other companies. For example, I wrote a report into the state of global dementia research for a charity.

I sometimes work for people half my age. I earn less than I earned before, but the kind of job I did before has pretty much gone. And now that I’m freelance, I have my freedom.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to lose a job. But it is not the end of the world. 

  • Christina Patterson is the author of The Art Of Not Falling Apart and host of the podcast Work Interrupted: Rethinking Work in a Pandemic.

GET NETWORKING

Networking will help you access jobs, let people know that you’re looking and help you find out more about a particular career or company. 

This can be done via friends and family, social media or more formally via job fairs and industry events. 

Help people help you by making it clear what you are looking for and offer something in return. If you’re given another name to contact about a job, do it.

If someone gives you their business card, write down something memorable about them on the back of it. This will help you to pick up the conversation later.

IT’S A PANDEMIC!

Target Jobs says you should allow extra time for employers to get back to you at the moment. Interviews are likely to be conducted by video.

Sell yourself: A CV should be no longer than two pages, most recent job first. Bullet- point key responsibilities and achievements

Sell yourself: A CV should be no longer than two pages, most recent job first. Bullet- point key responsibilities and achievements

Practise these with a friend and record them on your laptop.

Check the background and light levels your interviewer will see; uncluttered is best. Mr Ely says all firms have been affected by the virus, so find out how before you get to the interview.

PART-TIME & TEMP

This can be a good option if you need a new job straight away due to financial pressures, or just want a stopgap while you wait for companies to start hiring again. 

Most of the UK’s major supermarkets, delivery firms and some other retailers are on a hiring spree and applications are being fast tracked, with reports of overnight hires and next-day inductions. But it will reduce the amount of time you have for your job search.

THE DREADED CV

A CV should be no longer than two pages, most recent job first. Bullet- point key responsibilities and achievements under each role.

Make it clear you lost your latest job due to Covid-19, if applicable. Education can be included if you’re early on in your career. 

Tailor each one by looking at job descriptions for roles you are applying for and mirror them in your CV. Ask friends and family to read it over. Read theirs and pinch any good ideas.

STAY CALM

Redundancy can be a major blow to self-esteem. Emma Mano, head of workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind, says: ‘It is important to recognise that losing your job might not be a reflection on yourself. This is a global pandemic.’

[email protected]

Why you’re never too old to be an apprentice

Apprenticeships are typically viewed as a way into work for young people — but there is no upper age limit to applications and they can provide vital retraining for mid-life career changers.

Case study: Dilek Houghton 

Dilek Houghton says her IT apprenticeship has been a ‘great way to kick-start’ her career after she took time out to raise her young children.

Dilek’s previous work was in administrative roles. She found out about an apprenticeship with AstraZeneca.

The 37-year-old, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, is now halfway through the four-year scheme, which includes a fully-funded degree in digital and technology solutions at Manchester Metropolitan University.

‘It’s a great way to kick-start your career. All you need is the passion and right motivation.’

But Lee Jones, 38, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, warns some firms do put up an age barrier. The father-of-two is working for a parcel sorting warehouse, but wants to become an apprentice electrician.

He says he has applied to six schemes over five weeks but hasn’t heard back, while some providers have an age cap of 25.

Now could be the perfect time to take advantage thanks to a Government scheme to encourage businesses to take on 100,000 new apprentices in the next six months.

Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that, from August to January, any firm that hires a new apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2,000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.

All apprentices are paid a minimum of £4.15 per hour in their first year. Those aged 19 or over will be paid the national minimum wage after that.

Apprentices should receive 20 per cent of their training ‘off the job’, which also discourages firms from recruiting them as a cheaper option to full-time staff.

The Government says 91 per cent of apprentices stay in work or go on to further training.

But Ofsted inspection results for the nine months up to June 2020 show 42 per cent of apprenticeship providers in England were rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement.

The Government says two-thirds of apprentices go to providers rated as good or outstanding and says the disparity is due to the fact that there are a large number of new providers, which don’t necessarily have a large intake.

It adds that it has introduced a register for apprenticeship providers to regulate quality.

Despite the incentives, many employers are making apprentices redundant due to the pandemic, according to Darryn Lewis, of Find Apprenticeships.

But he adds: ‘Many training providers have adapted to offer remote training to be able to support the majority of learners and keep their courses running.’

The Advanced Learner Loan scheme can cover childcare or travel costs. The National Apprenticeship Services hosts networking events, while the website apprenticeshipguide.co.uk provides case studies and insight into both current and upcoming schemes.

A full list of Ofsted-approved apprenticeships can be found at download.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/roatp.

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Eight in ten shoppers vow to spend locally after lockdown

Eight in ten shoppers vow to spend locally after lockdown, research shows

Eight in ten shoppers plan to spend more in local stores after lockdown, research for Santander Bank has found.

In a boost for The Mail on Sunday’s drive to help small firms recover from the crisis, shoppers said they were willing to spend an extra £30 a month in local stores rather than big chains.

That would give an extra £1.6billion a month to small firms, the study found.

Shoppers said they were willing to spend an extra £30 a month in local stores rather than big chains

During lockdown, two in five adults spent nearly £10 a week more than usual in local businesses, the poll of 2,000 people found.

That was partly due to convenience and also because essential items were harder to find in supermarkets.

The findings will boost a sector that does not have the cash reserves of big chains.

To help, The Mail on Sunday’s parent company, Daily Mail and General Trust, offered small firms £5 million in free advertising in The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and Metro newspapers.

Some 1,500 firms received a tailored ad package worth £3,000 to boost sales.

Susan Davies, head of business banking at Santander, said: ‘Extra spending will help get the economy moving which is what is needed.’ 

UN committee looking into global insolvency practices runs low on cash

UN committee looking into global insolvency practices runs low on cash

The United Nations committee looking into global insolvency practices is gaining hands-on experience of running short of money.

Working group five of the UN Commission on International Trade Law has warned delegates to its next meeting that advance copies of key documents will not be available ‘due to the UN’s liquidity crisis’.

The group is examining insolvency regimes around the world to see how they serve – or don’t serve – small, medium-sized or micro businesses that go bust. 

A key part of the UN’s funding problems relates to actual and proposed actions by Donald Trump

It was due to meet in New York in May, but because of the coronavirus crisis will meet in Vienna this December.

A key part of the UN’s funding problems relates to actual and proposed actions by Donald Trump. 

On June 8, the US think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, warned: ‘The US remains the largest donor to the UN, contributing $10 billion in 2018, slightly less than a fifth of the UN’s collective budget.’

Until now, the president’s attempts to cut US spending on the UN have been largely frustrated by Congress, but it warns: ‘If proposed cuts to foreign aid spending go through, the UN is likely to undergo significant changes.’

Another £100bn stimulus as interest rates face a cut to zero

Bank of England could launch another £100bn stimulus as interest rates face a cut to zero

  • Economists expect rates are to remain at 0.1% when the Bank meets this week
  • But Bloomberg said markets are already beginning to price in a cut to negative 
  • Bank to publish a report this week into the prospect of negative rates

The Bank of England could launch a further stimulus package worth as much as £100billion before it cuts rates to below zero, economists are forecasting.

Economists say interest rates are likely to remain at 0.1 per cent when the Bank meets this week.

But data firm Bloomberg said the money markets are already beginning to price in a cut to negative in the second quarter next year. And one expert has even raised the possibility of the Bank at some point introducing restrictions on the use of cash.

Stimulus: The Bank of England could launch a further stimulus package worth as much as £100billion this week

A move to negative interest rates – the first time ever in Britain – would mean commercial banks being charged to lodge their money with the Bank, and those charges, in turn, would be passed on to their customers.

The hope would be that this would encourage banks to lend and prompt firms and households to spend rather than save, thus giving a lift to the economy. Bank governor Andrew Bailey is expected to publish a report this week into the prospect of negative rates after warning in June they were a possibility.

Since the onset of the crisis, the Bank has beefed up its programme of money creation, or ‘quantitative easing’ (QE), taking the total from £445billion to £745billion.

Howard Archer – chief economic adviser to the Item Club, which uses the Treasury’s computer model of the economy – said he expected more QE later in the year.

Douglas McWilliams – deputy chairman of the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research – said that with soaring levels of business failures and job losses expected between now and the middle of next year, we may well require a mixture of QE and negative rates just to keep the economy afloat.

But he warned that, without controls on the use of physical money, negative rates would simply see cash stored ‘under the mattress’. He added: ‘It will be interesting this week to see if the Bank suggests restrictions on cash usage.’

Bank governor Andrew Bailey is expected to publish a report this week into the prospect of negative rates

Bank governor Andrew Bailey is expected to publish a report this week into the prospect of negative rates

Such restrictions could range from a ban on cash, thought to be unlikely, through limiting ATM withdrawals, requiring all self-employed people to register for VAT, reducing higher denomination banknotes and encouraging the larger retail chains to phase out the acceptance of cash for anything other than small items.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: ‘I don’t think negative rates are imminent. But the Bank will need to produce more stimulus from somewhere. It will have to face the reality the recovery from earlier in the year is losing momentum.’