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19 Feb 2021 | 07:25

Friday newspaper round-up: employment reforms, Arcadia, Woodford

(Sharecast News) - The government has been accused of dragging its heels on promised reforms to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy as legislation to protect workers faces serious delays. New legislation intended to bolster protections for Britain's most vulnerable workers will not be ready until the end of the year at the earliest, raising fresh questions about the government's promise to protect workers' rights after Brexit. - Guardian Philip Green's Arcadia Group had a pension deficit of £510m - about £150m more than expected - when the fashion retailer collapsed in November, according to documents seen by the Guardian. In all, Arcadia Group Ltd, the parent company of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Miss Selfridge, owed creditors £800m when it called in administrators, according to a statement of the group's financial affairs prepared by Arcadia's board and sent to creditors this week. - Guardian

Rishi Sunak is set to extend two ­crucial lifelines to companies battered by ongoing Covid restrictions by keeping the furlough scheme going until the summer and prolonging the business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. In next month's Budget the Chancellor is expected to announce the continuation of business rates relief beyond the end of March, when it was due to expire. - Telegraph

MPs have increased the pressure on the City regulator over its investigation into the Neil Woodford affair and will consider calls for an independent inquiry into the debacle. Woodford said at the weekend that he planned to stage a comeback by starting a new investment business. However, that has led to criticism of the Financial Conduct Authority over the time it has taken to review the events that led to the implosion of the stockpicker's £3.7 billion Woodford Equity Income Fund. The demise of the fund effectively began in June 2019, when its investors were blocked from making withdrawals, but the FCA has still to finish its investigation. - The Times
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