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Business briefing: Bank ‘saved Britain going bust’ at start of pandemic

THE Bank of England saved Britain from effective bankruptcy as the coronavirus crisis first took hold of the economy, according to its governor.

If the Bank had not intervened during the market ‘meltdown’ in March the government would have struggled to stay solvent, Andrew Bailey (pictured) said.

He also warned that many viable British companies will not survive the pandemic recession — a signal the economy will be left permanently scarred.

‘We basically had a pretty near meltdown of some of the core financial markets,’ Mr Bailey told Sky News.

‘We had a lot of volatility… the core exchange rate, core government bond markets.

‘We were seeing things that were pretty unprecedented, certainly in recent times. And we were facing serious disorder.’ Describing the early prospects as ‘very bad’, he added: ‘I think [without intervention] we would have a situation where in the worst element, the government would have struggled to fund itself in the short run.’

Speaking to Sky’s podcast The World Tomorrow, Mr Bailey said the dislocation in markets prompted the Bank to intervene with £200billion of quantitative easing — the biggest single cash injection in its history.

He also said that the UK needs to brace itself for the end of the jobs miracle that has seen unemployment drop below four per cent, and that the structure of the economy would be changed by the crisis.

Fears for Go Outdoors jobs as JD Sports considers its future

JD SPORTS has filed for protection for its ailing subsidiary Go Outdoors to keep creditors at bay while it considers its future.

The camping and hiking specialist, which employs around 2,400 people in the UK, has gained a ten-day moratorium so creditors cannot take legal action without court permission.

Yesterday JD Sports said the group had ‘considered a number of strategic options’ but added ‘administrators have not yet been appointed’. Go Outdoors, which sells waterproof clothing, tents and camping equipment, suffered hugely during lockdown as all its 67 stores were closed and it relies mostly on physical sales.

The business, bought by JD Sports for £112million in 2016, also faced some problems before the pandemic. It opened a warehouse in Cheshire in February last year, but later admitted that hurt its ability to replenish shops.

BUSINESS BITES

■ PENSION tax relief benefits higher earners and is less favourable towards women, the lower paid and younger workers, the Association of British Insurers says. It wants the system simplified to make it fairer.

■ MORE women are applying for front-line roles at Thames Water after it changed ‘masculine coded’ words in job adverts. Ditching terms such as ‘competitive’ and ‘champion’ saw a 46 per cent rise in female applicants.

■ MOTHERCARE’S temporary boss will step down at the end of June. Glyn Hughes was made CEO at the start of the year, and refocused the chain on ‘brand management’ after all 79 of its UK branches shut.