Your commercial news round-up: UK digital currency, Uber, covid-19 vaccinations, Google

updated on 11 November 2021

Reading time: three minutes

Excellent commercial awareness is a key skill that all law firms look for in their future lawyers. What steps are you taking to develop yours? We have summarised some of the week’s commercial news below for you.

  • A consultation on a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC) is set to take place as the UK takes steps towards creating digital money. In 2022 The Bank of England (BoE) and the Treasury will evaluate the digital currency’s design and its potential benefits, despite no concrete plans to introduce the UK CBDC yet. The UK CBDC would not replace cash and bank deposits but instead sit alongside them to be used by households and businesses, according to BBC News. The BoE released a statement regarding the consultation: "A technical specification would follow the consultation explaining the proposed conceptual architecture for any CBDC.

"This could involve in-depth testing of the optimal design for, and feasibility of, a UK CBDC.”

  • In other crypto news, the price of bitcoin has rocketed to £50,000 – a new high – and is predicted to rise further over the next few weeks, according to analysts. Still the world’s largest digital currency, bitcoin has a market value of more than $1.1 trillion. The price of ethereum has also risen to a new high of $4,837.
  • Uber fares will rise by 10% in Greater London from Thursday 11 November, with the ride-hailing firm’s minimum price in the capital rising from £5 to £5.50. Meanwhile, a 25% increase in prices for “peak time” airport trips has also been revealed, according to the Evening Standard. An Uber spokesperson explained that the changes are being made “to help provide a better rider experience, by signing up more drivers to meet the growing demand.” They added: “We know people rely on Uber to book a safe trip around London and this small fare increase will help reduce wait times. As always riders will get a fare estimate before booking their journey.” Last week we reported on Uber’s collaboration with Tesla to supply London drivers with electric vehicles.
  • Covid-19 vaccinations will become mandatory for frontline NHS staff and those who work in social care (including volunteers) from April, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced. Between 80% to 90% of NHS staff have received at least two doses of the vaccine, with recent data revealing that more than 103,000 NHS staff and 105,000 domiciliary care workers are still yet to be vaccinated. The health secretary said: "We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself.”
  • In 2017 the EU’s Antitrust Chief Margrethe Vestager accused Google of abusing its market power to provide an “illegal advantage” to its own comparison-shopping service. On Wednesday, Google lost its appeal against the €2.42 billion EU competition fine as the General Court of Luxembourg ruled that the tech company’s search results do favour “its own comparison-shopping service over competing services”. Following the judgment, the tech company claimed that in 2017 it had made changes to comply with the European Commission’s decision. It is likely that the ruling will be appealed, according to the Financial Times.

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