«Shortening trading hours has the potential to improve wellbeing and diversity on our trading floors and ultimately to deliver better outcomes for our clients,» said Galina Dimitrova, director for investment and capital markets at the Investment Association.
«The fact that the majority of respondents to the LSE’s consultation on market trading hours agree, adds further weight to the argument that it is time to reduce trading hours.»
The proposal would mean markets would trade for seven hours as opposed to eight and a half. By contrast, US exchanges are open for six and a half hours and Asian exchanges for six.
Traders are typically in the office from as early as 06:00 and may not finish until 18:30, said April Day, managing director of equities at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, which also backs the move.
«We believe shorter hours would concentrate trading, which is at times quite thinly stretched over the current unnecessarily long hours, particularly given the efficiencies brought by increased automation,» she said.
Before the proposal can be taken further, the LSE said it will await the result of consultations taking place in Europe. Rival stock exchange firm Euronext is also asking members what they think.
«A significant majority of respondents agreed that a reduction of market hours could lead to improvements in diversity and wellbeing,» an LSE spokesperson said.
«There was also widespread consensus from respondents that any change to trading hours would ideally require a broadly aligned approach across European exchanges and other trading venues.»
EasyJet says it hopes to resume flights on 75% of its route network by the end of August, although the number of daily services will still be significantly down for a normal summer season.
The airline is already starting limited services this month, as it adjusts to the coronavirus collapse in air travel.
Customers and cabin crew must wear face masks, and no food will be served.
EasyJet is axing 4,500 jobs, and could be ejected from the FTSE 100 this week because its share price has tumbled.
However, news of a slow return to services, along with what the airline claimed was its biggest ever summer promotion, helped to push EasyJet’s share price 2.75% higher on Tuesday.
EasyJet said half of its network would be reopened by the end of July, increasing to 75% during August.
«Flights will be at a lower frequency than normal, meaning the airline will operate at around 30% of its normal capacity between July and September,» the airline said.
The carrier said services would operate from all its UK bases.
EasyJet previously announced it would resume operations on 15 June, with flights mainly restricted to domestic routes in the UK and France.
Rival Ryanair has operated a very limited schedule of flights during the pandemic, and has said it is planning to resume 40% of its «normal flight schedules» in July.
EasyJet is introducing a series of safety measures, including requiring passengers to wear face masks at airports and on aircraft.
It has produced thousands of face mask covers inspired by comic books to be handed to children flying on selected routes in an attempt to ease their anxiety about the new rule.
Other steps to boost hygiene include not selling food during flights, enhanced cleaning of planes, and disinfection wipes and hand sanitiser being provided.
Passengers will be invited to sit away from people not in their party on flights with empty seats.
EasyJet’s chief commercial and planning officer, Robert Carey, said: «We are delighted to announce that we will be flying the majority of our route network across Europe, meaning customers can still get to their chosen destination for their summer holidays this year.»
The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors since the UK and other countries went into lockdown. Aviation bosses are in talks with the UK government about controversial quarantine measures
And on Monday, Spain’s tourism minister cast doubt on the prospect of an early return by UK holidaymakers to Spanish beaches.
María Reyes Maroto said British coronavirus figures «still have to improve» before Spain could receive tourists from the UK.
EasyJet says its planned destinations include Spain and other major European tourist hotspots, but the final list and timings will only emerge as various country restrictions are eased and customer demand increases. «There are a lot of moving parts,» a spokesman said.
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The government is looking at ways to relax the 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK over the coming months, BBC Newsnight has learnt.
From Monday, most people arriving by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – must self-isolate.
But some MPs and businesses have expressed concern at the plan, warning it will damage the travel industry.
One government source told Newsnight that ministers were looking at ways around the coronavirus quarantine.
This could include expanding the list of workers who are exempt from the 14-day rule, or travel corridors to countries with low infection rates, which the government has previously said it was considering.
Any changes would be guided by the science but one possible date for a relaxation to the rule could be 20 July, coinciding with school holidays, Newsnight was told.
The ONS figures show there were 2,589 deaths in the week ending 22 May, which was the lowest weekly number for seven weeks. The figures show that overall, there have been around 286,700 deaths this year – some 43,800 have been attributed to coronavirus.
The quarantine measures come into force on 8 June, although some professions are exempt, such as lorry drivers, police officers, seasonal farm workers, and healthcare professionals.
Also exempt will be people coming from the Irish Republic, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Travellers will have to tell the UK government where they will be staying and if they do not provide an address, officials will arrange accommodation.
In England, there will be random spot checks and £1,000 fines, while governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can impose their own penalties.
Housing minister Simon Clarke told BBC Breakfast that the quarantine policy was «a proportionate step» which would minimise the risk of new cases coming into the UK «just at the time that we are getting a grip on it».
He said it was a «temporary, time-limited measure», but added that it was «vital» it was introduced for as long as required.
The plan is expected to be set out in more detail when it is laid before Parliament this week. MPs are returning to Westminster on Tuesday after weeks of proceedings taking place virtually.
Extra guidance about what arrivals would be allowed to do is also expected to be set out, including that travellers will be allowed to take public transport if they are unable to get to their accommodation by any other means.
The quarantine plan is due to be reviewed every three weeks, with the first review due at the end of June.
Announcing the plan last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would «reduce the risk of cases crossing our border».
But there has been criticism from some of the government’s own MPs as well as the travel and aviation industry.
One former cabinet minister told Newsnight the idea was «daft» and suggested the government will not «go to the stake on this».
The group of firms – including hotel The Ritz and upmarket travel agent Kuoni – want the government to instead introduce «air bridges», an arrangement which would allow visitors from low-risk countries into the UK without having to quarantine for 14 days.
Last month, the bosses of airlines including EasyJet, Tui, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic also said they had «serious reservations» about a «blanket approach» to all arrivals into Britain.
The idea of «air bridges» has been around since 18 May, when Transport Secretary Grant told MPs that the government was looking at striking exemption deals with countries with low infection rates.
If the government can agree a series of «air bridge» agreements, then they wouldn’t necessarily replace the quarantine altogether.
This is about moving from a blanket travel quarantine – only the Republic of Ireland will be exempt initially – on 8 June to something more nuanced in a few weeks’ time.
One government source told the BBC that «a lot of work» was currently being done on securing safe travel corridors from certain low-risk countries.
The ambition from certain people in government is that some of these will be in place by the first review date of 29 June.
Testing people for coronavirus when they arrive into the UK from higher risk countries is also being considered.
At the weekend, former environment secretary Theresa Villiers told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour she thought quarantine rules should be targeted on flights «from Covid hotspots».
She also said the government was «actively looking at air bridges».
BBC transport correspondent Tom Burridge said reports in the Portuguese media «suggest an air bridge with Portugal is on the cards».
But, he added, the UK is behind other countries in Europe in terms of controlling the virus and so, in negotiations, «the ball might not be in the UK’s court».
A UK government spokesman previously said: «These cross-government public health measures are designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.
«All of our decisions have been based on the latest scientific evidence.
«The list of exemptions has been agreed by all government departments in consultation with their stakeholders which will ensure critical supplies and services can continue and will be kept under review.»
It comes as the number of people who have died after testing positive for the virus in the UK reached 39,045.
MPs return to Westminster on Tuesday following the Whitsun recess after the government dropped virtual proceedings. The Commons Speaker has urged MPs to agree on a plan to allow all members to continue to take part in Parliament, including those with health conditions
House prices fell 1.7% in May from the previous month, the largest monthly fall for 11 years, according to the Nationwide.
Annual house price growth halved from 3.7% to 1.8%, as the coronavirus crisis hit market activity.
The latest HMRC data showed that residential property transactions fell 53% in April compared with 2019.
«The medium-term outlook for the housing market remains highly uncertain,» the Nationwide warned.
«We have already seen a sharp economic contraction as a result of the necessary measures adopted to suppress the spread of the virus,» said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.
But he pointed out that the raft of policies adopted to support the economy should «set the stage for a rebound once the shock passes» and help limit long-term damage.
«These same measures should also help ensure the impact on the housing market will ultimately be less than would normally be associated with an economic shock of this magnitude,» he predicted.
The big month-to-month drop in Nationwide’s house price index in May – the largest since February 2009 – «is just the start of a protracted decline over the remainder of this year,» warned Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Before the pandemic struck the UK, the housing market had been steadily gathering momentum, the Nationwide said.
Activity levels and price growth were edging up thanks to continued robust labour market conditions, low borrowing costs and a more stable political backdrop following the general election.
«Behavioural changes and social distancing are likely to impact the flow of housing transactions for some time,» Mr Gardner said.
Recent Nationwide research suggested that one in eight people had put off moving because of the lockdown.
But the majority saw the current situation as a temporary pause in the market, with would-be buyers planning to wait six months on average before looking to enter the market.
Early indicators of housing demand have picked up since in-person property viewings were permitted again on 13 May, said Pantheon Macroeconomics.
It said the daily volume of Google searches for the three main property portals had increased to be just 13% below its pre-lockdown level, having been down 50% in April.
«Relatively few people likely will be forced to sell their homes, given that mortgage payment holidays are easily available and home ownership has declined,» said Mr Tombs.
«Nonetheless, the huge size of the blow from Covid-19 to households’ incomes and the deterioration in consumers’ confidence suggests that house prices must drop.»
He predicted a 5% fall in prices by the end of the third quarter of the year.
Support for struggling borrowers
The UK’s financial watchdog has confirmed the support firms should give to mortgage customers who are either coming to the end of a payment holiday or who are yet to request one.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said last month that homeowners struggling financially due to coronavirus would be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or cut payments.
On Tuesday, it confirmed customers yet to apply for a payment holiday have until 31 October 2020 to do so. Meanwhile the current ban on lender repossessions of homes will be continued to 31 October.
«The measures we have confirmed today will mean anyone who needs to can get help from their lender, if they are still struggling to pay their mortgage due to coronavirus,» said Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive at the FCA.
«It is important that if a consumer can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so. Customers should talk to their firm about the best option available for them.»