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Pound tumbles to 2021 low over fears of new Plan B virus curbs

·2 min read

Speculation that the Government could launch new Plan B coronavirus restrictions have caused the pound to drop to its lowest level in 2021 and weighed heavily on UK leisure firms.

Meanwhile, trade bodies have also warned that the reintroduction of further virus curbs could have a “devastating” impact on businesses across the country.

The Prime Minister is believed to be considering measures including guidance to work from home and the introduction of domestic vaccine passports for events and large venues.

However, Downing Street sources insisted on Wednesday that “no decisions have been made”.

Nevertheless, this was not enough to reassure London traders, who saw a heavy sell-off in the pound.

Sterling plunged to its lowest figure against the dollar in more than a year and also sank sharply against the euro over fears this potential action could restrict the UK’s economic recovery.

The pound moved 0.28% lower versus the US dollar at 1.319, and decreased 0.94% against the euro at 1.165.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 stayed marginally higher despite a slide in value among many travel and leisure stocks.

Travel operators Jet2, National Express and EasyJet all also swung lower.

Meanwhile, Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group moved 2.6% lower and Cineworld slipped by 4.1%.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) also warned that leisure firms should ”not be thrown under the bus” with restrictions which will hit the recovering sector.

The trade body’s chief executive Michael Kill added: “The pre-Christmas period is absolutely crucial for our sector and reports today that Plan B including vaccine passports will have a devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic.

“The Government’s own report on the subject concluded that vaccine passports wouldn’t even have a significant impact on virus transmission.

“You do, therefore, have to question the timing and rationale for this announcement.

“Is this sound evidence-based public policy making, or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing Street Christmas party?

“Nightclubs and bars must not be thrown under the bus for the Prime Minister to save his own skin.”

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