Economic optimism lifts markets, but some workers fear return to office – business live

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A Bank of England digital currency for the UK has moved a step closer after the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a top-level taskforce to explore the benefits and risks of the idea.

Sunak said a joint Treasury-Bank of England taskforce was being set up as part of a range of measures designed to boost the City following Britain’s departure from the EU.

Speaking at a financial industry conference, the chancellor said a taskforce jointly led by the Bank’s deputy governor for financial stability, Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury’s director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick, would “coordinate exploratory work”.

Sunak said he wanted the City to be at the forefront of innovation and to take advantage of regulatory freedom after Brexit. The Treasury said two new forums would be established to engage technical experts and key stakeholders including financial institutions, retailers, businesses, civil society groups and consumers.

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A “David versus Goliath” legal action gets under way at the high court on Monday as hospitality bosses try to force the UK government to bring forward the reopening date for pubs and restaurants indoors.

A judge will this week consider evidence in the case brought by Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and a co-founder of Parklife festival, and Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns and a former boss at Pizza Express. The case has been expedited.

Pubs and restaurants in England were allowed to welcome customers again from 12 April after a national lockdown, but only in outdoor areas. Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on the same day.

The government has set out a timetable aiming to allow hospitality customers indoors in England no earlier than 17 May, although still with restrictions. Other nations of the UK have varying timetables for reopening….