Good morning, it's Paul here with the SCVR for Tuesday.

Timing - I've barely paused for breath, and 5 hours has gone! It's amazing how time flies when you're immersed in RNSs and market action. Update at 12:20 - I've got plenty more to do, and want to fit in a walk in the sunshine at some point, so let's say 4pm finish time today. Today's report is now finished.

Lockdown 3 is upon us, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone - it was obvious that restrictions would have to be tightened further, so it really shouldn't make much difference to share prices. If anything, it was slightly better than I expected, because the Prime Minister said that the most vulnerable groups should be vaccinated by mid-Feb, add 3 weeks for the vaccines to take effect, which implies an easing of restrictions somewhat possibly in early March? Previously we had been told it would be end March, early April (Easter time). He also talked about schools re-opening in mid-February.

Despite widespread criticism of the Government, the authorities here in the UK have at least so far been highly effective at approving, ordering, and administering, vaccines. Compare that with lamentable progress in France & Germany, where there is uproar at the sluggish, indecisive, and clearly incompetent approach of combining their efforts via the EU Commission (at the insistence of Merkel apparently, who seems to have lost the plot completely, once again putting political dogma before the interests of the people she's supposed to be representing). Leading to Germany, the country which was pivotal in creating the first vaccine, not ordering enough for its own people. Things are going at a snail's (!!!) pace in France too. All rather ironic, given that we were falsely warned that it was supposed to be the UK experiencing shortages of medicine after Brexit! Layers of unnecessary bureaucracy don't tend to make things more streamlined, in my experience. So this seems a good example of where we can do a better job on our own. So well done to the authorities in the UK for being more nimble & effective than the lumbering EU bureaucracy. Sorry if this upsets anyone, but it's clearly true, and the truth hurts sometimes.

In terms of profitability, I calculate that many retailers & hospitality companies would be probably no worse off closed & claiming furlough grants, than open…

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