Return to work: a sector-by-sector look at the plans of England’s major employers

Companies can return to work from 1 August, but many employers are making their own plans

Major companies in England have been told that, from 1 August, they can discuss with workers whether it is safe to return to work. Up until now, the government had asked all employees to work from home where possible.

In addition, the advice in England to avoid public transport is being scrapped. However, some of the largest office occupiers in the country do not appear to be in a rush to return to their workplaces, with many waiting for the end of the school summer holidays at the start of September. And some will be waiting until 2021 at the earliest before they consider asking homebound employees to return to their offices. Here we take a sector-by-sector look at some major employers and their working plans.

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What on earth is the boss of AstraZeneca up to with his approach to Gilead? | Nils Pratley

Pascal Soriot heroically defended the company against Pfizer, but now he needs to calm his investors

It’s hard to keep AstraZeneca out of the headlines. A booming share price made the company the biggest in the FTSE 100 index last month, albeit Shell is now marginally in front again. More significantly, the group is in the vanguard of Covid-fighting efforts by helping Oxford University develop a vaccine and then, we hope, produce a successful product in massive volumes.

Now, though, comes something different: a Bloomberg report of an approach last month to Gilead of the US to create a new pharma giant. Nobody expects a deal to happen, it should be said. The proposal, if that’s what it was, seems to have been tentative and no talks are in progress now.

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