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Rishi Sunak has vowed to help businesses through the cost-of-living crisis as he launches a scheme aimed at small firms that want to boost their technology.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, the Chancellor said he was ‘looking at lots of things’ to support companies and households as they battle with the soaring cost of energy.

Data released this week showed inflation hitting a 30-year high, and Sunak admitted that shortages of staff and rocketing prices were causing real issues for families and business owners around the country.

In an exclusive interview, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was ¿looking at lots of things¿ to support companies and households as they battle with the soaring cost of energy

In an exclusive interview, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was ‘looking at lots of things’ to support companies and households as they battle with the soaring cost of energy

But he said he was ‘cognisant of the challenges’, and promised the Treasury was throwing ‘a boatload of cash’ at new initiatives designed to help companies find staff, ramp up their growth and give workers the chance to retrain in more lucrative industries.

Sunak’s promises to business came as he toured Stoke-on-Trent, meeting workers at a cinema and bowling alley complex in Uttoxeter and visiting the former Spode pottery works, which have transformed into a heritage centre with the help of Government funding.

Munching on a bucket of popcorn at 8.30am from the Cinebowl’s snack bar – ‘Probably the earliest I’ve eaten popcorn’ – Sunak said Britain was in a much healthier position than anyone had expected post-pandemic.

He also denied that ‘Partygate’, the series of lockdown-busting boozy events hosted by No 10, was detracting from the Government’s efforts to rebuild the economy post-Covid.

Business leaders were remarkably positive, he added.

‘There’s actually an enormous amount of optimism and positivity about the future – you can see that if you look at some of the investment or business surveys. 

That’s a great sign of positive confidence in the economy and the future. Hiring intentions are very positive. That’s the backdrop.’

Sunak’s latest scheme, Help to Grow: Digital, is designed to ‘capitalise on that momentum’.

It will give small businesses employing between five and 249 people a £5,000 voucher to buy software that helps them manage their customer relations or handle their accounts. 

He said: ‘We’re really good in this country at technology in aggregate. We’re less good at filtering it all down and helping companies make the best of it.

‘What we’ve seen through the pandemic is a huge step change in companies that had to become more digitally savvy. We saw this phenomenal opportunity to capitalise on that momentum and just help them even more.’

The scheme comes as the UK tries to solve its productivity problem. The UK currently lags behind the US, France and Germany and is roughly on a par with Italy in terms of output per worker.

One of the best ways to improve productivity is by updating businesses technology so that workers have the tools to be faster and more efficient.

But Sunak accepted that businesses have more pressing issues than technology. Access to labour and staff was the issue that had been raised the most, he said, adding that ‘we are looking actively at what we can do to make a difference there’.

He said: ‘The long-term answer to that is investing in people, investing in their skills, giving them the opportunities to get new skills and find new jobs, and we’re throwing a boatload of cash and new initiatives behind that. That won’t happen overnight but it will be very positive going forward.’

The Chancellor refused to be drawn on his ambitions for No 10, preferring to stick to issues concerning the economy.

‘That’s not what they want to talk to me about,’ he said.

But he did admit that inflation, or rises in the cost of living, were becoming a real thorn in the side of households and firms across the country.

Retail veteran Lord Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, said that ‘inflation is the thing that’s looming over the horizon’.

Speaking on radio station LBC’s Nick Ferrari At Breakfast show, Rose said: ‘It’s the thing we need to worry about most. It is not going to be easy and I do believe it will last more than 18 months.’

Energy prices have been one of the biggest contributors to inflation, as demand spiked when factories and businesses returned to normal after lockdowns. The problem has been worsened by lower gas exports from Russia as tensions mount over Ukraine.

With the average family’s gas and electricity bill set to hit £2,000 a year from April, Labour has suggested VAT on energy be cut to zero, and the Government is understood to be considering making payments to energy suppliers to ease the burden on consumers.

Sunak declined to say what shape any support might take. But he said: ‘We’re looking at lots of different things, we’re talking to lots of different businesses.

‘For energy intensive industries it’s worth bearing in mind that we already have a set of support in place. But of course I’m cognisant of the challenges which is why we’re constantly talking to people and listening to them.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Let the Sandbanks battle begin! Would you choose a £750k two-bed flat or a £1.3m four-bed house on the famous peninsula?

  • Which luxury property for sale in Sandbanks, Dorset, would you choose?
  • One is a two-bed flat with its own private garden and a price tag of £750k
  • The other is a four-bedroom house that is on the market for just shy of £1.3m










Sandbanks is home to some of the most expensive properties in the country and hits all the right notes for buyers looking to move out of the city to a coastal location.

It boasts sandy beaches, far-reaching sea views, and a limited housing supply, something that helps to keep demand – and prices – high.

Many of the older homes in the area have been demolished to make way for modern properties that would not look out of place on the Californian coastline.  

We take a look at two properties for sale in Sandbanks, Dorset, and ask - as part of our Property Battle series - which one would you prefer to buy?

We take a look at two properties for sale in Sandbanks, Dorset, and ask – as part of our Property Battle series – which one would you prefer to buy

But you will need deep pockets to purchase a property in this affluent location on the south coast where the average house price has risen £56,571 in the past year to reach £1,628,772, according to Zoopla.

We take a look at two properties for sale in Sandbanks, Dorset, and ask – as part of our Property Battle series – which one would you prefer to buy? 

Two-bed flat, £750k

This two-bedroom apartment has its own private garden and costs £750,000, with the sale being handled by Fine & Country estate agents

This two-bedroom apartment has its own private garden and costs £750,000, with the sale being handled by Fine & Country estate agents

The flat is part of secure gated development with an allocated parking space and is just over 300 metres from Sandbanks' sandy beaches

The flat is part of secure gated development with an allocated parking space and is just over 300 metres from Sandbanks’ sandy beaches

Pets are allowed at the property, along with holiday lets, meaning that it could be used to generate an income

Pets are allowed at the property, along with holiday lets, meaning that it could be used to generate an income

The first property is a two-bedroom apartment that costs £750,000 and is just over 300 metres from Sandbanks’ sandy beaches.

The flat is part of secure gated development with an allocated parking space, and its own private garden.

Pets are allowed at the property, along with holiday lets, meaning that it could be used to generate an income. It is being sold by Fine & Country estate agents.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘This modern apartment is the perfect home for a buyer looking to make the most of living in an enviable location right in the heart of Sandbanks.

‘This property benefits from the best of both worlds and is located a stone’s throw from the area’s award-winning and bustling sandy beaches, yet also benefits from being situated within a secure gated development.’

Four-bed house, £1,295,000

This modern house costs £1,295,000 and is 450 yards to the sandy beaches, with the sale being handled by Fine & Country estate agents

This modern house costs £1,295,000 and is 450 yards to the sandy beaches, with the sale being handled by Fine & Country estate agents

The luxury home boasts under floor heating throughout, and four bedrooms - including this one with a large window

The luxury home boasts under floor heating throughout, and four bedrooms – including this one with a large window

The house has a landscaped garden that provides the perfect space for entertaining friends and family

The house has a landscaped garden that provides the perfect space for entertaining friends and family

The second property is a modern house that costs £1,295,000 that is 450 yards to the sandy beaches.

It is part of a development of six homes called Blue Waters that each extend across three floors.

The house boasts under floor heating throughout, four bedrooms with en-suites, and a secure double garage.

It also has landscaped gardens at the front and at the rear of the property, providing the perfect space for entertaining friends and family. It is being sold via Fine & Country estate agents.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘This spectacular home wouldn’t look out of place on the Californian coastline with its sleek, contemporary exterior and beautifully landscaped gardens.

‘It’s also the perfect place for entertaining family and friends for summer barbeques and dinner parties, with the property’s open plan kitchen and dining area leading through bi-fold doors into the garden.’

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This is the year when Netflix, Disney+, Amazon and the other streaming services appear determined to demonstrate to sceptical investors that there really is no business like show business. 

These giants are set to spend more than $230bn on films and other content in 2022, double the total of a decade ago, according to the Ampere Analysis consultancy

But the scale of this expenditure, which aims to capture more subscribers and earn a lot more revenue from them, is turning a spotlight on the sector at a time of heightened scrutiny of all tech stocks. 

Streaming, which gained a huge fanbase during lockdowns, is becoming an ever more competitive sphere. 

Other names in the fray include Viacom CBS – owner of Paramount – and Warner Media, whose HBO Max gave us Succession, the family drama about the powerful media-owning Roy clan. 

Warner Media is merging with Discovery this year to create yet another contender. 

There is a particular focus on the ambitions of Apple which became, albeit briefly, a $3trillion company earlier this month. 

The group, whose Apple TV division has delivered such shows as Ted Lasso, is something of a bit part player but could easily afford to splurge billions more than its rivals in the streaming wars. 

Shares in the market leader Netflix, maker of Bridgerton, Emily In Paris and many other hits, have recently dipped. Some enthusiasts see this as an opportunity to back a company whose shares have soared by 5000 per cent to $530 over a decade. 

But, given Apple’s ample finances, is it wise to back Netflix, a $259billion business.

It will need to deliver more hits like the surprise 2021 smash Squid Game and also make a success of video games. 

Squid Game, a Korean drama about a contest where competitors play deadly versions of a children’s game, could be a metaphor for the current state of the streaming sector, in which survival will be tough and more consolidation highly likely. 

The market senses that the big profits may have now been made and that future gains will be hard won. Many agree with the assessment of Michael Nathanson of analysts Moffett Nathanson. 

He says: ‘We think we are at the cusp of an inflection in investor thinking. This isn’t a business for the faint of heart, the short-termers, or those constricted by non ethereal worries like free cash flow or net debt.’ 

Investing in any aspect of entertainment is always a thrill ride. I have shares in Walt Disney and Netflix is in some funds I hold. 

It is also in the portfolios of several well-known investment trusts, like Alliance, F&C, Polar Capital Technology and Witan, and is held by Monks and Scottish Mortgage, two trusts in the Baillie Gifford stable. 

Among the challenges facing combatants in the streaming wars is heightened US regulatory scrutiny of tech companies.

One deal that could be affected is Amazon’s $8.45billion purchase of MGM, a deal struck in order to turn the studio’s major asset James Bond into a Marveltype franchise. 

The kingdom of Walt Disney may encompass Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, Pixar and other franchises whose global appeal is supported by its resorts and theme parks. 

Yet its shares have fallen by 13 per cent to $152 over the past 12 months largely because Wall Street appears to be unsure whether Bob Chapek, who took over as chief executive a year ago, has the superpower to arrest the slowdown in sign-ups to Disney+. 

This doubt has led Morgan Stanley to lower its target price for the shares from $210 to $185, posing the question: ‘Disney has the content goods, can it execute?’ 

Goldman Sachs’s target is $205. Netflix’s growth has also been less stellar after its pandemic surge in 2020 when it added about 37m new subscribers.

In next month’s full-year results, it should announce that it has 222m worldwide, a respectable but not remarkable rise of 18.4m. 

Already there is talk that the UK may be at ‘peak Netflix’. 

Younger demographics have been won over, but older generations are more resistant, hinting that the 25-year-old company may be entering ‘its mature phase’, in the sense that early rapid expansion could be coming to an end. 

David Coombs of Rathbones says that households of all ages may limit their expenditure on subscriptions to these services as cost of living increases bite, instead relying more on free services such as those from the BBC and Channel 4. 

There will be much focus on subscriber numbers for all the companies in the streaming business over the next few months. 

A decline will hit share prices, presenting a chance to buy if you have nerves of steel. 

Long term, the performance could be dazzling but there will be many shocks and surprises on the way. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Hordes of rampaging wild monkeys have been terrorising a town in Thailand as they become hooked on sugary drinks while waffling down bananas.

The town of Lopburi, around 90 miles north of the capital Bangkok, is well-known for its monkey population which brings tourists from around the world, with locals even holding an annual festival to honour the primates. 

But since tourists began to return to Thailand after coronavirus restrictions were eased in November, Lopburi’s monkeys – whose numbers multiplied considerably during the pandemic – have enjoyed much greater access to sugar-filled snacks and drinks. 

Now, the streets of the city are ravaged by thousands of the sugar fuelled macaques, who compete violently for food and territory.

Footage taken on Tuesday shows dozens of animals roaming the streets, jumping on cars, climbing on humans and even stealing their food and belongings. 

The startling video shows locals handing out plastic tubes filled with sugar and syrup and the monkeys can be seen sucking them dry before going after a man handing out bananas.  

Their total lack of fear for humans means monkeys exhibit extremely bold behaviour, clambering across the windshields of moving vehicles and jumping all over bystanders in the street.

Locals say there are even rival gangs that mark their territory – resulting in clashes when the animals meet. 

Hordes of rampaging wild monkeys have been terrorising a town in Thailand as they become hooked on sugary drinks while waffling down bananas

Hordes of rampaging wild monkeys have been terrorising a town in Thailand as they become hooked on sugary drinks while waffling down bananas

A monkey is seen slurping from a plastic tube filled with syrup handed out by a local.  The monkeys multiplied considerably during the pandemic and their constant diet of sugary snacks has made them hyperactive and more eager to breed

A monkey is seen slurping from a plastic tube filled with syrup handed out by a local.  The monkeys multiplied considerably during the pandemic and their constant diet of sugary snacks has made them hyperactive and more eager to breed

Since tourists began to return to Thailand after coronavirus restrictions were eased in November, Lopburi's monkeys - whose numbers multiplied considerably during the pandemic - have enjoyed much greater access to sugar-filled snacks and drinks, as well as their staple bananas

Since tourists began to return to Thailand after coronavirus restrictions were eased in November, Lopburi’s monkeys – whose numbers multiplied considerably during the pandemic – have enjoyed much greater access to sugar-filled snacks and drinks, as well as their staple bananas

The monkeys' lack of fear for humans has seen them clamber all over bystanders and in some cases fight to steal food and belongings. A woman is seen standing outside of a shop, looking on disapprovingly as a monkey grips her head

The monkeys’ lack of fear for humans has seen them clamber all over bystanders and in some cases fight to steal food and belongings. A woman is seen standing outside of a shop, looking on disapprovingly as a monkey grips her head

Their total lack of fear for humans means monkeys exhibit extremely bold behaviour, clambering across the windshields of moving vehicles and jumping all over bystanders in the street

Their total lack of fear for humans means monkeys exhibit extremely bold behaviour, clambering across the windshields of moving vehicles and jumping all over bystanders in the street

Government officials have tried to control the wild monkey population in recent years but have been unable to curb the numbers as the animals continue to multiply. 

Large numbers of monkeys were sterilised in 2020 as part of a government programme after their numbers spiralled out of control during the pandemic.

Wildlife department officers lured the animals into cages with fruit and take them to a clinic where they were anaesthetised, sterilised and left with a tattoo to mark their neutering – but the authorities simply can’t keep up.

The coronavirus lockdowns gave the macaques even more space to roam freely around the city and the surrounding area, and with well-meaning locals keeping them fed in the absence of tourists, the population exploded. 

Environmental officer Narongporn Daudduem said the department has a long-term plan to build a sanctuary in another part of the city but plans are likely be met with resistance from some of the residents who don’t want the primates living near them.

‘We need to do a survey of the people living in the area first,’ said Narongporn Daudduem from the wildlife department.

‘It’s like dumping garbage in front of their houses and asking them if they’re happy or not.’

Supakarn Kaewchot, a government veterinarian, said: ‘The monkeys are so used to having tourists feed them and the city provides no space for them to fend for themselves.

‘With the tourists gone, they’ve been more aggressive, fighting humans for food to survive. They’re invading buildings and forcing locals to flee their homes.’

A marauding macaque who has invaded a local shop grips a juice carton in its teeth. The fearless species rules the streets around the Prang Sam Yod temple in the centre of Lopburi, patrolling the tops of walls and brazenly ripping the rubber seals from car doors

A marauding macaque who has invaded a local shop grips a juice carton in its teeth. The fearless species rules the streets around the Prang Sam Yod temple in the centre of Lopburi, patrolling the tops of walls and brazenly ripping the rubber seals from car doors

A troop of macaques invades a shop. People have sought to appease them with junk food, but the sugary diet has frenzied them and caused them to breed more quickly

A troop of macaques invades a shop. People have sought to appease them with junk food, but the sugary diet has frenzied them and caused them to breed more quickly

In March 2020, the monkeys began taking over abandoned properties in the city amid the pandemic. A cinema that has long been derelict now acts as their base, and even contains a burial ground in a projection room - with anyone who enters attacked

In March 2020, the monkeys began taking over abandoned properties in the city amid the pandemic. A cinema that has long been derelict now acts as their base, and even contains a burial ground in a projection room – with anyone who enters attacked

A macaque pulls at a sign warning people not to feed the monkeys, advice that some locals have been ignoring in an attempt to stop them fighting

A macaque pulls at a sign warning people not to feed the monkeys, advice that some locals have been ignoring in an attempt to stop them fighting

Lopburi is home to some 6,000 macaques which were a major tourist draw before lockdown stopped visitors from coming - but have now turned into a menace for locals

Lopburi is home to some 6,000 macaques which were a major tourist draw before lockdown stopped visitors from coming – but have now turned into a menace for locals

Though the city of Lopburi is famous for its monkey population and many of the locals are grateful for the tourist exposure they bring, there have been several incidents in recent years in which the animals have wreaked havoc.  

In March 2020, the monkeys engaged in an astonishing mass brawl over scraps of food as Thailand was plunged into lockdown, with the sudden drop in tourism – and consequently availability of food – made the macaques violent and erratic.

Locals took to feeding the macaques with cheap fast-food to prevent the violent clashes, but this only gave the monkeys more energy and caused them to breed even faster. 

Entire blocks of the city quickly became off-limits to humans as the primates took over and defended their territory violently, with one abandoned cinema serving as the macaques’ base and cemetery. 

Dead monkeys were laid to rest by their peers in the cinema’s projection room, and at the time locals said that anyone who attempted to enter was attacked.

A sign put up to warn tourists about the monkeys now serves as a grim reminder to locals who have been left to deal with the increasingly violent animals after visitors stopped coming during the pandemic

A sign put up to warn tourists about the monkeys now serves as a grim reminder to locals who have been left to deal with the increasingly violent animals after visitors stopped coming during the pandemic

Locals eating on the street in June 2020 are watched over by longtailed macaques which have been left hungry after tourists vanished

Locals eating on the street in June 2020 are watched over by longtailed macaques which have been left hungry after tourists vanished

Violent clashes between two rival gangs in March 2020 blocked the road for around four minutes as people were forced to wait in their cars. Local took to feeding the monkeys to break up the clashes, but this exacerbated the problem, giving the monkeys more energy to fight and breed

Violent clashes between two rival gangs in March 2020 blocked the road for around four minutes as people were forced to wait in their cars. Local took to feeding the monkeys to break up the clashes, but this exacerbated the problem, giving the monkeys more energy to fight and breed

Footage shows how the two rival troops then faced-off at the busy junction while terrified motorists waited in their cars for more than four minutes

Footage shows how the two rival troops then faced-off at the busy junction while terrified motorists waited in their cars for more than four minutes

Lockdowns have stopped the tourists from coming which means the monkeys are running short on supplies, turning them violent and leaving locals struggling to keep control

Lockdowns have stopped the tourists from coming which means the monkeys are running short on supplies, turning them violent and leaving locals struggling to keep control

Meanwhile, in February last year dozens of monkeys took over a school’s swimming pool and rummaged through the bins in search of food.

During coronavirus lockdowns, the macaques began to enter deserted buildings and ruins to shelter and begin breeding. 

But over time, they became more bold and started to invade both public and private venues such as shops, restaurants, cinemas and schools, sometimes with hordes of the creatures overrunning the premises.

Many congregate around an ancient Buddhist temple but they have also taken over a cinema – forcing the previous owner to move out and close the business.

‘The more they eat, the more energy they have… so they breed more,’ says Pramot Ketampai, who manages the Prang Sam Yod temple’s surrounding shrines. 

A monkey pulls a rubber strip off the roof of a car in Lopburi - an incident that residents say is becoming more frequent now there are no tourists to occupy them

A monkey pulls a rubber strip off the roof of a car in Lopburi – an incident that residents say is becoming more frequent now there are no tourists to occupy them

A macaque sits on top of a statue close to Lopburi's main temple, another tourists attraction where they used to collect food

A macaque sits on top of a statue close to Lopburi’s main temple, another tourists attraction where they used to collect food

Domestic tourists walk around a shrine that is typically thronging with monkeys who were thrown fruit by the visitors, but the stream of food dried up in the early days of the pandemic until locals began to feed them

Domestic tourists walk around a shrine that is typically thronging with monkeys who were thrown fruit by the visitors, but the stream of food dried up in the early days of the pandemic until locals began to feed them

No one in Lopburi seems to remember a time without the monkeys, with some speculating that the urban creep into nearby forest drew the simians into the city.

However, there are some locals who, despite having to take measures to ward the primates away from their homes and businesses, enjoy their company.

Taweesak Srisaguan, a shop owner in Lopburi who uses stuffed animals as a deterrent to the unwanted monkey visitors, says that despite his daily joust with the creatures, he will miss them if they are moved.

‘I’m used to seeing them walking around, playing on the street,’ he says.

‘If they’re all gone, I’d definitely be lonely.’ 

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London is awash with potential floats for 2022 but none is more hotly anticipated than Mishcon de Reya.

The law firm – best known for representing Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles – is sounding out investors about a £750million listing that could happen as early as next month.

If successful, Mishcon would become the most recognisable legal name to take the plunge and the seventh law firm listed in the UK.

Divorce battle: Princess Diana with Mishcon lawyer Anthony Julius during her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996

Divorce battle: Princess Diana with Mishcon lawyer Anthony Julius during her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996

The decision to go public has surprised many in the sector, given that Mishcon is better known for its private client list than its corporate roster. 

The move would give the firm greater access to capital at a time when law firms are expanding at a rate of knots.

It also means its already heavily remunerated senior partners –including executive chairman Kevin Gold and managing partner James Lisbon – will gain valuable equity stakes, making them almost as wealthy as their richest clients.

But the move is likely to be less popular with junior staff who are motivated by the promise of partnership. 

Some have labelled the float ‘scurrilous’, accusing the firm’s senior partners of cashing in the chips and flogging the family silver.

Tony Williams, founder of consultancy Jomati, said: ‘When you’re a private law firm it’s all very simple, you calculate the profits and divvy them out to partners. But when you become a listed company you have to produce profits for outside investors as well.

‘For partners in their mid-40s, often a time of maximum expenditure, a float will mean a pay cut and a reliance on the share price.’ The truth is, Mishcon has never been mainstream and has always trodden its own path.

Unlike blue blooded Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and other magic circle law firms, Mishcon has a more rebellious spirit.

Founded by Labour politician Victor Mishcon in 1937, its first office was above a Barclays bank in Brixton where it was renowned for its confrontational style and big personality hires. 

Over the years it built its reputation through its fierce litigation arm and lawyers with egos as big as its clients.

But it was not until 1996 when partner Anthony Julius acted as Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer that the firm’s reputation as a heavy hitter really took off. 

Pictures of Julius and Diana outside Mishcon’s offices in Holborn regularly made the newspapers.

Julius successfully negotiated the Princess a £17million settlement in what was viewed in legal circles as a ‘marginal win’. 

Mishcon also represented Gina Miller’s Brexit case, which resulted in the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament was unlawful.

Meanwhile Sir Keir Starmer advised the firm while in Parliament but ended the relationship when he became shadow Brexit secretary in 2016, subsequently turning down the offer of a lucrative second job with the firm.

One legal source said: ‘It’s not a stuffy firm, it is well known for its family law and arts divisions.

‘I think really this is all about size. Smaller firms have to find another way to compete with the big firms these days.’

But its path to the London stock exchange has been less than smooth and questions about its reputation have been raised in recent months. Just last week Mishcon was fined a record amount for breaching money laundering rules.

It agreed to pay £232,500, plus £50,000 towards the costs of the investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The firm’s sports arm also landed itself in hot water last July when an investigation found some of its clients were allowed to route commissions from transfer dealings through Mishcon. 

But it is the financial figures that fund managers in the City will be focusing on. The firm increased revenues by 6 per cent to £188million last year and its top partners received more than £1million each on average.

The hope is revenues can accelerate over the coming years as Mishcon has told prospective investors it wants to move away from a traditional law firm model to become a broader professional services company.

It already has a ‘brand management’ business and in September last year opened a litigation financing arm in an attempt to profit from lawsuits by taking a share of the risk.

For those with doubts, Andrew Shepherd-Barron at Peel Hunt says investors should look at other law firms which floated over the past seven years.

The most successful has been Keystone Law whose share price has soared by 425 per cent since floating in November 2017. Its model is a more corporate one akin to that of consultants.

Shepherd-Barron said: ‘There is a broad church of law firms listed on the market but we don’t have a big name. 

‘Mishcon can fit. It’s not any different to any other business. It needs access to external capital, wants to enhance its profile and make acquisitions to expand.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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‘Tis but a scratch! Smashed armour worn by French soldier blasted by a cannonball during Battle of Waterloo becomes online hit after video is mocked for saying its wearer was merely ‘wounded’

  • Breastplate worn by French cavalryman in 1815 sparked debate on social media
  • A video of armour was posted online with the caption the soldier was ‘wounded’
  • Users poked fun at ‘wounded’ and suggested soldier had superpowers to survive
  • Historian said armour was worn by Antoine Fauveau, 23, at the Battle of Waterloo
  • Breastplate ruptured by 9lb canonball is on display at Musee de l’Armee in Paris










Smashed armour worn by a French soldier blasted by a cannonball during the Battle of Waterloo has become an online hit after video of it was mocked for saying its wearer was merely ‘wounded’.  

Social media users poked fun at the idea the young soldier was only ‘wounded’ by the cannonball, comparing Fauveau to Monty Python’s Black Knight with lines from the film that the soldier had only a ‘flesh wound’ and ”tis but a scratch!’

Others likened Fauveau to Captain Scarlet – the invincible 1960s children’s TV hero – while some simply questioned ‘wounded????’. 

The armour, worn by 23-year-old Antoine Fauveau, has a large cannonball entry wound on the soldier’s right chest and an exit wound at the back from a blow that would have killed him immediately.   

The breastplate, now displayed at the Musee de l’Armee in Paris, was likely hit by a 9lb cannon ball probably fired by the Royal Horse Artillery during the Battle of Waterloo, according to history Professor Tony Pollard.

He said the armour, also known as a cuirass, was pulled off Fauveau’s as a prized possession before the conscripted French cavalryman was pitched into a mass, unmarked grave.  

Images of a breastplate worn by a French cavalryman as he was struck and killed by a cannonball durning the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 has sparked a debate on social media after it was posted with a caption saying he was 'wounded'

Images of a breastplate worn by a French cavalryman as he was struck and killed by a cannonball durning the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 has sparked a debate on social media after it was posted with a caption saying he was ‘wounded’

The armour, which is displayed at the Musee de l'Armee in Paris, has a large canonball entry wound on the soldier's chest and an exit wound at the back

The armour, which is displayed at the Musee de l’Armee in Paris, has a large canonball entry wound on the soldier’s chest and an exit wound at the back

Who was the French soldier who wore the breastplate? 

Antoine Fauveau was a 23-year-old conscripted French cavalryman killed during the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815.  

He died after being hit by a 9lb canon ball which smashed through his metal breastplate, killing him immediately. 

The breastplate he was wearing shows a large entry wound on the right chest and an exit wound at the back – and is on display at the Musee de L’Armee in Paris. 

The shot would have destroyed every organ in his body – though his torso was held together by the breastplate.

The young soldier was a new cavalryman conscript to the French army’s 4th company, 2nd Carabinier Regiment who would have had ‘no more than seven days training’ before his death on the battlefield.    

He was a dairyman from France who was due to get married, according to a pay book found in the breastplate after his death. 

In it, he was described as a ‘long, freckled face with a large forehead, blue eyes, hooked nose and a small mouth’.

He was buried in a mass, unmarked grave.  

Professor of Conflict History and Archaeology at the University of Glasgow Tony Pollard weighed in on the debate, lamenting social media users making light of ‘brave’ Fauveau’s death.

‘It is not a joke or a Monty Python sketch about a scratch. It might not seem so funny if we knew more about the man and his death,’ he wrote.   

He also added context to Fauveau’s death, saying that cannon balls ‘ideally’ hit the floor, bounced and then hit the soldier but the ground at Waterloo was softened by rain meaning he was instead hit ‘direct’. 

He said the shot hit Fauveau’s right breast causing ‘massive trauma’ that ‘destroyed every organ’ and resulted in instant death – but that his torso would have been held together by the armour.   

The young soldier was a new cavalryman conscript to the French army’s 4th company, 2nd Carabinier Regiment who would have had ‘no more than seven days training’ before his death on the battlefield.  

Mr Pollard said the young soldier likely died during a series of cavalry charges, described as ‘more of a slog up a muddy hill than a gallop’ because of the mud, against the Duke of Wellington’s centre and right lines on June 16. 

The 1st and 2nd Carabinier regiments were ordered forward from the east edge of Hougoumont at around 6:30pm and were met by a barrage of ‘muskets and cannon’ in which Favreau was likely killed, he said. 

He added the breastplate was a ‘prized trophy’ that was recovered before Fauveau’s body was buried in a mass, unmarked grave. 

And in a surprising turn of events for the era a pay book found lodged in the breastplate’s padding allowing officials to identify Fauveau. 

The book gave his personal details as ‘long, freckled face with a large forehead, blue eyes, hooked nose & a small mouth’ and revealed he was a dairyman who was due to get married.   

Mr Pollard said the young soldier likely died during a series of cavalry charges, described as 'more of a slog up a muddy hill than a gallop' because of the mud, against the Duke of Wellington's centre and right lines on June 16

Mr Pollard said the young soldier likely died during a series of cavalry charges, described as ‘more of a slog up a muddy hill than a gallop’ because of the mud, against the Duke of Wellington’s centre and right lines on June 16

The metal breastplate, worn by 23-year-old Antoine Fauveau, was ruptured by a canonball during fighting in a blow that would have killed him immediately

 The metal breastplate, worn by 23-year-old Antoine Fauveau, was ruptured by a canonball during fighting in a blow that would have killed him immediately

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US and UK buyout barons join forces in battle for Boots: Bain teams up with CVC in £7bn takeover race










Two of the world’s biggest private equity firms have joined forces to launch a multi-billion- pound bid for Boots.

American buyout barons at Bain Capital and their counterparts at British giant CVC Capital Partners have emerged as frontrunners in the £7billion takeover battle, after teaming up to make a bid.

Boots, which has 2,200 stores and employs 51,000 people, has been attracting attention since its owner Walgreens Alliance Boots hired Goldman Sachs last month to mastermind a sale.

American buyout barons at Bain Capital and their counterparts at British giant CVC Capital Partners have emerged as frontrunners in the £7bn takeover battle for Boots

American buyout barons at Bain Capital and their counterparts at British giant CVC Capital Partners have emerged as frontrunners in the £7bn takeover battle for Boots

It was founded in Nottingham by Quaker John Boot in 1849 as a shop selling herbal remedies. It is one of the largest pharmacy chains in Britain and one of the country’s biggest private employers.

Boots merged with European pharma firm Alliance Unichem in 2006 to become Alliance Boots.

It was then taken over in 2007 by private equity group KKR, and merged in 2014 with American giant Walgreens to create US-listed Walgreens Boots Alliance. 

Boots has struggled through the pandemic, losing £258million in the year to August 31 and cutting thousands of jobs.

Its sale would be the latest private equity takeover of a British business, many of which are considered to be going cheap.

The pandemic ushered in the plundering of more than 1,200 British firms, snapped up by buyout barons for a total of £92billion, and a sale to private equity will raise fears over store closures and job losses.

Bain is reeling from its failed £530million takeover of British mutual insurer LV. It agreed a deal to demutualise the 178-year-old firm, but after a Daily Mail campaign that was rejected by LV’s 1.2m members. 

CVC was part of a consortium that bought Debenhams in 2003. The consortium picked up £1.2billion in dividends before returning it to the stock market less than three years later.

When it bought Debenhams, the retailer had £100million of debt but by the time it was relisted that was £1billion. Debenhams then collapsed in December 2020.

Bain and CVC plan to invest heavily in Boots’s digital, beauty and healthcare offerings, sources told Sky News. 

They would carve the UK business out of Walgreens Boots Alliance, where it accounts for about 10 per cent of sales.

They believe it could be run more effectively. One of its attractions is its healthcare services, which played a key part in the rollout of Covid tests and vaccines. Boots has administered more than 3.7m tests.

Talks are at an early stage and it is not certain Bain and CVC will succeed. 

Other private equity firms are thought to be interested, including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the New York firm that took over Morrisons in October.

It has been suggested that Boots could be spun off and listed in London as a stand- alone business.

Supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Tesco are considered to be potential buyers as they share many customers with Boots. Bain and CVC declined to comment.  

A Boots spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that Walgreens Boots Alliance, in line with its recently announced priorities and strategic direction that include a greater focus on US healthcare, has announced a strategic review, primarily focused on our successful Boots business, including No7 Beauty Company.

‘This strategic review is at an exploratory stage and further announcements will be made in due course, after the right decision has been reached for Boots’ future and for all stakeholders.’

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