The economy will take another two years to recover from the pandemic, a leading think tank has warned.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research said that GDP would expand by only 3.4 per cent in 2021, down from an earlier forecast of 5.9 per cent. It blamed “uncertainty about the path of the virus and the effectiveness of vaccines against strains.”
It struck a more cautious tone than other forecasters, including the Bank of England. Last week, the Bank pencilled in annual growth of 5 per cent and said that the economy would be back to its pre-pandemic size by early next year.
Hande Kucuk, a deputy director at the institute, said: “Despite the rollout of vaccines, Covid-19 will have long-lasting economic effects.” She added that by 2025 the economy would still be about 6 per cent lower than it would have been had Covid-19 never hit.
Online travel agent Lastminute.com will be taken to court unless it pays more than £1m of outstanding refunds, the competition regulator has said.
Lastminute.com had promised to refund people for package holidays cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But it missed a repayment deadline at the end of January.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the company needed to pay people back within seven days to avoid court action.
“It is wholly unacceptable that thousands of Lastminute.com customers are still waiting for full refunds for package holidays despite the commitments the company signed with us,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
“We take breaches of commitments extremely seriously. If Lastminute.com does not comply with the law and pay people their outstanding refunds quickly, we will take the company to court.”
Lastminute.com has been approached for comment. Last week, the online travel agent said the refund process had been “very