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Purpose or profit: what should companies prioritise?

As the UK government pours money into saving businesses, and sustainability, purpose and ESG compete for importance, columnist Jon Moulton can see a source of cost-cutting

Jon Moulton image 2021If we go back to 2019, the world simply did not behave then as it seems to do now. Last year, we had an even bigger economic shock than in 2008. But where are the business casualties? Obviously the leisure and hospitality sectors have taken a hammering. As of October 2020, insolvencies were 42% lower than in October 2019, according to the Insolvency Service, but in December they were 9% higher than the same month in 2019. 

Insolvency figures in the UK have not shown any first or second spike through the series of coronavirus lockdowns. Our society is now a lot more forgiving, more interventionist and far more pain-averse than it was when my younger self stalked Liverpool in the 1970s, doing receiverships for unsympathetic banks.