Reading University introduces the self-serve beer pump technology

In a move that could speed the decline of the humble bar tender, Reading University has introduced a self-serve 16-tap “beer wall” at its onsite student union, allowing students to pull their own pints and buy beverages with a single tap of their debit or credit card.

Screens above each tap will allow customers to choose which brand of draft beer they want, show how much it will cost, and display information about the beer, including the percentage of alcohol by volume.

With students able to pour themselves a beer and pay with their contactless plastic or mobile wallet, the bars will have increased capacity, speedier service and a reduced threat of theft, claims Drink Command, the company behind the self-serve beer technology, which is also being rolled out in other bars across the UK and Ireland, including in Hilton Hotels.

The self-serve beer pump technology, which is integrated with Verifone's electronic payments system, is not the first to be launched in Britain. In 2012, The Thirsty Bear pub in Southwark, London, introduced pumps for customers to pull their own pint after placing their order from an iPad installed on each table.

Customers of the pub were also able to order food or change the songs on the jukebox via the iPad.

While the technology allows customers to easily and conveniently refill their glasses, potentially leading to a higher consumption of alcohol, Drink Command insists the system “makes it easier for bar staff to monitor users’ beer consumption to ensure compliance with local responsible drinking guidelines”.

The soaring popularity of contactless payment methods is prompting more retailers to look at ways they can introduce technology that enhances the customer experience with quicker service and less interaction with staff.

A new study from Worldpay revealed that two thirds of 21 to 34-year olds would happily make a payment without any human interaction.

Robbie Ward of Drink Command, said: “There is a change of mind-set happening in the beer dispense industry, similar to how self-serve technology has improved the way we buy petrol for our cars, or how supermarkets have improved queuing times with self-scan checkouts.”

Matt Tebbit, head of residential catering and bars at The University of Reading, said: “Our 16-tap self-serve beer wall has allowed us to increase our capacity to serve more customers and hold our existing staff levels by giving patrons the option to order from the bar, or serve themselves at their leisure.”


Boxing titan Mayweather’s networth explained

( via – – Sat, 30 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Mayweather has generated around 19.5m in PPV buys and $1.3bn in revenue throughout his career, with the McGregor fight likely to boost his career earnings over the $1bn mark

Floyd Mayweather is one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions of all time and one of a very elite group of athletes to see their career earnings nose above the $1bn mark.

A shrewd businessman and the greatest boxer of his generation — if not all time — Mayweather has been listed as the highest paid athlete in the world four times by the American business magazine Forbes.

Mayweather is so rich that he even changed his boxing identity to reflect his staggering wealth.

The American was known as “Pretty Boy” throughout his entire career, as a result of how little he got hit due to his superior defensive skills. But in 2007 before the biggest fight of his life against Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather unleashed a new name: “Money.”

He is also known as the ‘PPV King’ due to his phenomenal success at the box office. His fight against Canelo Alvarez attracted over 2m buys and $150m (£116m) in revenue — but these numbers were dwarfed by his fight against Manny Pacquiao, with 4.6m buys and $400m (£308m) in revenue.

In total, he has attracted 19.5 buys and around $1.3bn in revenue.

But what is his estimated net worth? Who are his sponsors? And exactly how much money does he stand to make by fighting McGregor?

Here everything you need to know about Mayweather’s extraordinary financial muscle.

What is Mayweather’s estimated net worth?

Floyd Mayweather is one of the very richest athletes in the world, topping the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012 and 2013 respectively, and the Forbes list again in both 2014 and 2015.

Mayweather has generated just under 20m PPV buys and over $1bn in revenue throughout his career, surpassing the likes of former top boxers such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, and Manny Pacquiao. His PPV buys and revenue dwarf that of McGregor.

In 2016, the American business magazine Forbes reported that Mayweather banked $32 million (£25m) from his ‘retirement’ fight against Andre Berto fight to bring his career earnings to around $700 million (£540m).

Given that Mayweather made roughly $250 million (£193m) for the Pacquiao fight, it can be safely assumed that his career earnings will surpass $1bn this summer.

According to Forbes: “Another massive purse awits the five-division world champion in August for his boxing match versus UFC star Conor McGregor. If Mayweather can secure a similar payday to his 2015 Manny Pacquiao bout, it will push his career earnings to $1 billion.”

How many other athletes have made over $1bn during their careers?

Not many. The only other athletes to earn such a large amount of money during their sporting careers are basketball player Michael Jordan ($1.5bn) and Tiger Woods ($1.4bn), who both enjoyed a number of lucrative sponsorships, principally with Nike.

There are three others if you adjust for inflation: golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher.

Who sponsors Mayweather?

Perhaps surprisingly, Mayweather doesn't have that many active sponsorships. In 2015, he told Fortune magazine that this was not because brands were not interested in working with him, but because his baseline for entry is too high for most. How much does he demand? $1m.

This may only partially be the reason. Mayweather also has a chequered past, and has previously been charged with domestic violence and misdemeanor battery, which means that some brands may have been reluctant to work with him.

For the Pacquiao fight, three brands did decide to sponsor him however. Burger King, daily fantasy sports site FanDuel, and Swiss watchmaker Hublot all dished out over $1m.

Why did he split with Top Rank?

In 2007 Mayweather founded his own boxing promotional firm, Mayweather Promotions, after defecting from Bob Arum's Top Rank.

He broke ties with Top Rank after activating a $750k (£578k) break clause, believing that he could make more money promoting his own fights.

It proved to be a shrewd choice: he earned pay checks ranging between $25m-$40m (£19.3m-£31m) over the next six years, before he broke new records for his fight against Canelo Alvarez, which netted him over $70m (£54m).

What has his richest fight been?

Until now, it has been the contest with Pacquiao. Mayweather is believed to have made $220m (£175m) from the contest, with the fight generating an incredible $600m (£470m) in revenues.

For his last fight, a unanimous points decision win against Andre Berto, he secured far less: $32m (£25m).

And how much does Mayweather stand to earn from this fight?

If the PPV stays roughly in line with the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight, the Mayweather v McGregor fight purse is likely to be worth around $390m (£300m). Total revenues are meanwhile expected to exceed $500m (£390m).

Somewhat unfortunately, the two men signed a confidentiality agreement when they signed their contracts, meaning the exact split will not be revealed.

We know that Mayweather is getting more however, with estimates ranging in the 70-75% region

By Luke Brown

Carillion share price fall 18% enlight of full year expectations

( via – – Fri, 29 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Troubled UK building and services firm Carillion has seen its share price fall 18% after it said full-year results would be below current expectations.

The firm reported a first-half loss of £1.15bn and said it had taken an impairment charge of £134m on its UK and Canadian construction businesses.

It had also made provision of £200m for losses on its support services contracts.

This is on top of an £845m write-off announced in July.

Carillion's full-year revenues are now forecast to be between £4.6bn-£4.8bn, down from a previous expectation of £4.8bn-£5bn.

“This is a disappointing set of results,” said interim chief executive Keith Cochrane, who took over following the resignation of Richard Howson in July.

The company's shares have lost two-thirds of their value since its problems came to light in the summer.

It is one of the firms involved in building the forthcoming HS2 high-speed railway line.

A government spokesperson said: “Carillion is a major supplier to the government with a number of long-term contracts. The company has kept us informed of the steps it is taking to restructure the business.

“We remain supportive of their ongoing discussions with their stakeholders and await future updates on their progress.”

‘Challenge' ahead

The firm said it was still in talks to sell its UK healthcare arm and its Canadian business. It said it now expected sell-offs to raise £300m, up from an earlier target of £125m.

Other options were also under consideration, “including raising equity to repair and strengthen the balance sheet in due course,” it added.

“No-one is in any doubt of the challenge that lies ahead,” said Mr Cochrane. “We have made an encouraging start and the ambition is there to build on that progress.”

Carillion said it had reduced its pension fund deficit by £80m and had the potential to cut it by another £120m.

It had also agreed a credit facility of £140m with a number of banks.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets told the BBC that Carillion's problems stemmed largely from its construction business, because it had won major contracts on the basis of bids that were too low.

“They low-balled an awful lot of bid work and they're finding they can't make any money out of it and it's caught up with them,” he said.

According to other analysts, those contracts include a hospital in Liverpool, a road in Aberdeen and a tramway in Sheffield.

Inflexible contracts have meant that extra costs could not be passed on to customers, leading to a big dent in the firm's expected income.


Ikea buys gig economy odd-jobs company TaskRabbit

( via – – Fri, 29 Sept, 2017) London, Uk – –

Ikea has bought the gig economy odd-jobs company TaskRabbit, becoming the latest retailer to move into offering services alongside products.

Jesper Brodin, the president and chief executive of Ikea Group, said the Swedish homeware chain was responding to increasing urbanisation and a shift to digital shopping that challenged traditional retail.

“We need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way. An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation,” he said.

TaskRabbit, based in San Francisco and set up in 2008, operates in 40 cities in the US and the UK, connecting customers through its app with home maintenance tradespeople who can handle furniture assembly, decorating, cleaning and deliveries.

Users flag jobs they want doing, and taskers, as the company refers to them, can select work nearby, apparently choosing the rate at which they will be paid.

TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company within the Ikea Group and link up with other retailers. The value of the deal was undisclosed.

Ikea joins the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams in seeing services as a route to growth.

John Lewis launched its Home Solutions service this month after signing up 150 independent tradespeople, all of whom were vetted by the department store. After being tested in Milton Keynes, the service is being extended to Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Taunton.

Brodin said: “We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise, while also providing Ikea customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions.”

The acquisition takes Ikea into the gig economy, with TaskRabbit workers classed as independent contractors who work when they want, where they want and at rates they set, but are not necessarily entitled to a minimum wage or holiday pay.

Other gig economy employers, including Uber and Deliveroo, have faced court action over the treatment of their workers, some of whom say they are not independent contractors and should receive holiday pay.

The buyout comes after Ikea tested recommending TaskRabbit workers to assemble furniture for customers late last year at some of its London stores.

TaskRabbit was founded by the former IBM software engineer Leah Busque. The company has struggled to expand and partnered up to offer its services via Amazon last year.

By Sarah Butler

Ryanair facing legal action by CAA over flight cancellations

( via – – Thu, 28 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Ryanair is facing legal action from the UK’s aviation regulatory body for “persistently misleading passengers”.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced it had launched enforcement action against the Irish airline on Wednesday night, accusing the carrier of “failing to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights, particularly around rerouting and care and assistance entitlements, which includes expenses”.

It believes that Ryanair has failed to tell affected passengers that they are legally obliged to be put on an alternate flight of any airline – not just those operated by Ryanair.

Ryanair yesterday said it would be cancelling a further 400,000 bookings on 18,000 flights between November this year and March 2018 as the carrier sought to alleviate some of the pressure on its packed schedule. It follows a swathe of some 315,000 cancellations announced last week, which CEO Michael O’Leary blamed on a mishandling of pilots’ holidays.

The airline said at the beginning of the week that refunds or alternative flights had been processed for 97 per cent of those affected by the initial cancellations, but the CAA has rounded on the carrier for how it handled passengers.

“There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control,” said the CAA’s chief executive Andrew Haines.

“We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, who are well aware of their legal obligations, which includes how and when they should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers. The information Ryanair published [yesterday] again fails to make this clear.

“In expediting our enforcement action we are seeking to ensure that Ryanair’s customers will receive the correct and necessary information, to make an informed choice about an alternative flight.”

The CAA has published a letter, which it sent to Ryanair in the wake of the cancellations, informing the airline that O’Leary had misled passengers when he said Ryanair was not obliged to re-route passengers on airlines other than Ryanair. The CAA also said the airline had “failed to make [a] correction”.

“It light of the information published by Ryanair, the CAA is concerned that Ryanair is not complying with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008,” the letter said.

“In light of these urgent and continuing concerns, we are now commencing consultation under Section 214 EA02 to achieve cessation by Ryanair of the breaches of consumer protection legislation identified in this letter.”

The CAA has asked to meet with Ryanair to discuss the matter.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “We will be meeting with the CAA and will comply fully with whatever requirements they ask us to.”

The CAA has brought legal enforcement 22 times in its history, twice previously to Ryanair, the most recent of which was in October 2015.


Lloyd’s of London to expect net losses of $4.5 billion from hurricanes Harvey and Irma

( via — Thur, 28 Sept 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyd’s of London SOLYD.UL expects net losses of $4.5 billion from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which analysts said would eat into the insurer’s capital and hit its profitability.

Although losses from natural catastrophes have been low in recent years, including in the first half, that is set to change in the second half of the year, Lloyd’s chief executive Inga Beale said following Thursday’s results.

“There was limited major claim activity in the first half. There’s a very different second half emerging – it’s not only the hurricanes but we’ve got the Mexican earthquakes, floods in Asia, typhoons in Asia,” Beale told Reuters.

“The hurricane season is still in play, earthquakes can happen at any time,” Beale said as Lloyd’s reported a 16 percent profit fall in the first half of 2017.

Lloyd’s 80-plus syndicates have already paid out more than $160 million in claims from Harvey and more than $240 million from Irma, Beale said. The $4.5 billion net loss estimate was based on modeling of “known exposures”, she added.

“Given that the Lloyd’s of London market typically produces earnings of 2.1-3.5 billion pounds, it is highly likely that the market faces a capital loss,” Jefferies analysts said in a note.

Modeling firm RMS estimates total insured losses from Harvey and Irma of up to $80 billion.

Meanwhile, Beale said it was too early to assess losses from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico last week and which some analysts have predicted will lead to greater insurance losses than Harvey and Irma.

Lloyd’s made 1.22 billion pounds ($1.63 billion) in profit before tax in the six months to the end of June, down from 1.46 billion pounds a year earlier, although Beale said part of the drop in profit was related to currency fluctuations.

Insurance rates have been falling for the world’s largest specialist insurance market and other insurers for several years due to strong competition.

Lloyd’s return on capital worsened to 8.9 pct from 11.7 pct, due to pressure on returns from low interest rates.

Gross premiums rose to 18.9 billion pounds from 16.3 billion pounds last year, and its combined ratio improved to 96.9 pct from 98 pct in 2016. A combined ratio is a measure of underwriting profitability, with a level below 100 percent indicating a profit.

Jefferies said recent natural catastrophes meant that a combined ratio for the year of 112.5 percent for Lloyd’s “is now a possibility”, indicating higher underwriting losses than 2011, which it said was “the last major catastrophe year”.

Lloyd’s was on track to open its planned EU subsidiary in Brussels by the middle of next year, Beale said, adding the new hub would employ “tens” of people and the firm would be submitting its formal license application “very shortly”.

More than 20 insurers have announced plans for EU hubs in the event that Britain loses access to the single market as a result of its departure from the European Union.

By Emma Rumney and  Carolyn Cohn

May dissapointed Bombardier jobs at risk over Boeing’s dispute with a rival aerospace firm


( via – Wed, 27 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Boeing's dispute with a rival aerospace firm that threatens thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland is “unjustified” and “damaging”, the British Government has said.

The US has hit Canadian firm Bombardier with a punitive import duty of nearly 220% on a new model of passenger jet, the wings for which are made in Northern Ireland.

Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 people in Belfast and contributes an estimated £400m to the Northern Ireland economy, said the C-Series jet was “critical” to its operations there.

:: Bombardier ruling risks thousands of Belfast jobs

One union described the ruling as a “hammer blow”, while Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “bitterly disappointed”.

The dispute between the two rival companies centres around claims from US firm Boeing that Bombardier received unfair state subsidies from the UK and Canada, allowing it to sell airliners at below cost prices in the US.

Announcing the US Department of Commerce's initial finding coming down on the side of Boeing, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the subsidisation of goods by foreign governments was something the Trump administration “takes very seriously”.

A final ruling is expected to be made in February.

:: How the battle for our skies landed in Belfast

A UK Government spokeswoman said the initial finding was “only the first step in the process”.

“As the Prime Minister said last week, we will continue to strongly defend UK interests in support of Bombardier at the very highest level because an adverse outcome risks jobs and livelihoods among the 4,200 skilled workers in Belfast,” she said.

“Boeing's position in this case is unjustified and frankly not what we would expect of a long-term partner to the UK – as well as damaging the wider global aerospace industry.”

Mrs May has lobbied US President Donald Trump over the dispute, and raised it in talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit there last week.

Bombardier labelled the decision “absurd” and said Boeing was guilty of hypocrisy.

But the US aerospace giant said the row “had nothing to do with limiting innovation or competition” but was about “maintaining a level playing field and ensuring that aerospace companies abide by trade agreements”.

Unions accused Mrs May of being “asleep at the wheel” on the dispute, saying the preliminary finding was “unlikely” to be overturned by Mr Trump.

Ross Murdoch, the GMB union's national officer, said it was a “hammer blow” to Belfast and could have wider ramifications.

On top of the 4,000 people directly employed at Bombardier's plant, Mr Murdoch warned another 9,400 supply chain jobs could be wiped out.

DUP leader Arlene Foster – whose 10 MPs are propping up Mrs May's minority government – said the DoC's determination was “very disappointing”.

By Alan McGuinness

Possible fine for homeowners who sell draughty homes, a report has suggested


( via – – Wed, 27 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Homeowners who sell draughty homes could be fined, a report has suggested.

Economic consultancy Frontier Economics says the money raised could underpin government funding for insulating the homes of the least wealthy homeowners.

It is the most radical idea in the report, which also urges interest-free loans and tax and stamp duty rebates for people to insulate their homes.

Frontier warns the government will miss its targets on cutting carbon emissions unless it stops energy waste in homes.

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The government said it is considering many options as part of its long-delayed Clean Growth Plan, which is expected soon.

Frontier's report notes that government advisers say ageing housing stock is the biggest obstacle to meeting the UK's climate change targets.

Improving homes also gives a boost to health and comfort and keeps bills down. But renovating homes is often an expensive hassle.

The report says that, following the collapse of the ill-fated Green Deal home loan scheme, ministers must find new ways of incentivising people to take on improvement work.

The Green Deal was criticised for offering loans at 7% interest.

The report suggests instead offering equity loans at lower than the standard mortgage rate, to be paid back when owners die or move house.

Another idea is to charge differential stamp duty depending on the level of insulation in the property.

Traditionally the Treasury has been unwilling to fund improvements that will increase the value of people's homes, but it's under pressure to be creative to solve the problem.

Infrastructure priority

The report also suggests that people should be tempted to invest in home improvements through a “salary sacrifice” scheme – where part of a person's salary goes towards energy efficient renovation, and they then save on the associated income tax.

Frontier Economics' report was funded by a coalition of groups concerned about housing stock – including the architects' body Riba; the green thinktank e3g; the Institution of Civil Engineers and the electricity group Energy UK.

They all want housing treated as an infrastructure priority.

“It's the package of measures that matters,” a spokesman, Ed Matthew, told BBC News.

“We want to stop the government's incremental, short-termist, approach – and treat this like the major infrastructure programme it is… after all every home must be zero carbon within 30 years.”

By Roger Harrabin

Apple smart assistant Siri to now use Google rather than Bing for searches

( via – – Tue, 26 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Apple confirmed that its smart assistant Siri will now use Google rather than Bing for searches, in a sign of increasing integration between the two tech giants.

Customers searching on Apple's Safari browser across its Mac, iPad and iPhone portfolio already received Google search results, and investment firm Bernstein has estimated Google currently pays around $3bn (£2.2bn) for this deal, based on the fact Google paid around $1bn for the same deal in 2014.

However, from Monday, Google will also act as the web provider for Siri as well as being the default provider for the ‘Spotlight' function on Apple devices. The switch was first reported by TechCrunch.

The iPhone maker said it decided to switch its default search provider to “allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari”.

However, the spokesman added: “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”

Google did not respond to requests for comment.

By Hannah Boland

Thomas Cook forms hotel joint venture with Swiss LMEY

( via — Tue, 26 Sept 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Tour operator Thomas Cook has formed a strategic partnership with LMEY Investments to grow its own-brand hotel portfolio, as it confirmed its full-year outlook.

As part of the deal, Thomas Cook acquired a 42 percent stake in Aldiana, a German tour operator and hotel management firm, from the Swiss-based hotel development company.

Thomas Cook Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said the acquisition was a significant step in the firm’s strategy to expand its range of own-brand hotels.

“The development of a strong portfolio of own-brand hotels is absolutely key to our success,” Fankhauser said in a statement.

 “Our new strategic partnership with LMEY, with its proven track record of identifying and redeveloping highly successful properties in sun and beach locations, gives us the perfect launch pad to accelerate this critical part of our strategy.”

Thomas Cook operates or franchises over 180 hotels in 17 countries, with 11 new hotels added this summer.

Rival TUI is also investing more into its own hotel portfolio, including setting up its own brand TUI Blue.

The partnership follows an alliance with Expedia to make the online travel company its preferred provider of hotels for holiday sales that are not in Thomas Cook’s own-brand offering.

Thomas Cook also said that its Chief Financial Officer Michael Healy had decided to retire, and would be replaced by director of financial reporting Bill Scott.

The company said that summer trading was ending as expected and its full-year earnings outlook was unchanged.

Thomas Cook said its summer season was 91 percent sold, which is 2 percent more than the same time last year, and that sales to Spain remained level with last year despite a highly competitive market.

Shares were up 0.6 percent at 121.7 pence at 0745 GMT.

Thomas Cook also said its German airline Condor, with bookings up 12 percent, was benefitting from the uncertainty surrounding the fate of Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August.

Condor was among those interested in bidding for Air Berlin assets to shore up its position in Germany, but Air Berlin’s creditors have instead opted to hold talks with Lufthansa and easyJet.

By Alistair Smout; Additional reporting by Victoria Brya

Labour legislation to unveil plans to cut credit card debt

( via – – Mon, 25 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Legislation limiting the amount of interest that can be charged on credit card debts is being promised by the Labour Party.

Under the changes, nobody would pay more in interest than they had originally borrowed.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says more than three million people are “trapped” by credit card debt.

He will unveil the planned change in the law in a speech at Labour's conference in Brighton.

Labour said the changes would work in a similar way to measures on payday loans, which came into force in 2015.

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for new measures to help people in “persistent debt” as a result of credit cards.

  • Credit card interest ‘could be waived' for long-term debt
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  • Labour to offer some women earlier retirement option
  • Anger at Labour conference Brexit vote

The regulator says over three million people are in persistent debt, which it defines as having paid more in interest and charges than they have repaid of their borrowing over an 18-month period.

Labour said its “total cost cap” would help “tackle the persistent debt spiral”, claiming growing consumer debt was becoming a “threat to our economy”.

Unscrupulous lenders

Addressing delegates in Brighton, Mr McDonnell will say: “The Financial Conduct Authority has argued for action to be taken on credit card debt as on payday loans.

“I am calling upon the government to act now apply the same rules on payday loans to credit card debt.

“It means that no-one will ever pay more in interest than their original loan.

“If the Tories refuse to act, I can announce today that the next Labour government will amend the law.”

UK Finance, which represents the financial and banking industry, said it was committed to responsible lending and that consumer credit was important for economic growth.

It added that “the last thing the industry wants is to see those who are most vulnerable being pushed towards the hands of unscrupulous and unregulated lenders”.

When the FCA called for action in April, the UK Cards Association, which represents the major credit card providers, said the industry was “committed to helping the minority of cardholders who do not use a credit card in a way which is in their best interest”.

The Conservatives said action was already being taken to outlaw “rip-off credit card charges” and ensure companies help customers clear debt.

Brexit row

On day one of Labour's conference, the party's position on Brexit came under scrutiny as leader Jeremy Corbyn faced calls to keep the UK in the EU single market – and some MPs expressed anger as no motions on Brexit were selected for debate on the floor.

Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer will speak in the auditorium on Monday, when he is expected to say the Tory approach to negotiations on leaving the European Union reveals the “post-imperial delusions” of Theresa May's party.

Instead, he will promise a promise a “democratically legitimate and economically sensible” approach.

Police crackdown on counterfeit goods websites


( via – Mon, 25 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

British consumers are warned “there's more at stake when it's a fake” in a new police awareness campaign about counterfeit goods.

Police have shut down 28,000 websites selling counterfeit goods to British consumers – more than 4,000 of which were set up using identities stolen from other customers.

The take-downs, which have been occurring since 2014, have been announced as City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) launches an awareness campaign to educate online consumers.

Warning the public that “there's more at stake when it's a fake”, PIPCU said that 400 individuals are believed to have had their identities stolen and used to set up the websites selling knock-off goods.

When purchasing items, people hand over their address for the delivery and financial information to make the payments, the unscrupulous fraudsters are able to steal their identities.

Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, says that identity fraud is soaring to “epidemic levels”, with 86% of identity frauds being perpetrated online.

One victim, Emily, a teacher from Essex, unknowingly purchased bridesmaids shoes from a counterfeiters' website.

Her identity was stolen and fake websites were set up in her name – websites which were used to sell more counterfeit goods.

“I think of myself as someone who is ‘tech savvy' and so I was horrified when I discovered that I had been scammed,” said Emily.

“This goes to show that anyone can become a victim of this, no matter what walk of life they are from.”

PIPCU is also warning shoppers that counterfeit goods are often made from lower-quality and in some situations hazardous materials that can pose a public safety risk.

Just as the popularity of online shopping is increasing, so too is the production and sale of fake goods, says PIPCU.

Checking products for authenticity can be difficult in person, but the use of stock images online also means that fraudsters can easily con online shoppers.

In 2016/17 the Intellectual Property Office reported that two million infringing items were detained at UK borders.

PIPCU is encouraging consumers to check the authenticity of sites they are purchasing goods from, finding out where the trader is based and whether they provide a postal address.

Detective Inspector Nicholas Court said: “Many people purchase counterfeit goods from bogus websites, knowingly and unknowingly, without realising that there can be significant consequences.

“We are warning the public that ‘there's more at stake when it's a fake' and that buying from a rogue site puts your personal and financial information at risk, meaning that criminals can use your identity for malicious means.”

By  Alexander J Martin

The CEO offering a monthly clothing subscription box for men


Andres Izquieta is the CEO of Five-Four Club, a monthly clothing subscription box for men. Andres says entrepreneurs have ideas and find out how to go out and execute that idea. Andres talks about how he always knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur and start his own business. He talks about their first round of funding, and how they use Instagram as a tool for their business.

Uber denied renewal of operating licence in London



( via – – Fri, 22 Sept, 2017) London, Uk – –

Uber will not be is sued a new private hire licence, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

TfL has concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence.

Uber's approach and conduct demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility which could have potential public safety and security implications, it said.

Uber has 21 days to appeal, during which it can continue to operate.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: “I fully support TfL's decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security.”

Millions of bank and building society accounts to be subjected to illegal migrants checks

( via – – Fri, 22 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Millions of bank and building society accounts will be subjected to checks to ensure services are not being provided to illegal migrants, it is reported.

The checks form part of a three-pronged attack announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd at the Conservative party conference last year, which also included actions against landlords and employers.

Financial institutions will be tasked with checking the details of account holders against a list of illegal migrants who are liable for removal or deportation.

The Guardian reported this will see 70 million accounts checked quarterly and will begin in January.

Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, told the paper: “The government's own record shows that it cannot be trusted even to implement this system properly.

“Immigration status is very complex, and the Home Office consistently gives out incorrect information and guidance.

“Migrants and ethnic minorities with every right to be here will be affected by the imposition of these new checks.”

Announcing the plans last year, Ms Rudd said: “Landlords that knowingly rent out property to people who have no right to be here will be committing a criminal offence. They could go to prison.

“Furthermore, from December, immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.

“And from next autumn, banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.

“Money drives behaviour, and cutting off its supply will have an impact.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are developing an immigration system which is fair to people who are here legally, but firm with those who break the rules. Everyone in society can play their part in tackling illegal migration.

“As approved by Parliament in December 2016, from January banks and building societies will be required to carry out regular checks on the immigration status of all current account holders against the details of known illegal migrants to establish whether their customers are known to be in the UK unlawfully.

“This is part of our ongoing work to tackle illegal migration. People who are here legally will be unaffected.”


Google buys part of HTC in $1.1bn expansion smartphone deal

( via – Thur, 21 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Google has bought part of Taiwanese technology company HTC in an effort to further expand its smartphone business.

The Silicon Valley tech giant announced that it is spending $1.1bn (£820m) to acquire the team that developed its Pixel smartphone, released in 2016.

About 2,000 employees, which represent half of HTC's existing smartphone development workforce, will move to Google as a result of the acquisition.

The deal is a cash transaction and won't see Google take a stake in HTC, as had been speculated earlier in the week.

Shares in HTC were suspended on Wednesday as rumours of an all-out buyout deal by Google's parent company Alphabet abounded.

Google has been pushing its new Pixel phone as an increasing number of people are using its services with mobile devices.

The technology giant has announced it will host a live event at the beginning of October, where new versions of the firm's Pixel and Pixel XL will be unveiled.

Thursday's announcement is another sign of how serious Google is about carving out a bigger space for itself in the already competitive smartphone market.

It also highlights Google's commitment to developing more of its own hardware, rather than relying on other technology companies' devices to host its Android software.

HTC's shares remained suspended on Thursday following the announcement.

If approved by regulators the deal is expected to be completed by early next year.

 By Clare Downey

Co-op Group enjoys sales boost as remaining 1% stake in Co-op Bank is sold off

The Co-op Group has enjoyed a rise in sales on the back of its British-sourced food, as it reported it had sold off its remaining 1pc stake in the troubled Co-op Bank.

The retailer recorded a 3.5pc rise in like-for-like food sales in the 26 weeks to July 1, helped by a 6pc rise in comparable sales of British meat.

The Co-op says it is the only UK supermarket to use British meat in all of its sandwiches and pork pies, and sells only British-reared bacon and lamb. It also reported a 22pc rise in sales of its premium ‘Irresistible’ range.

The strong performance helped the group achieve its 14th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth in food sales. These sales only compare shops open for more than a year; on a total basis, food sales fell 1.2pc to £3.48bn after accounting for the disposal of 298 stores to rival chain McColl's.

At group level, including the Co-op’s funeralcare and insurance divisions, the company reported flat revenues of £4.6bn in the first half.

Pre-tax profits climbed to £25m from £17m last year. The Co-op said it had been helped by one-off gains as well as a strong comparison with the prior year, when it took a heavy writedown on its stake in the Co-op Bank. On an underlying basis, profits fell 48pc to £14m.

 Since the half year's end, the Co-op has received a £5m boost from the sale of its remaining stake in the Co-op Bank. Its ownership had plummeted to around 20pc in 2013 after the bank was rescued by a group of hedge funds following the discovery of a £1.5bn hole in its accounts. Another recapitalisation earlier this year meant that the Co-op’s stake dropped to just 1pc.

The Co-op said its deal with the Bank to promote its services to its members would “naturally fall away and come to a formal end in 2020”. Nonetheless the Co-op Bank is expected to retain its name and wants to continue to promote ethical banking policies.

Steve Murrells, who became Co-op chief executive earlier this year, said the company’s businesses had continued to perform in the face of “challenging markets”.

“Since we launched our member reward scheme in September 2016 more than 1.1m people have signed up to join the Co-op,” he said. “As a result we've been able to give £35m back to our members and their communities over the first half of this year, a conscious decision to share our success with our members and the 4,000 good causes which mean so much to them.”

 Last month the Co-op confirmed it was in exclusive talks to take over wholesale and convenience group Nisa for £140m.