Almost 3 million UK workers to receive a pay rise of four times the rate of inflation from April

( via – – Tue, 31st Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Employees over 25 will receive a 6.2% pay rise equating to £930 a year for full-time worker

Almost 3 million workers in Britain are to receive a pay rise of more than four times the rate of inflation from April, after the government said it would increase the official minimum wage.

In an announcement designed to woo low-paid workers in the immediate aftermath of Boris Johnson’s election victory earlier this month, the government said the “national living wage” for over-25s would increase from £8.21 an hour to £8.72 from the start of April.

Johnson said the increase was the “biggest ever cash boost” to the legal pay floor. “Hard work should always pay, but for too long people haven’t seen the pay rises they deserve,” he said.

Workers over the age of 25 on the legal minimum wage, rebranded as the “national living wage” four years ago, will receive an annual pay rise of 6.2% from April – more than quadruple the level of the consumer price index (CPI) gauge of inflation, which stood at 1.5% in November. The Treasury said the increase equated to an increase in gross annual earnings of around £930 for a full-time worker on the current minimum rate.Advertisement

Pay rates will also rise above inflation across all other age groups, including by 6.5% for 21-24-year-olds to £8.20, by 4.9% to £6.45 for 18-20-year-olds, by 4.6% to £4.55 for under-18s and 6.4% to £4.15 for apprentices.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said the rise was long overdue. “Workers are still not getting a fair share of the wealth they create, and in-work poverty is soaring as millions of families struggle to make ends meet,” she said. “No more excuses, working families need a £10 minimum wage now, not in four years’ time.”

Details of the pay rise had been put on hold after the chancellor, Sajid Javid, scrapped the autumn budget as Johnson pushed for the snap election. Annual changes in the legal wage floor are typically announced alongside the autumn budget.

The Conservatives faced criticism earlier this month after including a caveat in the Queen’s speech that the election promise to raise the national living wage to £10.50 by 2024 would only happen “provided economic conditions allow”.

Javid had said at the Tory party conference in September that his party would set a five-year target to raise the low-pay floor from 60% of median earnings in Britain to two-thirds. He also said he would lower the age threshold for the national living wage from 25 to 21.

Labour had promised to introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour for all workers aged 16 and over immediately, in a policy designed to show it would move faster to support households than the Tories.

Average pay packets across Britain remain lower than before the financial crisis, once inflation is taken into account, after one of the worst decades for pay growth since the end of the Napoleonic wars 200 years ago. Annual pay growth has accelerated this year, repairing some of the damage by rising at the fastest rate in 11 years.

Unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since the mid 1970s and inflation has remained relatively stable in the past year, hovering below the Bank of England’s target rate of 2%, helping hard-pressed families to repair their finances.

Pay growth has started to fall again in recent months, however, against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty over Brexit and a slowdown in the world economy.

Campaigners say work no longer guarantees a way out of poverty, with figures suggesting that about 14.3 million people are struggling to make ends meet, including about 9 million people who live in families where at least one adult is working.

The latest government announcement does not meet the level outlined by the Living Wage Foundation charity, which sets a voluntary pay floor used by about 6,000 companies calculated to reflect what people need to live on.

The Living Wage Foundation sets its “real living wage” at £9.30 an hour and £10.75 an hour in London. Firms including the insurer Aviva, the Nationwide building society and football clubs such as Crystal Palace are among employers committed to paying the real living wage to more than 210,000 workers.

The business secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said the government would set out a future policy framework in the spring for raising the legal minimum pay level over the next five years.

Business leaders, however, said the government risked damaging companies at a time of heightened economic uncertainty.

Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce, which represents 75,000 businesses, said the move to raise the wage floor by more than double the rate of inflation in 2020 would “pile further pressure on cash flow and eat into training and investment budgets” at companies across the country.

“For this policy to be sustainable, government must offset these costs by reducing others and impose a moratorium on any further upfront costs for business,” she said, adding that many firms were struggling with rising costs.

By Richard Partington Economics correspondent

Tencent Chinese company buys €3bn stake in Universal Music Group

( via – – Tue, 31st Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Parent company Vivendi to offload 10% stake with more deals likely amid music revival

Universal Music Group, the home of stars including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and the Beatles, has sold a 10% stake to a consortium led by the Chinese tech company Tencent in a deal valuing the world’s largest music company at €30bn (€25bn).

UMG’s parent company, Vivendi, which is controlled by the French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, has also agreed that the Tencent-led consortium has the option to buy another stake of up to 10% at the same price by 15 January 2021.

The deal, which follows protracted talks that began last summer, increases Tencent’s international expansion. The company owns a 7.5% stake in the Swedish streaming platform Spotify, and the deal will help Universal Music to expand in Asia.

Vivendi said Tencent Music Entertainment, Tencent’s streaming subsidiary, which is listed on the New York stock exchange, will also buy a minority stake in Universal Music’s operation across China.Advertisement

“Vivendi is very happy with the arrival of Tencent and its co-investors,” Vivendi said in a statement. “They will enable UMG to further develop in the Asian market.”

Vivendi and Tencent would not name other members of the consortium other than to say it included “certain global financial investors”.

Separately, Vivendi said it had entered new talks just before Christmas over the potential sale of an additional minority stake in UMG, at a price “which would at least be identical” to the deal with Tencent, with another unnamed investor or investors.

Following the announcement Sir Lucian Grainge, the chairman and chief executive of UMG, emailed staff to reassure them that the deal would not result in Tencent exerting any influence over the day-to-day running of the music company.

“With the exception of additional resources to further advance our strategy, everything else will remain the same: our strategic vision; our company, label and business unit names; our locations; and of course, our outstanding people,” he said. “This is an exciting development reflecting a strong validation of our business strategy, our incredible team and your excellent work.”

The French media conglomerate has been angling to sell a stake in UMG for the last 18 months to cash in on the music industry revival which is being driven by the streaming revolution, in turn led by services including Apple, Spotify, Amazon and Deezer.

Last year, global music revenues grew at their fastest rate in more than two decades. Worldwide, recorded music revenues surged 9.7% to $19.1bn (£14.6bn) in 2018, the fastest rate of growth since at least 1997 when the Oasis album Be Here Now topped the UK album chart.

It is the highest level of income earned by the music industry since 2006, when CD sales accounted for more than 80% of global revenues and streaming income was virtually non-existent.

By Mark Sweney

BoE’s Carney says financial services must act faster on climate change

( via — Mon, 30th Dec 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services have been too slow to cut investment in fossil fuels, a delay that could lead to a sharp increase in global temperatures, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in an interview broadcast on Monday.

Carney, due to become the United Nations’ special envoy for climate change next year when he steps down from the bank, told BBC radio that global warming could render the assets of many financial companies worthless.

Carney cited pension fund analysis that showed the policies of companies pointed to global warming of 3.7 to 3.8 degrees Celsius, compared with the 1.5-degree target outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The concern is whether we will spend another decade doing worthy things but not enough… and we will blow through the 1.5C mark very quickly,” Carney said in a radio programme guest edited by teenage environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg.

“As a consequence, the climate will stabilise at the much higher level.”

Carney said the financial sector had made a lot of progress in disclosing the risks to their assets from climate change, but he warned that progress was not fast enough.

He called on political leaders to effect change today and avoid selective information and spin.

“To deliver, there needs to be shared understanding about what’s necessary. [But] it is reasonable for there to be debates at the margin about where does the role of the state stop and what’s the role of markets,” Carney said.

He said there would need to be a mix of public investment and change driven by financial markets because of their power to reflect judgements about the future value of assets in a world affected by climate change.

Earlier this month, the BoE said Britain’s top banks and insurers should be tested together for the first time in 2021 to quantify the potential financial damage from climate change on their businesses.

Reporting by Andy Bruce

Tesla deliveres its first cars made in China

( via – – Mon, 30th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Tesla has delivered its first cars made in China, marking a major milestone for the electric vehicle maker.

Fifteen Model 3 sedans were handed over at the company's so-called “Gigafactory” near Shanghai.

It comes as Elon Musk's company aims to secure a significant slice of the world's biggest car market.

Tesla's move into the country comes as the trade war has forced other American companies to shift production out of China.

During a ceremony at the company's multi-billion dollar plant in Shanghai, 15 of its employees received cars they had purchased.

The event means deliveries of cars have started a little over a year after construction of the factory got underway.

California-based Tesla said that it wanted to start handing over vehicles before the Lunar New Year beginning on 25 January, and now plans to scale up deliveries from the start of 2020.

The Chinese-made Model 3, priced at $50,000 (£38,000) before subsidies, will compete with local electric car makers, including NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

US technology giants Apple, Google, HP, and Dell have all reportedly started the process of moving production from China to other Asian countries.

That's as US tariffs on Chinese-made goods make them more expensive when they are imported into America, or companies have to absorb the cost themselves.

It also comes after intense pressure from US President Donald Trump for American companies to bring back manufacturing to the US. In August Mr Trump issued a demand for all US firms to move production out of China.

However, Tesla doesn't plan to export the cars it makes in China to the US, where they would be hit with tariffs. Instead it wants to sell the cars in China itself.

Previously Tesla was exporting all of the cars it sold in China from the US, which meant they were hit with tariffs in China.

The company isn't just expanding its manufacturing into China. In November, it revealed plans to build a huge European production facility on the outskirts of Berlin in Germany.

Steve Harvey gives a life changing testimony of his success journey

Source: Inspiring Habit

Steve Harvey speaks on his biography and gives a life changing testimony of his struggles before success. He speaks of his God given talent that leads him to success. In his own words he stated if it wasn't for God he would have still been broke.

15 Steps to Become a Billionaire

Source: Alux

This video well try to answer the following questions: How to get rich? How do you get rich? How do people invest? How to invest? What are the steps to getting rich? Why some people get rich and others don't? What are some proven ways of getting rich? How to make money? How to build wealth? How to create a business? How to start a business? How to get rich quick? How to get rich without being lucky? How to get rich book How to Get Filthy Rich Quick? How to get rich fast? What is the most effective yet efficient way to get rich? What is the easiest yet the most respectable way to become rich? What are the best legal ways to get rich? How long does it take to get rich? How do rich people make money? How do rich people get rich? How to get rich from zero? How to get rich starting with nothing? How to become a millionaire? How to become a billionaire? How could I get rich? I am desperate to get rich, what can I do? How can I get rich while I am still young? What are the fastest ways of getting rich? How to get rich without money? How to get rich when you're a teenager? What is the best way to get rich?

In The Era of Electric Cars Why Don’t We Have Electric Planes Yet?

Source: CNBC

Electric planes could revolutionize flight, from commuting in air taxis to making regional flights more affordable and long-haul flights more environmentally friendly. So in the era of electric cars, why are planes so far behind?

Boxing Day sales slump blamed on Black Friday and bad weather

( via – – Fri, 27th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Black Friday discounts and bad weather have been blamed for a decline in Boxing Day shoppers, with retail analysts reporting a fall in the number of people heading for the sales.

Springboard, which analyses customer activity in stores, said footfall up until midday had seen the largest decline since 2010, dropping by 10.6%.

It said Boxing Day was becoming less important as a trading day.

But there were still queues for some shops from as early as 04:30 GMT.

The footfall figures were the largest decline of any year since data was first published by Springboard 10 years ago. The retail data analyst examines information from UK High Street and shopping centre cameras.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said the final figures might improve but they are still likely to be substantially down on last year.

She said many consumers were still celebrating Christmas with their family on Boxing Day, while the rainy weather, online shopping and increased Black Friday spending were also possible factors for the drop in footfall.

“Boxing Day is indisputably a less important trading day than it once was,” Ms Wehrle said.

Some bargain-hunters did brave the rain, with some shoppers on London's Oxford Street waiting for stores to open at 9am.

Others queued outside Selfridges in Greater Manchester's Trafford Centre at 4.30am.

As the doors to Next opened in Liverpool at 06:00 GMT, more than 150 people were waiting outside the store.

A total of £3.7 billion was expected to be spent in the Boxing Day sales, according to Barclaycard, with four in 10 UK adults predicted to spend an average of £186 each.

But environmental concerns were also expected to drive down buying, with shoppers also predicted to spend £200 million less in post-Christmas sales this year compared to last year.

Opinium Research surveyed 2,002 UK adults online for Barclaycard between 29 November and 3 December.

String of London restaurants go paperless with City fintech start-up Flux

( via – – Fri, 27th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

A number of London hot spots have taken a step towards going paperless, in a tie-up with digital receipts startup Flux.

Flux has today signed partnership agreements with Japan Centre, Sakagura and Boparan Restaurant Group, which owns Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Slim Chickens.

The deal means visitors who bank with Monzo or Starling, as well as select Barclays users, will be able to receive digital itemised receipts for their purchases inside their mobile banking app.

Flux, which also holds partnerships with the likes of KFC and Itsu, has now issued more than 1m digital receipts across the UK. Founded by three early Revolut employees in 2016, the startup reported a growth rate of more than 1,000 per cent in the last year alone.

“We’re thrilled to finish off 2019 by introducing Flux to a whole host of new brands up and down the country,” said chief executive and co-founder Matty Cusden-Ross.

“This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the way innovative technologies like Flux can deliver a seamless, one-touch experience for customers at check out — as well as benefit the planet by reducing the amount of paper waste created by receipts. It’s been great to see the level of interest in Flux from customers and retailers this year, and we can’t wait to share more updates in 2020.”

The deals come as more companies in the UK seek to become eco-friendly as part of the growing fight against climate change. Research communicated by Flux said more than 200,000 trees are chopped down each year to provide paper for receipts in the UK.

“Our partnership with Flux means we’ll be able to deliver a smoother, sleeker experience for customers at our restaurants across the UK,” said Boparan commercial director Nick Smith. “It’s great to be able to help our customers keep track of their spending — as well as helping the environment — and we’re looking forward to rolling out digital receipts to all of our brands in the future.”

How Hamleys pick the right Christmas toys?

( via – – Thur, 26th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

It can be stressful deciding what toy to buy for kids at Christmas.

Imagine, then, deciding what toys to buy to fill the shelves of Hamleys on London's Regent Street, where more than 650,000 shoppers have already walked through the doors this December.

It is a mammoth task that starts at the beginning of the year, according to Sumeet Yadav, who runs the retail business of Reliance Brands, which owns Hamleys.

He says the stores' buyers visit toy fairs all over the world to decide what children will want for Christmas, when Hamleys makes about a fifth of its money.

It's “a bit of science and a bit of luck”, Mr Yadav says, describing their process.

The science is identifying and matching social trends with the toys being made by manufacturers.

This year, a lot of people are trying to spend more time with family in what Mr Yadav describes as a “disconnected world”.

He suggests that explains the popularity of Pictionary Air, a digital twist on the old card game in which players have to illustrate a word or phrase on a card for their team to guess.

‘Sometimes you go wrong'

“A lot of toys, which were traditional in the past, are now coming back with a technology connect,” he explains.

As for the luck, Mr Yadav says: “Sometimes you go wrong.”

The next challenge is to get those toys into the hands of children.

That starts with elves “creating a ruckus” on Regent Street, home to Hamleys' flagship store.

The theatre is designed to engage customers from the moment they enter the shop.

Once they are inside, Mr Yadav says, the “magic guy”, “the bubbles person” and “the guy flying the drone or the fighter jet” are all trying to get the customer to touch the toys.

He says that creates an “affinity” with the consumer.

Emotional connection

“When you do the magic trick and a three-year-old kid is able to deliver the magic and suddenly he is the hero of the other 50 people that are looking at him, that's a powerful feeling,” he says.

“The idea is to make an emotional connect, which is what we believe toys are to most parents and kids.”

And it appears to be working for the business.

Mr Yadav says the firm has seen an increase in like-for-like sales since this time last year, bucking a wider trend toward dismal performance on the High Street.

The store has benefited from a surge in sales in the final few days before Christmas, which Mr Yadav will want to continue until the stores close on Christmas Eve.

And he might get his wish. Figures from YouGov suggest that more than 10% of shoppers still buying presents in December would not finish their shopping until Christmas Eve.

Other toy shops, such as The Entertainer, which has about 150 stores across the country, are also hoping for a last-minute rush.

The firm's founder, Gary Grant, told the BBC that the final three months of the year had been “challenging” for his chain of toy stores.

He says October, November and December are the most important months for the company.

“It's the quarter in which – as a toy retailer – we actually make money,” he says.

Fortunately, there has been an eleventh-hour boost in sales ahead of the big day.

“December has picked up since Black Friday – and these last few days have been absolutely outstanding,” he says.

The Entertainer is not the only store to see Christmas come late this year.

Diane Wehrle from Springboard, which tracks visits to the High Street, says more and more people are leaving their shopping to the last minute in the hopes of finding a bargain.

‘More clever, more savvy'

In fact, Monday saw a 10% increase in the number of people flocking to retail parks, compared with the final Saturday before Christmas, also known as “Super Saturday”. And 3% more visited high streets and retail parks.

She expects a further surge in store visits on Christmas Eve, as shoppers grow “ever more clever and ever more savvy” by waiting until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping in the hope that retailers will drop prices further in the final hours before the big day.

But she says a rush before shops close on Christmas Eve is unlikely to make up for a Super Saturday that “wasn't very super”.

That, she says, is because younger people are more conscious of wastefulness when they shop.

The collective change in consciousness is partly due to the influence of environmental campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, Ms Wehrle says.

But she also thinks it is influenced by the number of young people renting in the UK, where more than a third of 23-34 year olds live in rented accommodation.

She says that makes them “transient” and unlikely to want to accumulate stuff to lug between houses when they move.

As a result, she says, there is less of a focus on “token gifts”, as young people put their money into single big-ticket experiences rather than buying “pointless” presents.

“They are buying fewer unnecessary gifts that will just fill stockings,” she says.

By Dan Ascher

Microsoft arm to buy stake in UK “kidtech” start-up

( via – -Thur, 26th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

M12, Microsoft’s venture arm, is buying a stake in a UK-based provider of software to keep children safe online, Sky News learns.

The venture capital arm of Microsoft, the American technology behemoth, is to buy a stake in a six-year-old British company which produces software to protect children online.

Sky News has learnt that M12 – which was previously called Microsoft Ventures – is close to striking a deal to become a shareholder in SuperAwesome.

The transaction, which is expected to be confirmed next month, will represent a big milestone for SuperAwesome.

Set up in 2013 by Dylan Collins, the company has attracted business from some of the world's biggest advertisers to children amid increasingly strict regulation.

Multinationals including Kellogg's, Mattel, Nintendo and Unilever are among the brands listed on SuperAwesome's website as clients of the British start-up.

Sources said on Tuesday that the funding round being led by M12 was “modest in size” but “hugely significant” for the company

An investment vehicle connected to the family behind Lego is also understood to be participating in the fundraising.

Among the other UK start-ups backed by M12 is Onfido, a digital identity verification company.

SuperAwesome is expected to be valued at more than £200m after the latest investments, underlining its potential during a period of rapid growth for children's activity online.

The company owns products such as Kidfluencer, which helps brands remain compliant with international rules when they appear on YouTube, the video content arm of Alphabet-owned Google.

It has a separate product called PopJam, which is specifically aimed at ensuring compliance with COPPA laws in the US and GDPR across Europe, which govern data privacy.

PopJam is marketed as “a kid-safe alternative to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat”.

The financial perils of failing to adhere to a tougher regulatory climate were highlighted in September when YouTube was fined $170m by regulators in the US to settle allegations that it collected children's data without parental consent.

Nevertheless, the size of the fine was criticised by campaigners for digital safeguarding because of the tiny proportion of Google's annual profit that it represented.

A slew of penalties have been imposed on tech giants amid increasingly intense scrutiny of their use of personal data – with those imposed by European regulators among some of the largest in the world.

In total, SuperAwesome says it enables safe digital engagement for more than 500m children around the world every month.

Mr Collins is expected to consider a stock market listing for SuperAwesome in the medium term, although speculation that such a move is imminent has been reported for the last three years.

There are understood to be no immediate plans for an initial public offering.

Existing shareholders in SuperAwesome include Hoxton Ventures, an investment firm which holds stakes in Babylon Healthcare and Deliveroo, and Mayfair Equity Partners, a backer of Ovo Energy and Yo!, the sushi chain.

SuperAwesome declined to comment.

By Mark Kleinman

Christmas Day Online spending expected to exceed £1bn

( via – – Wed, 25th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Online Christmas Day spending expected to exceed £1bn

Expected surge in online purchases comes as number of people visiting shops falls 8% compared with last year

Shoppers are forecast to spend more than £1bn online on Christmas Day after retailers lowered prices on Christmas Eve and the last-minute dash to the high street failed to materialise.

The number of people visiting high streets, shopping centres and retail parks was down nearly 8% by midday on 24 December compared with last year, according to the customer data firm Springboard. “I am quite surprised by the extent of the drop,” said Diane Wehrle, the organisation’s insights director.

She said a combination of factors was likely to be at play including low consumer confidence, the switch to online shopping and a reaction against buying unneeded items. The arrival in the UK of Black Friday, which usually falls in late November, has also changed shopping patterns, persuading bargain hunters to bag their presents early.

“Black Friday being so much stronger has taken quite a lot of steam out of the market,” Wehrle said. “There has been a real change at Christmas.”

Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Currys PC World and Boots kicked off their sales online on 24 December, as they have done for several years. An expected 7.3 million people were expected to shop online on Christmas Eve spending £734m compared with £850m in stores, according to Vouchercodes and the Centre for Retail Research.

Discounts this year will be greater than recent years after low footfall in the final shopping days before Christmas and evidence that the difficult trading on the high street is spreading to online retailers.

In the past, the last few days, or even weeks, before Christmas were dedicated to shopping on the high street, as home deliveries from online retailers could not be guaranteed to arrive in time for 25 December.

However, shops now face competition from online players right up to the last minute, as companies including Argos and Amazon accept same-day delivery orders on Christmas Eve. Subscribers to Amazon’s Prime Now service, for example, can order up until 21.15 on Christmas Eve for same-day deliveries before midnight.

Amid heavy competition, John Lewis said sales for the week to 21 December were down 5.1% on the same week last year, even after it extended its deadline for click-and-collect orders up until Christmas Eve.

It blamed the poor figures on sales being pulled forward into the Black Friday discount period in late November. Fashion and beauty sales were down by just over 5% but homewares and technology performed even worse – down 8.9%.

Boots is offering half-price discounts on selected No7 cosmetics and Oral B toothbrushes as well as some Christmas gift collections such as Champneys bubble bath.

M&S has 35% off a cashmere wrap as part of a list of knitwear price cuts of up to 40% off. It also offered 20% off champagne and half price on beauty gifts and some children’s wear, including a unicorn T-shirt on Christmas Eve.

John Lewis was offering 50% off womenswear on Christmas Eve, while Hobbs and Whistles upped their price cuts to 70%, from 50% at the weekend.

Late last week, Topshop and Miss Selfridge increased their discounts to up to 60%, from 40% and 50% respectively earlier in the week, while Jigsaw, Peacocks and House of Fraser increased their price cuts to 50%, matching Debenhams and Oasis. The online fashion retailer Boohoo was offering 80% off.

By Sarah Butler

Travis Kalanick Uber co-founder to step down from board

( via – – Wed, 25th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Uber's co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from its board at the end of the year.

The 43-year-old ousted the ride-hailing firm's original chief executive within a year of its creation, but was himself forced to stand down six-and-a-half years later in 2017 after a number of scandals.

He had, however, remained involved as one of its nine directors.

Mr Kalanick also recently sold off most of his shares in the company.

In the past two months he has liquidated about $2.5bn (£1.9bn) worth of stock, representing more than 90% of his earlier stake in the business.

“At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” said Mr Kalanick in a statement issued by Uber.

“I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.”

Mr Kalanick currently heads up City Storage Systems. The Los Angeles-based start-up buys up land and establishes kitchens for use by delivery-only restaurants, which operate via apps including Uber Eats.

‘Profound' legacy

The entrepreneur had previously declared: “I love Uber more than anything in the world.”

However, investors pressured him to step aside in the run up to the company's flotation following a series of controversies.

  • a report that another executive had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014, and then shared them with Mr Kalanick among others
  • hundreds of complaints from staff about harassment and bullying
  • a legal dispute with Google's parent company Alphabet over the alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars
  • an argument between Mr Kalanick and one of Uber's San Francisco drivers over fares, which was filmed and released to the media

Mr Kalanick had also repeatedly clashed with regulators, which had helped Uber overcome and sometimes ignore restrictions that would have otherwise prevented it entering some markets.

But there was a perception that the company's image had been tarnished as a consequence, and that his replacement – Expedia's former chief Dara Khosrowshahi – would be seen as a less risky bet by the markets once the firm had listed.

But Mr Khosrowshahi has paid his own respects following the latest announcement.

“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” he said.

“I'm enormously grateful for Travis' vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member.”

Mr Khosrowshahi has faced issues of his own, including one of Uber's test self-drive cars killing a woman, and Transport for London (TfL) deciding not to renew the company's licence to operate in the capital.

Major beauty brands tap TikTok influencers social video app for holiday campaigns

( via — Tue, 24th Dec 2019) London, UK —

(Reuters) – In a TikTok video with the hashtag #awesomekiss, viral teen star Charli D’Amelio uses an eos Products lipbalm before kissing the screen and transforming into a dancing, costumed Santa in an ad for her 12 million followers.

Just over a year after TikTok officially launched U.S. brand partnerships, major brands are tapping influencers on the social video app for holiday campaigns.

The Chinese-owned app, which has come under scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and regulators over concerns around its data handling and content moderation, has made a push to attract U.S. advertisers. It is testing a biddable option for certain ads, piloting in-app shopping features and has shown up at marketing events such as Cannes Lions Festival. In September, it launched a test “creator marketplace,” a service which matches up brands and influencers.

“I think if we do a good job surfacing creators and brands to one another then that’s winning for us,” said Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s U.S. general manager, in a phone interview.

Reuters spoke to several marketing heads and agencies who worked on recent TikTok campaigns for cosmetic companies eos, NARS Cosmetics, e.l.f Cosmetics, whose ‘Eyes. Lips. Face.’ campaign recently scored more than 4 billion TikTok views, and Estée Lauder-owned MAC Cosmetics, which spends about 75% of its media budget on digital and influencer marketing.

They saw TikTok, which is owned by tech giant Beijing ByteDance Technology Co, as a cost-effective way to raise brand awareness with younger audiences.

TikTok’s sponsored “hashtag challenges,” where high-profile influencers begin video trends, are one of the main ways for companies to advertise on the app.

To improve brands’ experiences on the app, the cosmetic companies and agencies said TikTok would need to improve analytics and introduce more in-app shopping features.

Facebook-owned (FB.O) Instagram has stepped up its e-commerce game this year, trialing features that let U.S. users shop from the app and let some creators tag products in posts.

TikTok is testing e-commerce features, such as adding shoppable product links to videos.

“We went into it (the holiday campaign) very much knowing that commerce and revenue coming through TikTok wouldn’t be the goal,” said Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer at eos, which spends under 10% of its marketing budget on TikTok. “The goal was specifically to engage with a platform that’s just growing like wildfire.”

Not all brands are convinced. Social marketing agencies cited client concerns ranging from whether TikTokers’ DIY musical content suited prestige brands to uncertainty over how to track returns on their investment.

“We know there’s a lot we could be doing in terms of providing third-party data and beefing up on some of those industry metrics,” said TikTok’s Pappas, who previously worked with creators at YouTube, the video-streaming site of Alphabet-owned (GOOGL.O) Google.

A demo version of TikTok’s relatively small online creator marketplace, seen by Reuters, showed that brands can search for influencers by attributes such as reach or by details about their audience, including region, age and gender. Brands can invite influencers to talk and then go off-platform to manage contract negotiations.

Instagram last week announced it would allow some U.S. creators to use Facebook’s “Brand Collabs Manager” tool, to source deals and automatically share analytics.

TikTok advertisers also told Reuters they were monitoring headlines about the app. The U.S. government has launched a national security review of its owner ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media platform (4 Images)

TikTok has said that it moderates content independently from China and stores no U.S. user data there.

“If there is any information that comes to light that we feel doesn’t reflect the values that we want to espouse then we would re-evaluate where we would want to spend our money,” said eos’s chief marketing officer Kang.

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London

Boeing boss ousted days after 737 MAX production grounded

( via– Tue, 24th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

All 737 MAXs were grounded in March after a plane crashed in Ethiopia, five months after another came down near Indonesia.

Boeing has ousted its boss six days after the company said it was suspending the production of 737 MAX aircraft following two fatal crashes.

The aerospace giant said Dennis Muilenburg had resigned as chief executive and board director with immediate effect.

Reuters news agency reported that Mr Muilenburg may be eligible for nearly $39m in severance. Boeing decline to comment on the figure or whether he would accept it.

Announcing the chief executive's departure, the company said: “The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders.”

It follows a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks triggered by the two crashes, the company said.

Chairman David Calhoun will serve as chief executive and president from 13 January, it added.

Last Tuesday, the US aircraft maker announced that it would temporarily halt production of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft in January.

The decision was widely seen as a humiliating admission that the fleet's fate lies in the hands of regulators after its own timetable to return the planes to service dragged by months.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said last week it would not grant clearance for the planes before 2020.

All versions of the 737 MAX were grounded worldwide in March – days after an Ethiopian Airlines plane came down outside Addis Ababa, and five months after a Lion Air flight suffered a similar fate near Indonesia.

A total of 346 people died in the crashes.

Mr Muilenburg has led the company since 2015 but his position has come under increasing pressure following the disasters and in October he was stripped of his role as chairman while remaining as chief executive.

Shares in Boeing rose after the announcement that he was departing.

Boeing has been working with US regulators to ensure the 737 MAX aircraft are safe – with modifications focusing on an anti-stall device called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) in the hope of returning the 737 MAX to service.

After announcing the suspension of the aircrafts' production, the company said it did not expect any job losses “at this time”, leaving the company under pressure to save costs elsewhere as it grapples a growing bill – last put at $9bn (£6.8bn).

That sum is expected to rise significantly.

Boeing has continued to produce 737 MAX jets at around 42 per month, while also purchasing parts from suppliers at a rate of up to 52 units per month.

Deliveries have been frozen until regulators approve the aircraft to fly commercially again, leaving the company scrambling to find space to store hundreds of planes.

UK business confidence levels highest for three years – Poll shows

( via – – Mon,23rd Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Poll shows highest UK business confidence levels for three years

Key economic measures swing positive for the first time since Brexit referendum, says IoD

Business confidence in the British economy has leaped to its highest level for more than three years following the Conservatives’ election win, according to a survey of company directors.

For the first time since spring 2018, firms have become optimistic about the economic outlook, with a key confidence measure swinging into positive territory and hitting 21% in December, up from -18% in November.

That is the highest figure since the 2016 EU referendum, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD), which polled members in the days following the election. It added that Boris Johnson’s new majority government meant company directors, whatever their personal views, now had a framework around which they could put in place plans to invest, hire staff and expand.

The IoD’s main confidence measure – which is the net balance of those firms that are optimistic minus those that are pessimistic – had been negative for more than 18 months.

But the organisation warned that the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s long-term relationship with Europe remained a cause for concern, adding: “Our members’ confidence has proven sensitive to Brexit developments over the past few years, and this is likely to continue during negotiations in the year ahead.”

Directors at larger businesses tended to be more optimistic about prospects for the economy over the next 12 months. The data showed that company directors have also become more upbeat about their own firm’s prospects, with this figure increasing to 46% from 26% a month earlier.

This pick-up in confidence was accompanied by a “significant” increase in firms’ investment intentions for 2020. A net balance of 18% expected their investment levels to increase, though the bulk of those quizzed also expected to be hit with higher costs over the next 12 months. The directors’ body said this indicated that the new government “has its work cut out” to support the labour market and cut firms’ mounting bills.

The current state of the economy was named the top challenge, followed by continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Tej Parikh, the chief economist at the IoD, said: “Britain’s directors will be entering 2020 with a little more festive cheer than might have been expected only a few weeks ago.”

He added that the government’s agenda as outlined so far included some welcome proposals, such as plans to increase and broaden research and development tax credits.

He also highlighted proposals outlined in the Queen’s speech on 19 December to reform business rates. Some firms should have their business rates halved with the government committing to increase the so-called business rate “retail discount” from one-third to 50%, extending it to cinemas and music venues, and introducing an additional discount for pubs.

The government also claimed in the Queen’s speech that the reforms and reliefs announced since 2016 would reduce the burden of business rates by more than £13bn over the next five years.Advertisement

The IoD findings are based on a poll of 952 company directors carried out between 13 December and 20 December.

By Rupert Jones

Thomas Cook staff felt let down by benefits system

( via – – Mon, 23rd Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

When Thomas Cook collapsed three months ago, staff like Betty Knight, who had worked as cabin crew for 12 years, thought they'd be able to fall back on the welfare system.

But she was left bewildered. When she needed help she struggled to get it. Her application for job seeker's allowance was repeatedly declined.

She's one of dozens who have contacted the BBC in the same situation.

“I've worked hard. I've done everything expected of me to contribute to our society, but when I needed the Department for Work and Pensions, I haven't been able to access that. It left me reeling.”

After being out of work for 11 weeks, Betty has now received around five weeks' of benefits.

Lots of her former Thomas Cook colleagues are in worse situations, telling us they have received nothing and have been poorly advised by their job centres. It stems from confusion over whether they are entitled to job seeker's allowance or universal credit as the tour operator's administration process remains ongoing.

Take Ian Begg who worked as a cabin manager for 14 years. “When we lost Thomas Cook we were just left to go out to pasture,” he says. “My treatment by the job centre has felt like I've been thrown out again. They made me feel not worthy of benefits.”

He was initially told to claim for universal credit which would have a five week processing time. During that five week period, he travelled to Manchester from his parents' house in Scotland for a weekly appointment at the job centre.

However, a day before the first payment was due, his claim was cancelled because he had received a one-off payment from the liquidators of Thomas Cook. He was then advised he should have applied for job seeker's allowance.

Mistakes mean claims being cancelled and long waits to recoup missed payments.

Other former staff have worse stories to tell but are afraid to speak out in case it affects their benefits claims.

Ian has worked all his life and, like Betty, expected to be able to access state support after he was made redundant. He's now given up, and is using his savings and support from his family to live on, before he starts a new job with another airline in 2020.

Rebecca, another former Thomas Cook worker, was heavily pregnant when the firm collapsed. Any prospect of receiving maternity benefits from the company vanished, so she applied for state support.

Eight weeks after applying, however, the claim was cancelled because she'd been sent the wrong paperwork. She's now waiting for a new application to be processed.

“Due to the stress of everything, and the lack of help, I have found myself on anti-depressants and unable to enjoy Christmas and time with my baby,” she says.

‘The system has failed us'

Ian Begg says he too suffered mental health problems following the firm's failure. “For about two weeks after the collapse, I couldn't even get dressed. I couldn't face the world and stayed indoors. I had anxiety and was depressed.”

Ian is managing to slowly move forwards, but many of his former colleagues are still having a tough time, he says, and the difficulties around accessing welfare support have made it worse. “It's wrong, the system has failed us.”

Betty Knight is in contact with hundreds of former colleagues through Facebook and WhatsApp support groups. They are a close-knit community.

One friend and her partner who both worked for Thomas Cook, say they were kicked out of their flat because the landlord knew they would struggle to pay the rent. They are now using their redundancy money to pay for a B&B. Betty says they feel trapped, unable to secure new accommodation or work.

She reports other cases of former colleagues made homeless and living in shelters after landlords refused to allow them to stay on while they tried to find new employment.

Some former Thomas Cook employees have fared better. Ian Houlihan was a Thomas Cook pilot for more than 20 years. “I've been lucky, my job centre in Chorley has been great. I've had access to training. But my other colleagues have been treated appallingly.”

Lots of staff talk about the huge disparities between what is on offer between different job centres.

Adele (not her real name) worked as cabin crew for 20 years. When she lost her job at Thomas Cook she was offered the opportunity of a job at Jet2, last week voted one of the UK's best airlines by Which? Magazine readers.

But, in line with its recruitment policy, Jet2 charges the applicant £700 to train on a four-week Jet2 course. Trainees don't receive any pay while on the course and the applicant fronts all costs. They then have to pass exams at the end to be guaranteed a job.

In some instances, job centres have given applicants £700 to complete this training but in other cases they have refused to pay. Adele says her job centre told her to borrow the money. “How can I?” she says. “I've been out of work for 12 weeks.”

Jet2 said this was its standard recruitment process and would not comment further.

The Department for Work and Pensions has apologised. “We are sorry if people have experienced delayed payments and urge them to stay in contact with their job centre so we can urgently fix their claims.

“We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people. When Thomas Cook collapsed we were ready on day one to help the 11,000 people who lost their jobs.

“Our dedicated staff have helped thousands of those affected, including through home visits to those unable to reach the job centre and by fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible.”

By Simon Browning

Best Top 10 Hotels To Spend Christmas

Source Alux

In this video we'll try to answer the following questions: • Where should I spend Christmas?! • Where is the best place to spend Christmas?! • What are the best hotels to spend Christmas at?! • Which are the top hotels for a holiday choice?! • Where should I spend Christmas?!