Automation to effect one in five job across the UK according to new research

( via – – Tue, 17 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Workers in shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s constituency face highest risk of being replaced by robots, says research

Workers in the constituency of shadow chancellor John McDonnell are at the highest risk of seeing their jobs automated in the looming workplace revolution that will affect at least one in five employees in all parliamentary seats, according to new research.

The thinktank Future Advocacy – which specialises in looking at the big 21st century policy changes – said at least one-fifth of jobs in all 650 constituencies were at high risk of being automated, rising to almost 40% in McDonnell’s west London seat of Hayes and Harlington.

The thinktank’s report also found that the public was largely untroubled by the risk that their job might be at threat. Only 2% of a sample of more than 2,000 people were very worried that they might be replaced by a machine, with a further 5% fairly worried.

Future Advocacy’s report has been based on a PWC study earlier this year showing that more than 10 million workers were at risk of being replaced by automation and represents the first attempt to show the impact at local level.

The thinktank said McDonnell’s seat would be affected because it contains Heathrow airport, which has a large number of warehousing jobs that could be automated. Of the 92,150 employees in Hayes and Harlington in 2015, 36,170 (39.3%) were at high risk of having their jobs automated by the early 2030s. Crawley – the seat that includes Gatwick airport – was seen as the second most vulnerable constituency.

Future Advocacy said its report was an “attempt to encourage a geographically more sophisticated understanding of, and response to, the future of work, and also an attempt to encourage MPs to pay more attention to this critical issue”.

Opinion is divided on the likely impact of the artificial intelligence revolution on jobs. Optimists have said that the lesson from history is that technological change leads to more jobs being created than destroyed, while pessimists have argued that AI is different because the new machines will be able to do intellectual as well as routine physical tasks.

“One thing that almost all economists agree on is that change is coming and that its scale and scope will be unprecedented. Automation will impact different geographies, genders, and socioeconomic classes differently,” the report noted.

It added that “the highest levels of future automation are predicted in Britain’s former industrial heartlands in the Midlands and the north of England, as well as the industrial centres of Scotland. These are areas which have already suffered from deindustrialisation and many of them are unemployment hot spots.”

Olly Buston, one of the report’s authors, said it was vital that lessons were learned from the 1980s. “Let’s not have a repeat of the collapse of the coal-mining industry,” he said. “Instead, we should have a smarter strategy.”

Noting that there would be a political pay off for the party that came up with the best strategy for coping with the robot age, the report makes a number of recommendations for the government.

They include: publishing a white paper on adapting the education system so that it focuses on creativity and interpersonal skills in addition to the stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths; developing a post-Brexit migration policy that allows UK-based AI companies and universities to attract the best talent; exploring ways to ensure the benefits of the AI revolution are spread through research into alternative income and taxation models, including investigation of a universal basic income; and conducting further detailed research to assess which employees were most at risk of losing their jobs.

The report said that it was “arguably automation – rather than globalisation – that has created the economic and social conditions that led to political shockwaves such as the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit.

The report found that the leaders of the four main Westminster parties represented seats where more than 25% of jobs were at high risk of being automated, while the constituency with the lowest proportion of high-risk jobs was Labour-held Edinburgh South.

High-risk constituencies typically contained large numbers of people working in transport or manufacturing, while lower-risk constituencies – including Edinburgh South, Wirral West and Oxford East – had high concentrations of workers employed in education and health.

By Larry Elliott

Facebook to invest £1 million in Uk’s schools to help pupils become “digital safety ambassadors”

( via – – Mon, 16 Oct, 2017) London, Uk – –

Facebook says tens of thousands of children in secondary schools could be taught to counter cyber bullying by the social network.

The company is investing £1 million in helping pupils in the UK's 4,500 secondary schools to become “digital safety ambassadors” – young people trained on how to counter online abuse.

Facebook lets anybody aged 13 or over to have a Facebook or Instagram account, but up to one in four children have experienced online bullying, according to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety estimates.

According to research released on Monday, more than half would prefer to deal with bullying online instead of turning to an adult, but are more likely to seek the advice of friends.

Facebook says it is providing online help on how to combat cyber bullying, and funding youth charities to carry out face-to-face training in classrooms. It has partnered with the Diana Award, an anti-bullying charity set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Childnet International.

The social network's head of safety Antigone Davis said: “Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated Safety Centre, to our online reporting tools. By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school we are now taking this commitment offline too.”

 The company says it wants trained pupils in every school, ultimately meaning tens of thousands will be taught.

Last week, the Government promised to make Britain the “safest place in the world to be online” with a new internet safety strategythat would include an industry-wide levy to fund anti-bullying measures.

New data protection laws will also require social media sites like Facebook to delete posts made about a user before they turned 18 if they demand it.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said on Monday: “The internet has many amazing opportunities for our young people but what is unacceptable offline needs to be unacceptable on a computer screen.

“Our Internet Safety Strategy aims to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and working together with companies like Facebook is how we can all contribute to a positive online environment.”


Financial Conduct Authority chief exec warns of a “pronounced” build up of debt among young people

( via – – Mon, 16 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

The chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has warned of a “pronounced” build up of debt among young people.

In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Bailey said the young were having to borrow for basic living costs.

The regulator also said he “did not like” some high-cost lending schemes.

He said consumers, and institutions that lend to them, should be aware that interest rates may rise in the future and that credit should be “affordable”.

The head of the FCA was talking to the BBC as part of its ‘Money Matters' coverage, looking at the issues of credit and debt in the UK.

Mr Bailey said action was being taken to curb long-term credit card debt and high-cost pay-day loans.

The regulator is also looking at charges in the rent-to-own sector which can leave people paying high levels of interest for buying white goods such as washing machines, he added.

“There is a pronounced build up of indebtedness amongst the younger age group,” Mr Bailey said.

“We should not think this is reckless borrowing, this is directed at essential living costs. It is not credit in the classic sense, it is [about] the affordability of basic living in many cases.”

‘Generational shift'

Although Mr Bailey said that high levels of consumer debt was not a crisis “in the macro-economic sense”, it did matter to struggling individuals whose stories he had listened to during visits to debt management charities.

“There are particular concentrations [of debt] in society, and those concentrations are particularly exposed to some of the forms and practices of high cost debt which we are currently looking at very closely because there are things in there that we don't like,” Mr Bailey said.

“There has been a clear shift in the generational pattern of wealth and income, and that translates into a greater indebtedness at a younger age.

“That reflects lower levels of real income, lower levels of asset ownership. There are quite different generational experiences,” he said.

Mr Bailey was speaking as research shows young people in particular are concerned about the amount of debt they are carrying and their ability to repay that debt

He said the high price of renting and lack of income growth meant that more people had to use credit to make ends meet.

Gig economy

Recent Bank of England figures show that consumer debt, excluding mortgages, now totals over £200bn and is approaching levels not seen since the financial crisis.

The increase in what is known as “unsecured lending” on credit cards, car loan schemes, personal loans and overdrafts is running at 10% a year.

People are also saving less as ultra low interest rates eat into returns.

“Obviously we all question how long this can that go on for,” Mr Bailey said. “But in aggregate it isn't on its own something that we should be describing as a crisis.”

He added: “I am not of the school of thought that credit should not be available to this section of society because credit should be there to smooth income in the classic sense, and we know there are more people with erratic income flows, that is one of the features of the so-called gig-economy.”

Mr Bailey said that “sustainable credit is a necessary part of society”.

By Kamal Ahmed


The Bubble Bros van tours the UK selling prosecco on tap


Bubble Bros bought a vintage Piaggio van and transformed it into a prosecco wagon, which serves bubbly on tap.

The three-wheeled vehicle tours the country together with the Bubble Bike, a motorbike with a sparkling wine bar in the sidecar. Stops include weddings, private partiers, and also festivals like Glastonbury.

Bubble Bros started catering in 2015 with 1 van. They now have 5 vans and 1 motorbike which are all road legal.

Their wine comes in barrels from the DOCG region of Italy, which stands for Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin– a quality assurance label for Italian wines.

Meet the company where luxury and philanthropy go hand in hand

( via – – Sat, 14 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Want to spice up your next trip by making a contribution to the local population? You will return home with the best souvenir: the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. An ever-growing group of socially engaged travelers has already changed thousands of people’s lives.

There is no better place to watch whales than the island where locals have strong cultural affinities with these beautiful marine creatures. In New Zeland, the indigenous Māori people have a long history with whales: local legend says that their ancestors arrived on the island on the back of a whale. The locals believe in a spiritual bond with the animals.

Today, this tribe happens to possess one of the most successful companies organizing whale watch tours, among other activities, in the local town of Kaikoura. In fact, the local community trust, founded in 1987 by four Maori families, has played a huge role in reviving the town’s declining economy. They have transformed Kaikoura into a leading eco-tourism destination and the Whale Watch Kaikoura became the largest employer of the season. The enterprise invests a huge part of their annual profit in supporting the community, education, employment, and protecting the environment.

The company offers up-close encounters with giant sperm whales and strives to minimise their impact on the environment. It also runs educational programmes on how to save the environment as well as eco-friendly activities for visitors, such as planting your own tree.

By Doloresz Katanich


FCA attracts controversy in allegedly seeking to water down rules to lure Saudi oil giant’s IPO to London

( via – – Fri, 13 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Regulator has attracted controversy by allegedly seeking to water down rules to lure Saudi oil giant’s IPO to London

The chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has admitted meeting officials from Saudi Aramco before publishing plans to water down rules in a move intended to lure the $2tn (£1.5tn) stock market listing of the oil giant to London.

Andrew Bailey told MPs that the meeting with officials from the Gulf kingdom’s state oil company – which is planning the world’s biggest ever flotation – took place in the early part of this year.

In July the FCA launched its consultation on creating a new category for firms listing on the stock market that are controlled by a sovereign country. It has faced criticism that the weakening of the rules will damage London’s reputation for protecting shareholders in companies with dominant owners.

But Bailey insisted the new category would not weaken protection for investors and that those who did invest in companies in the new group would know what they were buying.

He was replying to a letter from Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP who chairs the Treasury select committee, and Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP who chairs the business, energy and industry committee, about the background to the proposed changes and whether there had been any political interference.

His response is likely to inflame the row at a time when London is vying with New York for the lucrative listing in a battle that is regarded as a key challenge for the City in the run-up to Brexit. In April, Theresa May and Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, visited Riyadh to meet Aramco’s chief executive, Khalid al-Falih, who is also the kingdom’s energy minister.

Bailey said Treasury officials had been informed about the consultation in March and that the economic secretary to the Treasury had been told because he was having an introductory meeting with the new City minister, Stephen Barclay, 48 hours before the publication was launched. Other than that, Bailey said, he had not conversations with ministers on the subject.

He said the FCA routinely had meetings with companies considering a flotation in London and would not usually disclose these meetings. “However, given the public discussion of these events we can confirm that we held conversations with Saudi Aramco and their advisers in light of their interest in a possible UK listing in the early part of this year. We emphasised during those conversations that we were reviewing the listing regime,” Bailey said.

But Morgan said: “Questions remain about the level of political involvement in the consultation. The UK’s world-class reputation for upholding strong corporate governance mustn’t be watered down.”

Reeves added: “What may well be good for City traders is not necessarily good for the rest of the country’s economy or investors.”

The FCA’s consultation ends on 13 October and investors and trade bodies have continued to raise their concerns. Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London Asset Management, said: “While we fully support the case that the UK must stay competitive in a growing global marketplace, we do not think rewriting the rules is the correct way to go about it.”

Stephen Martin, the director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “We see no overwhelming reason to believe that states should be treated differently to other controlling shareholders. If anything, the risk for minority investors of having their interests ignored are greater, as the state will be subject to other domestic pressures.”

Bailey said in his letter that the proposals matched recommendations made by the Treasury to the FCA at the time of the budget in March. “The recommendations include the point that London retaining its position as the leading international financial centre supports the aim of sustainable economic growth,” said Bailey.

The FCA proposals would enable state-owned companies to qualify for a premium listing – which has more onerous corporate governance rules and is valued by investors – but escape two key hurdles. One relates to how the company and the controlling shareholder conduct deals with each other; the second allows investors a vote on independent directors.

By Jill Treanor


Samsung chief exec resigns citing an “unprecedented crisis”

( via – – Fri, 13 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

The chief executive of Samsung Electronics has resigned, citing an “unprecedented crisis” around the smartphone giant.

Kwon Oh-hyun, who has been with the company for 32 years, said he would step down as chief executive and vice chairman in March. His departure comes despite Samsung Electronics projecting record quarterly profits

The company's sales are booming thanks to record demand at its microchip and display units and improving sales of its latest smartphones, but it has been hit by a corruption scandal at the highest level.

Jay Y Lee, the heir to the Samsung empire, was sentenced to five years in prison in August for bribery and perjury after he was accused of overseeing large payments to foundations run by South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye.

Mr Lee is vice-chairman of both Samsung Electronics and the wider Samsung conglomerate, which includes interests in property, financial services and healthcare. But the electronics company, best known as the world's biggest smartphone seller, is its crown jewel.

“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” Mr Kwon said in a letter to staff.

 “It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off.”

Samsung did not announce a successor. It technically has three chief executives but the other two, Jong-Kyun Shin and Yoon Boo Keun, have stepped back from the day-to-day running of the company.

“With Jay Y Lee also likely to be out of the picture for a few years, the way is open for new blood to take the helm of Samsung and clean-up these long-standing issues,” said Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research.

It came as Samsung Electronics announced that it expected to report revenues around 62 trillion won (£41bn) in the third quarter, up from 47.8 trillion in the same period last year when the company was engulfed by the crisis of its faulty Galaxy Note 7.

It said operating profits would be around 14.5 trillion won, compared to 5.2 trillion won a year ago. While it has seen record demand for its latest Note 8 phone, the biggest driver of revenues have been its memory and display divisions.


UK lenders to set biggest reduction in consumer lending since late 2008

( via — Thur, 12 Oct 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British lenders are planning the biggest reduction in the availability of consumer lending since late 2008, when the economy was in the depths of its worst post-war recession, a Bank of England survey showed on Thursday.

The BoE’s net balance of lenders’ expectations for the availability of unsecured lending over the next three months fell to -28.6 from -16.2, signalling the steepest contraction since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Lenders said they expected the availability of mortgages and loans to businesses to remain broadly steady over the next three months.

However, they expected demand for loans for capital investment in businesses to fall at the fastest rate since the third quarter of 2011.

By Andy Bruce

Booker 3.7bn takeover by Tesco expected to close early 2018




( via – – Thur, 12 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Wholesaler Booker said on Thursday it expected its £3.7bn pound takeover by Tesco to complete early next year, as it reported a 9 per cent rise in first-half profit.

The agreed deal is currently being investigated by regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and provisional findings are expected by the end of the month, ahead of a final report by the end of the year.

“It is expected that the merger will complete in early 2018, subject to, amongst other things, the necessary shareholder approvals,” Booker said.

The group supplies the Budgens, Londis, Happy Shopper and Premier convenience chains, catering firms such as Wagamama and Carluccio‘s, and also operates cash and carry business Makro.

Booker said it made a pretax profit of £88m in the 24 weeks to September, up from £81m in the same period last year. Total sales rose 2.5 per cent to £2.6bn with progress in both the catering and retail sides of the business.

It said non-tobacco revenue in the first four weeks of its new financial year is ahead of last year.

Booker said it will not be making forward looking statements for the duration of the Tesco offer period.

Shares in Booker, up 21 per cent over the last year, closed at 205.3 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at £3.66bn.

For each Booker share Tesco is offering 0.861 new Tesco shares and 42.6 pence in cash.


CEO of UK wealth management firm warns bond markets creating the biggest financial crisis of our life time

( via – – Wed, 11 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

The CEO of a U.K.-based wealth management firm has warned that an unruly end to monetary stimulus from global central banks could lead to pensioners and retail customers suffering the biggest financial crisis of their lifetimes.

Brian Raven, group chief executive at Tavistock Investments, believes that bond markets will be the source of the problem and are primed for a sharp reversal.

“This is the biggest financial crisis of our lifetime, because it affects the average person,” Raven told CNBC over the phone. Tavistock is focused on the U.K. but Raven said the problem could be felt more broadly around the world. He argued that bond markets are in a state “never seen before” which could soon trigger a financial shock bigger than in 2008.

Bonds — pieces of paper that companies, governments and banks sell to raise money — have seen three decades of price gains and are perceived to be a safe haven in times of economic stress. They also traditionally perform poorly in times of rising inflation. In the last 10 years, central banks have been busy buying up bonds in an effort to boost the global economy and increase lending. This has further accentuated the move higher for bond prices and many economists now believe the market has become distorted.

With central banks preparing to put an end to ultra-loose monetary stimulus, and with inflation recently seeing a pickup, there are concerns that bonds could lose value quickly in a market that is not very liquid. There are also concerns that bondholders aren't fully aware of the risks.

“The more conservative central banks ( e.g. Bundesbank ) that have been skeptical of quantitative easing have long warned that long periods of low interest rates can sow the seeds of the next crisis by smothering relative prices in the financial markets — but it is difficult to tell where ahead of time because of the ‘fog' created,” Jan Randolph, director of sovereign risk at IHS Markit, told CNBC via email.

“There is a risk of a sharp rebound in prices as monetary policies tighten and liquidity problems if investors stampede out these more risky markets when risks start to crystallize,” he added.

While there's been many gloomy forecasts for the bond market, not everyone agrees that they'll definitely see significant losses as central banks reduce their bond-buying programs. Mike Bell, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, told CNBC Monday that this monetary tightening creates a risk but believes that the recent economic recovery should be enough to offset the impacts of lower bond prices.

“Eventually tighter monetary policy could tip the U.S. economy into recession, but we believe that the economy and equity markets can withstand at least the next year's worth of monetary policy tightening,” he said.

“We certainly don't expect the next bear (negative) market to be as bad as the financial crisis in 2008 as banks are much better capitalized than they were in 2008. We therefore expect the next bear market to be a more classic recession rather than a full-blown financial crisis,” he added.

Central banks are unlikely to change their strategy and so investors will be likely face higher interest rates and higher inflation. Therefore, Tavistock's Raven told CNBC that investors should adapt and diversify their investments. Bonds with short durations, high-yielding bonds and emerging market bonds are all potential options for investors, according to Raven.

By Silvia Amaro

Banks losing out on £130bn business opportunity by failing to connect with women

( via – – Wed, 11 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Banks are failing to connect with women who view financial advisers as arrogant, self-interested and untrustworthy, according to new research.

The report from insight and consultancy business Kantar, showed that financial institutions are losing out on a £130bn business opportunity by not appealing to women.

“In failing to develop client experiences rooted in men and women’s fundamentally different perspectives on finance, financial services institutions are missing a very significant business opportunity,” said Bart Michels, UK country leader for Kantar.

“Financial institutions are focusing their efforts on the confident, rather than the competent.”

The research, based on interviews, social media analysis and data from target group index (TGI), which is part of Kantar Media, showed that banks’ advertising fails to consistently communicate qualities including ‘trustworthiness’, ‘understanding’, ‘dependability’ and ‘accessibility’ to women when tested using facial recognition technology.

According to the report, women tend to focus more on relationships and family life when dealing with finances than men, who are interested in products and price. Women also have less time than men to plan for their future.

But women are an attractive prospect for banks. By 2020, they will hold over half of investable assets.

The report shows that satisfied female clients are twice as likely to recommend their bank, they typically hold more savings, mortgage and general insuranceproducts than men and are more loyal.

Women were also shown to be more responsible borrowers with a more conservative approach to the financial barriers to homeownership – two thirds of men under-estimated the cost of buying their home compared to half of women.

However, Kantar’s research shows that women are less financially confident. Among female customers, 65 per cent were found to have low financial confidence compared to 55 per cent of men.

Amy Cashman, UK managing director of financial services and technology at Kantar TNS and the study’s lead author, said: “Women’s lower engagement is also a major factor behind their concerns and shortfalls in retirement income.”

Men’s average retirement savings of £73,600 were three times more than women’s at £24,900, she said.

“This makes improved engagement of women in the financial sector a social imperative as well as commercial opportunity.”

To find out the differences between men’s and women’s relationship to finance, the report’s authors interviewed over 2,000 men and women, analysed over 1.5 million social media posts, used facial recognition technology to analyse reactions to adverts and analysed TGI data, which offers a complete view of consumer behaviour and motivations.

Most research was conducted between May and September 2017 while the social media data was gathered over the past year.

By Emma Featherstone

Tourism booming in the UK with nearly 40 million overseas visitors

( via – – Tue,10 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Tourism is booming in the UK with nearly 40 million overseas people expected to have visited the country during 2017 – a record figure.

Tourist promotion agency VisitBritain forecasts overseas trips to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million with spending up 14% to £25.7bn this year.

Britons are also holidaying at home in record numbers.

British Tourist Authority chairman Steve Ridgway said tourism was worth £127bn annually to the economy.

He called the sector an “economic powerhouse” and a “job creator right across Britain”.

“Two-and-a-half times bigger than the automotive industry, employing three million, tourism is one of our most successful exports and needs no trade deals to compete globally.”

The UK has become a cheaper place to visit for tourists from overseas following the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote last year.

But Mr Ridgway said: “Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry and you cannot just build a strong, resilient industry on a weaker currency.

“We must continue to invest in developing world-class tourism products, getting Britain on the wish-list of international and domestic travellers and we must make it easy for visitors to make that trip.”

Tourism Minister John Glen said: “Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy and supports millions of jobs.”

He added that the record figures for overseas and domestic holidaymakers were “testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry”.

During the first six months of the year there were a record 23.1 million overseas visits to the UK – up 8% on the same period in 2016 – and the figures for July topped four million for the first time, with only a slightly smaller number of visits made during August.

Britain's beaches and attractions have also attracted more domestic users with “staycations” on the rise.

From January to June this year, domestic overnight holidays in England rose 7% to a record 20.4 million with visitors spending £4.6bn – a rise of 17% and another record.

On Monday, figures from trade body UK Finance showed UK tourists' debit card spending when abroad was down sharply compared with last summer, providing more evidence of the trend towards holidaying at home.

Spending on UK debit cards overseas was down nearly 13% in August compared with the same month in 2016.


Sky take over bid face assessment by competition Watchdog

( via – – Tue, 10 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Competition and Markets Authority details scope of investigation into Murdochs’ potential to control editorial decisions

The competition watchdog has said it will assess whether Rupert Murdoch would be able to control or influence editorial decisions at Sky News as one of the key points of its investigation into his £11.7bn Sky takeover bid.

On Tuesday, the Competition and Markets Authority outlined the scope of its inquiry into how the deal would affect UK media plurality and broadcasting standards, and invited submissions for the six-month investigation.

Among the areas the CMA will look at is whether the Murdoch family’s ability to control or influence editorial and commercial decisions at Sky News will change, and how, if 21st Century Fox’s attempt to buy the 61% of Sky it does not own is successful.

The regulator will also assess their ability to “influence the political agenda” and how this could change after a takeover, alongside more general scrutiny of the potential effect on the number and variety of British media, including the “range of viewpoints”.

Fox and Sky’s broadcasting standards will be scrutinised, with the CMA saying it will look at whether the merged group would have a “genuine commitment” to the standards, while giving consideration to their track record.

Corporate governance and the treatment of employees in the UK and overseas are also to be assessed.

Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, referred Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky to the CMA last month for a full inquiry, after a three-month investigation by Ofcom.

While Ofcom raised concerns over media plurality, it found there was no reason to block the takeover bid on the grounds of broadcasting standards.

Anne Lambert, the CMA panel chair, said: “The CMA will use its extensive experience of investigating different issues in a wide range of sectors to thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox.

“Once the investigation is complete, we will report back to Karen Bradley for her to make a final decision.”

Bradley will appear at a select committee hearing on Wednesday, while Sky is to face shareholders for its annual general meeting on Thursday.


BAE Systems impending jobs losses to effect over 1000 Workers

( via – Mon, 9 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

BAE will announce the job cuts later this week, dealing a blow to the UK manufacturing sector, Sky News understands.

BAE Systems, Britain's biggest defence contractor, is to axe more than 1,000 jobs this week in a bitter blow for Britain's manufacturing industry.

Sky News has learnt that BAE will announce that many of the job cuts will affect its Warton plant in Preston, Lancashire, with the company's new chief executive, Charles Woodburn, also “trimming” its workforce at other locations.

Insiders said the number of jobs being axed would number “well over 1,000”, although the precise figure was unclear on Monday.

BAE employs 34,600 people in the UK, nearly half of its 83,000-strong global workforce.

The move is certain to ignite a furious political row because of the timing of the cuts, with heightened sensitivity over workforce reductions at major exporters amid uncertainty over the terms of Brexit.

The issue is nevertheless likely to be raised at a meeting that Theresa May is holding with business leaders – including the bosses of manufacturers and industrial groups such as Balfour Beatty, GlaxoSmithKline and JCB – later on Monday.

The Warton job cuts are understood to relate largely to a continued slowdown in production of the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, with ongoing uncertainty about the timing of a potentially large order from Saudi Arabia.

BAE announced last month that it had secured an order for 24 of the combat aircraft from Qatar, a deal hailed by the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon as “an important moment in our defence relationship and the basis for even closer defence co-operation between our two countries”.

The latest round of redundancies are expected to be made public on Tuesday – although a source suggested that they could be brought forward to later on Monday as a result of their early disclosure.

The news will come just three months after Mr Woodburn replaced Ian King as BAE's chief executive, and will reflect some of his initial thinking about the cost base of one of Britain's most important manufacturers, according to insiders.

“We obviously have to review our (Typhoon) production demand very carefully,” Mr Woodburn said in August.

“We are confident that we will win further Typhoon orders, what we can't be confident around is the timing.”

One defence industry source said it was conceivable that more than two-thirds of Warton's workforce could be at risk from future rounds of cuts.

The company said: “BAE Systems continually reviews its operations to make sure we are performing as effectively and efficiently as possible, delivering our commitments to existing customers and ensuring we are best placed to secure future business.

“If and when there are any changes proposed we are committed to communicating with our employees and their representatives first.”

By Mark Kleinman

Airbnb paid less than £200,000 in UK corporation tax last year


( via – – Mon, 9 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Airbnb, the accommodation website, paid less than £200,000 in UK corporation tax last year despite collecting £657m of rental payments for property owners.

The commissions the company earns in the UK are booked by its Irish subsidiary, but it also has two UK subsidiaries.

One unit made a pre-tax profit, but the other did not incur UK corporation tax because deductions resulted in a loss.

Airbnb said in a statement: “We follow the rules and pay all the tax we owe.”

One of the British subsidiaries, Airbnb Payments UK, handles payments between landlords and travellers for countries other than the United States, China and India.

That unit made a pre-tax profit of £960,000 and paid £188,000 in UK corporation tax – £8,000 less than in 2015.

The other British subsidiary, Airbnb UK, markets the website and app to British consumers. It reported a £463,000 pre-tax profit last year but because it gave shares to staff, which are tax-deductable, there was no corporation tax bill.

Airbnb said: “Our UK office provides marketing services and pays all applicable taxes, including VAT. The Airbnb model is unique and boosted the UK economy by £3.46bn last year alone.”

The tax arrangements of other technology giants have come under under closer scrutiny in recent years.

One of the most vocal critics has been EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. She has taken aim at the likes of Apple, Amazon and others for where they book the revenues and profits of their European activities.

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has also asked why Airbnb paid tens of thousand of euros in French corporation tax despite a turnover in the millions.

The company, founded in San Francisco in 2008, has disrupted the hotel industry by linking travellers with landlords who generally want to rent out a spare room or an entire property for short-term stays.

It has become one of the most successful examples of the digital economy, with an estimated value of about $24bn.

However, Airbnb has faced a growing backlash in cities including Barcelona, Berlin and Paris, where politicians have taken steps to stop landlords renting properties to tourists rather than local residents.

While Airbnb has long been linked with a stock market listing, it remains privately owned.

It takes a 3% commission from landlords for each booking, and also charges fees to travellers.

In the UK last year Airbnb catered for 5.9m travellers and had 168,000 listings.


Bruce Lee’s Top 10 Rules For Success


He was a martial artist, actor, teacher, and philosopher. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time. He is often credited with helping change the way Asians were presented in American films. He's Bruce Lee and here are his Top 10 Rules for success.

Physicist Robert Lang incredible origami journey


Twenty five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics and even wrote a Ph.D. thesis called “Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries and Spectral Properties.” But in 2001, Lang left his job in order to pursue a passion he's had since childhood: origami. In the origami world, Lang is now a legend, and it's not just his eye-catching, intricate designs that have taken the craft by storm. Some of his work has helped pioneer new ways of applying origami principles to complex real-world engineering problems.

Blade Runner 2049 tracking to open domestically with between $45 million to $50 million


Blade Runner 2049 brought in $4 million last night at the North American box office. Variety reports over $800,000 came from IMAX screenings of the Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel, which stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Blade Runner 2049 is tracking to open domestically this weekend with between $45 million to $50 million.

Productivity of UK workers lags behind world’s biggest economies

Tim Tabor/flickr

( via – – Fri, 6 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

The productivity of UK workers fell in the three months to June, as new figures rank Britain well behind the world’s biggest economies.

Despite increasing numbers of hours put in by workers, labour productivity as measured by output per hour fell by 0.1% in the three months to June, up from a fall of 0.5% in the three months to April, according to the Office for National Statistics. The gap between British labour productivity and that of the rest of the G7 slightly improved from from 16.1% in 2015 to 15.4% last year.

Philip Wales of the ONS said: “UK labour productivity continued to lag behind our international partners in 2016. New, innovative analysis suggests that this lower level of productivity was evident across all industries, although the size of the gap varies considerably.”

Next week the Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to admit that its forecasts for improving productivity growth have proved to be consistently optimistic. The government’s independent forecaster will say that the trend for lower productivity growth since the 2008 crash is likely to persist for several more years, warranting a downgrade from its March forecast.

Without an improvement in productivity, the UK economy is expected to miss out on expected increases in wages and living standards, putting further pressure on the welfare system and depressing tax receipts.

Treasury officials are known to believe that the downgrade will wipe out about two-thirds of the government’s £26bn war chest, which the chancellor set aside in the last budget to spend in the event of a slowdown following a disorderly and damaging exit from the EU.

Philip Hammond was expected to use some of the money in the autumn budget on 22 November to boost public sector pay and alleviate a spending squeeze that is hitting schools, hospitals and the police service at a time when all three services are under strain.

But the loss of about £18bn over the next four years following a reduction in productivity growth will severly limit his room for maneouvre.

By Richard Partington and Phillip Inman

Netflix streaming online giant to raise prices for subscribers

( via — Fri, 6 Oct 2017) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc’s U.S. business announced the first rises in monthly fees in two years on Thursday, hiking costs for two of its three main subscription plans as it spends heavily on its own original content.

The company's mid-range plan, which allows streaming on two devices at the same time, was increased to $10.99 per month from $9.99.

The top-tier plan, which allows streaming on four screens in high definition, was raised to $13.99 per month from $11.99. The basic plan fee remained at $7.99.

Shares in the global streaming pioneer rose as much as 4.5 percent to a record high of $192.80.

“Most investors believe that Netflix is priced well below its value to consumers and want to see the management continue to increase monetization,” Rob Sanderson analyst at MKM Partners said.

In 2011, Netflix raised prices for some customers by as much as $6, causing more than 800,000 U.S. subscribers to desert the service.

A more gradual move in 2014 did not provoke the same outrage.

Netflix is cheaper than many of its competitors despite the current price hike. HBO Now, the standalone streaming service of HBO that offers access to shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Veep”, is priced at $14.99 a month, while Hulu prices its service without commercials at $11.99 per month.

“This price increase will likely be a revenue growth catalyst for the company,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a client note. “The content, not price, is the leading churn/churn-back factor amongst Netflix subs.”

The price hikes will only be in the United States and will start taking effect from mid-November, depending on users’ billing cycles.