Thursday 8 May 2014

Thursday, May 08, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, May 08, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

Self-employment surge across UK hides real story behind upbeat job figures
Coalition claims that "more people are in work than ever before" have been undermined by a report that shows the number of traditional employee jobs is falling or flatlining across the country – a phenomenon masked by an explosion in recorded self-employment which one economist describes as "the last refuge of the desperate". Only London has shown a marked rise in employee jobs in the last six years, according to new analysis by the independent thinktank the Resolution Foundation. The labour market economist and former Bank of England rate-setter David Blanchflower, who has studied trends in self-employment for many years, said: "Particularly after a prolonged downturn, there is a well-documented pattern of people failing as jobseekers and then moving into self-employment status, often out of desperation rather than anything more positive." GUARDIAN

Given £184 million by the Treasury... but US predator Pfizer paid just £118 million in tax in three years
US drugs giant Pfizer took £67million more from the UK Government than it paid in tax over a three-year period. The firm shelled out £118million in corporation tax between 2010 and 2012 – but received a whopping £184million in tax credits. The rebate comes despite it making almost £5billion in sales from its British operations over the period. The figures, revealed in documents filed at Companies House, come as the multinational was criticised for building up £43billion in tax havens across the world. The US company has already admitted that moving its tax base out of the US is 'one of the key drivers' of its £63billion plans to buy British drugs giant AstraZeneca. The group has almost 200 offices registered in tax havens across the world where it has an estimated £43billion nestled away. Some 40 per cent of its subsidiaries are based in offshore shelters or low tax regimes such as the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, Jersey and the US state of Delaware – a highly controversial tax shelter. Tax expert Richard Murphy said: 'At a time when the world needs new antibiotics, Pfizer is investing in tax avoidance.' DAILY MAIL

'This is a movie we've seen before': House price boom poses greatest threat to financial stability, warns Bank of England deputy
Soaring house prices pose the greatest threat to Britain’s financial stability, the deputy governor of the Bank of England has warned. It would be ‘dangerous’ to ignore the momentum building up in the UK housing market, Sir Jon Cunliffe cautioned, predicting that it is not out the question the market could be heading for a crash. The Bank of England will have to decide in coming months whether to cool the recovery, he said, in the sternest warning from the Bank of England to date about surging British house prices. His comments came on the same day that new figures revealed house prices jumped another 10.9 per cent year on year in April, marking the first time since April 2010 that annual growth has reached double figures. DAILY MAIL

Legal aid cuts: Prime Minister's lawyer brother criticises reforms
The brother of David Cameron claimed a major fraud trial should be thrown out of court because of a lack of competent barristers, caused by the legal aid reforms introduced by his sibling's government. The lawyer Alex Cameron QC said the issue was part of a far wider problem, with a "finite resource" of Queen's counsel, outweighed by high demand, and many independent barristers unwilling to work under current legal aid rates. Controversial government-imposed cuts to legal aid – as high as 30 percent in standard fees in the most serious cases - have prompted demonstrations and walk outs by barristers and solicitors. Mr Cameron, who is representing seven defendants free of charge in a fraud case, argues that his legally aided clients could not find barristers "of sufficient competence". He accused the state of knowing but doing nothing about the problem and said this forced him to ask for the case to be halted. TELEGRAPH

£3.8bn NHS Better Care Fund policy delayed after damning Whitehall review
The £3.8bn-a-year Better Care Fund was supposed to have been launched last week, but its introduction has become mired in doubt after the Cabinet Office voiced deep disquiet about its viability and argued that there was little or no detail about how the expected savings would be delivered. Starting in April 2015 in England, the initiative was meant to cut both overcrowding in A&E units and the number of people admitted for hospital treatment. Projects would help keep frail, older people and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes and breathing problems healthier in their own homes and avoid expensive, unnecessary stays in hospital. GUARDIAN

The Sky sales staff who say they are under pressure to cheat
A group of Sky's door-to-door agents have contacted the Guardian to allege mis-selling by rogue commission-led doorstep sellers who they say have pushed customers into costly contracts which leap in price; lied about broadband speeds and download limits; promised services that are not part of their packages; and faked customer agreements. The whistleblowers say that behind the rogue practices (there is no suggestion that they have been ordered to mis-sell by Sky) lie commission incentives and branch managers who ignore internal complaints, as overall sales figures add to their bonuses. GUARDIAN

Ed Miliband promises crackdown on 'ghost homes' hoarded by investors
Ed Miliband has promised to impose council tax premiums on "ghost homes" hoarded by wealthy investors and other absentee owners across England. The Labour leader said he would also close loopholes that allow absentee owners to avoid the council tax premium on empty homes by putting in a few items of furniture. He said developers would also be required to sell flats in domestic markets at the same time as offering them to foreigners. Empty and second homes have long been subject to tax discounts but there is growing anger that property in the south-east is being used as a vehicle for asset investment by wealthy foreigners, causing a ripple further down the property market. The promises are part of Labour's push to woo voters who feel squeezed out of the housing market. Last week Miliband proposed to help "generation rent" by introducing greater long-term stability in private-sector rents. GUARDIAN


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