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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, March 31, 2016 with No comments | Labels:

'True' UK unemployment is 6.3m, double the official figure
Britain bases its jobless data on a widely used formula that defines an adult as unemployed if they are out of work and have actively sought a new post over the past month. However, the TUC (the umbrella body for UK trade unions) said incorporating six measures of joblessness that are common in the US would paint the UK job market in a much bleaker light. Those include unemployed people who want work but have not actively sought it for six weeks, who number more than 2.2 million in the UK, and "underemployed" adults who are in part-time work because they cannot find full-time work, who add a further 1.3 million to the unemployment total. Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: "Our jobs crisis is not confined to those out of work. Nearly two million people are being forced to take low-paid, insecure, short hours jobs because of the lack of proper full-time employment. This means people are taking home much less pay, which is putting a real strain on family budgets. When ministers say there are plenty of jobs out there, they are ignoring the sheer numbers of people looking for work, as well as the suitability and location of the jobs available." During the 1980s the Thatcher government was accused of adopting youth training schemes to keep the total from soaring towards 4 million. Later, the Major government and its Labour successors allowed many long-term unemployed to switch to disability benefits. According to the TUC analysis, the UK has experienced a significant rise in the underemployment phenomenon over the past two decades, with the total standing at 1.3 million compared with 802,000 in 1993. All countries have faced similar criticism. The US has kept its unemployment rate from straying much above the all important 10% level by excluding the long-term unemployed, while Germany's extensive youth training and apprenticeship schemes have come under increasing criticism for providing low levels of support to young people with poor school qualifications. GUARDIAN

Most UK manufacturers are struggling to recruit skilled workers
Three-quarters of companies say they have faced difficulties finding the right workers in the last three years, according to business group EEF. It warns a skills shortage is putting productivity growth at risk and adding to pressure on manufacturers as they battle a host of pressures in domestic and overseas markets. The report comes just weeks after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) cut its forecast for potential productivity, or what workers in the UK can produce an hour, triggering warnings of damage to living standards, wages and government tax receipts. The EEF predicts demand for skills will rocket and urges the government to launch grants for apprenticeships and reform the education system to ensure leavers’ skills match needs of businesses. GUARDIAN

HMRC’s £6m tax evasion campaign used agency linked to tax haven
A multimillion-pound Revenue & Customs publicity campaign to stamp out tax evasion and avoidance used an advertising agency ultimately controlled in an offshore haven. HMRC spent more than £6 million on the campaigns, including £300,000 specifically on offshore evasion. Among the agencies used was TNS, a research agency, whose ultimate parent company and controlling party is WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company which is incorporated in Jersey and was founded by Sir Martin Sorrell, the billionaire tycoon. TIMES

Number of City financiers earning more than €1m rises to nearly 3,000
The European Banking Authority (EBA) said the UK had more than three times as many high-earning bankers as the rest of the EU combined. The regulator’s data showed that the number of high earners across the EU rose 21.6% to 3,865 in 2014, from 3,178 in 2013. The majority – 2,429 – worked in investment banking. It was the first year when the EU bonus cap was implemented and new EBA rules on banks reporting staff remuneration took effect. The regulator’s data showed 16 people at financial institutions based in Britain took home more than €10m in 2014, with one earning €24m-€25m. Since the bonus cap was introduced in 2014, limiting bankers’ bonuses to 100% of salary, or 200% if shareholders approve, the UK and France have implemented waivers. The UK has excluded hundreds of smaller, less risky firms such as asset managers and brokers. GUARDIAN

UK employees work longer hours with no gain in productivity
UK think tank the Smith Institute has found that two-thirds of employees say they are working longer than two years ago, but only 10 per cent believe they are more productive. A quarter of staff believed their productivity had declined over the period. Productivity is a measure of output for every hour worked. The Office for Budget Responsibility downgraded UK productivity in the last quarter of 2015 after nine months of improvements, delaying UK economic recovery. Average output per hour is already around a fifth higher in the rest of the G7 nations compared with the UK. Paul Hackett, director of the Smith Institute, said: “Making the cake bigger by way of productivity improvements is critical to growing the economy, but giving the workforce a smaller slice inevitably leaves employees feeling cheated.” INDEPENDENT

Six million hit by stealth tax raid on wages: £40 a month worse off after opting out of state pension scheme
The reforms hit millions who opted out of a scheme to top up the state pension in return for lower National Insurance contributions. The changes were announced three years ago but come into force now. Someone on £40,000 a year could lose as much as £40 a month from take home pay. Experts estimate around 1.5 million employees in the private sector and five million public sector staff will be affected. The reforms are expected to raise £5.5 billion for the Treasury. Steve Webb, the ex-pensions minister now director of policy at insurers Royal London, said: ‘I think the Chancellor had hoped that no one would notice this rather large tax increase smuggled out.’ The Government is replacing the second state pension (Serps) – which let workers ‘top up’ their basic pension – with so-called single-tier pensions. In a further blow, more than half a million middle class workers will miss the full benefit of the Budget tax breaks. Some 585,000 taxpayers will see the amount they contribute in NI soar by more than £500 for a couple. This will wipe out much of the benefit of the headline-grabbing tax break, which saw the start of the 40p tax rate increased to £45,000. Middle class earners were told to expect a £1,406 benefit. But due to the changes, a couple earning £48,000 each would pay £524 more NI in a year by 2017 to 2018, according to accountancy firm PWC. They would still be better off overall, but by around £882 a year. DAILY MAIL

Train operator GWR's adverts banned for suggesting service owned by public
The train operator Great Western Railway has been banned from running adverts that suggest its service is publicly owned. A poster campaign introducing the company formerly known as First Great Western when it rebranded last September stated: “The railway belongs to the region it serves.” Complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority pointed out that GWR belongs to its owner, FirstGroup, a multinational transport company listed on the London Stock Exchange, and not the people of south-west England. The ASA ruled that the advert was misleading and “might encourage consumers to use or enquire about using the service, for example, out of regional loyalty or because they believed profits directly belonged to the local region”. It told GWR not to suggest in future that the railway franchise was publicly owned, if that was not the case. Cat Hobbs, director of the campaign group We Own It, said: “Privatisation is now so unpopular that train companies can get good PR by pretending to be publicly owned. The GWR advert is misleading – it’s also a sign that it’s time for real public ownership.” The ASA did not upheld a complaint about another GWR advert that described Isambard Kingdom Brunel as “our illustrious founder”, ruling that consumers were likely to understand founder in a broad sense, rather than the founder of the company itself. GUARDIAN

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