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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, November 10, 2016 with No comments | Labels:

Families set to lose £100 a week under 'chilling' new benefit cap
The annual limit on welfare payments to unemployed households drops from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital. Around 20,000 families are currently capped by an annual limit of £26,000 (or £500 a week) on total household benefits, introduced in 2013. But the new lower caps are set to bring an explosion in the numbers affected to around 64,000 households. Nearly two thirds of those affected are single mothers, according to the general union GMB. For single people without children the cap will fall at £15,410 in Greater London and £13,400 across the rest of the UK. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the 23,500 households who previously had their benefits capped have moved into work since 2013. But analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that "the majority of those affected will not respond" to the tougher cap by moving into work or moving house. "For that majority it is an open question how they will adjust to the loss of income," it said in a report. The move comes amid warnings that the poorest half of households face flat or falling incomes over the course of the Parliament.  Lower wage growth and higher inflation could reduce typical earnings by around £1,000 a year by 2020, the Resolution Foundation warned. INDEPENDENT

Google pays €47m in tax in Ireland on €22bn sales revenue
Google’s controversial advertising sales business in Dublin earned revenues of €22.6bn (£20.1bn) from Europe, the Middle East and Africa last year but paid just €47.8m in tax, according to company filings in Ireland. Revenues at Google Ireland Limited rose 23% in 2015, to €22.6bn, and were equivalent to a third of the search group’s global income. Of this Irish income, more than $7bn (£5.6bn) is thought to have come from transactions with advertisers in the UK. Google has continued to route its sales from British advertisers through Ireland, despite efforts by the former UK chancellor George Osborne to crack down on multinational tech groups that “abused the trust of the British people”. Almost no information is made public about Google Holdings Ireland, which is an unlimited company. It is registered to the address of a law firm in Dublin, but is thought to pay no tax in Ireland as it is tax-resident in Bermuda. Because it is unlimited, Google Holdings Ireland is not required to file accounts, under Irish company law. However, Bermuda does not charge corporation tax, so the billions of dollars of income Google is able to move into Google Holdings Ireland each year go untaxed. Google has told investors that, at the end of last year, it had amassed an offshore cash pile of $42.9bn. Other US tech companies that have made use of “double Irish” tax avoidance structures include Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. Under pressure from world leaders, Ireland agreed two years ago to start phasing out the tax benefits of such structures. However, Irish ministers have awarded generous “grandfathering rights” which ensure Google and others are able to pour income into their offshore tax havens up until 2020. GUARDIAN

Government blocks attempt to ban unpaid internships
Draft legislation put forward by Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke was designed to ensure that anyone working as an intern would be paid the minimum wage, which depends on the age of the worker. Speaking in parliament he described internships as “the acceptable face of unpaid labour in modern Britain today”. He added, they “should have no place in a meritocratic country that aims to work for the many and not the privileged few”. He added that his bill was designed to end “a new rise in the class society that means only those from a wealthy background can gain a privileged leg-up”. However, the bill was “talked out” and blocked by Conservative colleagues. Instead, the business minister, Margot James, said that the government would ask Matthew Taylor to include unpaid internships in his review of employment practices. The former adviser to Tony Blair is investigating the impact of the UK’s growing gig economy on workers’ rights. The campaign group Intern Aware said two-thirds of businesses backed a four-week limit on unpaid placements, and just 12% opposed such a cap. Internships are also controversial because they are perceived as biased towards the children of well-off professional parents who live in London. They are able to tap into their parents’ contacts to get valuable work experience and can also afford to take unpaid roles. GUARDIAN

Whitewash! It ruined lives and is being sued for £2bn, yet RBS is cleared of deliberately forcing small businesses under
Furious small business owners have accused the City watchdog of a whitewash after it cleared Royal Bank of Scotland of deliberately destroying their companies. The Financial Conduct Authority dismissed claims that bailed-out lender RBS sank small firms so it could seize their assets to shore up its ailing balance sheet. However, it did find the bank was guilty of poor communication, shoddy procedures and unfair complaints-handling when struggling businesses fell into its turnaround unit. RBS has finally bowed to pressure to compensate entrepreneurs whose livelihoods were destroyed after their firms dropped into the infamous global restructuring group (GRG). But campaigners dismissed the FCA's findings as a stitch-up and said the £400million compensation on offer was not enough. They have vowed to pursue RBS through the courts for an estimated £2billion. Jeremy Roe, of the activist group Bully-Banks, said: '[The FCA] is more interested in protecting the bank than providing justice. This is yet another whitewash. The £400million figure is a joke.' The seeds of the scandal were sown in 2009 as the financial crisis took hold and small companies struggled to pay back their loans. Firms which passed into the hands of the unit were told it would help them improve their finances and battle back to health. But instead, many claim they were ordered to pay more than they could afford as the bank's influence on their operations grew. When companies' finances collapsed, administrators were called in and RBS took control of their land and assets. Many entrepreneurs lost their homes and saw their marriages destroyed as a result. The RBS compensation scheme will give the 12,000 companies that were in the GRG between 2008 and 2013 an automatic refund of any complex fees charged at the time. DAILY MAIL

Household debt hits a record high of £1.5 TRILLION as Britons rack up £30k on mortgages, credit cards and loans
Britons are racking up debts at the fastest pace since before the financial crash, with the average adult owing £30,000 on average, a new report suggests. The Money Charity said the figure is set to rise and has expressed concern that households could struggle to honour their repayments if interest rates are to rise from current rock-bottom levels. Household debt including mortgages, loans and credit cards hit a new record high of £1.5trillion at the end of September, an extra £52billion compared to last year, according to the report. This translates into an extra £1,046 per adult on average a year, for a total of £30,000 per person, in what is the fastest increase since before the 2008 crash. Private debt is now 82 per cent of what the entire UK economy produces in a year and 113 per cent of average earnings, the Money Charity said. Most private debt is made of mortgages, which account for 87 per cent of the sum, or just over £26,000, although borrowing on credit cards has risen substantially. Unsecured debt including credit card debts and personal loans make up the rest. This has also risen in the past year, with UK adults on average owing an extra £247 each, bringing the total to £3,737 per person at the end of September. Credit card debt, which rose to £65.7billion, is the biggest chunk of unsecured debt, with the average household owing £2,400 on plastic. Last week the Bank of England said it expected inflation to rise to 2.7 per cent next year. This could trigger a rise in interest rates, which in turn would mean higher interest to be paid on mortgages, loans and credit cards. The Office for Budget Responsibility in July forecast that household debt would reach £2.55trillion in five years – £1trillion more than the current figure. The Insolvency Service last week warned that Britons were entering 'a new period of problem debt' as 20 per cent more people became insolvent during the third quarter of this year than in 2015. DAILY MAIL

After Uber case, UK union pushes for pay deal at Deliveroo
A trade union is seeking recognition from British food delivery firm Deliveroo to allow it to negotiate a collective pay deal for its drivers, in the latest push for greater employment rights that could hit the flourishing 'gig economy'. The move comes barely two weeks after a tribunal ruled that taxi app Uber [UBER.UL] should pay its drivers sick and holiday pay as well as the minimum wage - a verdict that could affect tens of thousands of people across Britain. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) wants Deliveroo, which is valued at more than $1 billion (80 million pounds), to recognise it as a union in the Camden area of north London, in the first stage to boosting pay and conditions. With their distinctive black and teal jackets, Deliveroo riders have become a familiar sight on London streets since the firm started trading in 2013, delivering food from restaurants. In August, Deliveroo started paying riders per delivery rather than per hour, which was described as a piecemeal "Victorian system" by the opposition Labor Party and sparked opposition from some of its riders. Deliveroo later apologized and said its riders could opt out of the new system, although the trials are continuing in areas such as Camden. "We want to force Deliveroo into a collective bargaining agreement with the union so that we can negotiate pay and terms and conditions for our members," said IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee. The gig economy - where individuals work for multiple employers day-to-day without a fixed contract - relies on the self-employed, who generally do not receive rights such as the 7.20 pound hourly minimum wage. In a letter to Deliveroo, seen by Reuters, Moyer-Lee gave the firm 10 days to respond to the union's request. REUTERS

Further increasing the income tax threshold will benefit wealthier households more than the UK's lowest earners
A think tank chaired by the former Tory cabinet minister David Willetts claims the bulk of the £2bn tax break promised by former chancellor George Osborne will go to wealthier households. David Cameron promised in 2014 that a Conservative government would raise the threshold for income tax to £12,500 by 2020, taking a million low-paid workers out of income tax altogether. The move would also cut tax bills for 30 million more people. At the same time, Mr Cameron said the Tories would raise the level for the 40p upper income tax rate to £50,000. But the Resolution Foundation, which claims to campaign to improve the living standards of low and middle-income households, says that poorer families would instead benefit more from making the Government's new and controversial Universal Credit more generous. It also claims "unaffordable, unfair and unwise" tax giveaways by Mr Osborne have prevented the Government from meeting its targets to eliminate the UK's budget deficit. The Resolution Foundation says that despite his austerity rhetoric, Mr Osborne lavished massive amounts on a series of expensive tax cuts during his time at the Treasury. Together, the giveaways are worth £32bn this year, more than matching the £30bn budget deficit which Mr Hammond is projected to face for 2016/17, it says in its report. Without them, Mr Hammond would be on course to deliver a surplus in 2018/19. SKY NEWS

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