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Friday, 17 November 2017

Health and Social care now the biggest employer in Scotland

A new Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) report shows that most people in Scotland are now employed by the NHS or local councils. Health and social care now accounts for 16% of jobs in Scotland, and is likely to continue to rise as the population ages. 

This marks a shift from traditional occupations. Ewan Gibbs, a historical political economy researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, said the 21st century workforce was largely unrecognisible compared with that of 50 or 60 years ago “There were over 250,000 Scots employed in coal mining, steelmaking, shipbuilding and related heavy engineering in 1958 and comparative figures now will be highly negligible,” he said. “Shipbuilding is largely a defence operation now. Steel is restricted to speciality and refinement with no basic production. Coal has essentially disappeared.” 

He continued: “A key point to make would be that process of erosion didn’t all happen in the 1980s. For instance, more coal jobs were actually lost in the 1960s – but at that point they were managed through industrial diversification policies that brought alternative forms of employment in assembly engineering activities.”

The changes in industry and agriculture are in line with other similar economies. The retail sector has also decreased, as more people shop online. 

Of those in employment, 4% were self employed, 32% part time employed and 64% in full time jobs. This shows a 1% increase in part time employment with 70,000 more people now working part time. 


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

UK Employment Figures Fall

Employment in the UK has fallen for the first time in two years. The number of unemployed people went up by 14,000 in the summer quarter according to the Office for National Statistics. The inactivity rate: measuring those who are not employed and are not seeking work, rose to an eight year high. The highest rates of inactivity were amongst 18-24 year olds suggesting that young people are leaving work for further education. 

There is speculation that the impact of Brexit is being felt, with figures being released yesterday that show the UK economy growing at half the rate of Germany's. 

Howard Archer, an economist with EY Item Club, a forecasting body said; “A fall in employment over the quarter suggests that persistent lacklustre economic growth and appreciable economic and Brexit uncertainties may be starting to rein in the labour market’s strength,”  

The ONS said the unemployment rate held at a four-decade low of 4.3 percent but that pay growth -- which would usually be expected to rise with so many people in work -- remained much slower than inflation.

Further evidence of a weaker labour market came from a fall in job vacancies, a 29,000 decline in the number of full-time jobs and an increase in the number of part-time workers saying that they would like to have full-time employment.

The report comes one week before Phillip Hammond set the budget for the UK. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Inequality is rising as report finds that richest 1% own half the world's wealth

A report published this morning by Credit Suisse has found that 1% of the world's population own 50.1% of the world's wealth. 

The report looks at where we are ten years on from the financial crisis, it shows that total global wealth is 27% higher today than it was in 2007 before the financial crisis. It also shows that the number of millionaires has increased by 8,740,000 since 2007 leading to one of the largestest outcomes of the financial crisis to be an increase in inequality. 

It says:

'The remaining negative heritage of the financial crisis is wealth inequality. It has been rising in all parts of the world since 2007. As calculated by the report authors, the top 1 percent of global wealth holders started the millennium with 45.5 percent of all household wealth, but their share has since increased to a level of 50.1 percent today.'

'The outlook for the millionaire segment is more optimistic than for the bottom of the wealth pyramid (less than 10,000 dollars per adult). The former is expected to rise by 22 percent, from 36 million people today to 44 million in 2022, while the group occupying the lowest tier of the pyramid is expected to shrink by only 4 percent.'

Oxfam said Credit Suisse’s research showed that politicians need to do more to tackle the “huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots”. 
“In the UK, the wealthiest 1% have seen their share increase to nearly a quarter of all the country’s wealth, while the poorest half have less than 5%,” Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Katy Chakrabortty, said. “This divide matters hugely at a time when millions of people across the UK face a daily struggle to make ends meet and the numbers living in poverty are the highest for almost 20 years. 
“The recent Paradise Papers revelations laid bare one of the main drivers of inequality – tax-dodging by rich individuals and multinationals. Governments should act to tackle extreme inequality that is undermining economies around the world, dividing societies and making it harder than ever for the poorest to improve their lives. 
“In the UK, the chancellor should use next week’s budget to prioritise tough action to tackle tax avoidance to help provide funds to fight poverty in both the UK and developing countries.”

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Pound Falls against Dollar and Euro over governmental instability.

The pound has fallen this morning as pressure mounts on prime minister Theresa May over Britain's exit from the EU. Talks from both Micheal Barnier and Brexitiers in the cabinet have lead to a shock for the British market. 
Sterling has lost almost a cent this morning, to below $1.31. This follows yesterday's report in the Sunday Times that 40 Conservative members of Parliament have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.
Forty eight is the number needed to launch a leadership challenge, creating new worries in the City and beyond about the stability of the UK government.
In another significant move, foreign secretary Boris Johnson and environment secretary Michael Gove have written a letter to May complaining that “some parts of Government” aren’t doing enough to prepare for a hard Brexit.

This letter, which leaked over the weekend, appears to be an attempt to undermine chancellor Philip Hammond (as he puts the finishing touches to next week’s budget).
One minister has described the move as “Orwellian”, suggesting that the cabinet is badly split as MPs return to parliament to debate the Brexit bill.
Rajeev Syal and Jon Henley reported in the Guardian that :
'Another minister said' “I doubt they thought this would ever come out. It stinks to high heaven. May will have to dress them down or look weak.”
“I can’t believe this has come out. This is exactly the kind of arm-twisting by Brexiters one expects to go on behind the scenes, but the fact that it is in the public and is being inflicted upon the prime minister is remarkable.”
Kathleen Brooks of City index writes: 
'Firstly, today’s move tells us that the markets are on alert for political risks emanating out of the UK, and if there is a party coup to replace Theresa May then political turbulence is likely to weigh on the pound further.
Secondly, even though the pound has had a jolty start to the week, volatility and technical signals do not suggest to us that the pound is about to fall off a cliff just yet, we may need this story to develop further to get another big move lower in sterling. 
Thirdly, don’t get too complacent about the pound, the political and Brexit situations remain fluid and can throw up surprises. In future, when volatility is low in the pound investors should be on their guard that a pullback is likely. '

Source: Guardian/ City Index

Friday, 10 November 2017

EU calls for Ireland to remain in Single Market and Customs Union to avoid hard border.

A working paper has been published by the EU requesting that the Island of Ireland remains within the single market and customs union.

The paper says that in order to avoid a hard border it is essential that there is no difference in rules for either side of the border. 

It also explicitly spells out the fact that to avoid a hard border will take more than technical arrangements as favoured by the British Government: NI must be within the single market. 

The question of protecting the Good Friday agreement is also addressed; Both the UK and the EU named this as a priority. 

The Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said that talk of individual countries vetoing a move to the next stage of negotiations is "unhelpful" but progress still had to be made on the border issue.
"I think that there is a way to go between the two negotiating teams to be able to provide credible answers and sufficient progress in the context of the Irish border before we can move on to Phase Two," he told Irish state broadcaster, RTE. 
A spokesman for the UK's department for leaving the EU said that the government is committed to avoiding a hard border. 
"We recognise that the solutions to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland must respect the integrity of the EU single market and customs union.
"But they must also respect the integrity of the United Kingdom."
"The government is determined to find specific solutions to Northern Ireland's unique circumstances, not least as the only part of the UK to share a land border with an EU member state."

The Commission document will place more pressure on the Conservative government given its reliance on the DUP for survival.

Northern Ireland remaining inside the customs union and single market, while the rest of the UK was outside, would impose an entirely new structure on the United Kingdom.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Paradise Papers

Leaked documents of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens' company registries know as the paradise papers have been released, revealing how much wealth is stored off shore to avoid tax. 

Amongst the offshore wealth is 10 Million pounds worth of investment made on behalf of the Queen by the Duchy of Lancaster. Some of this investment was in Bright House, a company that charges high rates of interest on household goods for those who cannot afford to buy them outright. Last week Bright House was ordered to pay back £14.8m to its customers last week after the Financial Conduct Authority said it had not acted as a “responsible leader”.

Apple was also found to have moved parts of it's operation to Jersey, to avoid tax on $252bn. This move was after Apple came under scrutiny for their previous Irish tax avoidance system.

Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft is also under investigation for using an offshore trust to shelter wealth. With 13.4 million files, many more tax avoidance schemes are sure to continue to come to light. 

After the revelations, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to suggest the Queen should apologise. “Anyone that is putting money into tax havens in order to avoid taxation in Britain, and obviously investigations have to take place, should do two things – not just apologise for it but also recognise what it does to our society,” said Corbyn.

Theresa May said that ‘HMRC is already able to see more information about the ownership of shell companies for example so they can ensure that people are paying their tax.’ 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Job Opportunities at The Federation of Small Business

FSB are looking to recruit two development managers and an operational support co-coordinator. 

FSB are experts in business, offering services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Their mission is to help small business achieve their ambitions.