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Fracking: Britain's big balancing act

Shale gas is certainly controversial, but Brits may be more willing to accept it as the desperation for cheaper energy bills takes hold.

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Highest number of self-employed in decades

There are now 4.6 million self-employed people in Britain - more than at any time in the past 40 years - new figures show.

Taxi driving is one of the most popular professions among self-employed people.
Taxi driving is one of the most popular professions among self-employed people. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Archive

The number has increased by over 730,000 in the past six years, though the study from the Office for National Statistics shows the average income from self-employment has slumped by 22% over the same period.

The most common jobs are in construction and taxi driving, although there has been an increase in the number of management consultants.

The TUC said income has "collapsed", with self-employed workers earning less than half that of other employees.

Many people want to work for themselves, but the growth in self-employment is reducing people's pay, job security and retirement income, and is likely to be reducing the Government's tax take too.

– General secretary Frances O'Grady


Minister: 'Never a better time to start a company'

Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Matthew Hancock
Credit: PA Wire

Announcing new measures for home-based entrepreneurs, business minister Matthew Hancock said there had never been a better time to start a company.

It's this spirit of personal endeavour and self-determination that is driving our economic recovery.

But home businesses don't just fire up the economic engines and create jobs, they turn dormitory towns into living communities, they keep our streets safer, and by driving down car emissions, cleaner too.

We'll give people the confidence they need to run a business from a rented home, making sure that the majority of home businesses are exempt from business rates and our aspiring entrepreneurs have the information they need to start up and grow.

– Business minister Matthew Hancock

More: New rules to help UK home businesses

New rules to help UK home businesses

Entrepreneurs will be given greater freedom to start up a business from their home as part of new measures announced by the Government.

These include legislation to make it easier to run a company from a rented property and new guidance on business rates clarifying that, in most circumstances, home-based firms will be exempt.

Planning guidance is also being updated to make it clear that planning permission should not normally be required to run a business from home

The law is to be changed so that landlords can be assured that agreeing to a business start-up within their property will not undermine their residential tenancy agreement.

A new model tenancy agreement will also be made available.

Royal Mail collection changes adds 'insult to injury'

Changes to collection times at thousands of Royal Mail post boxes adds "insult to injury" after its privatisation, the shadow business secretary said.

PA Wire
Chuka Umunna has criticised the changes to collection times. Credit: PA Wire

Up to 50,000 of Royal Mail's post boxes will be moved to an earlier collection time between 9am and 3pm.

"In their unnecessary fire sale of Royal Mail, the Tory-led government put vital postal services at risk and, as many feared when the privatisation took place, we are now seeing consumers losing out," Labour's Chuka Umunna said.

"This adds insult to injury after taxpayers were left short changed by hundreds of millions of pounds as the 'priority' City investors selected by the Tory-led government made a killing."

Read: Royal Mail to cut almost half of late collection times

Royal Mail to cut almost half of late collection times

Royal Mail is to cut its late collection times at post boxes by almost half.

Between 45,000-50,000 of its 115,3001 post boxes will be moved to an earlier collection time between 9am and 3pm.

PA Wire
Credit: PA Wire

The company said there will be a late posting box within half a mile and have pledged to add 2,000 more postboxes to its network.

Royal Mail said the changes will "improve the efficiency of its collection arrangements".

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umuna said the changes are "disappointing" for customers and businesses.


Reforms represent 'final crucial step to restore Co-op'

Interim chief executive Richard Pennycook said approval of the governance changes will mark the end of the rescue phase of the group following recent progress in shoring up its balance sheet.

These governance reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the necessary change to restore the group and return it to health.

– Ursula Lidbetter, Co-op chair

Co-op sets out new governance after Myners report

The Co-op is to recruit a smaller board of 11 directors with "high standards of competence" as part of radical governance reforms. The mutual will also establish a 100-member council to act as guardian of the group's values and to hold the board to account.

The changes are based on the four-point resolution proposed by Lord Myners and voted on by members at the special meeting in May.

The Co-op has announced changes to its governance.
The Co-op has announced changes to its governance. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Other changes include a move to one-member-one-vote on significant matters such as the election of directors and major transactions.

The Co-op, which last year racked up a £2.5 billion loss following the worst period in its 150-year history, said the reforms will be put to a vote at a special general meeting on 30th August.

Companies 'must support those affected by dementia'

Companies must show greater support to the increasing number of people affected by dementia, a charity has said.

A new report suggests businesses could lose billions due to the demands of caring for the condition.

Thousands of people affected by dementia are forced to give up work and are denied a lifeline because of the failure of organisations to change the way they do business.

As the condition touches the lives of more people, businesses must gear up to support all people with dementia; staff and customers alike.

– Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society

Businesses 'could lose billions due to dementia care'

Businesses could lose billions as the "huge impact" of dementia is revealed, a new report warns.

Businesses have been warned to prepare for the future implications of dementia. Credit: Reuters

Employees changing work patterns or even quitting due to the demands of caring is expected to increase dramatically as the number of sufferers rise, according to the report from Public Health England and the Alzheimer's Society.

Figures, from the Centre of Economics and Business Research, estimates that the cost of staff hours lost due to caring responsibilities is set to reach £3 billion by 2030.

Public Health England called on employers to adapt their working environment to support those affected by the condition.

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