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Economy

Half Of Zero Hours Contract Workers Increase Is Among People Aged 25 Plus

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The Resolution Foundation responded to the most recent ONS figures by stating zero hours contracts have gone beyond the student job market, with half of the increase attributed to workers aged 25 and over.

The figures also reveal that the number of people on zero hours contracts has risen by a fifth (21 per cent) over the last year to hit 903,000, indicating that the jobs recovery has not led to the retreat of insecure work as some had hoped.

While certain groups of workers such as students might value the flexibility afforded by a contract with no set hours, half (49 per cent) of the growth in ZHCs was among people aged 25-64, raising concerns about how a group who may well have dependents can manage their household budget without a reliable source of income. Just one in five (20 per cent) of those on a zero hours contract are in full time education.

The Foundation’s analysis shows that the popularity of ZHCs has varied across the UK. In London, the West Midlands and Wales the number of people on ZHCs have stayed flat or fallen. But in other regions and countries, such as Yorkshire & Humberside and Scotland, there have been large percentage increases.

While some of the rise in ZHCs is likely to be due to increased awareness among workers of their contractual status, the Foundation says that it also represents part of the growth in new modes of employment seen since the crash.

The Foundation argues that an outright ban would penalise workers who like the flexibility provided by a ZHC, as well as those employers facing highly variable demand. However, more protections are needed for workers who have been on a ZHC for over a year and work regular hours but lack the rights afforded to them by an employee contract.

The Prime Minister drew attention to the problem of insecure work in her first speech in office, saying: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise.”

You have a job but you don’t always have job security.

Conor D’Arcy, Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“Despite the welcome jobs recovery, the number of people on zero hours contracts continues to rise, suggesting that they will remain a controversial landmark of the employment landscape for some time. It is concerning that much of the growth is among older workers, some of whom might struggle to balance their family budget if their income varies as a result of having no guaranteed hours.

“The Prime Minister could deliver on her powerful maiden speech critique of insecurity in the workplace by protecting the workers who get stuck on zero hours contracts long-term when they would prefer a fixed-hours contract.

“Banning zero hours contracts is not the answer, as it punishes workers who genuinely prefer the flexibility they offer. But the part they play in the wider issue of insecure working suggests that they need far closer, and more measured, scrutiny.”

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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