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Economy

Osborne criticises financial transaction tax as agreement moves closer

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The chancellor George Osborne has criticised the impacts of and the lack of information around the EU financial transaction tax (FTT), after it was revealed some member states had reached an agreement on the controversial proposal.

Ten countries, including Germany and France, have agreed to implement the levy by January 1 2016. The final details have yet to be agreed upon but it is likely that the trading of shares and derivatives will be affected.

The chancellor said, “Our view has been that the financial transaction tax that people have talked about is not a tax on bankers as people present it. It’s a tax on jobs, it’s a tax on investment, it’s a tax on people’s pensions and pensioners and that it why the United Kingdom does not want to be part of it.”

The FTT would see some types of trading between financial institutions being taxed, even if only one of the institutions resides in a participating country. It aims to discourage speculative trading.

Osborne’s comments follow the rejection of the UK’s legal challenge to the FTT, which is often referred to as the Tobin tax or Robin Hood tax. The government has threatened further legal action.

The chancellor added, “We need to hear more about what is being proposed, and it is up to member states to decide whether they want to damage jobs and investment in their own economies but if they seek to damage jobs and investment across the rest of Europe, then we’re entitled to challenge that.”

David Hillman, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, which supports the FTT being adopted in the UK, commented, “It’s good news that so many countries remain committed to the FTT – they are standing up to their financial sector and will ensure that banks make a contribution for the economic damage they caused.

“As the details are hammered out leaders must ensure bank lobbyists do not succeed in seeing this tax watered down. Derivatives must be included. It’s a shame the UK government has succumbed to the City’s slick lobbyists and is fighting a tax that could raise billions for those worst hit by the crisis at home and abroad.”

Those opposing the FTT say the scale of the financial services industry in the City of London could lead to the tax have a negative impact on investment and businesses.

Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Simon Chouffot from the Robin Hood Tax campaign said, “Far from the size of the UK’s financial sector meaning we have the most to lose from an FTT, it means we have the most to gain.

“It could raise tens of thousands of billion of pounds that could avoid the worst of the cuts and help ensure we live up to our international commitments. It is only right the financial sector pays for the damage it caused.”

Photo: Andreas Poike via Flickr

Further reading:

UK’s legal challenge to EU financial transaction tax rejected

EU Financial Transaction Tax ‘needs to respect EU treaties’, says Law Society

Robin Hood Tax: ‘Turning a global crisis into a global opportunity’

Bill Nighy calls for a Robin Hood tax to create an ‘Aids-free generation’

Government must do more to make finance sustainable, say MPs

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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