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RBS bonuses blocked by government

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Controversial plans by the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to pay bonuses twice the size of employees’ salaries have been blocked by the government, which owns an 81% stake in the bank.

RBS wanted to ask shareholders whether it could pay some of its most senior bankers large bonuses, but the plans have sparked controversy in the city, with chancellor George Osborne accused of being in a “terrible muddle”.

But the body that controls taxpayer stakes in the bank, UKFI, has indicated that it would veto any plans to pay such bonuses. The RBS board has indicated that as a result of this, it would not be putting such a resolution forward at its AGM.

There have been calls from a senior MP, Andrew Tyrie, to scrap UKFI. He said, “It is difficult to argue that RBS is operating on an arm’s length, commercial basis, free from government interference”.

The chancellor is currently embroiled in a legal battle against the EU, which is attempting to impose a limit on the bonuses that bankers are paid.

Cathy Jamieson, Labour’s shadow chief financial secretary to the treasury said, “George Osborne is in a terrible muddle over bankers’ bonuses. He is spending taxpayer’s money on a legal fight in Brussels against the bonus cap and yet imposing the minimum cap at RBS.”

“The government has bowed to pressure on RBS and finally admitted that bonuses of two times salary would be unacceptable at what remains a Bank in Government ownership. They voted against Labour’s motion to impose the minimum cap at RBS in January, but have now been forced to reverse their position,” she said.

Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS, who himself is expected to receive around £2.3m in bonuses on top of his £1m salary, recently defended plans to pay large bonuses, saying it was essential in retaining the best possible staff.

Labour leader Ed Miliband raised the issue over bankers’ bonuses in January, saying that £1m should be “quite enough”. David Cameron defended the plans to pay twice the annual salary on bonuses, but said that he would veto any increase on the overall bonus bill.

Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr

Further reading:

Bank of England seeks to recoup bonuses from ‘misbehaving’ bankers

Co-op Group to increase pay and bonuses for senior staff – despite turbulent year

RBS reports losses of £8.2bn – and employee bonuses of £576m

RBS shares down 7.7% after biggest loss since 2008

Cameron defends bankers’ bonuses at RBS after Labour criticism

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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