Top Stories

September 28, 2022


IMF urges UK government to reconsider tax-cutting plans

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has criticised the UK’s tax-cutting plans and called on the government to reconsider them to prevent stoking inequality. In a rare public criticism of a leading global economy, the IMF said the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget risked undermining the efforts of the Bank of England to tackle rampant inflation amid the cost-of-living crisis. It follows shortly after criticism from credit rating agency Moody’s. The US treasury secretary also said the US was “monitoring developments very closely” in the UK. The mini-Budget is designed to cut the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p and promised a 1p cut in the basic rate of tax from April 2023. The market reaction saw the sterling drop to its lowest ever level against the US dollar. (The Guardian)


Report finds illegal timber trade reaching record high levels

An estimated 15% of all timber exports, worth around $19 billion, were traded illegally over the past two decades, according to a report from think-tank Chatham House. The think-tank estimates more than two thirds of recent tropical deforestation has taken place in breach of local laws and regulations. The report argues that the surge in illegal deforestation devastates crucial habitats and carbon sinks, while depriving developing economy governments of essential revenues. The report found that the bulk of illegal timber products are from China, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia, driven by "rocketing global demand" for wood and paper products. According to the report, policies to control the trade in legal timber, reform legal frameworks, and new systems for timber licensing have all helped crack down on illegal operators. (Business Green)*


One in six UK public procurement contracts had tax haven links

One in every 6 public procurement contracts issued by the UK government over a 5-year period were won by businesses with connections to a tax haven, analysis has found. The companies behind the taxpayer-funded deals were owned by firms that were at least partly domiciled in one of the 27 tax havens globally, including the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Jersey. The contracts, with a combined value of £37.5 billion between 2014 and 2019, cover sectors including health, transport and infrastructure, according to NGO the Fair Tax Foundation. The figures raise questions over the government’s public procurement process. A government spokesperson said: “The government has high standards and expects that public sector suppliers will pay the tax they are obliged to”. (The Guardian)


Asian women in US finance see race & gender as career hurdles

Almost 60% of Asian women working in the US financial sector say their race has hindered their careers, particularly at senior levels, according to a study by The Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM). The so-called “bamboo ceiling” that limits the advancement of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is especially pronounced for women, according to a poll of more than 600 employees in investment management from a variety of backgrounds. Of the AAPI women surveyed, 62% said race became a bigger impediment later in their careers. Biases about gender and race can combine to block AAPI women from being promoted to executive roles, despite being well represented in junior and mid-level positions, the co-chair of AAAIM’s board said. (Reuters)


One in six working multiple jobs to pay bills in cost-of-living crisis

A ‘cost of living’ survey by pensions provider Royal London has found that 28% of UK workers are working more than 48 hours a week in order to make ends meet, while 19% are working more than 56 hours a week. A typical work week, according to the Office for National Statistics, is 36.4 hours. However, according to the report, 42% of people working the longest hours still felt unable to pay for their basic needs or are finding it much harder. Younger workers are more likely to be working longer hours with 29% of 18 to 24-year-olds in full-time work responding that they are working more than 56 hours per week. One in 6 claim they have taken additional jobs to help pay bills, while one in three state they are considering a second job. (Personnel Today)

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