Sunday, 15 July 2012

Business stuff from the week 9-15/7/12

124 of 775 unelected members of the UK's second house (of Lords) are in the pay of the City's financial sector.
"Four of the 11 members of the Lords committee set up to consider the 2011 finance bill, for example, held positions in banks, and a fifth was about to join a bank. The Finance Act gave large tax breaks to businesses with offshore interests, including multinational banks and insurers.
On the committee were Lord Griffiths, a Goldman Sachs director, Lord Hollick, a partner at private bank GP Bullhound, Lord MacGregor, who was at the time co-chairman of the UK food and agriculture advisory board of Rabobank International and Lord McFall.
Lady Noakes’ appointment as a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland was announced shortly after the committee reported.
Other members in the pay of the finance sector  included the late Lord Maples, who at the time was the chairman of a venture capital trust – and previously founded Maples and Calder, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms – and Lord Wakeham, an adviser to LEK Consulting, a firm with a large client base in the financial services industry.
This gave Lords who were paid by the finance sector an overwhelming majority on the committee."
This is how corruption works - conflict of interest - no 1st or 2nd house members should be allowed employment at profit-motivated organisations, because the association alone is enough to corrupt their judgement!

'Revealed: The £93m City lobby machine'
"Beyond the Corporation are at least 26 industry bodies lobbying government and regulators based in the UK with an advocacy war-chest of  at least £34m.
A total of 38 public affairs consultancies and public relations firms earn fees worth an estimated £15.8m from banks, insurers, hedge funds and private equity firms.
Some 124 Lords, equivalent to 16% of the House of Lords, have direct financial links with financial services firms. On Lords committees scrutinising last year’s Budget, peers who were paid by finance firms formed the majority.
Political donations by firms and individuals connected to the City contributed £6.11m in 2011 to the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties."

'The G4S scandal also shows outsourcing does not work'
"When the only definition of value is cash profit nothing of real value to the people involved, the community they serve or of lasting relevance is created.
The state has the ability to create that value through commitment. Outsourcing does not. Which is why it is a disaster."

'How is a private contractor allowed to charge for NHS treatment?'
There should be a 'separation of Church and State'-like separation of private and public healthcare. The private sector is a millstone around the NHS' neck - it usurps resources, exploits patients, steals expertise, etc, etc.
"Twitter was ablaze with reports that an NHS walk-in health centre in Sheffield is charging patients £25 to be treated for whiplash. The reports seem accurate."

'The more the merrier -- farmers must diversify to survive'
CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship has compiled a study, and advises farmers to diversify in order to protect themselves from economic and climatic fluctuations.
This makes sense - biodiversity means more chance that a particular species will be thriving, meaning a more reliable baseline for productivity.
"diversification could reduce standard deviation by up to 52 per cent of average net returns and increase the probability of breaking even by up to 20 percent."

Google to pay $22.5 million fine for tracking millions of surfers via their Safari browser
That should set them back by a few hours' work! Google expects to make $46 billion this year.

Despite exhorting a history of environmentalism, Apple has ceased compliance with an environmental ratings registry.
Because San Francisco's city rules require compliance, they have already stopped buying Apple computers.
Update: Apple has rejoined the registry, following negative PR, but has still offered no explanation for leaving in the first place.

Wahey - more debt for businesses that can't afford to pay it back!

Don't be fooled by the Gay Pride Oreo cookie -- it's exploitative marketing, by a mega-corporation.

'Shamed Bob Diamond walks away £2m richer'
"Diamond would waive his deferred £20m bonuses. Diamond’s £2m golden parachute is made up of a year’s pay, pension and benefits."
"Diamond has banked around £100m from Barclays since 2006 alone."

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