UK & US to Start Talks on Post Brexit Trade Deal

UK & US to Start Talks on Post Brexit Trade Deal
The UK is to hold its first talks with the US to try to sketch out the details of a potential post-Brexit trade deal. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will spend two days in Washington with US counterpart Robert Lighthizer. EU rules mean the UK cannot sign a trade deal until it has left the bloc.

Mr Fox said it was too early to say exactly what would be covered in a potential deal. Firms and trade unions have both warned of the risks of trying to secure an agreement too quickly. The Department for International Trade said discussions were expected to focus on “providing certainty, continuity and increasing confidence for UK and US businesses as the UK leaves the EU”. Mr Fox added: “The [UK-US trade and investment] working group is the means to ensure we get to know each other’s issues and identify areas where we can work together to strengthen trade and investment ties.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) director general Adam Marshall said the US’s experience at such negotiations would make it difficult for the UK to secure a good deal.

“We’re just getting back into the game of doing this sort of thing after 40 years of doing it via the EU,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “So I think early on in the process, it would be concerning if the UK were to go up against the US on a complex and difficult negotiation.”

Mr Marshall said while the BCC’s business group’s members would welcome the US and the UK talking about how to increase trade between them, the focus should be on improving “small practical things” such as custom procedures rather than a comprehensive trade deal.

Trade unions the TUC and Unite have also expressed disquiet over a rushed US trade deal. “Ministers should be focused on getting the best possible deal with the EU, rather than leaping into bed with Donald Trump,” TUC boss Frances O’Grady told the Guardian.

Ryanair Warns of Airline Fares War this Summer

Ryanair Warns of Airline Fares War this Summer
Ryanair says it could cut fares by as much as 9% on some routes as competition in the airline industry intensifies in the next few months. The warning from Europe’s largest carrier by passenger numbers follows similar comments about price pressures from Ryanair’s rivals in recent weeks. Competition was growing as airlines switched capacity from Turkey and North Africa, Ryanair said.

The comments hit Ryanair’s shares, despite it posting a big profits rise. Pre-tax profits rose 55% to 397m euros (£356m) in the three months to 30 June, helped by a stronger Easter. Revenues were up 13% to 1.68bn euros.

The average fare during the quarter rose 1% to 40.3 euros, although Ryanair said this was a blip due to the much stronger Easter trading. Easter, a peak-time for holidaymakers, fell in April this year, inside Ryanair’s reporting period. In 2016, it fell in March.

The airline said it expected fares to fall by 5% in the six months to the end of September and by 8% in the six months to the end of March 2018. “We expect the pricing environment to remain very competitive” chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement. EasyJet and Wizz Air have both said that fares will be under pressure this summer.

The warning sparked a 4.7% fall in Ryanair’s share price at the start of trading. EasyJet shares fell 3.5%, while the owner of British Airways, IAG, fell 2.5%.

Ryanair executives also repeated warnings of major flight disruptions between the UK and Europe if Brexit talks fail to agree a bi-lateral deal on flights. The airline has warned it may cancel flights and move operations abroad if there is no agreement well in advance of Brexit. “We need clarity so that we can plan our schedules for 2019,” chief financial officer Neil Sorahan told the BBC.

EasyJet announced last week that it had secured an air operator’s certificate in Austria to enable it to keep flying across the EU following Brexit.

State Pension Age Rise Brought Forward

State Pension Age Rise Brought Forward
Six million men and women will have to wait a year longer than they expected to get their state pension, the government has announced. The rise in the pension age to 68 will now be phased in between 2037 and 2039, rather than from 2044 as was originally proposed. Those affected are currently between the ages of 39 and 47.

The announcement was made in the Commons by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke. “As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of state pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations,” he told MPs.

Anyone younger than 39 will have to wait for future announcements to learn what their precise pension age will be.

The change will affect those born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978.

The government said the new rules would save the taxpayer £74bn by 2045/46. While it had been due to spend 6.5% of GDP on the state pension by 2039/40, this change will reduce that figure to 6.1% of GDP.

Labour said the move was “astonishing”, given recent reports suggesting increases in life expectancy were beginning to stall, and long-standing health inequalities between different income groups and regions in retirement.
He said the government had decided to accept the recommendations of the Cridland report, which proposed the change.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams told MPs that many men and women were beginning to suffer ill health in the early 60s, well before they were entitled to their state pension. “Most pensioners will now spend their retirement battling a toxic cocktail of ill-health,” she said. “The government talks about making Britain fairer but their pensions policy, whether it is the injustice that 1950s-born women are facing, or today’s proposals, is anything but fair.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the government risked creating “second-class citizens”. “In large parts of the country, the state pension age will be higher than healthy life expectancy,” she said.

“And low-paid workers at risk of insecurity in their working lives will now face greater insecurity in old age too. Rather than hiking the pension age, the government must do more for older workers who want to keep working and paying taxes.”

Age UK was also critical of the change.

“In bringing forward a rise in the state pension age by seven years, the government is picking the pockets of everyone in their late forties and younger, despite there being no objective case in Age UK’s view to support it at this point in time,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK. “Indeed, it is astonishing that this is being announced the day after new authoritative research suggested that the long term improvement in life expectancy is stalling.”

The government has also committed to regular reviews of the state pension age in the years ahead. Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the government would need to do more to encourage saving, particularly amongst younger people.

“For anyone yet to reach age 47, there is still time to adjust their retirement plans by looking to contribute more,” he said. “We feel it is important the government meets them halfway; we need a national savings strategy to help people save and invest for their future. A good starting point would be for the government to look at a savings commission.”

The SNP said it remained opposed to raising the pension age beyond 66 and reiterated its call for an independent pensions commission to be set up to look at “demographic differences across the UK”.

In response, Mr Gauke said the Scottish government would have the power to provide extra financial help for those approaching retirement if they so chose. That raises the prospect of further rises. Indeed a report by the government’s actuary department in March suggested that workers now under the age of 30 may have to wait until 70 before they qualify for a state pension.

Business to Business Insurance Services

Business to Business Insurance Services

If you are already busy with the day to day running of your business tasks such as renewing your business insurance can sometimes feel like a real drain on your time, especially when there are so many different types of policy available and many insurance companies have regular offers and promotions making it difficult to tell which policy would be best for you.


Due to this more and more businesses are choosing to use the services of professional insurance brokers such as Weir Insurance to help take the strain of finding the correct business insurance. With a wealth of experience from helping their customers in Newcastle and Northumberland for over forty years at Weir Insurance they are experts in business insurance and are able to offer all the help and advice required to make sure you get the best insurance for your business.

Using their long-standing knowledge of the industry they will be able to help you decide the type of cover that you require and then find you the business insurance that is most suited to your needs, and if you need any further help or information at any stage they will always be happy to answer any questions or queries that you may have.

Regardless of the type of business that you have or the size of your organisation at Weir Insurance they will be happy to hear from you, even if you have an unusual business or another factor that will make it difficult to insure they will do everything they can to make sure they find you the cover that you require.

With many strong relationships within the industry and extensive knowledge of the types of policy that are on offer both locally and nationally they have all the knowledge and expertise required to find the best cover for most business and always aim to offer every customer the best possible service every time.

So if you need to find business insurance for your business why not get in touch with Weir Insurance?  They will be able to find you the best cover for your business for the best possible price and give you more time to carry on with other aspects of running your business

For further information please call one of our experienced insurance team today on 01670 365533 or visit the Weir Insurance brokers website. We have been helping our clients’ with their insurance needs since 1972. We talk to you about your requirements, work with you to figure out what cover you need (and what cover you don’t) and then use our relationship with dozens of insurers to find the best solution for you.

Buying Conservatory Roof Blinds Direct

Buying Conservatory Roof Blinds Direct

Transforming your conservatory into a unique and attractive living area can be far easier than you may first think with some carefully selected conservatory roof blinds, not only with they give you added privacy and temperature control they can also help you completely change the appearance and atmosphere of any style of conservatory.  Whether you would like to create an extended dining area, a tranquil haven to relax or a place for the kids to place choosing the correct conservatory roof blinds will really help you to create a really good base for any design.

At Conservatory Blinds Direct they have a wide selection of conservatory roof blinds available in many different designs helping you to transform your conservatory quickly and with no hassle at all no matter what ideas you may have in mind, with many choices of colour, style and pattern on offer you can be certain that you will find endless inspiration for your conservatory.

With measuring guides and other helpful information available ordering conservatories roof blinds direct is a quick and simple process and you will be able to get your blinds in no time at all, simply select your designs and measure your conservatories windows and doors, then let them know at Conservatory Blinds Direct what blinds you require and they will get them sent directly to you in no time at all and if you want to you can also take advantage of their professional fitting service.

With the added advantages of increased home security, extra privacy and temperature control so you can use your conservatory all year round roof blinds are a really worthwhile investment, at Conservatory Blinds Direct they have excellent customer services and some really high quality conservatory roof blinds for a very reasonable cost making them an excellent choice for anybody wishing to give their conservatory a real boost. So if you really want to get the most from your conservatory why not think about turning it into a space that you and your family can really enjoy and transform it using conservatory roof blinds from Conservatory Roof Blinds Direct? Conservatory Blinds Direct is part of the InStyle group, a well-established supplier of conservatory roof and window blinds throughout the UK.

All of their Conservatory Blinds Direct products are made from the finest components and materials available, they are so confident in their products they are able to offer an industry unheard of 5 year Parts & Labour guarantee on all blinds made. As a leading UK manufacture to the window blind trade and now they are offering the chance for you to cut out that middle man and buy direct from the manufacture saving you hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds over retail prices.

We are always happy to help and our friendly team will be happy to help you if you have any questions regarding an order, measuring, fitting or any of our products. Simply call on 01642 762497 or visit the Conservatory Blinds Direct website for more information

HW Global Executive Search

HW is a global Executive Search and Professional Interim business operating out of the UK.

Our focus is on the senior talent needs of a broad range of dynamic organisations from small capitally invested start-ups through to publicly traded multi-nationals. We have a significant breadth of functional and cross industry expertise that incorporates both local and global geographies, enabling us to genuinely appreciate diversity, cultural differences, social responsibility and how commercially business is done across continents.

We have a passion for challenging the conventional thinking of our clients, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of cross-industry synergies whilst representing high-potential and seasoned executives that frequently sit beneath the radar. Our candidates typically become clients meaning many relationships have spanned 3 decades; our commitment to consistently delivering best-in-class solutions is without compromise.

Our practice areas in Executive Search and Professional Interim are Consumer, Financial Services, Business Services, Industrial, CFO, CIO, Chair & NED.


In a dynamic and highly challenged economy the role of senior executives across all sectors, functions and geographies remains business critical.

Being able to recognise cross-industry synergies, attract business professionals who are passionate about utilising their skills in new areas, and applying decades of knowledge to

shape and support clients’ strategic initiatives remains at the heart of our continued success.

Having a global perspective and multi-cultural appreciation enables us to shape richly diverse executive teams helping our clients to achieve outstanding results.


As a true client partner HW work tirelessly to ensure that we genuinely appreciate the intimate detail of every search we undertake. We believe in providing healthy challenge and honest feedback through each phase of the assignment, tackling potential issues collaboratively whilst offering constructive solutions throughout.

Our sole aim is to exceed expectations by providing a breadth of highly talented candidates delivered through a smooth and efficient process.

To achieve this we follow a number of clearly defined steps.

·         Agree the priorities of the search

Define the need through critical evaluation of the business and unique role requirements

Agree the responsibilities of the role and the person specification

Challenge the scope of the search – Salary range, sector expertise, academic/commercial skills

Finalise brief

·         Define target audience

Agree company target list for initial approach work

Utilise local and global relationship network to identify potential talent

Reference individuals who meet agreed criteria

Create a longlist of candidates for discussion

·         Approach work

Engage with target market to understand and evaluate suitability

Challenge competency, cultural and commercial skills

Evaluate personal and professional drivers

Finalise shortlist for client presentation

·         Shortlist presentation

Formal client review of all shortlisted candidates incorporating our assessment of both hard and soft skills vs. the brief

Provide supporting evidence of track record, career achievements, qualifications and fit

Agree client interview availability

·         Completion

Manage both client and candidate needs and expectations until the preferred individual is selected

Provide formal references

Lead the salary package negotiation process to finalise the offer

Support the on-boarding program through regular communication with both parties

Complete client satisfaction survey

Remain in touch with both client and placement to check on progress and transition


With over 40 years combined experience, the Interim Practice has been at the forefront of one of the most dynamic and prolific service offerings within the Human Capital industry.

HW Interim provide experienced and talented interim and change management executives to PLCs, private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations for assignments in the UK and overseas.

The fabric of the Interim proposition consists of an elite network of senior Executives, all of whom specialise in change, turnaround or transformation. HW have met, vetted, referenced and known, many who are also clients.

Working alongside the Executive Search business we adhere to the same principles and high standards, enabling us to source the ideal interim to match our clients’ needs.

Our strategy is to develop longstanding partner relationships with all our clients. Working with a team of dedicated and experienced Researchers we are able to provide solutions within a 48hr timespan and with well over 90% completion rates.

The business offers both purist Interim cluster solutions as well as Interim to substantive options. Daily rates are typically between £850-£2000 per day.

For further information please visit the HW Global Executive Search website today.

Watchdog Probes £4.50 Premium Rate Texts

Watchdog Probes £4.50 Premium Rate Texts
A watchdog has revealed it is investigating a premium-rate texting campaign, following complaints from recipients that they have been charged fees even though many believe they never opted into the service. One expert claimed the messages look like spam, which could cause phone owners to ignore them. There is also concern about conflicting advice being given to the public.

The two companies involved in the campaign deny any wrongdoing. The BBC became aware of the campaign when one of its reporters received a text in June. It said: “FreeMsg: U have subscribed to Comp House competition for £4.50 per month until you send stop to 82225. SP Pro Money HELLO? 08001577502?T&C”. A shortened link was sent as a follow-up message, and a third communication stated that this “text cost £1.50”.

The company behind the campaign is called Pro Money Holdings, which is registered to an Essex address. It makes use of a second service, called Veoo – a St Albans-headquartered business that provides billing and messaging platforms to mobile-related companies.

The industry’s regulator, the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), later told the BBC it was “informally” investigating complaints about the Pro Money Holdings service and had “recently” opened a probe into Veoo.

“Under our code of practice, consumers must not be charged for phone-paid services without their consent,” said a spokesman. “We are currently looking into complaints regarding the service operating on 82225 and separately have an ongoing investigation into Veoo.”

Members of the public have posted concerns about the 82225’s operation over the past two months, with several saying they could not recall subscribing to anything that would account for the fees.

But Pro Money Holdings told the BBC it only charged people who had “pushed a key” in an online competition or in response to a phone message. “There’s a lot of compliance that goes into everything that’s done with anything we do,” customer care manager David Marshall said. “Prior to anything starting, there’s a lot of testing done to make sure that everything from our end is correct. From our own perspective, if there’s something not 100% at our end, we would get it adjusted.”

To prove the point, Mr Marshall offered to provide details about how the BBC journalist came to be subscribed. But more than a month after making the promise, Pro Money Holdings has not shared the details, despite repeated follow-up requests, beyond saying the journalist had opted in and this had been “verified by an independent third party”. It did, however, refund the £1.50 fee that had been charged.

For its part, Veoo said it was no longer supporting the campaign. “Following on-going compliance checks with the service… run by Pro Money Holdings, Veoo suspended the Pro Comp service and will not be reinstating that service via our messaging platform,” said spokeswoman Vanessa D’Souza. “We take our responsibilities very seriously.”

One cyber-security consultant said he had concerns that the messages could be mistaken as spam, in part because of their odd punctuation and use of “u” rather than “you”. It’s exactly the sort of message that you might delete assuming it’s spam only to realise, perhaps months later when checking your bill, that you’ve been paying,” said Alan Woodward.

Mobile owners seeking advice about how to handle such demands are given contradictory advice online.

The PSA states that users should reply to rather than ignore Stop messages.

But the popular Money Saving Expert site, among others, says not to do so if the texts look suspicious. “The golden rule is do not reply, at all, ever – do not text ‘Stop’!” it states. “These texts want any response to confirm you are a real person. Any numbers that are confirmed are likely to be sold on to… unscrupulous marketeers who may further spam you with unsolicited calls and texts. Ensure you don’t click on any links within the text either.”

For its part, Pro Money Holdings denies deliberately designing its texts to look odd and defended its use of “slang”.

“The size of an SMS is a maximum of 160 characters as you are aware,” it told the BBC. “In order to fit the customer care telephone number on the message, it is necessary to shorten some words where applicable.”

Mobile networks say customers who receive unsolicited texts can contact their support teams to confirm whether the messages are legitimate and if a Stop response should be sent. “I have seen people ignoring these messages and being charged a lot,” said one Vodafone call centre employee. “Blocking doesn’t stop these as customers are charged irrespective of whether they receive these messages or not, even if the phone is off.”

The PSA said it could not comment further about Pro Money Holding’s case.

But Mr Woodward urged it to review its guidance. “If the regulator is expecting us to reply, ‘Stop’, there is a danger that it causes those heeding such advice to play into the hands of scammers,” he said. “Either way, the regulator is the one who needs to ‘stop’ this, not unsuspecting recipients.”

The PSA issued more than £5m in fines in the past financial year against companies that had breached its rules.

UK Should End Cash in Hand Economy

Taylor Review: UK Should End Cash in Hand Economy
The author of a government review into work practices would like to see an end to the “cash-in-hand economy”. Matthew Taylor, whose report is out on Tuesday, said cash jobs such as window cleaning and decorating were worth up to £6bn a year, much of it untaxed.

The review recommends that firms which have a “controlling and supervisory” relationship with workers should pay a range of benefits. That includes millions of pounds in National Insurance contributions. The recommendations are part of a much wider review into modern working practices, including the gig economy. Mr Taylor’s report recommends a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor”, who should be given extra protections by firms such as Uber and Deliveroo. It also says low-paid workers should not be “stuck” at the minimum living wage or face insecurity.

At the launch of the report later on Tuesday, the prime minister will say that it confronts issues that “go right to the heart of this government’s agenda and right to the heart of our values as a people”. Mrs May will say: “I am clear that this government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.”

In particular, Mr Taylor’s review found the UK had a “great record on creating jobs” but less so on the “quality” of those jobs. “In my view there is too much work particularly at the bottom end of the labour market that is not of a high enough quality,” Mr Taylor told the BBC. “There are too many people not having their rights fully respected. There are too many people at work who are treated like cogs in a machine rather than being human beings, and there are too many people who don’t see a route from their current job to progress and earn more and do better,” Mr Taylor said.

He said his aim was not to change the working landscape for those who wanted to work flexibly: “If people want to clock on and earn a few extra quid we don’t want to stop that. “We don’t want to ban zero hours [contracts] – many people who work zero hours want to do so.” But he said working platform providers such as Uber had to demonstrate that workers signing on for hours of work would “easily clear” the minimum wage.

Mr Taylor also said he did not want to ban cash payments outright, but hoped, over time, the increasing popularity of transaction platforms such as PayPal and Worldpay would see a shift from cash-in-hand work. “In a few years time as we move to a more cashless economy, self employed people would be paid cashlessly – like your window cleaner. At the same time they can pay taxes and save for their pension,” he said. “Most people who do pay for self-employed labour would like to know that that person is paying their taxes.”

However, Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the review did not go far enough for the 4.5 million people in insecure work. She told the BBC’s Today programme: “If it looks like a job or it smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed, and I think in those those situations where a worker is carrying out work on behalf of an employer… they should not be exploited as a flexible workers.”

Trade unions also said Mr Taylor did not tackle many of the issues facing workers. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.” Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, called it a “disappointing missed opportunity”.

Mr Taylor, who worked on the review for nine months, is presenting seven recommendations to the government to provide “good quality work”.

The BBC understands he will also suggest ways to tackle tax avoidance from cash-in-hand work. He is set to call for cash jobs to be paid through platforms such as credit cards, contactless payments and PayPal.

Last year, tax dodging by people in the “hidden economy” cost the government £4.4bn, according to HMRC figures.

However, making changes to cash-in-hand work is a controversial area. In 2012 the then-Treasury minister David Gauke was criticised for saying it was “morally wrong” to pay tradesmen in cash.

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls also came under fire for suggesting people should get a written receipt for all transactions, even small gardening jobs.

Searching for a Teaching Post in the North East

Searching for a Teaching Post in the North East
Offering a wide range of classroom assistant roles, SEN positions and teaching jobs North East based recruitment agency First Call Teachers is an excellent choice for anybody looking for a new role within the classroom.

Whether you are a newly qualified teacher, looking to return to the profession after a break, ready to take a step up the ladder or looking for a more flexible role at First Call Teachers they aim to do everything they can to help you take your career in the direction you want it to. With a choice of part time, full time, temporary and permanent roles this is an ideal place to find vacant teaching jobs Newcastle schools and schools in the surrounding area have on offer right now.

Choosing to register with an agency such as First Call Teachers is an ideal way to make sure that you hear of any vacancies that match your profile as soon as they become available, saving you endless hours looking though various websites, sending out countless CVs or visiting many different employment agencies trying to find relevant roles to apply for.  Also because you will have already produced any relevant documents and certification to the agency you will be able to complete the whole application process far more quickly and easily, helping you to get into the classroom and working in a minimum of time.

At First Call Teachers they aim to match every available role with a candidate that has the correct skill set and experience for the job so you can be sure that they will always find work that is as closely suited to your abilities and career aspirations as possible helping you to add relevant experience to your CV if you undertake any supply or temporary roles. If you have restrictions on your working time because of other commitments you may also find that the flexibility of agency work makes it easier for you to carry on with your careering a way that is more compatible with your life style.

So whatever type of teaching role you may be want for why not find out more about how First Call Teachers can help you find the job you have been looking for? With a great team of supportive staff and an excellent range of varied posts for teachers, classroom assistants and SENs across Newcastle and the North East this could be the ideal route for you to further your career in no time at all!

So if you are looking for well qualified, reliable teachers and teaching support staff or want to find high quality teaching jobs North East recruitment service First Call Teachers are definitely worth speaking to, specialising in filling roles for supply teachers, fixed term and permanent teaching staff and a wide range of support roles for SEN, secondary and primary schools you can be certain that they will be able to offer you all the help and information that you may require.

For further information, call them today on 0191 280 5849 or visit their website to review their current vacancies and teaching jobs in Newcastle and across the North East.

Lenders Told to be Vigilant Over Loans

Lenders Told to be Vigilant Over Loans
Lenders have been told to raise their game after regulators highlighted the risks in the consumer credit market. The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has highlighted various concerns during a review of lending in personal loans, credit cards and car finance.

While it did not find looser credit scoring on the scale seen before the financial crisis it has told banks and others to address specific concerns. They must respond by September.

The Bank has consistently expressed the need for vigilance over double-digit growth in the consumer credit market during “benign” economic conditions.

Last week, it said banks needed to find a further £11.4bn in the next 18 month to beef up their finances against the risk of bad loans. They will also face earlier stress tests to ensure they can cope with loans failing to be repaid.

Now the PRA review has raised various issues including:

>  A need for lenders to assess the credit scoring of a “new generation of borrowers” who have had no experience of higher interest rates
>  The need to take a borrower’s total debt, including mortgage debt, into account when lending
>  Firms should justify assumptions when setting 0% credit card balance transfer deals

No new rules are being outlined, but company boards are being made directly responsible for the response to the PRA.