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Co-op Members Vote Through Big Reforms

Written By iwan Jundaedi on Senin, 01 September 2014 | 11.46

Co-operative members have backed a shake-up of the way the crisis-hit group is run after a landmark vote on Saturday.

At a special general meeting in Manchester, 83% of votes were in favour of proposals drawn up after the mutual made record £2.5bn losses, the Co-op said.

The proposals include reform of the group's board structure, with elected directors largely replaced by professional business people.

The new structure also includes the creation of a smaller board of directors and the adoption of a one-member one-vote system.

Ursula Lidbetter, Co-op chair, said: "These reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the change necessary to return the group to health.

"This will strengthen the society and enable us to move forward with the urgent work to rebuild the business and deliver on our renewed purpose, in the interests of all our colleagues and our millions of members and customers."

A poll in May saw unanimous support for the key principles behind the reforms.

The changes, which followed a review by former City minister Lord Myners, required the backing of a two-thirds majoriy.

The board will consist of an independent chairman, five independent non-executive directors, two executive directors and three elected directors.

Last year saw the Co-op group experience its worst crisis in its 150-year history after it discovered a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet.

A separate report by Sir Christopher Kelly found the group had let down its members by failing to provide "proper stewardship".

Its stake in the bank has now fallen from 100% to 20% after a rescue plan that saw bondholders, including US hedge funds, take majority ownership.

Last week, the lender reported first-half losses had shrunk from £845m to £76m.


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Branson Banks On £2bn Virgin Money Float

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

Sir Richard Branson is poised to pull the trigger on a stock market listing of Virgin's banking arm that City insiders predict could value it at up to £2bn.

Sky News has learnt that directors of Virgin Money are in talks with advisers about announcing an intention to float as soon as early October, as they look to exploit strong current trading and investors' appetite to buy shares in the company.

A final decision about the timing of an initial public offering (IPO) will not be taken for several weeks and it remains a strong possibility that Virgin Money could opt to wait until next year, according to people close to the company.

If it does press the button on a listing this year, Virgin Money, which has more than four million customers, would become the third so-called challenger bank to sell shares on the London Stock Exchange this year.

OneSavings, which does not offer current accounts, listed during the spring, while TSB was spun out of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the bank's state aid settlement with Brussels triggered by its taxpayer bailout in 2008.

Aldermore, another new lender, is also planning a flotation this autumn and could announce its plans at around the same time as Virgin Money.

Sir Richard's plan to float his banking business has been well-flagged, although it was not expected to happen as soon as this year.

Sources said that Virgin Group, which owns just over 46.5% of Virgin Money, planned to retain a large a shareholding as possible after a flotation.

WL Ross, the investment vehicle of billionaire US financier Wilbur Ross, also wants to hold onto the vast majority of its 45% stake, meaning that the free float of Virgin Money shares after the sale of new equity is likely to be close to the minimum requirements under City rules.

Virgin Money has been performing strongly in recent months, according to insiders, with a new current account making strong progress in Scotland and Northern Ireland before its wider nationwide launch.

The product, branded Essential, is designed to build a substantial presence in the current account sector at a time when ministers are attempting to foment greater competition.

Last month, Virgin Money announced a deal to raise £160m in the debt markets in order to repay part of a financing package taken on when it acquired Northern Rock from the Government in 2011.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin Money's chief executive, said in July that 200 new jobs would be created by the business this year.

"We have grown the business strongly, exceeding market growth in both our core mortgage and savings business, and returned to profitability," she said.

"We have achieved this whilst maintaining the strength and quality of our balance sheet."

The bank added that it had grown mortgage balances by over 40% to exceed £20bn, significantly ahead of market growth, while savings balances had increased by more than 30% to over £21bn.

Last year, Virgin Money made an underlying profit of £53.4m in 2013, compared to a £2.5m loss the year before.

Chaired by Sir David Clementi, the former Prudential chairman, Virgin Money is expected to add further board members ahead of a listing.

The bank declined to comment on Saturday on the potential timing of a flotation, which is being handled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.


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Co-op Members Vote Through Big Reforms

Written By iwan Jundaedi on Minggu, 31 Agustus 2014 | 11.46

Co-operative members have backed a shake-up of the way the crisis-hit group is run after a landmark vote on Saturday.

At a special general meeting in Manchester, 83% of votes were in favour of proposals drawn up after the mutual made record £2.5bn losses, the Co-op said.

The proposals include reform of the group's board structure, with elected directors largely replaced by professional business people.

The new structure also includes the creation of a smaller board of directors and the adoption of a one-member one-vote system.

Ursula Lidbetter, Co-op chair, said: "These reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the change necessary to return the group to health.

"This will strengthen the society and enable us to move forward with the urgent work to rebuild the business and deliver on our renewed purpose, in the interests of all our colleagues and our millions of members and customers."

A poll in May saw unanimous support for the key principles behind the reforms.

The changes, which followed a review by former City minister Lord Myners, required the backing of a two-thirds majoriy.

The board will consist of an independent chairman, five independent non-executive directors, two executive directors and three elected directors.

Last year saw the Co-op group experience its worst crisis in its 150-year history after it discovered a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet.

A separate report by Sir Christopher Kelly found the group had let down its members by failing to provide "proper stewardship".

Its stake in the bank has now fallen from 100% to 20% after a rescue plan that saw bondholders, including US hedge funds, take majority ownership.

Last week, the lender reported first-half losses had shrunk from £845m to £76m.


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Branson Banks On £2bn Virgin Money Float

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

Sir Richard Branson is poised to pull the trigger on a stock market listing of Virgin's banking arm that City insiders predict could value it at up to £2bn.

Sky News has learnt that directors of Virgin Money are in talks with advisers about announcing an intention to float as soon as early October, as they look to exploit strong current trading and investors' appetite to buy shares in the company.

A final decision about the timing of an initial public offering (IPO) will not be taken for several weeks and it remains a strong possibility that Virgin Money could opt to wait until next year, according to people close to the company.

If it does press the button on a listing this year, Virgin Money, which has more than four million customers, would become the third so-called challenger bank to sell shares on the London Stock Exchange this year.

OneSavings, which does not offer current accounts, listed during the spring, while TSB was spun out of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the bank's state aid settlement with Brussels triggered by its taxpayer bailout in 2008.

Aldermore, another new lender, is also planning a flotation this autumn and could announce its plans at around the same time as Virgin Money.

Sir Richard's plan to float his banking business has been well-flagged, although it was not expected to happen as soon as this year.

Sources said that Virgin Group, which owns just over 46.5% of Virgin Money, planned to retain a large a shareholding as possible after a flotation.

WL Ross, the investment vehicle of billionaire US financier Wilbur Ross, also wants to hold onto the vast majority of its 45% stake, meaning that the free float of Virgin Money shares after the sale of new equity is likely to be close to the minimum requirements under City rules.

Virgin Money has been performing strongly in recent months, according to insiders, with a new current account making strong progress in Scotland and Northern Ireland before its wider nationwide launch.

The product, branded Essential, is designed to build a substantial presence in the current account sector at a time when ministers are attempting to foment greater competition.

Last month, Virgin Money announced a deal to raise £160m in the debt markets in order to repay part of a financing package taken on when it acquired Northern Rock from the Government in 2011.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin Money's chief executive, said in July that 200 new jobs would be created by the business this year.

"We have grown the business strongly, exceeding market growth in both our core mortgage and savings business, and returned to profitability," she said.

"We have achieved this whilst maintaining the strength and quality of our balance sheet."

The bank added that it had grown mortgage balances by over 40% to exceed £20bn, significantly ahead of market growth, while savings balances had increased by more than 30% to over £21bn.

Last year, Virgin Money made an underlying profit of £53.4m in 2013, compared to a £2.5m loss the year before.

Chaired by Sir David Clementi, the former Prudential chairman, Virgin Money is expected to add further board members ahead of a listing.

The bank declined to comment on Saturday on the potential timing of a flotation, which is being handled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.


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PPI Scandal: Lenders To Re-Open 2.5m Claims

Written By iwan Jundaedi on Sabtu, 30 Agustus 2014 | 11.46

The City regulator says banks and other lenders are to reassess more than 2.5 million payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says the claims, which were made in 2012 and 2013, may have either been unfairly rejected or paid too little.

It intervened after investigating falling 'uphold' rates in relation to complaint volumes.

The scandal has resulted in 13 million complaints in total since 2007 - with victims receiving more than £16bn in redress since the FCA started tracking payments in 2011.

The sum is widely tipped to have risen above £20bn.

Lloyds bank Lloyds has set aside more than £10bn for PPI compensation

The FCA added that seven-in-ten claims had been upheld in the consumer's favour since the scandal broke.

Martin Wheatley, its chief executive, said: "Making sure anybody previously mis-sold PPI is treated fairly now, and paid redress where its due, is an important step in rebuilding trust in financial institutions.

"In around two-and-a-half million complaints this was not necessarily the case so, at our request, firms will be looking at these complaints again.

"The process is now working well; in just over three years £16bn has been put back into the pocket of the consumer - that is unprecedented.

"Given the enormity of this exercise it is no surprise that there have been some issues along the way but our approach is delivering a good result for consumers."

The FCA issued its update as the Financial Ombudsman Service remains jammed with complaints about PPI.

It has received over one million complaints from people unhappy with the response from their provider, equal to about a quarter of all rejected complaints.

The cash which has found its way back to PPI mis-selling victims has been credited with boosting the UK's economic recovery - particularly the car and property markets - but also wider consumer spending.

:: In a separate announcement Coutts, the private bank that counts the Queen among its clients, has set aside £110m to compensate thousands of customers who may have been sold unsuitable investments.

Its review of advice to clients dated back as far as 1950.

Coutts confirmed the news days after its parent firm, Royal Bank of Scotland, was fined £14.5m for "serious failings" in its advice to mortgage customers from June 2011 to March 2013.


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Lib Dems Promise Six Weeks' Paternity Leave

The Liberal Democrats will promise fathers an extra four weeks' paternity leave under new manifesto plans due to be announced.

The policy would extend the total parental leave to 58 weeks by extending fathers' current entitlement of two weeks to six.

Under the plans, the law would be amended to provide parental rights to cover six weeks reserved for working fathers and six weeks for working mothers.

The remaining time would be available to share between partners.

For same-sex couples, each partner would be entitled to six weeks' reserved leave, with the rest available to share.

The policy goes further than the Coalition's introduction of shared parental leave from next April.

Business and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said shared paternal leave plays an essential part in building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

"It allows couples to choose how to split time off work to look after their new baby," she said.

"Extending paternity leave is an important next step to encouraging new dads to spend more time with their child in those vital early weeks and months after birth.

"When parents share caring responsibilities, more equality in the workplace will follow.

"It is a nonsense to think it is only the mother's job to look after children. Parenting is a shared responsibility."

A Lib Dem spokeswoman said the policy would also encourage fathers to spend more time with their children.

"It's very important to us. We have done lots in government so far to make sure fathers get more rights," she said.

"This is just the extra step in encouraging them to spend more time with their children."


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Business Leaders Back Scottish Independence

Written By iwan Jundaedi on Jumat, 29 Agustus 2014 | 11.46

The Pro-Independence Letter In Full

Updated: 12:01pm UK, Thursday 28 August 2014

The full text of the open letter to the Herald, signed by supporters of Scotland gaining independence:

"We are involved in business and entrepreneurship at different levels in Scotland and around the world. We believe independence is in the best interests of Scotland's economy and its people.

"An independent Scotland will recognise entrepreneurs small and large as the real wealth and job creators of the nation's economic future.

"It will encourage a culture in which innovation, endeavour and enterprise are nurtured. It will place power in the hands of Scotland's people to channel the huge resources of our country in the interests of those who live and work here.

"We will gain the powers to give our many areas of economic strength even more of an advantage in an increasingly competitive world. There will be more opportunities for our talented and determined young people to stay and succeed here in Scotland.

"We believe Westminster governments do not and never will pay sufficient attention to the interests of Scotland's economy.

"The tax raids on our oil industry and pensions funds by Labour and Conservative-led governments are clear examples of a short-term focus rather than a long-term strategy. Scottish industry is so often treated as a cash cow rather than a strategically important part of a more prosperous and fairer society.

"The real threat to Scotland is the real possibility of a British exit from the European common market. Scotland must look outwards to the world of opportunity that awaits us. A yes vote is the business and jobs opportunity of a lifetime for this and future generations."

Signed - in a personal capacity - by:

Harvey Aberdein, Managing Partner, Aberdein Considine.

Sandy Adam, Chairman, Springfield Properties plc.

Mohammed Afzal Ali, Director, Toor Investments.

Irshad Ahmed, Director, Manspeak Ltd.

Andrew Aird, MD of Border Couriers.

Alistair Aitchison, Director, Kilted Kangaroo.

Tony Aitken, Director, AP Aitken.

Kenny Anderson, Co-Founder of Anderson Construction.

David Anderson, Chief Executive, AP Systems.

Ann and William Angus, Proprietors of Clunie Guest House.

Lesley Ann Parker, Owner of Leap Scotland Ltd.

Richard Arkless, Founder of LED Warehouse.

Raja Aziz ur Rehman, Owner of R & M wholesale LTD.

Tony Banks, Chairman of Business for Scotland and Balhousie Care.

Frances Barron, Owner of Dessert Depot.

Alistair Barron, Director, Barron Wright Partnerships.

Alan Beck, Owner of Alan Beck Product Design Ltd.

Craig Bedworth, MD of CGB Translations.

Jim Bennett, Director of SIS Scotland

Ian Blackford, MD of First Seer

Ian Bremner, MD of Youngson Insurance Consultants

John Buchan Skipper, Fairline Surveyor, Aberdeen

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Pursuit Marketing

David Cairns, Chairman of Prism Tech

Alistair Cameron, Managing Director, Scotmas Group

Gen Cannibal, Director, Pro Genus Environmental

Mary-Anne Case, Proprietor, Blackhall Framing Gallery

Allan Chalmers, Director Chalmers Commercial Finance Ltd

Neil Clapperton, Managing Director, Springbank Distillery

Laurie Clark, Founder of ASC Group Ltd

Alan Clark, Owner of Clark's Bakery

John Clark, Owner, Belmont Communications Ltd

Graeme Coghill, MD of Aberdeen Group Ltd

Ben Cooper Owner, Kenetics

Bob Costello, Sidlaw Executive Travel

Bill Coull, CEO at Comtest Wireless Europe

Gillian Cowan, Owner of the The Jewell Room

Paddy Crerar, CEO of Crerar Hotels

Gordon Darge, Proprietor of MAK Architects

Adam Davidson, Bo Concept, Scotland

Peter De Vink, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Financial General Holdings

Alan Dickson, Director, Bradshaw's Nursery

Elaine Donegean, MD of Wedding Wise

Andy Donnell, Owner of Lightning PC's

Scott Downie, Managing Director of Hungry Boy Productions Ltd

Peter Drummond, Director, Peter Drummond Architects

Colin Dunn, Director, Plexus Media

Brian Durkin, Braid Wines and Altar Supplies

David Dwyer, Inspire Web Development

Andrew Fairlie, Chef Proprietor, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Shahid Farooq, Director, Smartways

Tricia Fox, MD, Volpa Marketing

Athole Fleming , MD of Athole Design

Paul Fletcher, Managing Partner, at Enabling Innovation

Alasdair Forbes, Primary Partner, Achvaneran Farm Partnership

Hugh Fraser, Managing Partner (Middle East), global energy law firm, former Group Head of Legal Wood Group

Kevin Gibney, Director, www.Get-A-Reel.com

John Gibson, Director, Broxburn Properties

Alistair Gilchrist, Founder, AJG Business Consultancy Ltd

Donald Gillies, Owner, Gillies Transport Islay

Andrew Graeme, CEO of Inchbrakie Group

Sir Patrick Grant of Dalvey, MD of Grants of Dalvey

Cynthia Guthrie, Joint MD of Guthrie Group

David Halliday, Owner of David Halliday Solicitor

David Hanley, Director, Competence Matters

Kat Heathcote, Director , Witherby Publishing Group

Gordon Henderson, Owner, Foxlane Garden Centre

Joe Henry, Founding Director, Planys Cloud Limited

Bobby Hill, Chief Executive, Hydracrat

John Hunter-Paterson, Owner of John Hunter Paterson Insurance

Dr. Arshi Ilyas, Director of Innovation Business Ltd.

Carole Inglis, Owner, Isle of Skye Fudge and Chocolate Company

John Innes, British Venture Capitalist of the Year and Venture Capital Chief Executive of the Year, former Chief Executive Amor Group

David Keegan, Director of Bothy Bikes

Kevin Key, Director, A Star Sports

Alan Knight, Director of Invisible Emperors

David Lafferty, Owner, Aqua Energy

Joe Lafferty, MD of Lifetree

Steven J Lawrence, Director, TCD Architects

Ian Lawson, MD of Pest Protection Services

Derek Louden, Financial Director& Company Sector, ITP Solutions Ltd

Alison Mabon Founder, DM Roofing

Iain Macbeath, Owner, Macbeath Architects

Dan MacDonald, Chief Executive MacDonald Estates

Professor Sir Donald MacKay, Former Chairman, Scottish Enterprise, founding director of an oil company and a bank and non-executive director, Malcolm Group

Colin MacKinnon, Owner, Strathaven Airfield

Marie Macklin, Chief Executive, Klin Group

Donald Maclean, MD, Business Cost Conusltants

Niall Maclean, Director, Geo-Rope

Lewis Maclean, MD of Maclean's Highland Bakery

Alex MacLeod, Director, AG Tech Limited

William MacMillan, Director, Firth Plumbing, Heating and Roofing.

Graeme Macmillan, Owner, Macmillan Financial Planning

Mohammed Mahmood, Director, M & K Scotland Ltd

Mark Mair, MD of Skibo Technologies

Khalil Malik, Director, K Malik & Co Accountants

Nasim Malik, Managing Director, GFS Mortgages

Derek Mallon, MD of the Restaurant Group

Brandon Malone, Solicitor Advocate and law firm partner

Jack Marshall, Director, Tapside Coffee

Sir George Mathewson Chairman, Toscafund and former Chairman and Chief Executive, Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Jim McColl, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers plc

Gerry McCusker, Owner, Dog Digital

Helen McDonough, Owner, Kennedy + Co Hair

Ian McDougall Owner, McDougall Johnston

Gordon McFarlane, Owner of Uplift Media

James McGoochin, Director, J.M. Builders.

Ron McGregor, Co-Founder McGregor Garrow Architects

Ivan McKee, Partner, Partner, Greenfold Partners

Duncan McKellar, Owner, McKellar Sub Sea

Fiona McKenzie, Director and Co-Founder, Centre Stage Music Theatre

Sheila McLean, Director, Muriel Management Ltd

Brian McManus, Managing Partner Pisces Engineering Services

Ian and Thea McMillan, Directors, Chambers McMillan Architects Ltd

Isabell McNicoll, Owner, Business Time Saver

Les Meikle, Owner, Wise Property Care

James Meldrum, Proprietor of Mel Décor

Robert Miller Director , McAdam King Glasgow

Morag Milligan, Operations Manager, Milligan's Coach Hire

David Morrison, Director, Sangobeg

Barry Morrison, Owner of Barry Morrison Timber Harvesting Ltd

Stephen Mulhern, Owner of Lendrick Lodge

Brian Munro, Owner, Pat Munro Construction

Jil Murphy, Co-Founder Thin Red Line Design

Alan Murphy, Owner of Inverness Cash Registers

Ron Murray, Founder, Safety Scotland

Yvonne Murray Director, Northern Roots Events

Omar Nabi, Director, Ahmad & Nabi McMulan

Muhammad Naveed, Managing Partner, Clyde Accountants

Mian Naveed Qasar, Chief Executive, Vision International Ltd

Alan Neill, Director, Neill Technical Services

Bruce Newlands, Director , Kraft Architecture

Richard Nicol, Chief Executive Commsworld

Douglas Norris, MD Of Datec

Mairi Oakley, Owner of Darach

Eunice Olumide, Entrepreneur

Eddie O'Neill, Owner, Translations for Industry

Gillian & Kevin O'Neill, Founder of 29 Studios

Sandy Orr, Co-Founder, Mint Hotels

Mike Peddie, Owner of Secret Scotland

Dr. Mireille Pouget, Director of Erin

Professor Nathu Puri, Founder, Purico

Jamie Rae, Chief Executive, Craignish Development Group

Frank Ralph, Shorline Motors and Property Limited

Mohammed Ramzan, Chairman, United Wholesale Grocers

Anne Rendall, Vine Marketing Group

Nighet Riaz, Owner of Riaz Property

Andrew Richardson, Owner Tax Assist Accountants

Mark Riddell, MD of M3 Networks

Jan Robertson, Manager of Willow Bank House

Andrew Robertson MD, 1st Eco Tech Ltd

Michelle Rodger, Founder of Tartan Cat Communications

Vivienne Rollo, Owner, Kishorn Seafood Bar

Bill Samuel, Private investor

Jim Savage, Director, Chemikal Records

James Scott, Former Executive Director, Scottish Financial Enterprise

Adrian Searle, Co-Founder of Freight Books / Freight Design

Ashfaq Shaq, Director, A Shah & Co Ltd

Kenneth Shaw, Owner, Canape Wines

Mark Shaw, Chief Executive, Hazledene Group

Kevan Shaw, Owner of KSLD

Tommy Sheppard, Director of Salt'n'Sauce Promotions

Muhammad Shoaib, Shoaib Associates

Alan Simpson, Owner of Minute Man Press Paisley

Helen and Mark Smith, Directors, Montana Home Care

Mark Sorsa-Leslie, Director, Zargonic

Sir Brian Souter, Chairman of Stagecoach Group plc

Stewart Spence, Owner of Marcliffe Hotel

Jim Spowart, Founder, Standard Life Bank and Intelligent Finance

Alasdair Stephen, Director Owner, Hebridean Homes

Neil Stephen, Partner, Dualchas Building Design

Philip Stewart Owner, Kangaroo Print

Gary Sutherland, Director, Harrowden IT

Neil Sutherland, MD, Makar Ltd.

William Tait, Director, Klondyke Fishing Company Limited

Frank Taylor, Owner of Indigo Sun

Robert Taylor, Director, Iformis Ltd.

Michelle Thomson, Director, Your Property Shop

Christine and Robert Thomson, Owners of Cairngorms Solutions Ltd

Ralph Topping, Retired as Chief Executive of William Hill plc this month

Angus Tulloch, Edinburgh Fund Manager

David Urquhart, Founder of David Urquhart Travel

Malcolm Wadia, Director, Plysim

Abdul Wahid, Director, Kashmir Stores Ltd

Dr. Jim Walker, Chief Executive, Asianomics Group

Gerry Wallace, MD, GEM Lift Services

James Wallace, Owner of Alba Business Service

Euan Walls, Owner of Innovate Create

Terry Walls, MD of TEW Stationers

Ron Warbrick, MD of Frame Shop and Gallery

Dennis Webster, MD of Fireisk

Fergus Weir, MD of Teclan Ltd

Robertson Wellen, Proprietor, Ferintosh

Allan Whiteside, MD, Direct Line Timber

Willie Wilson, Owner, Thistle Pharmacies

David Wood, Owner, Northern Oils Group

Ivan Wood, Director, Ivan Wood and Sons Ltd

Ronnie Young, Director of Aquatron Ltd

Lorna Young, Owner, Indigo Words

Muzaffar Yusaf, Owner, Yusaf Co. Ltd

Dr. Mireille Pouget, Director of Erin


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Cameron Warns Of 'Great Unknown' Of Devolution

David Cameron has highlighted the "great advantages" to businesses and consumers of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.

Addressing Scottish business leaders at a dinner in Glasgow, the PM highlighted the "better opportunities and choice" for consumers and "more secure jobs" for employees as he urged voters not to break away from the UK.

As he made the business case for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, the PM hailed the benefits of an interconnected economy as one of "opportunity".

"Scotland does twice as much trade with the rest of the UK than with the rest of the world put together," said Mr Cameron. "Trade that helps to support one million Scottish jobs.

"Look at iconic Scottish drink Irn-Bru. It isn't just made in Lanarkshire - it is made down in Milton Keynes as well. That is what an interconnected economy looks like."

The PM also hit out at Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond who has warned that an independent Scotland would not accept its share of UK debt if a deal could not be agreed on a currency union with the rest of the UK.

"Yet again, the choice is clear," said Mr Cameron. "Stay together, and retain that certainty of a single currency for a United Kingdom - one of our greatest advantages, or take a leap into the great unknown with the man without a plan for Scotland's currency."

Mr Cameron also warned that if Scotland broke away from the UK, Scottish taxpayers would see their spending on pensions increase by £1.4bn to cover the contribution made by taxpayers south of the border.

Scotland benefited from the "clout of the UK Government", he argued, as he highlighted the UK's position as a "top-six economy with one of the biggest diplomatic networks in the world".

The Prime Minister said: "Our scale is a great, great advantage for Scottish businesses - helping you to walk taller and shout louder.

"But it is something we will only sustain if Scotland chooses these great advantages over the great unknown."

Sky's Business Editor Ed Conway said: "He was trying to use the language of the businessmen who were here at the dinner tonight.

"He talked about certainty and the fact there has been a lot of questions over Alex Salmond's policies for the currency.

"He talked about solidarity; the notion there would be common purpose between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and they can share cheaper borrowing costs and take advantage of cheaper pensions.

"He also addressed the notion that between the two nations, they can punch above their weight around the western world with exports outside of Great Britain."

There are just three weeks to go until the Scottish independence referendum.

An open letter signed by 130 business leaders in Scotland has declared that the case for leaving the UK "has not been made".

In response, the Herald newspaper published a letter signed by 200 bosses and entrepreneurs - including Stagecoach chairman Sir Brian Souter and Clyde Blowers engineering tycoon Jim McColl - backing independence.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has challenged Mr Cameron to use his visit to explain what extra powers would come to Scotland if a No vote is successful.

"As we approach September 18, people and business leaders are waking up to the opportunities of independence," he said.

"With full control over economic powers, we have the opportunity to tailor economic policy to our needs, which means a jobs policy that puts the interests of Scotland first."


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Heart Disease To Cost UK £15bn In 2014

Written By iwan Jundaedi on Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014 | 11.46

Heart disease is expected to cost £15bn by the end of 2014 with billions wiped from British productivity, a new study has suggested.

Britain's healthcare system will see that cost rise 22% to £18.3bn by 2020, the research produced by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) said.

The study, commissioned by pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca, also indicates that the cost to business of the disease afflicting working-age people is also significant.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest killer of men in the UK and the second biggest for women - after dementia and Alzheimer's disease - according to the Office for National Statistics.

CVD is related to heart attacks and strokes and can affect people of all ages.

The study said 194,239 lives have been lost to the disease this year, with more than 20,000 among the working age.

The CEBR said CVD will have caused a total of 1.1 million deaths across six European countries it looked at, costing their economies a total of £81.2bn.

The research examined the disease in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

It said that the figure is the equivalent to the GDP of a mid-sized European economy, such as Hungary.

CEBR economist Sandra Bernick said: "The costs from cardiovascular disease to the UK economy currently stand at 1.4% of GDP.

"This is large in comparison with other European nations and unless actions are taken to address this challenge, the economic burden will become ever more substantial."

The research calculated that across 2014 in Britain, the direct cost of the disease is £11.1bn, with another £3.8bn from lost productivity caused by premature mortality.

Tom Keith-Roach from AstraZeneca said: "The figures set out in this new study are stark.

"The financial burden of cardiovascular disease and the human impact on individuals and their families is only set to rise unless we address this epidemic head on.

"This requires a continued, coordinated focus across industry, academia, healthcare systems and governments."

Mr Keith-Roach added: "As a pharmaceutical company, we believe it is our responsibility to play an integral role in the prevention and treatment of the disease by pushing the boundaries of science to create life-changing medicines for patients."

The research comes ahead a CVD conference in Barcelona at the weekend.


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Britain's Top Jobs Dominated By Private Schools

The majority of top jobs in Britain go to privately-educated pupils, a major new report has revealed.

The UK remains "deeply elitist" according to a study of 4,000 jobs by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

The report says private-school pupils and Oxbridge graduates dominate top roles to such a degree that it could be called "social engineering".

The commission's chair, Alan Milburn, concludes that Britain is largely run by people not "familiar with the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary people".

The domination is most pronounced among senior judges, 71% of whom went to fee-paying schools.

Other figures include: senior armed forces officers (62%), permanent secretaries (55%), public body chairs (45%), Sunday Times Rich List members (44%), newspaper columnists (43%), national rugby players (35%) and England cricketers (33%).

Former private school pupils are also over-represented in politics, with half of the House of Lords attending an independent school along with 36% of the Cabinet, 33% of MPs and 22% of the shadow cabinet.

Nationally, about 7% of the population attended a private school.

Alan Milburn Alan Milburn says the elite is out of touch with 'ordinary people'

The report says: "Our examination of who gets the top jobs in Britain today found elitism so stark that it could be called 'social engineering'."

It adds that the "sheer scale of the dominance of certain backgrounds" raises questions about whether getting a top job is about ability or knowing the right people.

Mr Milburn said: "Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgrounds with too narrow a range of experiences they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society.

"Our research shows it is entirely possible for politicians to rely on advisors to advise, civil servants to devise policy solutions and journalists to report on their actions having all studied the same courses at the same universities, having read the same books, heard the same lectures and even being taught by the same tutors.

"This risks narrowing the conduct of public life to a small few, who are very familiar with each other but far less familiar with the day-to-day challenges facing ordinary people in the country."


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