Could a shorter working week solve employment ills?
British economist John Maynard Keynes famously predicted back in 1930 that thanks to the progress of technology, his grandchildren would only have to work 15-hour weeks. So was Keynes right? Not even close. The average British employee puts in 45 hours a week, according to the Office of National Statistics. And in particularly competitive industries such as finance and technology, employees often work 60-hour weeks. The Times
Traffic jams cost the economy £9bn every year in wasted time, excess fuel and unnecessary carbon emissions; according to traffic data company Inrix. Highways chiefs have now been ordered to reduce the time taken to reopen motorways after accidents. The Times
The world’s best wine?
A dry white from Norfolk has been named the world’s best white wine, impressing a panel of 200 international experts so much that they scored it 95 out of 100. Beating off 17,200 other entries, Winbirri Vineyards’ Bacchus 2015 won the Platinum Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017. Yet it is a humble £13.95 bottle from Norfolk, a region that has hitherto made little impression on fine wine’s top table. Daily Telegraph
Bringing home the bacon
The total worth of coins stored in piggy banks around the UK is £1.3bn. Around half of this amount is estimated to be in the old £1 style, a coin that ceased to be legal tender on 15 October 2017. The Times
Record number of high earners
New data shows that a record number of people are now paying the highest rate of income tax. Officials at HMRC estimate that by the end of the current tax year some 364,000 workers will be paying 45% income tax, a 10% rise on the previous year. Wage inflation has pushed incomes above the tax threshold of £150,000 a year. Daily Mail
Average savings ‘would last one month’
The average employee has enough savings to maintain their current lifestyle for only one month, if they lost their income, a survey by Legal & General suggests. Around 26% said they would run out of funds within one week, while 23% said they had no savings at all. Financial advisers usually suggest having at least three months’ savings. Daily Mail
Landlord rent doubles mortgage payments
Rent paid to private landlords in Britain is now more than double the amount of mortgage interest paid to banks by homeowners. With rising house prices driving more people into the rental sector, renters paid about £54bn to buy-to-let investors across the country over the 12 months to the end of June. Jeremy Corbyn has raised the prospect of tighter rent controls. Financial Times
One-fifth of UK workers have ‘side hustles’
Around 20% of UK employees are considering setting up their own business outside their usual day job, according to a report from online firm GoDaddy. The data shows that these so-called “side hustles” make between £500 and £5,000 extra cash for over half of those who set them up. However, there are fears that employers may use the trend as an excuse not to pay their workers properly. Daily Express
Doesn’t pay to drop litter
The maximum on-the-spot-fine for dropping litter in England is now £150, a rise from £80. Car owners will be fined automatically if any litter is thrown out of a window, without the need to prove who was responsible. Metro.
Paper loss for DVLA
Since paper tax discs were scrapped in 2014, the number of untaxed vehicles on the road has tripled, at a likely cost to the Treasury of £107m a year. The move was designed to save £10m a year in administrative costs. The Times