News round up: Tesco, EU budget and absenteeism

Couples sharing social networking accounts, an unhappy Prime Minister and concerned parents have been in the headlines over the past seven days. Jermaine Haughton is your guide to walk you through the headlines.

1 Careers:

Annual leave is supposed to be a time of relaxation away from the pressure cooker of the work, but according to a new study for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Simplyhealth, many workers are needing even more time off to look after children or elderly relatives. Despite absence levels dropping since last year to 6.6 days, it is costing companies up to £3.5bn annually.

For years children have been complaining about going to school and asking how “learning trigonometry is going to help them in the real world.” Well, it seems parents are coming round to a similar type of thinking as 66% reported their concerns that the education system doesn’t prepare their children for work, according to a poll from YouGov for City & Guilds

2. Tax:

Following in the footsteps of fellow US corporations Starbucks and Amazon, Facebook is the latest to confirm it has not paid a penny on tax in the UK. Despite earning an estimated £371 million in UK revenues last year, the popular social media platform took advantage of offshore tax avoidance schemes, allowing it to receive a tax rebate.

Facebook UK only received a corporation tax charge of £3,169, which was wiped away due to the firm’s reimbursement from the taxman totalling £182,000 over “adjustments for prior years.”

If Ed Miliband hasn’t got his hands full enough at the moment trying to build up to a General Election, think tank the Red Paper Collective has piled on the pressure by urging the Labour chief to give more tax powers to Scotland.

After being outshone by his predecessor Gordon Brown during the independence referendum north of the border, the body’s suggestion of ‘progressive feudalism’ – giving Scotland full control of its income tax – is likely to give Miliband yet another headache.

3 Business:

Tesco management and investors must be happy that the end of the year is only a few months way, after it announced underlying profits fell by 47% year-on-year during the first half of 2014. Sales are falling, its management and accounting practices are in disarray and German colleagues Aldi and Lidl are looking very threatening to their market share.

Tobacco companies may be excluded from the investor protection chapter of the free trade agreement between the US and 11 other Pacific nations.

The US want to include a ruling which would not allow tobacco companies the right to sue governments for introducing anti-smoking healthcare regulation, as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to a Reuters source.

4 .Economy:

Judging by the look on David Cameron’s face when he was told Britain needed to add another £1.7bn into the EU budget by Brussels chiefs, the Prime Minister isn’t a big fan of surprises. Describing the request as “appalling”, Cameron refused to pay the bill. Here’s hoping the European Commission don’t turn the lights off.

The EU demand comes on the back of good domestic growth figures. The Office for National Statistics had some good news for investors last week, as the UK’s economic growth during the third quarter outpaced most other developed nations, despite slowing to 0.7% from the previous three months.

5. Social Media:

The boom in online dating over recent years with the likes of Tinder joining digital matchmaker stalwarts Match.com and LoveCupid, has seemingly led to a lack of trust between couples regarding their activity online. Therefore, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 11% of British couples now have a joint Facebook account and most of those people are aged between 25 to 30.

Enjoy keeping up to date on the news agenda? We’ve covered a few more stories on the Tesco blunder as well as HMRC taking money from debtors bank accounts. 

Jermaine Haughton is a journalist and digital media professional.

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