A fifth of UK workers risk diabetes by sitting for 8 hours a day

A fifth of UK workers risk diabetes by sitting for 8 hours a day

New data has revealed one in five UK employees are sitting for more than eight hours each day, contributing to the decline in physical or mental health experienced by 79% of employees in the past year.

The findings place UK employee health in the ‘high’ to ‘very high’ risk category*. This is particularly concerning as Diabetes UK** report that more people than ever are at risk of type 2 diabetes due to their working habits.

The UK-wide Health, wellbeing & habits study asked over 1,000 employees for insights into their health status over the last year, and was conducted by disposable vape retailer Vape Club. The aim was to discover how changing working patterns are affecting employees’ health and wellbeing, and how UK companies can better support their workforce in this area.

The study found that employees who do at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week were less likely to experience negative physical or mental effects from their work. Only one in seven workers in the East Midlands gets this much exercise, making them the least active in the UK.

The findings also raise concerns about the impact of hybrid working on employees as it continues to be the … Read More

Drop in disposable income is affecting everybody in UK

Drop in disposable income is affecting everybody in UK

Britons cut back on shopping in the final three months of the year, according to new figures that suggest all regions of the UK are facing similar pressures on the cost of living.

Asda’s latest income tracker recorded a drop in household income levels throughout the country in the fourth quarter of last year in a fifth consecutive quarter of annual decline. Disposable income, a measure of spending power after essentials such as food, taxes and bills are paid for, fell by 11.4 per cent during the fourth quarter to an average of £209 a week, compared with £236 a week over the same period in 2021.

Britain has been in grip of double-digit inflation since September, with price growth sticking above 10 per cent in December, a period comparable only to the runaway inflation of the early 1980s.

People are having to pay far higher electricity bills after the prices of gas and oil surged because of the war in Ukraine. The prices of food, transport and services also have contributed to higher inflation in recent months.

Asda’s tracker found that the South East, one of the nine statistical regions of England and an area with higher prosperity rates … Read More

Ford cuts 3,200 jobs in Europe and moves work to the US

Ford cuts 3,200 jobs in Europe and moves work to the US

Ford plans to cut 3,200 jobs across Europe, according to Germany’s largest union, as the carmaker looks to slash costs and shift focus towards electric vehicles.

Most of the 2,500 jobs in product development and up to 700 in administrative roles the automaker is hoping to cut are located in Germany, said IG Metall.

The union, which represents 2.2 million members in the metal, electrical, iron, steel and automotive industries, said other cuts could fall at sites in Belgium and the UK, the Financial Times reported.

The workers at the Cologne site, which employs about 14,000 people, were informed of the plans on Monday.

“If negotiations between the works council and management in coming weeks do not ensure the future of workers, we will join the process,” IG Metall said.

“We will not hold back from measures that could seriously impact the company, not just in Germany but Europe-wide.”

The US carmaker has been cutting jobs in Europe for years as it aims to shift its focus to electrified vehicles.

The company’s chief executive, Jim Farley, warned in November last year it takes “40% less labour to make an electric car” than a traditional petrol model.

A statement from Ford … Read More

British households and businesses to be paid £2m to cut power use today

British households and businesses to be paid £2m to cut power use today

National Grid is expected to pay out more than £2m to households and businesses to encourage them to cut their power use at peak times on Tuesday.

The electricity system operator plans to run its “demand flexibility service” – which incentivises households in Great Britain to use less power during a designated period – between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

The service was used for real for the first time on Monday to help reduce the strain on the grid caused by the cold weather between 5pm and 6pm, after a series of trial sessions.

The scheme was piloted by Octopus Energy early last year before being rolled out to other suppliers in November. More than 1m businesses and consumers have signed up.

During the trials, typical households have saved about half a kilowatt hour, which will be worth about £2 on Tuesday, putting the cost to National Grid at £2m. Those funds will be passed on to those participating, with suppliers keeping a share to cover their costs.

Octopus said 400,000 customers participated in Monday’s session and were offered £3.37 for each kilowatt hour of electricity they avoided during the period. Octopus will offer £4 for each kilowatt hour on Tuesday … Read More

Microsoft turns up its chatbot stake

Microsoft turns up its chatbot stake

Microsoft has confirmed that it will increase its stake in the developer behind the advanced ChatGPT chatbot through a “multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment”.

The company was said this month to be preparing to invest $10 billion in OpenAI, which caused a sensation in November by releasing its artificial intelligence bot. It had already invested $1 billion in 2019.

Microsoft said it would invest billions of dollars in the San Francisco-based developer, but declined to be more specific about the total sum or to provide further details around the deal.

OpenAI’s valuation on the private market has been mooted at as much as $29 billion.

“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratise AI as a new technology platform,” Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive of Microsoft, said.

“In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organisations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models and toolchain with Azure [cloud computing] to build and run their applications.”

Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, said: “Microsoft shares our values and we are excited to continue our independent research and to work toward creating advanced AI that benefits everyone.”

ChatGPT Read More