Broadband must be accessible to all, peers told

Broadband must be accessible to all, peers told

Broadband should be made more accessible to people on benefits by encouraging them to use discounted deals designed for them, experts say.

They told the Lords Digital Committee’s digital exclusion hearings that cutting VAT on broadband could help people who struggle with “digital exclusion”.

Rocio Concha, of consumer group Which?, urged action to get more people on benefits using cheaper social tariffs.

The government has called on firms to raise awareness of the deals.

The high cost of living continued to put household budgets under strain, resulting in more people being “pushed” into digital exclusion, chairwoman Baroness Stowell said in her opening remarks.

Experts told the committee that digital exclusion is a term that describes an interconnected set of problems with the internet, including:

no access to it
not having a device to connect to it
a lack of skills or confidence to use it
The committee heard that ending digital exclusion for key groups could generate £13.7bn in economic benefits over 10 years for only £1.4bn in cost, according to evidence from Rowlando Morgan, of economic consultancy The Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Moved to tears

“Over one in 20 households have no internet at all, either fixed … Read More

Office attendance surges as hybrid and more localised working take hold across the UK

Office attendance surges as hybrid and more localised working take hold across the UK

Hybrid working is becoming more and more engrained, with workers now splitting their time between city centre offices and suburban and rural workspaces.

New data reveals that office attendance in January is up by 40% year-on-year, while demand for IWG space outside city centres grew 36 per cent in 2022.

IWG’s latest office footfall data shows that workers are leveraging the cost savings of hybrid working by splitting their time between a city centre HQ and regional offices closer to home.

Shorter commutes offered by local workspaces have made venturing to the office to use its facilities more cost effective for workers. Research by IWG shows that 71% of said they will save more money on their bills by working in the office, than they will spend on additional commuting.

Analysis by IWG highlights the extent of the savings that working locally can offer hybrid workers. Someone based in Cambridge – which has seen a huge increase in local working over the past year – could save up to £2,931 a year by working from Cambridge-based workspace instead of a London HQ just one day a week, with this figure increasing to £8,793 by working locally three days a week.… Read More

Enterprise education becoming ‘forgotten child’

Enterprise education becoming ‘forgotten child’

Social media entrepreneur Ryan Williams has penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him and his government to overhaul A-Level business studies in the national curriculum.

Williams says it must be modernised to increase its practicality and ensure it acts as a springboard for young entrepreneurs.

The intervention comes after Sunak announced his plan for all students to study maths until the age of 18. He stresses that high-quality enterprise education should not be forgotten, as it is vital to opening up opportunities for the next generation and ensuring the long-term prosperity of the country.

Williams is the co-founder of KOMI Group, a multimillion-pound social media, marketing, and licensing agency employing over 80 people. He recently sold his share in the business, allowing him to focus on other business ventures and supporting the creation of young entrepreneurs.

His entrepreneurial journey began when he transformed his passion for making funny football Twitter accounts into a multimillion-pound social and digital media agency.

Williams believes that, in its current state, business studies is unfit for purpose and is putting students off entrepreneurship. Describing his own experience of A-Level business studies, he wrote: “I hated it. It bored me to death and, … Read More

Women in board roles at UK’s biggest listed firms above 40% for first time

Women in board roles at UK’s biggest listed firms above 40% for first time

The proportion of women in board roles in Britain’s biggest listed companies has risen above 40% for the first time, according to analysis that suggests only 10 of the UK’s 350 largest listed companies still have all-male executive teams.

The number of women on boards in the blue-chip FTSE 100 companies and the mid-sized FTSE 250 companies rose by 3% in 2022, according to the government-backed FTSE women leaders review, published on Tuesday.

However, it found UK companies were failing to appoint women to leadership positions below board level at the same rate, with only 33.5% of executive committee or their direct reports being women. In the top 50 private companies, analysed for the first time this year, the proportion of women in non-board leadership roles was slightly higher, at 34.3%.

The representation of women on FTSE 350 public company boards has been gradually improving in recent years, with demands from shareholders for diversity in the people running British businesses.

The government-backed review had set a voluntary target of 40% women on boards by 2025, although that milestone is still well short of the 51% of women in the UK population.

Ministers have declined to introduce mandatory targets for women … Read More

Parents forced to stay at home as thousands of teachers start three days of ‘unforgivable’ strikes

Parents forced to stay at home as thousands of teachers start three days of ‘unforgivable’ strikes

Tens of thousands of teachers across England and Wales will strike over three days this week in the long-running dispute over pay.

Teachers will walk out across the north of England on Tuesday with the majority of schools expected to either restrict access to some pupils or fully close, the National Education Union (NEU) has said.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has called strike action “unforgivable”, adding that children deserve to be in class, especially after the pandemic.

Teacher members of the NEU are set to strike in the Midlands and eastern regions in England on Wednesday, and further walkouts will take place across Wales and the south of England on Thursday.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, told the PA news agency: “I think across the three days we will have 200,000 members taking strike action.”

The country’s largest education union has had 50,000 new sign-ups since the strikes were announced six weeks ago, he added.

Speaking ahead of the strikes in the north of England, Mr Courtney said: “I think a majority of schools will be affected by the dispute. Some of them with full closures and many more with partial closures.

“Some secondary schools will be … Read More