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Four-day working week

Technological advances mean that most workers could earn a full salary working four days a week by the end of the century, according to TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady in September 2018. "In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays. So, for the 21st century, let's lift our ambition again." Ac...
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Harvest workers

In September 2018, the government announced a scheme to allow 2,500 harvest workers from outside the EU to come to the UK to pick fruit and vegetables for six months of the year. The scheme is a two-year pilot study. [18.09]
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Insurance premium tax

Insurance premium tax yielded £5.94 billion in 2017/18, an increase of 22% from £4.88 billion collected the previous year. The tax rate rose from 10% to 12% in June 2017. The yield is 19% more than expected. [18.09]
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Class 2 national insurance stays

Class 2 national insurance will not be abolished in 2019, as previously announced. It was originally to be abolished in April 2018. This was postponed to April 2019, and has now been scrapped. Class 2 is a small weekly figure paid by self-employed workers. It entitles them to state pension and some other benefits. Such workers also pay class 4 which is of a more significant amount. [18.09]
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Choice of HMRC office locations

HMRC's 13 regional centre locations were chosen according to where their employees lived rather than where they worked. The Public Accounts Committee was told this in September 2018. HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson said that staff who relocated to a regional centre would have their travel costs underwritten by HMRC for between three and five years. It was estimated that HMRC would lose abo...
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HMRC boss received death threats

HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson told the Public Accounts Committee in September 2018 that he has received death threats for doing his job. Caroline Flint MP said HMRC should thank taxpayers for paying their tax, noting that HMRC's annual report did not say this. Thompson replied that HMRC sends out 5 million letters a year thanking people for paying their tax. [18.09]
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EE and Virgin Media fined

In November 2018, EE and Virgin Media were fined by the telecoms regulator for overcharging customers who end their contracts early. The decision relates to 40,000 customers who were overcharged £4.3 million too much. Virgin overcharged 82,000 customers by £2.8 million. The company says it will appeal the fine of £7 million. [18.11]
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Kilogram is redefined

The kilogram is to be redefined, it was announced in November 2018. At present, the definition is the weight of platinum-based ingot called Le Grand K which is locked in a safe in Paris. It remains the last basic unit still to be defined by a physical object. There are several replicas. The change is because the ingot has lost weight since its adoption in 1889. The amount is about 50 parts p...
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Worldwide corporation tax falls

Corporation tax rates across the world are falling, according to a survey by OECD published in September 2018. The survey was of 35 OECD countries plus Argentina, Indonesia and South Africa. Corporation tax rates fell from an average 32.5% in 2000, to 23.9% in 2018. There were significant reforms in Argentina, France, Lativa and USA. Other countries made changes in a more piecemeal fashion. ...
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