How would 1% deposit mortgages work for Generation Rent? Business News

For many young Britons hoping to buy a home of their own, the very biggest barrier in the way remains the huge lump sum needed for a deposit.

The struggle has become much harder over the decades – as soaring houses prices have outstripped pay and robbed many on decent salaries the chance to get on the property ladder.

The Independent has revealed that Rishi Sunak’s government is considering a bold plan to help “Generation Rent” become “Generation Buy” by creating 99 per cent mortgages.

Instead of having to save tens of thousands, 1 per cent deposits could make the home ownership dream a reality with just a few thousand pounds.

So how would it work? Will it prove too risky for many banks? And could it backfire by inflating house prices further out of reach? We take a closer look at whether radically-low deposits could be a game-changer.

Can the government create 1% deposits?

The Independent understands that idea of encouraging 99 per cent loan to value (LTV) mortgages – with deposits of just 1 per cent required up front – is being seriously considered at the Treasury as part of discussions for chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s March Budget announcement.

Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak hoping to give young people a reason to vote Tory

(PA Wire)

The Conservative party is in terrible trouble with young voters. Only 10 per cent of voters under the age of 50 intend to vote Tory, the most recent YouGov poll found. Thus, Mr Hunt’s team at the Treasury is exploring idea to boost the fortunes of first-time buyers.

Lenders typically require a 10 per cent for the deposit. But if the government guarantees to underwrite some of the larger, riskier loan offered with a deposit of just 1 per cent, it could open up home ownership to a much larger group of people.

Ministers have some recent templates to work with. The Help to Buy scheme, which ran between 2013 and 2023, saw the government offer 20 per cent equity loans and back 5 per cent deposits to boost homeownership at new-build developments.

And although much small scale, the government’s “mortgage guarantee scheme” – set to run until 2025 – is also aimed at boosting the number of 5 per cent deposit deals available with lenders.

The government backs a portion of any mortgage offered under the low-deposit scheme, so it is willing compensate the bank or building society if a home has to be repossessed.

House prices have long been unaffordable for great swathes of young people


Would it really mean buying a house for just a few thousand pounds?

Someone looking to buy a house at the national UK average of £290,000 would pay just £2,900 under the proposed 1 per cent deposit scheme.

But it would not magically secure young Britons’ financial future. Low-deposit mortgages typically have higher interest rates than those with larger deposits because of the greater risk for the lender.

And whilst 99 per cent mortgages would address the issue of finding money for a deposit, it doesn’t address the issue of passing an affordability test. House prices are still high, as do interest rates, so the monthly costs will remain daunting for many.

But getting more young adults started on a mortgage earlier would allow them to pay off the loan over a longer period, and could increase the prevalance of 35-year repayment plans to keep monthly costs down.

What would banks make of the idea of 1% deposits?

Lenders will be wary, even if the scheme is aimed at the most credit-worthy of young buyers. The smaller the deposit the greater the risk.

The government may offer to underwrite a portion of the loan, but banks and building society could look for additional capital buffers to support 99 per cent mortgages.

From a lender’s point of view, such low deposits means borrowers have limited “skin in the game”. There is less incentive to stay in the property if prices fall, because the borrower would only be losing only a 1 per cent equity stake.

Wouldn’t it push up house prices?

Housing experts are already warning that the radical proposal for 1 per cent deposits could “backfire” by pushing up prices in a potentially damaging way.

Making it much easier to buy would certainly provide a sugar-rush high in the market – but fuelling demand for the very limited supply of homes available could then create a price spike that would make it harder for the next wave of young people to afford the monthly costs.

The Home Builders Federation have welcomed the idea of a government-backed scheme that promotes new development – arguing that the Help to Buy scheme boosted Britain’s sluggish construction rates.

Mr Hunt is believed to have concerns about moves to boost demand in the housing market if there are not equal measures to boost supply.

It remains to be seen if the chancellor feels the government’s policies to create more new homes are strong enough to push the…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-20 17:18:48


Inequality costing UK economy £34bn a year, says Labour Business News

Inequality in the jobs market is costing the UK economy £34bn a year, according to new analysis by Labour shared with The Independent.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party accused the Conservatives of “dismal failure” in tackling unfairness at work – arguing Britain is “less productive and less equal” after 14 years of Tory rule.

The opposition is vowing to close the major employment gaps which sees women, disabled people and black, Asian and ethnic minority Britons facing costly barriers.

Labour’s shadow equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds will today say that the state of inequality in the UK is “a scandal we cannot afford”.

As election-year pitches heat up, Tory chancellor Jeremy Hunt is said to be considering extending child benefit to more middle-class families in a pre-election Budget giveaway.

Labour insists that the ethnicity employment gap is costing the economy around £20bn a year, pointing to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The stats show that the current employment rate of “all other ethnic groups combined” is 68.4 per cent – nine points below that of white people (77.1 per cent).

Closing that gap would mean an additional 650,000 employees in the economy, sparking a major boost to tax revenues and growth, say Labour.

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds says inequality is ‘scandal we cannot afford’

(PA Archive)

Helping the 333,000 women who have left work due to menopause to stay in work would add up to £11bn to the economy, the research also shows.

And closing the disability employment gap by just two per cent points to the OECD average could also add an additional £3bn to the UK economy.

Speaking at the Fabian Society conference on Saturday, Ms Dodds will slam the Tory government’s record of “dismal failure” on inequality at work.

She will argue that employment gaps have seen women, black, Asian and ethnic minority people and disabled people “put more and more in and get less and less out”.

The party chair will pledge that equality will “run through Labour’s plans like the words in a stick of rock”, as she sets out a plan to close employment gaps.

The party says banning zero hours contracts will benefit some black, Asian and ethnic minority workers who are disproportionately impacted. And the party has promised to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for firms with more than 250 staff.

Large employers will be required to produce “menopause action plans” to set out how they are supporting women experiencing menopause at work, and providing guidance for small employers.

Sir Keir’s party has also committed to more specialist help for disabled people at job centres, as well as introducing disability pay gap reporting for large employers.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said to be planning extension of child benefit

(PA Wire)

It comes as a new report suggests Mr Hunt is considering a plan to extend £2,000 a year child benefit to a much greater number of middle-income families.

The chancellor is mulling whether to raise the £50,000 threshold at which child benefit starts to be withdrawn, according to The Times. Raising it to £60,000 would cost around £1bn, while ditching any income limits would cost £4bn.

However, Mr Hunt is said to be plotting a spending squeeze on departmental spending to help fund his tax giveaways. Day-to-day spending limits, currently set to rise by 0.9 percent in real terms until 2028-29, could be cut, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Rishi Sunk and Mr Hunt are widely expected to announce further tax cuts at the March Budget in bid to boost their party’s dire polling fortunes. Tory MPs have expressed their preference for cuts to income tax rather than moves to slash or axe inheritance tax.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-20 09:31:29


Game on for esports in Saudi Arabia as a whole new world opens-up for global gamers Business News

APCO – Saudi Delegation to WEF is a Business Reporter client.

Vast youth demographic and videogaming investment strategy could propel the Kingdom into the world’s biggest esports hub before the end of the decade

Illuminated by fireworks and drones, Boulevard Riyadh City rocked to the rhythm of drumbeats and bass as it opened the world’s biggest esports festival last summer. Gamers8 grabbed the gaming world’s attention as thousands of pro gamers arrived in the Saudi capital to compete for $45 million in prize money in front of a sell-out live audience.

The buzz around Gamers8, which has evolved and expanded into the Esports World Cup, is a reflection of the immense and growing popularity of videogaming in Saudi Arabia, whether competitive or recreational.

Today, Saudis are among the keenest gamers in the world. Recognising this surging popularity, the government is investing billions of dollars into its digital and videogaming landscape as it pursues its ambition to become one of the world’s biggest videogaming and esports hubs.

The move also aligns with Saudi’s economic diversification strategy, known as Saudi Vision 2030, which is driving an economy-wide series of transformative investments into new cities, infrastructure, tourism, aviation, research and development, advanced technologies, sports and entertainment.

Propelled by local demand, talent and its global economic potential, videogaming is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, also earmarked as a key growth driver of Saudi Arabia’s future. Revenues from gaming in the Kingdom are expected to soar by the end of the decade, thanks in large part to the more than 23.5 million gaming enthusiasts in Saudi.

And, at the professional level, Saudi has already enjoyed well-documented success in the esports arena, with then-18-year-old Mosaad Aldossary, known as MSDossary, clinching victory in the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final.

In the five years since MSDossary’s global success, the videogaming community in the Kingdom has grown and diversified, alongside its economy. Young female Saudis are now a major part of the videogaming fabric, with estimates showing that women and girls make up 42 per cent of Saudi’s gamers. Tapping into this historically underrepresented segment is enabling the Kingdom to capture new business and cultural opportunities emerging from new sectors being built from the ground up, with plans to do so already underway.

Under Saudi’s National Gaming and Esports Strategy, launched in September 2022, the Savvy Games Group was established and tasked with investing $37.8 billion into the acquisition and development of leading games publishers, as well as early-stage games, esports companies and mature industry partners. Savvy is expected to establish 250 games companies in the Kingdom, which will create 39,000 jobs, and raise the sector’s GDP contribution to $13.3 billion by 2030.

Unlocking this economic potential will also be spurred by some of the giga-projects under development across the Kingdom, with Qiddiya and NEOM both set to house innovative, immersive gaming districts within their sprawling masterplans.

With the infrastructure, core demographic and vision in place, there is no reason why Saudi Arabia cannot become a world-leading videogaming and esports hub before the end of the decade. The history and the evolution of the sector makes this point clear. Videogames were mostly pioneered in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States alongside the creation of the modern computing industry, before Japanese companies later became a force in both hardware and gaming content development.

While the US and Japan still remain major players, hugely successful and popular videogames are being developed all over the world. Angry Birds came from Finland, Candy Crush Saga from Sweden, Subway Surfers from Denmark and Assassin’s Creed from Canada. Given the demand for local content, and its engaged young consumer base, and the investments it is directing into the videogaming sector, Saudi Arabia is poised to stake a claim on today’s esports sector.

Through the new Esports World Cup, Saudi Arabia will attract the world’s best gamers, bringing esports fans together and delivering something that it hopes is out of this world. That determination to innovate and create what’s never been done before stems from a steadfast conviction that esports is a sport – and amongst its most important. It is also a product of Saudi’s youth – those who want to be part of the biggest sports events, whether online or offline. They are the driving force behind the desire to host major sporting spectacles, whether that’s the FIFA World Cup, or the Esports World Cup.

As Saudi’s transformative investments into videogaming and esports bring the virtual and physical worlds closer together, unlock new opportunities, and create new ways for industries to collaborate, it’s very much game on for Saudi’s videogamers.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-19 17:50:12


Roadmap to saving enough energy to power 1.25 million homes Business News

ABB is a Business Reporter client.

Using energy efficiency audits will help turn industry from “inefficient to efficient”, says Erich Labuda, President of ABB Motion Services

Motors are everywhere. They are the hidden workhorses of society. They power everything from the fans that keep our buildings hot or cold to the pumps that provide us with clean water and the machinery and conveyors that produce the goods we need every day.

There are millions of industrial electric motors around the world, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated they consume almost half of all electricity.

Ultimately, these motors will be powered by green electricity as the energy transition progresses. However, developing renewable energy infrastructure is a slow process, and time is running out to achieve our target of no more than 1.5°C global warming.

Making motors more efficient is a more immediate solution that reduces energy consumption and cuts costs at the same time. The IEA has said that energy efficiency would provide a third of all emissions reductions in their Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario.

To show industry what it is missing out on, we recently studied the operation of more than 2,000 industrial motor-driven systems in a wide range of sectors and applications.

With the help of energy audits, we found potential for 31 per cent average energy savings per motor by upgrading them to more efficient technology. The biggest opportunities were related to motors operating without a variable speed drive (VSD), which enables a motor to match its speed to the demands of the task. Depending on the local cost of energy, this could lead to a return on investment (ROI) of as little as three months. In total, we identified 2.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy savings over the 20-year lifetime of these systems. That’s enough to power 1.25 million European houses for a year – the equivalent of a large city.

Energy audits boost energy efficiency

Industrial businesses want to be more energy efficient. They just don’t know where to start. According to an ABB survey, 97 per cent of industry leaders are willing to invest in energy efficiency, but only 41 per cent feel they have the necessary information to act.

Energy audits combat this problem by enabling businesses to pinpoint exactly where their biggest energy savings lie across fleets of motor-driven systems. Businesses can then target systems with the greatest energy-saving potential.

Audits work by gathering operational data from motors to assess their performance and efficiency. This can either be done manually or digitally – similar to the way we wear a Fitbit on our wrist to track our own health and performance. An expert compares the motor’s current performance with the theoretical performance that could be achieved by upgrading to a more efficient system. This could involve resizing or modernising the equipment or adding a VSD. The expert can then calculate expected energy savings and emissions reductions of an upgrade, as well as the expected ROI.

One example is Tarkett, the Swedish flooring manufacturer. An energy efficiency appraisal in 2022 identified that upgrading 10 of its motors to more efficient technology would boost efficiency from 80 to 95 per cent. By acting on these suggestions, the company was predicted to save around 800 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually. That’s enough energy to charge every UK resident’s phone – 68 million smartphones. An expected payback period of 18 months or less was predicted.

The scale of the opportunity

Predicted ROI and emissions savings differ between countries due to differences in the energy mix and pricing. Going back to our recent study, the 2,000 motors audited were from a variety of countries. If, for example, all the appraised motors were operating in the UAE, a 2.1 TWh energy saving would avoid 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and have an ROI of six months – based on November 2023 data. Alternatively, if they were operating in Germany, this would equate to a saving of 940,000 tonnes CO2 and an ROI of only three months. These savings would be enough to offset the emissions of a coal plant for two months in Germany and three months in the UAE.

If we extrapolate the findings here to the 300 million industrial motors operating worldwide, then it’s easy to see the potential impact of upgrading all the inefficient ones. It’s no wonder the IEA has said that optimising and replacing motor systems with high-efficiency ones would reduce global electricity consumption by 10 per cent.

These findings paint a clear picture. Upgrading to more efficient motor-driven systems is a straightforward and cost-effective way to contribute towards meeting Net Zero targets while also saving money. Making the green choice is often perceived as being the more expensive one overall. But in the case of energy efficiency, that isn’t necessarily true.

Using energy audits to identify the best places for industry to make…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-17 10:38:41


Protecting the protectors: combating stress in the cyber-security industry Business News

Adarma is a Business Reporter client.

The shortage of skilled cyber-security professionals has been a persistent and well-documented challenge within the cyber industry. According to a 2021 survey* conducted by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a significant 76 per cent of respondents reported facing considerable or moderate challenges when it comes to recruiting and hiring security experts. Moreover, an overwhelming 95 per cent believe that the skills shortage has not seen any improvement in recent years, with 44 per cent indicating that it has worsened.

The competition for top cybersecurity talent is intense and the cost of standing up a highly skilled security team can be high due to the scarcity of expertise. As a result, many security teams are often understaffed, stretched and may be lacking the knowledge required to navigate an increasingly complex threat landscape. Between shouldering the immense burden of safeguarding their companies, handling threats as they emerge and finding time to innovate, it’s no wonder teams are feeling burned out and stressed.

The consequences of stress in SecOps

Not only is this unhealthy, it’s also unsustainable and could have severe consequences for both individuals and the businesses they are entrusted to protect. In fact, more than half of the organisations surveyed by Adarma expressed apprehension that the stress and fatigue experienced in their security teams could increase the risk of a cyber-incident.

Based on the responses of 500 UK security operations leaders from organisations with 2,000 employees or more, Adarma’s research found that 51 per cent also believed their security teams were challenged and frustrated, which could lead to mistakes, burnout and increased levels of quitting. Similarly, 28 per cent of the respondents felt their security teams’ capacity to innovate and introduce fresh, creative solutions was constrained by these factors.

While the cyber-security industry is not the only sector struggling with elevated stress levels, there is a distinct level of concern when it comes to cyber-protection and data-intensive decision-making. In such roles, a high level of focus is imperative. However, cyber-security workdays tend to be long and fatiguing.

Furthermore, cyber-security professionals are generally deeply passionate and dedicated, often assuming significant personal responsibility for their organisation’s security status. It is this dedication that likely contributes to the elevated stress they experience: as one CISO commented in the report, “cyber-security professionals are victims of their own passion”.

Knowledge gaps put organisations at risk

When asked to evaluate the capabilities of their security teams, 42 to 45 per cent of organisations believed that their teams had only some, little or no appropriate expertise in the following areas:

·         To understand the threats being faced

·         To detect and respond to potential threats appropriately

·         To understand and control exposure across the IT estate

·         To respond effectively to an actual incident

·         To measure success and report to the wider organisation

Not only are security teams short-staffed, they are also short on crucial skills, meaning there are likely gaps in defence coverage.

If this problem is well recognised, why is closing this skills gap and reducing stress among current teams so challenging? Adarma’s research revealed that 60 per cent of leaders see the lack of a security budget as another significant barrier to recruiting and retaining skilled professionals. Almost as many – 58 per cent – went further, saying they also struggled to communicate the importance of security to their organisation’s C-suite and board members, which made securing budgets even harder.

MSSPs can help bridge security expertise gaps

Fortunately, 65 per cent of security operations leaders believe recruiting from a broader, more diverse talent pool could help alleviate stress, while 35 per cent said they would consider using a third-party security provider to introduce diversity and lighten the load. A managed security service provider (MSSP) enables enterprises to partially outsource their security needs and quickly benefit from a diverse set of talents and expertise. While outsourcing may not be a feasible option for all organisations, a blended approach could prove to be highly successful.

Investing in ways that support and take care of team members’ welfare and mental health, such as workplace wellbeing initiatives, can help enhance the experience of existing teams, improve their engagement and job satisfaction, and ultimately lead to better retention rates and reduced potential for errors.

For more information, visit

Read the full report here.

About Adarma

We are Adarma, leaders in detection and response services. We specialise in designing,…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-17 10:39:10


How B2B Companies Are Navigating the 2024 Marketing Landscape Business News

Time to Take Your Engagement Digital

According to Gavin Finn, CEO of Kaon Interactive, a leading B2B sales and marketing engagement platform, the primary challenge for European B2B companies is adapting to the heightened demand for digital customer engagement. He explains, “European companies are uniquely challenged to address their historically risk-averse approach to the pace of change.” The shift from traditional in-person interactions to digital platforms is here to stay, and it will undoubtedly shape your B2B sales strategies for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, Finn emphasizes the importance of adapting to new ways of connecting with customers. Your brand must rethink its long-standing approach of prioritizing geographic proximity and cultural affinity. Instead, you’ll need to take advantage of international acquisition opportunities. This approach will help you maintain your foothold in existing markets while also opening the door for long-term growth.

Nevertheless, you must also navigate the challenges associated with remaining in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While the GDPR has been in force for a few years, you will encounter new compliance headaches as you reinvent your approach to engagement. “With GDPR legislation, companies must be explicit about the ways in which they collect personal data for marketing purposes.” says The Digital Marketing Institute.

Self-Service: The Secret Sauce to Better Engagement 

Your company should prioritize investing in customer self-care and hybrid engagement platforms to overcome the challenges above effectively. “These platforms empower customers to research, explore, and investigate all aspects of the problem and solution space well before the company presents its products and solutions,” he says. That includes interactive visual experiences and digital collaboration solutions for real-time sharing of workspaces and solution demos.

The goal is to help your customers solve their business challenges in whatever venues they choose, which signifies the importance of giving your audiences options rather than dictating how, when, and where they interact with your brand. The methodology will also help you make all stakeholders feel acknowledged, as you can address multiple perspectives, pain points, and concerns.

Still, there is a caveat: You must be careful not to pigeonhole prospective and current clients into self-serve platforms. Instead, frame self-serve portals as one of many options available for connecting with you.

Additionally, ensure the self-serve portal is integrated into other channels and touchpoints. It should not feel like an afterthought but instead part of a greater, personalized journey. Offering an immersive self-serve experience will empower your clients, as they can connect with you on their terms.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Digital Transformation

Finn warns against the common pitfalls of merely digitizing existing processes, arguing that “the core idea behind digital transformation is to transform [and that] the digital part is the facilitation of a new way of working.” He cautions business leaders against simply remaking traditional processes as digital ones. This superficial approach can lead to missed opportunities, stirring frustration and confusion among sales teams and clients.

He advises deploying digital solutions with a platform-based infrastructure, emphasizing the need for consistency, modularity, and the ability to adapt to continuous change. Foregoing the platform approach can leave you with a disjointed and unmanageable mosaic of applications that neither communicate nor share data. At the same time, a platform approach creates a more holistic experience for customers while providing your business with actionable insights.

When planning a digital transformation, focus first on the processes you hope to transform. Once you identify the processes and workflows, you can set quantifiable goals. Then — and only then — is when you should explore ways to affect change and achieve said goals through strategically digitizing interactions, workflows, and processes. “The key to cutting through the confusion is to see that digital transformation is not a single thing,” writes Harvard Business Review. “but a multi-faceted journey with differing goals depending on your industry and digital maturity.”

In other words, the transformation itself must always be the cornerstone of any digital transformation initiative. Changing or digitizing business processes for the sake of it will entail significant waste and lackluster results, neither of which will move you any closer to your long-term growth goals.

Digital Transformation — A Long-Haul Approach to Business Management 

As you embark on your digital transformation journey, it can be tempting to focus on short-term gains and tech additions that will make a “big splash.” While you should work to condense your time to value, don’t…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-17 17:22:06


Navigating data management modernisation to deliver the AI-ready tech stack of the future Business News

Alteryx is a Business Reporter client.

As organisations prepare to navigate the next few years, operating against a backdrop of constant change will continue to challenge business leaders globally. But no matter what the future brings, data-driven decision-making will remain the lifeblood of tomorrow’s business. It will profoundly impact decisions, by bringing the insights required to deliver innovations that stimulate unique customer experiences and growth.

AI is already transcending its hype status to become a business value generator, and organisations of all sizes are embracing it, especially generative AI, to stay ahead of today’s fast-paced world. But this AI movement is also a booster for significant technological changes to come – rapid transformations set to shape how enterprises of the future operate and perform.

That’s why business leaders are turning to CIOs and IT leaders for insights and to figure out enterprise readiness strategies to ensure their organisations can take advantage of current and future AI capabilities.

Why data increasingly means business value

With global data creation projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025, there is enormous value potential in becoming a data-driven business. But to do so requires a tech stack built for the era of intelligence.

While today’s organisations have a strong appetite for AI and automation, the reality is that vast volumes of data and numerous data pipelines sit at the core of these technologies. CIOs and IT leaders are already assessing the technologies required to transform business approaches to data-driven decision-making, and in a future where generative AI is set to be deeply integrated into every facet of business, this has become critical.

The role of technology in shaping the future enterprise is undeniable. The exponential growth of data within every enterprise and the ever-changing business landscape suggest that AI-driven automation will remain a key characteristic of future enterprises. Alteryx research reveals that 60 per cent of business leaders say technology investment will have a transformative impact on future productivity, and 61 per cent say investments in advanced technology will increase as they respond to the changing market environment. The challenge is turning these increased data volumes and varieties into business opportunities, by preparing for this increasingly complex, data-driven future.

Forward-thinking IT leaders already see a direct correlation between modernising the data management journey across the entire tech stack and facilitating the extraction of value from data at the speed and scale needed for real-time intelligence. The same Alteryx research suggests that digital transformation relating to AI and machine learning will be the number one characteristic of the future enterprise, and tech stack priorities are already shifting to reflect this. Generative AI, quantum computing and machine learning operations (MLOps) are cited as the technologies most likely to see the largest shift in accelerated adoption in the future.

Delivering next-generation, AI-ready business transformation

While it only seems a short time since the pandemic forced many organisations to accelerate transformation at breakneck speeds, the rise of AI-related technologies will reinfuse these transformations. Why? Because AI has lowered the barrier to delivering productivity gains by delivering data-driven insights with just a sentence or a prompt. With countless data-oriented AI technologies and intelligent systems already available, the ultimate goal of this transformation is to modernise the data management journey across the entire stack.

To do so, tech leaders, more than ever, need to be the changemakers capable of prioritising both the technical needs of IT and the needs of the business – all while ensuring none of the connected systems and technologies disrupt the value chain or create friction.

No one-size-fits-all technology can help businesses understand customer needs, drive efficiencies and find the competitive edge their organisations need. For any technology to accelerate the flow of data across the future tech stack, you must:

1. Avoid overly complex architectures and tools requiring specific skillsets. Only by empowering the entire workforce to take full advantage of technologies to harness and compute the data, and establish the automation resources available, will you unlock the full potential of the future tech stack and ensure it delivers ROI by driving business value across the entire organisation.

2. Learn to identify exciting, shiny trends that may look good but won’t perform and avoid purchasing a bundle of tools not designed for business users. If it disrupts the value chain and creates friction because one part of the tech stack breaks or a capability is missing in the value chain, then it causes friction for everything else – costing money, time and potential innovation.

3. Invest in…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-17 10:39:33


Average car insurance cost in UK soars to record high Business News

The average cost of car insurance in the UK has hit a record high of nearly £1,000 after premiums skyrocketed by 58 per cent in a year, analysis suggests.

The price of insuring a car has soared on average by £338 over the past 12 months to hit £924, according to the price index, which the comparison site says is based on more than six million quotes each quarter.

The Independent revealed in August that motor insurance was fast becoming one of the most expensive household bills, adding more financial pain at a time of high inflation and surging mortgage rates and rents.

Exclusive data from analyst Consumer Intelligence had revealed that premiums rose by 48 per cent in the year to June to hit their highest since 2018, as tens of thousands of drivers either increased the excess on their policies or switched to third-party-only cover in a desperate bid to cut costs.

But the latest data suggests prices have now risen even more sharply, with premiums soaring by an average of 19 per cent (£148) in the most recent quarter alone.

While rates rose across the UK, those living in inner London were worst affected, with price rises of 61 per cent (£567) bringing average premiums in the capital to more than £1,500.

Outside of London, drivers in Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands saw some of the steepest increases, where motorists are now paying more than £1,100 on average for cover.

The price increases are even more stark when calculated by age – with 18-year-olds now paying an average of £2,995 after their premiums soared 89 per cent in the past year to add £1,414 to the average bill.

Car insurance costs are highest for those living in London, Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

On average, drivers can no longer find car insurance costing less than £1,000 until they are 38 years old, according to the index.

While prices fell during the pandemic, they have risen as people returned to normal driving habits, while the value of both secondhand cars and new electric vehicles have also risen, with the latter featuring more advanced techology – fuelling higher repair costs, further exacerbated by supply chain issues.

“For another consecutive quarter, we’ve seen some of the highest inflation rates when it comes to car insurance,” said Louise Thomas, a car insurance expert at, adding: “Those who haven’t yet been affected should be wary of how pricing may affect them at their next renewal.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-16 09:13:39


Is Wetherspoons the best or worst thing to happen to the pub scene? Join The Independent Debate Business News

If there’s one thing that almost every British high street still has – it’s a Wetherspoons.

The cheap-and-and-cheerful chain boasts inexpensive pints, straightforward food and quirky decor – but it really isn’t for everyone.

As Katie Rosseinsky pointed out in a recent piece for The Independent, “if you’re British and of legal drinking age, the chances are that you have strong feelings, one way or another, about Wetherspoons”.

That statement is probably one thing pub-goers on either side of the Spoons debate can agree upon. While some praise the chain for its low prices, others accuse it of squeezing out local pubs that simply can’t compete on price.

The controvsery around the brand is only fueled by Spoons founder Tim Martin – and for some, cheap prices can’t mitigate the sour taste left by his forays into political discourse.

A staunch brexiteer, in 2016, Martin donated £200,000 to the Vote Leave campaign, and eventually described the result of the referendum as a “new Magna Carta”. Hundreds of thousands of pro-Brexit beer mats have been launched throughout Martin’s pubs, detailing potential benefits of leaving the EU and, later, urging politicians to hurry along with a deal; a few years after the vote, he banned European beers and sacked off champagne and prosecco in favour of English sparkling wines.

With Martin recently granted a knighthood, the debate around Spoons and its place on the high street has reignited.

We want to know where you stand. Does Wetherspoons provide a crucial cheap hub for social gatherings during the cost of living crisis? Or has the brand done more damage than good?

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This notice was published: 2024-01-09 07:00:00


British Airways increases minimum connection times at London Heathrow Business News

Stress levels at Heathrow Terminal 5 are set to reduce… but some British Airways passengers will be waiting significantly longer for connections.

The airline is to increase the minimum connection time (MCT) at Heathrow from an hour to 75 minutes, to reduce the risk – and commercial cost – of missed onward flights.

By lengthening connections, the airline hopes fewer passengers will end up being stranded or rebooked.

However, it will mean longer journey times for passengers connecting at the hub, putting the flag carrier at a commercial disadvantage compared to European rivals. For example, it is now three times longer than the MCT at Vienna airport for passengers connecting between Star Alliance flights.

Passengers from Nice heading for Los Angeles can no longer arrive in California at lunchtime by transiting through London. Up to 8 January, travellers on the first flight from the south of France had 65 minutes to connect with the British Airways departure at 10.10am, giving an arrival time of 1.25pm. While a lunchtime arrival is still feasible on KLM via Amsterdam, Lufthansa via Frankfurt or Air France via Paris, the first “legal” connection on BA reaches Los Angeles at 4.10pm.

From Berlin, a passenger hoping to connect on the British Airways afternoon flight to Miami will need to leave the German capital 70 minutes earlier than previously.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Following customer feedback, we’re increasing the minimum connection time for some of our flights through Heathrow T5.

“This will give customers more time to make their next flight and reduce the risk of missing their onward service, which we know is incredibly frustrating.”

Connections between Terminals 3 and 5 – which require a bus connection taking around 10 minutes – retain the existing 90-minute minimum.

British Airways says passengers who made bookings before the change and have connections shorter than 75 minutes have been contacted and offered alternative connections.

Terminal 5 opened almost 16 years ago as the solution to British Airways’ big structural problem: most intercontinental flights used Terminal 4, while Terminal 1 served domestic and most European flights. Connections between the two were fraught.

The £2.5bn new structure at the west of the airfield was the solution. After some industrial-scale teething problems, Terminal 5 is now working well for British Airways and its sister airline, Iberia.

The change was first picked up by the frequent-flyer website Head for Points – whose editor, Rob Burgess, said: “British Airways has been very public about its desire to reduce aircraft delays at Heathrow, and ensuring transit passengers don’t get stuck in Flight Connections is a help.

“It would make more sense to tackle the root of the problem at Heathrow, however, rather than simply enforce longer connecting times. When Zurich can guarantee a connection in 40 minutes and Frankfurt in 45 minutes, BA is simply making itself less attractive to transit passengers.”

The minimum connecting times for international-to-international flights at European competitors for British Airways – and Heathrow – are now significantly shorter:

  • Amsterdam: 50 minutes
  • Frankfurt: 45 minutes
  • Paris CDG: 60 minutes
  • Vienna: 25 minutes
  • Zurich: 40 minutes

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and other carriers with connecting traffic at Heathrow face another threat to their transit business: the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

The new permit is required by every non-British or Irish passenger flying to the UK, even if they merely wish to spend two hours between flights.

At other major aviation hubs outside the US, passengers transferring from one international flight to another need only documentation valid for their final destination.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-08 19:05:14