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Look past the statistical comedy – the jobs figures are actually great news | Greg Jericho

The unemployment jump to 6.3% is alarming but only at first glance, and the government is on track to meet its promise of a million new jobs in five years

Last week’s job figures included a jump in the unemployment rate to 6.3%, the highest rate since June 2002. But rather than be worried, treasurer Joe Hockey should think these a beautiful – if very noisy – set of numbers.

The unemployment figures were a bizarre mixture of data that really didn’t make too much sense and quickly had both sides of politics setting the spin cycle to maximum.

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Thinktank urges investment in low-wage sectors to raise UK productivity

Areas such as hospitality and parts of retailing do not face the same competitive pressures as high-end manufacturing, the IPPR says

The government must focus on unloved sectors such as hospitality and retail, if it is to tackle Britain’s lamentable productivity record, according to a new analysis by thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Tony Dolphin, the IPPR’s chief economist, said that while the government tends to target support at the highly skilled workers in advanced manufacturing, it is the low-paid staff behind bars and checkouts whose performance may be critical to sustaining Britain’s recovery.

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RBS executives set for multimillion-pound payout

Share awards come a week after the government sold a stake in Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to hand out shares worth an estimated £2.5m to its 10-strong management team.

The payouts come a week after the government took the first steps since the 2008 taxpayer bailout to begin reducing its stake, which has fallen from 79% to just below 73% as a result.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Jeremy Corbyn is right to blame the banks, not Labour, for the financial crisis

While other candidates apologise for spending and borrowing too much, Corbyn’s take on austerity and party’s economic record adds up

Here’s a question for you. Consider the following statement: “We must live within our means, so cutting the deficit is the top priority.” Do you agree?

If you said yes, you are with the majority. If you said no and are a member of the Labour party, you are almost certainly planning to vote for Jeremy Corbyn to be its next leader.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

The innovators: cheaper batteries could help electric cars hit the mainstream

Sheffield-based Faradion has developed a sodium-ion battery that looks and performs in the same way as a regular lithium-ion battery but is 30% cheaper

There was a surge in the sale of electric cars last year but the number leaving the forecourts is still dwarfed by traditional gas-guzzlers at a ratio of almost 50 to one. The high cost of the batteries that power the vehicles is a prime reason.

Sheffield-based Faradion believes it has found a solution – new battery technology, the development of which has been spearheaded in the UK.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Does Rupert Soames hold key to Serco success?

The chief executive, and his counterpart at G4S, are due to report half-year results after damaging period for both security firms

It’s August and the corporate news is drying up as Britain’s bosses head for their holiday villas, so let’s be thankful that Serco and G4S are around to enliven the week.

Both security outsourcers will report half-year results and update the market on efforts to recover from scandals that forced out their previous managements. The biggest blow to their reputations was the government’s discovery in 2013 that they had falsely charged taxpayers for electronically tagging prisoners who in some cases were back in prison or had died.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Labour needs a leader who stands up to George Osborne’s cuts agenda

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised as a throwback, but he is a timely reminder to his party of its values. And history has hardly been kinder to the Conservatives

As CJ, the managing director in a famous bygone BBC television series, might have said: I did not get where I am today forecasting the outcome of elections for the Labour leadership. But we have certainly moved a long way from 1976, when there were no fewer than six heavyweight contestants, namely Jim Callaghan (who won), Denis Healey, Roy Jenkins, Tony Crosland, Michael Foot and Tony Benn.

Now, for all the badmouthing of Jeremy Corbyn, my hope is that in due course he will be seen to have been a beneficent influence, forcing the other candidates to do some serious soul-searching – for the soul of the Labour party, no less.

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The Libor conviction is welcome. Now directors must be held accountable too

The new regulatory regime for banks and brokers will force senior managers prove they are taking steps to prevent fraud. At least, that’s the theory

This week’s 14-year prison sentence for Tom Hayes, the former UBS and Citigroup trader convicted of conspiracy to defraud, was a landmark moment in the cleanup of the City after the financial crisis.

Hayes’s offence – manipulating the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, or Libor, to benefit his trading book and thus enlarge his bonus – played no role in any banking collapse. But his systematic attempts to cheat the financial system over a long period were part of a deeply rotten culture, as Mr Justice Cooke made clear in his sentencing remarks.

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Strengthening ties between indigenous peoples and the mining community

On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Anglo American demonstrates how it is bridging ground and incorporating traditional knowledge

Hundreds of years of mining experience is valuable. Thousands of years of local knowledge is invaluable. The question, then – for businesses like Anglo American and the mining industry as a whole – is how to join the two.

For miners, a global community of increasing importance are those who identify as indigenous peoples. Mining-related activities often take place on, or near, indigenous land. In Australia, for instance, it’s estimated that 60% of mining operations neighbour aboriginal communities. The scale and nature of mining activities can vary over the course of a project, so how a company approaches these relationships determines a legacy that can last a lifetime.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Pizza chain’s angry staff launch protests over slice taken off their hard-earned tips

Campaigners will target Pizza Express branches over 8% admin fee levied on employees, then extend action to other companies

Indignant waiters are calling for public support in a battle to hold on to their tips. Pizza Express branches are to be targeted by protesters from Monday, as part of an attempt to get the restaurant chain to stop creaming off a proportion of tips for staff that have been paid on credit and debit cards. Campaigners have also started an online petition in the hope that restaurant-goers will back their demands.

In a policy that has outraged some employees, Pizza Express keeps, as an admin fee, 8p out of every £1 paid when tips are given by card. The chain, which has 430 branches around the UK and is particularly popular with families, makes an estimated £1m a year from the practice, according to the union Unite.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS