Monthly Archives: November 2015

Black Friday Blues and Benefits

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

This Friday is expected to be the UK’s first ever billion pound shopping day. Black Friday is fast becoming a day we love – and a day we hate. And we will all watch, with a kind of delighted outrage, dramatic footage of excessive spending and violent shopping habits. It is not without humour. One tweet ran: “Make every day feel like Black Friday by knocking over your family as you run out of the house with the TV.” But the day is fraught with conflicting emotions. While one shopper tweets “Can’t wait for #BlackFriday”, another begs: “pls don’t support any retail stores with black Friday deals today. just stay home w ur family or something”. Even in the US, where it all started, there are doubts among those you would have the most to gain. Fortune magazine has called it in an article “The Most Rotten Part About Thanksgiving Day”, complaining that low paid employees don’t get a break and that stores see discounted sales concentrated on one day, and higher margin sales falling off for the next four weeks.

So the BBC canvassed a range of views on the shopping phenomenon that is Black. Asda has been the UK’s most high-profile Black Friday dissident, due to what it calls “shopper fatigue setting in around flash sales on big-ticket, non-essential items at Christmas.” The move is all the more unexpected since its parent company Walmart in the US is at the forefront of Black Friday discounting. Asda President and CEO, Andy Clarke said: “The decision to step away from Black Friday is not about the event itself. “This year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a da  or two of sales. With an ever-changing retail landscape, now more than ever we must listen carefully to exactly what our shoppers want and be primed and ready to act the minute their needs change. “When it comes to putting customers first, Asda has always led the way, which is why we’re just as confident in our decision to step away from Black Friday as we were in introducing it to the UK.”

In the US one apparel company has turned its opposition to Black Friday into a marketing opportunity, actually closing its doors on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. REI sells outdoor and recreational kit online and in 143 outlets and, appropriately, told its customers not to spend money, but to get outdoors. It claims its #optoutside has been taken up enthusiastically. It estimates a million Americans have committed to “opt outside” activities on Black Friday. Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI tweeted; “The response has been humbling and inspiring” He had given his management team the task of coming up with a novel marketing campaign nine months ago. He said: “They came back with this, and I have to admit, the idea was a bit shocking. But the more we thought about it, the more excited we got. “I don’t expect to see a lot of retailers closing on Black Friday. The attention creates the platform to talk about the power of getting outside.”

“My three-year-old grandson is coming out [to Washington] for Thanksgiving, so we’re going to go out on the mountain and see if we can find a little bit of snow.” Meanwhile, many of the US National Parks are pushing what they call “Green Friday” to get people into the wilderness, with Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks offering free entrance passes for the day.

Many retailers though are true Black Friday believers. In the UK Currys PC World expects to make over two million deliveries and install 12,000 washing machines, 6,000 cookers and 3,000 TVs over what it calls the “Black Friday period”. Aware of Asda’s argument that customers can feel they are being forced to buy on a single day it has introduced a Black Tag scheme to spread some of the bargains over ten days. Stuart Ramage, ECommerce Director at owner of Currys PC World, Dixons Carphone, says: “Black Friday has grown enormously over the last few years and we’re now expecting it to be the largest sales event of the year. “By starting our 10 day Black Tag event on Monday, and releasing additional fantastic deals for Black Friday itself, we’ve worked hard to make sure our shoppers can pick up the best deals at a pace that suits them, whether that be in-store or online.”

But there is analytical evidence that Black Friday is not doing much good for the retailers themselves. At the retail and brand consultancy, Fitch, Alasdair Lennox, the executive creative director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, argues that the effect on profitability is marginal because of the deep discounting. He said: “From the UK perspective all the retailers got on board Black Friday, albeit reluctantly, but they are now at a tipping point where they have to decide or whether to stay on board or hold back “You are seeing companies like Asda pulling back and Tesco having a later opening time, and others will follow. “The problem with Black Friday is that at the top end it tends to erode brand equity. So, for instance, a customer is saving up to make a purchase and sees the price go up, then go down on Black Friday and then rise again – and that undermines their trust and confidence in the product. “If you are a discounter, that’s fine. But if you are at a high-end retailer, then that’s a problem”

In the UK one sector has come up with an antidote to it all: Civilised Saturday. The Bookseller Association’s president Tim Walker thought up the concept for bookshops, many of them struggling with the the competition from Amazon, which is often credited with importing Black Friday to the UK. He said: “What you do on Civilised Saturday is up to you. It could just be serving tea and cakes in the afternoon or maybe by having an invitation-only event with prossecco, canapes and a string quartet in the corner.” So, the tiny Bookends bookshop of Fowey in Cornwall is offering customers 10% off all stock, and the children’s bookshop, The Bookworm, at the other end of the country in Selkirk, is hosting a Famous Five Tea Party. Dulwich Books in London will encourage shoppers to browse at leisure with afternoon tea, homemade cakes, and winter warmer drinks. Philip Maltman, principal bookseller at Dulwich said: “Civilised Saturday is absolutely in line with our identity as an independent bookseller. Obviously it brings in more people and we sell more books . But if we just pile them high and sell them cheap it does not appeal to kind of customers who want to use an independent bookshop like us.”

SOURCE BBC.CO.UK

China’s biggest brokerage Citic in $166bn error

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

China’s biggest brokerage, Citic Securities, had overstated its derivative business by $166bn (£110bn) from April to September, according to the country’s securities association. The Securities Association of China said the firm inaccurately inflated the amount of its equity swap transactions in a report submitted in October. Citic said the error occurred due to a system upgrade and has been corrected. Probes have resulted in executives confessing to insider trading at Citic. In September, shares of China’s largest state-owned brokerage slumped after it reported that three executives, including its president, were under police investigation. The firm has been part of a crackdown by China’s regulators on irregular stock trading since mainland markets plunged dramatically in mid-June.

The association, which is partly overseen by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said it was investigating the matter and would take further action if necessary. It did add that the error did not impact the month-end net size of Citic’s business. The brokerage told the Reuters news agency that it had amended the figures at the start of November and the size of its swaps business was $6.2bn. An equity swap is a type of derivative that refers to a cash exchange between realized gains on specific stocks and fixed interest rates over a certain period of time in the future. Shares of Citic Securities were down almost 1% in Shanghai in afternoon trade.

SOURCE BBC

New Jaguar Land Rover jobs in Wolverhampton factory expansion

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Jaguar Land Rover is set to hire hundreds of new workers as the car manufacturer announces plans to double the size of its site near Wolverhampton. It will invest £450m in its engine manufacturing centre, doubling its size to 200,000 sq ft (18,581 sq m). The plant, on the i54 business site in south Staffordshire, employs 700 people, a number it expects to double. A rise in global demand had led to the centre’s expansion, the company said.

Mike Wright, executive director of Jaguar Land Rover, said the plant was “absolutely pivotal” to the company’s plans for global expansion. “As we grow our volumes around the world we need more capacity,” he said. “We’ve started the initial phase just 12 months ago, that’s gone really well, and we’re now planning for the next phase for the next two or three years.”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the company’s further investment was “further evidence that the British automotive sector can compete with the best in the world”.  “More than 10,000 jobs have been created and about £3.5bn has been invested in its Midlands’ manufacturing sites since 2010.” Jaguar Land Rover first announced plans to build the engine manufacturing centre at the i54 business park in 2011, spending £500m on the site by the time it had opened. It supports three other manufacturing sites in the UK, based at Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside. The firm currently makes about 400,000 engines every year, with one coming off the production line every 40 seconds.

SOURCE BBC

HSBC shareholder Standard Life would back moving HQ

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Shareholders would back banking giant HSBC if it decided to move its headquarters out of the City, according to one of its bigger investors. David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life Investments, said that HSBC was being put at a “competitive disadvantage” by “ever-increasing capital requirements”. “Logically, we would be supportive of a move if they chose to do that,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme. Standard Life owns 1% of HSBC. Mr Cumming said a UK exit would result in “better growth, earnings and dividend prospects unless the regulator changes tack”.

The warning came as the Bank of England prepared its latest set of stress tests, designed to assess whether lenders could withstand another financial crisis. HSBC said earlier this year that it was considering moving its headquarters out of the UK. At the time, the bank said the decision was sparked by “regulatory and structural reforms” since the financial crisis.

HSBC has said it will make a decision on a possible move away from London by the end of the year. The bank has not yet said where it may consider moving to, although many expect Hong Kong to be high on the list. It has had its headquarters in the UK since 1992, but makes most of its money overseas, with Asia accounting for about 80% of its profit. HSBC has threatened to exit the UK before. In 2010, it said it might move from London if the UK government decided to break up big banks.

SOURCE. BBC.CO.UK

UK retail sales fall more than expected in October, food stores weigh

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

British retail sales fell more than expected last month after surging in September, hurt by the biggest drop in food store sales since May 2014, official data showed on Thursday. The Office for National Statistics said retail sales volumes fell 0.6 percent in the month of October after a 1.7 percent upturn in September, which was boosted by the Rugby World Cup. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent drop on the month. The ONS said food stores, department stores and clothing were the biggest drags on retail sales growth in October.

While the decline was a little steeper than expected, British consumers remain upbeat, boosted by a pick-up in wages, falling prices for goods in stores and record-low interest rates that markets do not expect to rise until late next year, or even 2017. Retail sales volumes rose 3.8 percent compared with a year ago, compared with a 6.2 percent annual rise in September, undershooting a Reuters poll forecast for 4.2 percent. The ONS said the value of retail spending was up 0.5 percent on the year, compared with a 0.2 percent fall in spending recorded by the British Retail Consortium in October.

In the three months to October, retail sales volumes rose 0.9 percent, holding steady from September’s pace of growth that was the strongest since February. The retail sales deflator, the measure of inflation which the ONS uses in retail data, fell 3.3 percent in October, compared with a 3.5 percent drop in September.

SOURCE – Reuters

UK’s coal plants to close by 2025

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. Unveiling the government’s new energy strategy, Ms Rudd said that relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse”. In a speech later today it is expected she will announce gas will become “central” to the UK’s energy supply. Environmental groups welcomed the move away from coal but criticised plans to focus on gas instead of renewables. Currently, coal provides almost a third (28%) of the UK’s electricity, but Ms Rudd said, “We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money and help to reduce emissions.”

Ms Rudd is also expected to say that investment in nuclear power is vital to the government’s policy. She believes that plans for new nuclear power stations, including at Wylfa in Wales and Moorside in Cumbria, could provide almost a third of the low carbon electricity the UK needs for the next 15 years. “Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable,” Ms Rudd will say. The speech comes amid concerns that the UK could suffer from blackouts as a result of short supplies, brought about in large part from the closure of a number of power stations that have come to the end of their working lives. However, National Grid and many experts have dismissed these concerns.

Successive governments have highlighted our energy dilemma – the need to keep the lights on, while cutting greenhouse gases and ensuring energy is affordable for consumers. Today the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd will focus on energy security and keeping prices as low as possible. But for the world’s first industrialised nation to end coal-powered generation sends a strong signal ahead of the UN Climate summit in Paris. All the major parties had signed up to phasing out coal. The previous government’s projections saw it falling to 1% by 2025. The big question is how to ensure gas plants are built to replace it. Only one large plant is under construction today. Another, which secured a subsidy last year, is struggling to find investors.

Concerns have also been raised about the costs to consumers of transforming the energy system to help tackle climate change. The government cut renewable energy subsidies earlier this year, which led some to question the government’s commitment to tackling climate change. However, the BBC understands that the government is not planning to revise its climate change targets. And on renewables, Ms Rudd will warn that subsidies must be carefully focused on technologies that offer the best value for money, fitting into a “consumer-led, competition-focused energy system”. Ms Rudd’s speech comes ahead of the UN summit on climate change in Paris in December, aimed at securing a new climate change agreement, which is expected to include pressure for targets to eliminate global emissions and phase out fossil fuels.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth welcomed the phasing out of coal, but criticised the new emphasis on gas. “Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port,” senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said. Greenpeace’s head of energy Daisy Sands also criticised the new strategy. “Launching a new dash for gas and new nuclear is not the solution as it will only lock in more dirty power than we actually need for a low-carbon transition,” she said. The GMB union’s national secretary for energy Brian Strutton welcomed Ms Rudd’s statement but added: “Government needs to get on with addressing the urgent need for nuclear power stations and gas-fired stations to supply reliable power. “The investment will only happen when the framework is right, which it is not now.

SOURCE BBC.co.uk

Career Coach: 10 tips to get your CV short-listed

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Tip 1: Don’t be dull

Supercharge some of the statements on your CV by using the “So what?” test. Imagine you have an employer sitting next to you as you write your CV who asks “So what?” after every statement.

Look at these rather dull statements from actual CVs.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff
• Devised an incentive scheme
• Managed an office relocation project

Now transform those statements on your CV by adding a result to make those dull statements more interesting.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff… who exceeded all performance targets.
• Devised an incentive scheme… that reduced staff turnover by 20pc.
• Managed an office relocation project… with minimal disruption to the business.

Tip 2: Use Power Verbs

Learning People

Use power verbs to give added impact to the statements on your CV.

Drove the completion of projects

Targeted new clients

Identified new opportunities

Tip 3: Use keywords

Use keywords and phrases. Many organisations use automated screening of CVs (even for senior roles) so having the right keywords and phrases in your CV is vital. Scan advertisements for jobs in your field and pick out the words and phrases that come up again and again and make sure they are used in your CV. Remember that many recruiters also use keyword searches to find candidates for their jobs on the internet so it’s also very important to have a keyword-rich profile on platforms like LinkedIn.

Tip 4: Keep it short

Keep it short and sweet. I often see CVs of five or more pages (the record so far is 25 pages). Unfortunately, recruiters simply don’t have time to read very lengthy CVs so try to get everything onto two pages or three pages at the most. If you have had a lot of jobs (perhaps as a contractor or consultant) then consider referring to your early career for all jobs from more than 10 years ago. Just put the dates, job title and the name of your employer but leave out the details.

For example:

EARLY CAREER

06/02 – 06/04 Sales Manager ABC Company

05/00 – 05/02 Assistant Sales Manager ABC Company

Tip 5: Keep it succinct

Don’t use 20 words when 10 will do. As well as using power verbs you can also use “CV Shorthand” to express your key points in a less “wordy” style.

For example:

Before
Facilitated the training and development of the management and staff of the business to ensure that the business grew and staff turnover was reduced.
After
Facilitated training and development to promote business growth and reduce staff turnover.

Tip 6: Keep your CV focused

Make sure your CV is focused on a specific role. A lot of people have multiple skills and experience and try to show all of these on their CVs, leaving recruiters uncertain what they do. If you are a project manager and a business analyst and you are interested in both types of roles then consider creating two versions of your CV with one focused on project management and the other on business analysis.

Tip 7: Consider changing your job title

Some companies use weird and wonderful job titles that make perfect sense internally but don’t mean much to the outside world. So if you are a “media fulfilment officer” when you actually manage your company’s website, consider changing the job title on your CV to “web manager” which accurately describes what you do and is a title that recruiters might actually search for. Equally if you are a “client relationship manager” when actually you manage sales then consider changing your CV job title to sales manager. Why? Well, recruiters often search the internet and job boards for people by job title so if you have an unusual job title your CV may not be picked up in those searches.

Tip 8: Don’t send out the same old CV for every job

It’s a sad fact that most of the job hunters I speak to who claim to have applied for 50 jobs and had no response admit to having sent out the same CV for every job. This just doesn’t make sense. You must customise your CV for every job application. Check the job advertisement (or even better, the more detailed job specification) and see what skills and experience are required. Pay particular attention to the “Essential Skills and Experience” and be sure to include reference to each one in your CV (and covering letter).

Tip 9: List your achievements

It’s important to list your career achievements on your CV. Employers don’t just want to see a job description on your CV, they want to see evidence of what you achieved and how it made a real difference to your employer. You can use the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to help you structure your achievements and remember these achievements need to be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Tip 10: Check for spelling and grammar mistakes

Most employers agree that the single biggest reason for rejecting CVs is spelling and grammatical mistakes. Even senior level managers (who should know better) are guilty here. A CV that’s full of mistakes is almost certainly destined for the bin.

Conclusion

Spending some time improving your CV can dramatically increase your chances of getting short-listed for interviews. All you have to do is to use some of the tips described above. If you do, you should see an increase in positive responses from your job applications.

If you don’t have time to make all of the adjustments above, start by making sure that your CV is error-free and that it is customised for the job you are applying for. Those two simple changes should increase your success rate

SOURCE – Telegraph.co.uk

Author – Jeremy l’Anson

UK construction output falls for third month in September

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

British construction output fell unexpectedly for a third consecutive month in September, in figures that confirm the sector’s drag on growth in the third quarter, official data showed on Friday. Construction output fell 0.2 percent in September, after a hefty 3.4 percent decline in August and against expectations for a 1.5 percent rise, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday. On the year, it dropped 1.6 percent in September, the biggest drop over two years and against forecasts for a smaller 0.3 percent decline in a Reuters poll. 

The figures confirmed an earlier ONS estimate that construction fell 2.2 percent in the third quarter, making it the biggest drag on overall economic growth over that period. A preliminary reading last month showed British gross domestic product slowing to 0.5 percent from 0.7 percent in the second quarter. The ONS said the weakness in the third quarter construction output was partly down to a marked fall in construction by smaller firms in August due to bad weather and longer holidays taken.

For the quarter as a whole, new housing construction fell by 4.3 percent, its biggest decline in just over three years, reflecting a drop in housing starts in the previous quarter around the time of May’s national election. Late on Thursday, the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane described Britain’s housing market as “broken”, blaming the long-term lack of construction of new homes, particularly by the public sector. Construction, which makes up around 6 percent of Britain’s economy, fell sharply after the financial crisis but gained pace in 2013 and 2014 before easing into early 2015.

Recent surveys by mortgage lenders showed house prices, which often act as a leading indicator for residential construction, accelerated in October boding well for activity in the final quarter of 2015. British house prices rose at a much faster monthly pace than expected last month, according to Halifax, while another survey by Nationwide also showed house price growth accelerating.

SOURCE Reuters.com

Northern Rock mortgages sold for £13bn

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The government has sold £13bn of former Northern Rock mortgages that taxpayers acquired during the financial crisis. The portfolio is being sold by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) to US investment firm Cerberus. The deal is thought to be the largest financial asset sale to date by a European government. UKAR was the “bad bank” set up in 2010 to run down loans made by Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. The mortgages are being sold for £280m above their book value. The government has now sold more than 85% of the assets of Northern Rock, the Newcastle-based lender that collapsed in 2007 and marked the start of the financial crisis.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “We are now clear that taxpayers will get back more money from Northern Rock than they were forced to put in during the financial crisis.” Mr Osborne added: “The highly competitive process, unprecedented scale, and the fact that these mortgages have been sold for almost £300m more than their book value demonstrates the confidence investors have in the UK.” Meanwhile, TSB Bank will buy £3.3bn of the former Northern Rock mortgages and loans from Cerberus. That deal means it will become the mortgage lender to another 34,000 UK homeowners. Customers with former Northern Rock mortgages or loans do not need to take any action and there will be no changes to terms and conditions.

BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed said it was very difficult to judge whether this was a good deal for taxpayers, because calculating the overall cost of the banking bailout was extremely complex. “What people probably want to get to is a more normal situation with banks operating normally, serving their customers in the private sector. This at least is a step in that direction,” he told the Today programme on Radio 4.

The vast majority of former Northern Rock mortgage holders have been unable to switch to a better deal because lenders have not been keen to take them on. Many have been paying a relatively high standard variable rate of 4.79%. Now thousands will be moved to TSB with unchanged terms and rates. However, existing TSB customers get a better deal – paying a variable rate of 3.99% if they took out a mortgage after June 2010, or 2.5% if they had one before then. “[New] customers will of course be able to speak to TSB about the options available to them, as they can do today,” a TSB spokesman said. But there is no automatic switch to a cheaper variable rate.

 

HMRC reveals tax office shake-up

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The UK’s tax authority is to close 137 local offices and replace them with 13 regional centres, raising fears over job losses. The closures will be complete by 2027, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), but the new centres will be open in the next five years. Towns and cities hosting the new offices include Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Croydon. The plan comes as HMRC faces criticism of its call centres. Its record of answering calls was accused of being “staggeringly bad” at the Commons Treasury committee earlier in the week. Only half of calls were answered successfully between April and June, although performance has improved since.

Much of the criticism of HMRC’s performance has been based on its ability to answer complex tax inquiries. The authority is planning to improve the skills of staff while moving them to regional centres. Staff numbers in HMRC’s 170 offices range from 6,000 to fewer than 10. Overall, there is the equivalent of 58,000 full-time staff working for HMRC.

The new centres will be in:

  • North East of England – North Tyneside
  • North West of England – Manchester and Liverpool
  • Yorkshire and the Humber – Leeds
  • East Midlands – Nottingham
  • West Midlands – Birmingham
  • Wales – Cardiff
  • Northern Ireland – Belfast
  • Scotland – Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • South West of England – Bristol
  • London, South East and East of England – Stratford and Croydon

Four specialist offices will also operate at Telford, Worthing, Dover and at the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh. There will also be some centres that remain open as transitional centres for up to 12 years.

“HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system,” said Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive. “The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents.” The plan will save £100m by 2025, HMRC said. All 281 drop-in centres for face-to-face advice have already been closed, but staff will be given at least a year’s notice of the latest round of office closures. HMRC said the majority of its staff would be working in regional centres in 10 years’ time. The PCS union said that 11,000 full-time equivalent staff posts had been cut from HMRC since 2010 and any further cuts would be “absolutely devastating”. “Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. HMRC said it would have fewer staff in the future but the phased approach to the move would “minimise redundancies”.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said the plans were “really bad news” in Wales. There are also significant changes in Scotland. Frank Haskew, of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said there was likely to be more short-term pain for taxpayers trying to access HMRC services, but the long-term ambition was correct. “We shouldn’t underestimate the disruption that this restructuring will have on HMRC and the distraction it will cause to its leadership as they seek to implement it,” he said. “Given the challenge of improving service standards and closing the tax gap, we are concerned that this is the wrong time to be reorganising, closing offices and cutting staff.” Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of  taxation

at the ACCA accountancy body, said he was keen for no reduction in the headcount at HMRC, but any improvement in skills to deal with more complex tax inquiries would be welcome. The restructuring has been welcomed by business bosses. “We should welcome the fact that our tax collectors have recognised how to get more bang for their buck by embracing the technology available to them,” said Stephen Herring, head of taxation at the Institute of Directors. “HMRC is not immune from the need to reduce government spending. It is encouraging to see a focus on adopting new techniques so they can raise revenues without, we hope, hitting service levels.”