Business leaders call for apprenticeship levy reform

Research by the Institute of Directors found that fewer than one in five employers will use contributions from the levy to take on more apprentices
The government is facing fresh criticism from businesses over the apprenticeship levy, with just one in seven employers saying it is fit for purpose.
Research by the Institute of Directors found that fewer than one in five employers will use contributions from the levy to take on more apprentices.
Most of the 640 businessmen and women surveyed said they offered training to staff, but many complained about the administrative burden of the levy.
Read more UK house price growth slows to seven-month low, Nationwide data shows Under the levy system, introduced a year ago, employers with an annual wage bill of at least £3m have to pay 0.5 per cent of their staff costs into a fund topped up by government to finance training.
The government has set a target of three million people starting apprenticeships by 2020.
Seamus Nevin, of the IoD,..

UK household saving ratio hits record low in 2017, says Office for National Statistics

The share of income that UK household's save hit its lowest since records began in 2017, as expenditure outstripped inflation-eroded pay.
The Office for National Statistics reported that the full year household “saving ratio” was just 4.9 per cent in the year, down from 7 per cent in 2016 and the lowest readings since the series began in 1963.
Overall GDP growth for the final quarter of the year was unrevised by the ONS at 0.4 per cent.
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Quebec City Mosque Gunman Pleads Guilty to Murder

Quebec City Mosque Gunman Pleads Guilty to Murder Photo Alexandre Bissonnette, a former university student who killed six men at a mosque in Quebec last year, attended a court session in Quebec City last week. Credit Mathieu Belanger/Reuters MONTREAL — A former university student who killed six men at a mosque in Quebec City early last year pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Wednesday, hastening the conclusion of a case that shocked Canadians and underscored the presence of Islamophobia in multicultural Canada.
“I’ve thought about this a long time. In my heart, this is the decision I’ve made,” the gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, 28, told a Quebec City courtroom, after previously pleading not guilty.
Several of the victims’ family members sobbed openly in court after the judge read out the names of the six men killed in the attack, in which five others were seriously wounded, according to Mohamed Labidi, the president of the mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, who attend..

Dropbox Priced at $21 a Share in I.P.O., Valuing Company at $9.2 Billion

Dropbox Priced at $21 a Share in I.P.O., Valuing Company at $9.2 Billion Photo Credit Thomas White/Reuters Dropbox is the latest so-called unicorn to trot into the public markets.
Some 36 million shares in the company, based in San Francisco, were sold Thursday for $21 apiece, higher than the range of $18 to $20 a share that the company’s investment bankers had recently envisioned.
Founded in 2007 by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer science students, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox sells software subscriptions that let users collaborate and share files online. Until now, it was financed by private investors — including venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners — who valued the start-up at $9.4 billion, according to the research firm CB Insights. That large valuation earned Dropbox the coveted “unicorn” designation, which applies to start-ups valued at more than $1 billion.
The share sale on Thursday gave Dropbox a market value of about $9.2 bil..

Tech Tip: Giving Videos a Window of Their Own

Giving Videos a Window of Their Own Photo In the Safari browser, click the Picture in Picture icon, circled at top, on the video tool bar to pop out a separate floating video window on the desktop Mac. Credit The New York Times Q. How do you do picture-in-picture video with Safari on a Mac?
A. In macOS Sierra and later, you can use the Picture in Picture mode to pop out a floating video-player window on the screen while you have other pages and programs open on the desktop. The feature works in the Safari browser for videos on sites that use the HTML 5 standard for playback, like Vimeo and YouTube. Videos from Apple’s iTunes Store support the Picture in Picture view, as do some other apps.
To use the Picture in Picture mode, open a compatible video and, in the tool bar of playback controls, click the icon on the right that looks like two rectangles. The video should pop out in a small, separate window that you can resize by dragging its corner with the cursor. To reposition the video..