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.
More about: saving ratio GDP Reuse content

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..

Amazon shares fall wiping more than $30bn off value after reports Trump wants to 'go after' tech giant

President Trump wants to change Amazon's tax treatment and has talked about using antitrust laws to 'go after the company', according to reports
Amazon shares fell almost 5 per cent on Wednesday, wiping more than $30bn (£21.4bn) off its market value, after news website Axios reported that US President Donald Trump is obsessed with the world’s largest online retailer and wants to rein in its growing power.
President Trump has talked about using antitrust law to “go after” the company because he is worried about mum-and-pop retailers being put out of business by Amazon, Axios reported, citing five sources it said had discussed the issue with him.
President Trump also wants to change Amazon’s tax treatment, the Axios report said, an issue the president raised publicly last year when he called for an internet tax for online retailers, even though Amazon already collects sales tax on items it sells direct to customers.
Read more Amazon to drop $1bn on adaptation of one..

Dropbox Shares Leap in I.P.O., and Silicon Valley Smiles

Dropbox Shares Leap in I.P.O., and Silicon Valley Smiles Photo A contingent from Dropbox, including co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, celebrate while ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange Friday. Shares of Dropbox soared to nearly $30 shortly after trading started. Credit Lucas Jackson/Reuters Dropbox, the file-sharing company and Silicon Valley darling, had a strong market debut Friday, a reassuring sign for the technology industry and for the investors who have billions locked up in other highly valued but privately held start-ups.
Shares of San Francisco-based Dropbox, which had sold 36 million shares at $21 each on Thursday night, rose 36 percent in the first day of trading. That pushed Dropbox’s market value to $11.2 billion, above where it had been valued in the private markets.
The initial public offering arrived at a dicey time. Stock markets have been on a roller coaster, with investors anxious about the threat of inflation, possible trade wars and g..

Missed Connections: Craigslist Drops Personal Ads Because of Sex Trafficking Bill

Missed Connections: Craigslist Drops Personal Ads Because of Sex Trafficking Bill Photo Senator Rob Portman of Ohio was a co-author of the sex trafficking bill, which has raised concerns among some tech companies and rights groups, including the A.C.L.U. and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Looking for love or a “casual encounter”? You’ll have to find it someplace other than Craigslist.
The venerable online classifieds site removed its “personals” section this week, after Congress sent a bill to President Trump aimed at curtailing sex trafficking.
Craigslist, little changed since it unveiled its spare text design in 1995 and began to crush the paid print classifieds business, will no longer offer a way for anonymous people to connect for romance or sex.
While many people used the site to find relationships — one of the discontinued categories is “strictly platonic” — it was no secret that some postings were thinly veiled solicitations for prostitution, ..

US firm CME makes £3.9bn bid for London-listed NEX Group

The combined group will be based in Chicago but maintain a European base in London, if the deal goes ahead
US exchange CME has agreed a £3.9bn deal to buy Michael Spencer’s NEX Group following weeks of talks.
Under the terms of the acquisition, CME will pay £10 for each NEX share, in the form of £5 in cash and 0.0444 new CME shares. NEX, formerly known as Icap, has recommended the offer to shareholders.
Read more CME Group plans buyout of Michael Spencer's NEX If the deal goes ahead, Mr Spencer will join the CME board to remain with the combined group as a special adviser. NEX’s headquarters will be joined with CME’s head office in Chicago, with the new firm also maintaining European HQ in London.
CME boss Terry Duffy said the deal would “allow us to create significant value and efficiencies for our clients globally”.
“Michael Spencer and his senior leadership team have built a world-class organisation that is at the center of capital markets. We are committed to mainta..

UK house price growth slows to seven-month low, Nationwide data shows

London was the weakest performing region, with house prices down 1 per cent compared to the same month a year ago
UK house prices rose at their slowest pace in seven months in March, underscoring bruised consumer confidence, according to mortgage provider Nationwide.
Average prices rose by 2.1 per cent this month on an annual basis, which was down from a 2.2 per cent increase recorded in February and represented the lowest rise since August last year.
London was the weakest performing region, with house prices down 1 per cent compared to the same month a year ago, Nationwide said. The capital also remained the most expensive region. Home ownership in the city is now at 47 per cent, down from 57 per cent a decade ago.
Read more UK house prices fall in February for first time since last May “On the surface, the relatively subdued pace of house price growth appears at odds with recent healthy rates of employment growth, a modest pick-up in wage growth and historically low borrowing..

For the U.S. and China, a Technology Cold War That’s Freezing Over

For the U.S. and China, a Technology Cold War That’s Freezing Over Photo The Apple Store in Shanghai. A fight between the United States and China is cleaving the high-tech realm. Credit Imaginechina, via Associated Press A cold war is being waged across the world’s most advanced industries. And it just got a lot chillier.
Recent tit-for-tat trade actions could deepen what has become a global contest for technological dominance between the United States and China, home to the planet’s largest population of internet users and a flourishing community of start-ups and innovative companies.
The Trump administration this week accused Beijing of stealing valuable technological know-how from American companies as it proposed tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods and curbs on Chinese investments. China responded with its own set of penalties aimed at American products.
The fight between the two countries is cleaving the high-tech realm. The world’s two biggest economies have each become incre..