Shocks & Stares » tuition fees http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-19/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-19/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2011 17:17:04 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=274 Happy Friday peeps! Here is our fiver with a definite sporty feel to it this week. Thanks to KB, DC, CC and newby Sallie Bale, who writes about life as a fresh graduate, for this week’s contributions.

A new virtual team member….First of all, a quick welcome to our new virtual team member, DR DOOM, who we anticipate making more appearances on this blog over the coming months. We may yet recruit an alternative superhero breeding confidence into our markets, but for the time being we provide you with a depressing reminder that:

  • German, Italian and French markets were all down this week
  • Gold is reached a record value of $1,900/oz
  • And the all important services sector recorded its weakest growth in a year this August according to the Markit and our client CIPS’ (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) services index this week

International Paralympics Day….This week all eyes have been on the Paralympics with a huge event being held in Trafalgar Square to mark the occasion of International Paralympic Day yesterday. The event drew an impressive crowd, unsurprising considering there was a lot on offer: David Cameron and Boris Johnson taking on a (rather competitive looking) friendly doubles tennis match and Paralympic stars such as Oscar Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds were also in attendance.

Boris and Dave faced off over the net this week - it could be a sign of things to come (Image: Daily Mail)

The event took place ahead of Paralympic tickets going on sale this morning at 9am – so now all that remains to be seen is how much demand there will be for the Paralympic events. Organisers have been working hard to raise the profile of the Paralympics and ensure full stadiums during Games time, so fingers crossed all this activity pays off and our athletes – both Olympic and Paralympic – will have plenty of support and cheers from the crowds when competing in 2012.

The hottest ticket in town?….The Rugby World Cup is off to a great start for the hosts, New Zealand, as they commence their bid to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup again for the first time in 24 years. The big question is whether all the stadia will be full in the world’s most rugby obsessed country?

According to press reports, only three of the tournament’s games have sold out so far. Earlier this week organisers claimed that 63% of available tickets had been sold, with some 100,000 tickets being sold in the past three days. Yet fears persist about whether teams will be playing in front of less than capacity crowds in scenes reminiscent of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Some commentators have claimed that tickets prices are too high which is impeding sales – and New Zealand’s sole source of income from the tournament.

Whilst a spike in sales is anticipated once the tournament begins, it does make you wonder why countries take on these sporting events given the risks involved, be they financial, reputational or security related. Perhaps the joy of the game outweigh the risks and the prospect of being World Cup winners. We shall see.

Uni blues….Having just returned from my graduation ceremony it is sad to see even more headlines shouting about people being put off university by the hike in tuition fees and the cuts in funding for low income families. I do think everyone should have the chance to enjoy three years of study (and fun) that I have had, and especially the chance to don the age old cap and gown for the ceremony.

But I think it is about expectation setting. Most of the people in my class were able to afford a pretty decent standard of living whilst at university. Long gone are the days of baked beans and re-heated microwave meals. Most went out 2/3 times a week, ate out for lunch at least as many times and had an iPod or smartphone and laptop; of course with varying levels of funding from various sources. But all (except one) had a part time job, and none of whom received a lower final grade than they expected.

So please if you are reading this and considering going to university, don’t be put off by higher tuition fees or lower funding. If you want to make it happen you will be able to. And you won’t regret it.

Good Week/Bad Week….Undoubtedly a star of the media week has been Alastair Darling. Hot on the heels of Blair, Brown and Mandelson, Ally D added his memories of time in Downing Street to the ever growing list of 21st century political memoirs. As Chancellor at the time of the financial crisis, it’s certainly sure to make an interesting read. He learnt a trick or two off Mandelson as well, offering the Sunday Times the chance to serialise the book ahead of publication. Or at least that was the plan, until someone leaked a draft to political website Labour Uncut.

Gordon Brown's death ray super stare is likely to intensify after Alastair Darling's revelations this week

Still, the former Chancellor had a fine week enjoying his moment in the spotlight. The same can’t be said for just about everyone mentioned in his book though. His former boss and once close friend, Gordon Brown got it. Mervyn King got it. Bankers got it (although they’re pretty used to it). And as Steve Richards pointed out, Ed Miliband might get it in the future.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/07/fps-friday-fiver-11/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/07/fps-friday-fiver-11/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2011 14:07:21 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=216 Well, an eventful week to say the least. We in the FPS team have looked beyond the obvious to find five other things that have happened this week. Enjoy.

Moody clouds hover over USA ratings

Photograph: Ryan24

This week, Moody’s threatened to revise down the USA’s AAA credit rating. Back in April, Standard and Poor’s revised to negative the outlook on USA ratings, a monumental move given that this was the first time that the USA’s outlook was revised down since Pearl Harbour. As the USA’s Congress and President continue to grapple over debt negotiations, it is looking increasingly unlikely that they will be able to come to an agreement before the 2nd August, after which the USA would literally run out of money and not be able to match its debt commitments.

Elsewhere financial markets are getting increasingly jittery as this week Ireland became the third Eurozone country to be downgraded to junk status –Ba1 – alongside Greece and Portugal. This downward pressure continues to strengthen fears that Italy and Spain will soon follow suit. One wonders if any country will escape what feels like a tidal wave of downgrades.

Bonuses back in vogue?

Photograph: Sky

We read with interest this week Sports Direct’s average £44,000 payout to staff after hitting profit targets. Out of 18,000 employees, 2,200 staff qualify for the bonus. This is on the basis of their employment being permanent over the last 12 months, irrespective of their position. According to the Times (£) the scheme is the most generous in the retail sector.

The move offers an interesting parallel to bonuses paid in the banking sector and the justification offers hope to the City: “There is nothing more powerful… in terms of  getting everyone pulling together… we wanted them [the staff] to see everyone is going to benefit” said Sports Direct’s Chief Executive Dave Forsey. One wonders if the banks presented their bonus schemes with the same clarity and distributed the fruits of their labours more equitably, they might not receive so much stick. Does this move represent a shift in other sectors towards a model whereby staff are incentivised to deliver for their employer? We are all aware of the success of the John Lewis Partnership, Sports Direct’s scheme seems a very positive sign in a sector which has struggled of late and could offer a way forward in overcoming low staff morale.

The cost of living (longer)

How much does it cost to retire in the 21st century? If you’re talking purely about the level of income people should have, then the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reckon that around £15,000 should be sufficient. If however, you’re asking how much it costs the state for you to retire, that’s a very different question. The bad news is the cost is rising as we continue to live longer lives.

The OBR released its first Fiscal Sustainability Report this week which provides long-term projections on how much the government will have to spend on welfare and healthcare by 2060. The answer, in a nutshell, is a lot more. Spending on health is going to increase from 8.2% of GDP now, to nearly 10% in 2060 and the separate cost of long-term care is going to increase as well. At the same time, the amount spent on the state pension will increase by over 2% of GDP to 7.9%. Put the whole package together, and ‘age-related spending’ increases from 24.6% of our GDP to 27.3%.

So what can be done about the rising cost? One answer is to raise the retirement age and hence lessen the number of years people receive their state pension, though this is proving deeply unpopular. Another is to prepare the population better for old-age and try to keep them healthier in it, which is no easy thing. This still isn’t enough though – which is why the OBR suggested we will need to raise an additional £22bn in tax each year from 2016 onwards to stop national debt spiralling away. Not what consumers who believe their disposable incomes are already shrinking want to hear as The Economist notes today.

Baby Boom to Boomerang

Our parents were the baby boomers- tuition fee free, riding on the crest of 80’s affluence, buying up property and reproducing. Whilst we are the boomerangers saddled with the debt of our education and the country and forced to return to the nest that our parents bought.  Returning home post Uni would once have made you a failure or at least a social embarrassment for the parents having to hide a 30 year old console loving son in their annexe.  But now 1 in 4 graduates are returning home and frankly, who can blame them?

Photograph: Paul Barton/Corbis available at Guardian.co.uk

New findings from Endsleigh show that most rental prices in the UK have increased steadily in the last two years with the average rent now standing at £688 per month, rising to almost £1,372 in London where most grads head in search of that increasingly elusive goal ‘employment.’ Demand is also increasing in the rental market as more and more first-time buyers are finding themselves frozen out of the mortgage market due to tighter lending criteria and a lack of finance.  And this would probably account for why 41% of the three million adults living with their parents returned home to save money whilst three in ten cited that they were unable to pay mortgages.

The introduction of tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year from 2012 will increase the pressure on graduates even further, with the number returning to the family home likely to rise.

Hungry for Growth

Photograph: Reuters

This week, the GE Capital (client) team were hitting the phones to secure coverage of the first ever ‘SME Capex Barometer’, a survey of 1,000 small and medium sized businesses across Europe looking at how much they plan to invest in replacing equipment ranging from plant machinery to IT hardware to photocopiers.

In the UK, 92% of SMEs are planning to spend a staggering £74.9 billion in the coming year, although businesses in Germany and France were looking to invest even more.  Reflecting the challenges involved with pulling out of recession, businesses reported missing out on over £8bn of new businesses as a result of out-dated equipment.

As John Jenkins, CEO of GE Capital put it: “Despite popular belief, the appetite for investing in growth amongst UK SMEs is actually very strong, with many businesses having reached a tipping point where putting off investment is no longer possible without compromising their ability to create revenue”.

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