Displaying items by tag: Business
In response to protests which began on 9 July, Boyko Borisov proposed reforms to the constitution which have been decried by protesters as a means of keeping his government in power until the next elections. Rallies have been mostly peaceful, but there have been occasional clashes with police and some arrests. Transparency International ranks Bulgaria as the most corrupt of the 27 nations in the EU. The economy is said to be one of the poorest in Europe, mainly due to corruption. A 2019 report on corruption in Bulgaria said that at least 35% of public procurement contracts involve corrupt practices. Currently the European Parliament is discussing the ongoing anti-corruption protests, after some of the movement's leaders sent letters to Brussels requesting support, but the Bulgarian government isn't backing down. See
Everyone has movement restrictions, and millions are working from home or have stopped working. As a response, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced huge packages of financial assistance in grants for the self-employed and paying wages for employed workers. Yet in announcing his help for self-employed, he acknowledges the scheme could facilitate opportunities for perpetrating fraud. He recognises that whatever the health of an economy - or the financial standing of an individual or a company - there will always be those looking to make fraudulent gains. Coronavirus has produced new openings for committing fraud, which is like a virus: it will spread and cause the maximum amount of harm unless the right precautions are taken.
European countries temporarily halted arms exports to Turkey after its military incursion into Syria. But Europe’s other arms trading partner, Saudi Arabia, has caused deaths or injuries of 18,000 in Yemen, where 24.1 million need humanitarian assistance. Despite these figures, EU countries still have arms deals with the Saudis. The UK only halted arms exports in June after exports licences were found to be unlawful. Saudi Arabia was France's second-biggest weapons client last year: over €1 billion worth, including armoured vehicles used in or near Yemen. Only Spain suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia, citing ‘use of this type of armament against a civilian population’. Why would EU countries halt arms to Turkey due to conflict, but not to Saudi Arabia for the same reasons? There could be several reasons, but two stand out - business and alliances.
1) The fatal accident rate on farms is higher than any other sector. 2) Theft from British farmers hit a seven-year high of £50m in 2018, with a 26% rise in stolen farm vehicles and a 3.7% rise in animal theft. 3) As a result of the crimes, farmers are reporting increased levels of anxiety and isolation. 4) Farmers fear they could go out of business following the post-Brexit trade deal with the USA that is being publicised as a way to boost the UK economy. They need reassurance that their high standards will not drop to compete with US chlorinated chicken, gamma radiation to eliminate microorganisms, and genetically modified crops. 5) Suicide rates in farming are reported to be among the highest of any occupational group, with more than one farmer a week in the UK taking their own life. See also
Ending the illegal timber trade in Africa should be the first order of business at the G7 summit (see the article in Europe section). There is no wildlife sustainability when timber traffickers and their powerful backers get away with their crimes. Gambia, Madagascar and Senegal all have new governments, who must take steps against impunity for illegal timber trading. Before any new trade proposals can move forward, these countries must start holding perpetrators of past crimes to account. In the Gambia, US$325 million worth of illegal timber went through its ports from 2010 to 2016. Its former president took advantage of poverty and instability at the border to gain control of the illegal rosewood trade from neighbouring Senegal.
The Bank of England's quarterly inflation report predicted modest growth in the coming months amid uncertainty over future relationships with Europe, global trade tensions, and worldwide growth slowdown since 2017. Economists are saying, ‘The bank has pulled into a lay-by, got out of the car, and is awaiting clearer indications of influences it cannot control’. Let us pray to the God who controls our destiny; Deuteronomy 28:12 says, ‘The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.’ On 1 November, may the UK enter a fruitful season of trade that is blessed by God and aligned to His purposes. Let us ask God to bless businesses with an inspired workforce who embrace opportunities with heaven’s wisdom, so that commerce and industry grow.
As the Government looks for a new owner for British Steel, Liberty Steel has been flagged as a potential buyer, with a clear interest in the Scunthorpe plant. At present 5,000 jobs are at risk: 3,000 at Scunthorpe, another 800 in north-eastern England, and the rest in various sites around the world. The workers’ wages this week have been paid, and the Government will pick up the bill from now on. Pray for the workforce, in Scunthorpe and elsewhere, now in shock; for the families with mortgages on their homes not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; and for local shop owners who rely on steelworkers for their income. Pray for vision, skill, and wise investment in the British steel industry, enabling it to flourish and for jobs to be retained. See
The USA has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. According to the IRS, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues annually. Corporations sheltered over $2.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and they paid no taxes. Bankers earned billions in profits from mortgage foreclosures of working class households through ‘favourable’ legal rulings. Over 20 million individuals lost their properties due to illegal or fraudulent debts. Silicon Valley’s billionaires pay manual and service workers poverty level wages. Class inequalities are reinforced by ethnic divisions. White, Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires exploit Afro-American, Latin American, Vietnamese and Filipino workers. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion.
Theresa May attacked executives who risked pension funds, and has set out a plan to defend capitalism from capitalists after the collapse of construction company Carillion plc. Pray for new laws that deal with executives who profit at the expense of workers’ pensions. Pray for an end to the culture that gives big bonuses to individuals who put short-term profit above long-term achievement. Carillion’s failure has prompted a debate about how companies are run, and about how much the Government relies on businesses to provide services. The UK spends £10.3 billion a year servicing public-private contracts of the type awarded to Carillion. Pray for politicians to come out of ‘blame game’ mode and make wise decisions which will move our government contracts and policies away from the Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) that have put millions of pounds into the pockets of venture capitalists.
To grow and prosper, UK agriculture needs to question its approach and thinking. With this in mind, the 2018 farming conference, which ran from 3 to 5 January, was on ‘Embracing Change’. The opportunities for our farming sector are huge, but farmers need to realise what changes must be made - at personal, family and business levels - for the sector to progress. The speakers came from around the world. They shared their approaches to tackling personal and professional adversity under headings of ‘behavioural changes needed within family businesses’ and ‘digital disruption taking British farming into a new realm of possibilities.’ Michael Gove, secretary of state for the environment, spoke of potential post-Brexit farm payments and systems. Farmers can expect change, with a capital C.