STANDARD LIFE IS cutting about 100 Edinburgh-based jobs linked to its direct sales force, even as it pays out big bonuses and awards pay rises to senior executives, writes The Scotsman.
Staff are expected to be briefed on the plans by 10AM this morning.
The scene is set for protests from what are usually loyal staff who are already under pressure because of the previously announced strategic review of the company, which could result in thousands of job losses out of the 12,000 strong global workforce, the paper adds.
The company’s 2.4 million with profits policyholders are also likely to be angered by the bigger executive pay deals and job losses.
Nathan Parnaby, sales director, confirmed to The Scotsman last night that the direct sales force will not be abandoned altogether, as Prudential and Pearl have done in recent years, but the company is looking to cut costs in this area of the business, which employs some 700 staff.
Standard Life employs about 8,500 staff throughout Edinburgh, The Scotsman says.
A MERGER BETWEEN the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise is likely to be announced in the upcoming Budget on 17 March, and will also come with promises to create a one-stop-shop for tax administration, the FT writes.
Such a move would be extremely difficult to carry off, but it is thought a review by permanent secretary to the Treasury Gus O’Donnell has concluded that this would be of benefit, particularly to smaller companies and sole traders.
Business groups such as the British Chambers of Commerce have reacted favourably to the proposals, the FT says.
It would also enable the government to collect billions more in tax revenues, which currently go missing because of inefficiencies in the current tax collection system.
TAX ISSUES OF another kind are reported in The Daily Telegraph, which writes that The Samaritans have been called in to help stressed Inland Revenue staff who have been left floundering after dealing with irate calls from taxpayers.
”The charity, vastly experienced in helping people who are depressed or on the verge of suicide, has been hired to train around 2,000 Revenue staff who take calls from the public,” the Telegraph writes.
The deal will cost the Revenue, i.e., the taxpayer, at least £1,500 per day for the service, the paper adds.
BETTING ON when the next increase in interest rates will take place is hedging towards no increase this time round when the Monetary Policy Committee meets today, the Telegraph writes.
Yesterday’s Halifax house price inflation figures is sure to lend weight to those Committee members who want to raise rates for a second time this year, but countering that is evidence inflation as per the consumer price index is holding below the Bank of England’s 2% target.
The announcement from the MPC should come by midday.
FRIENDS PROVIDENT’S results yesterday revealed another cautious outlook for life companies, the FT writes.
It quotes chief executive Keith Stachell as saying: "There is a lack of clarity about what’s going to happen this year."
Analysts were of mixed feelings about the company’s attempts to reveal more information about its realistic reporting figures than competitors, but some said the added openness on the figures was irrelevant because there was nothing to compare them with.
FP did please by reporting a turnaround from a pre-tax loss to pre-tax profit, but suffered from the fact its operating profit fell last year as investment returns dropped.
TROUBLE IN THE MAGIC Kingdom forced Disney chairman and chief executive officer Michael Eisner saw more than 40% of shareholders, including some of the biggest US pension funds, vote against his re-election bid at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.
Instead, it looks as if the man who led Disney since the mid-1980s will be forced out after failing to stem a share price slide and falling revenues despite overseeing one of the biggest entertainment empires in the world, The Times writes.
Eisner’s departure may make it easier for US cable television company Comcast to push through a hostile bid worth about $60bn.
THE FALL FROM grace of a top boss has been echoed here in with the similar news that Shell’s chairman Philip Watts is to go as part of the fallout from the company’ shock announcement earlier this year that it had overstated proven oil reserves.
Instead the company has installed Jeroen van der Veer, president of Royal Dutch Petroleum, which effectively controls Shell Transport and Trading through its 60% stake in Royal Dutch/Shell, The Scotsman reports.IFAonline
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