The question of airport expansion

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Addressing the UK airport capacity problem is crucial for the future success of the economy, writes IoD Chairman Ian Dormer.

We all want the economy to grow, but sometimes we do not want it to grow too much – or too close to us. I had a relative who lived in Norwood Green, under the Heathrow flight path. He was on the “Stop Heathrow Noise Campaign Committee”, as was a very sharp young lawyer. I had no issue with my relative’s stance as he had bought his house in 1948. However, the young lawyer had just moved to the area, when of course, the airport was already choc-a-bloc with flights.

Living in the North East of England, my personal perspective is very different from those in the South East. The Davies Commission is out for consultation at the moment and reviewing where we should prioritise airport growth. Unless we want our country to stagnate, we have to seek growth. We are increasingly trading globally, and the high growth markets we want to reach are not on our doorstep. One alternative is to let other European nations’ airports serve these markets. But the knock on consequences could be significant. If you were an inward investor from China and you landed in Amsterdam, would you bother making that hop over to the UK? If you were an exporter of perishable goods from the UK you would want to avoid the risk of delays and mishaps of connecting in Paris for that long-haul flight to South America.

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Automatic Enrolment – the story so far

Malcolm Small

Automatic enrolment schemes are working but there still may be challenges to come, writes Malcolm Small, Senior Advisor on Financial Services Policy at the IoD.

As we move towards the end of 2014, it’s a good time to review where the automatic enrolment of employees into pension saving has got us. Certainly, this policy appears to have arrested a decades-long decline in pension scheme membership, according to the latest figures from the Pensions Trends survey from the Office for National Statistics. This shows a sharp up-tick in membership in 2013, which will have continued this year. The Pensions Regulator estimates that more than 27,000 employers have complied with their new duties up to October 2014, with over 4.4 million employees enrolled into pension saving.

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The importance of innovation

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Ian Dormer, IoD Chairman, reflects on the central message of this year’s Annual Convention: innovation in business.

When I told my 15 year old daughter that I had met Will Hayward of Buzzfeed at the IoD Convention this year, it was like I had met a pop star. The website was alien to me before that day but it has captivated the 18 to 25 generation. In a crowded internet market place this is a great achievement and summed up the theme to the day – Game Changers. Read More »

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Transfers from defined benefit pension schemes – the aspiration and the reality

Malcolm Small

Malcolm Small, a Senior Advisor on Financial Services Policy at the IoD, discusses the practicalities of transferring from a Defined Benefit pension scheme to a Defined Contribution scheme.

The Pensions Minister has recently commented that pension providers should not block transfers from Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes, even where an adviser has not recommended such a move.

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Energy Efficiency: The key to competitiveness in a changed energy environment

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UK businesses must alter the way they work to keep up with the competition, writes Tony Slade, Head of I&C Energy Solutions at RWE npower

In recent years the subject of energy efficiency has forced its way onto boardroom agendas across the length and breadth of the UK. The reason is simple: energy prices are getting to a point where they could impact on the ability of UK businesses to compete internationally.

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Pensionable Pay and Auto Enrolment

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Caroline Castle, from Torquil Clark, provides monthly guidance on auto enrolment topics that employers should pay particular attention to.

For those employers who have already been running a pension scheme prior to auto enrolment, the term “pensionable pay”, will not be a new one. Prior to your staging date, as an employer providing a pension scheme for your employees, you had to determine the earnings on which pension contributions are calculated. You were able to decide what counted in the assessment of contributions. If your employees experienced great fluctuations in earnings, thanks to overtime, commission or bonuses, these could be ignored for the most part in determining the pension contributions for that individual. As such you were able to budget reasonably accurately for the contributions drawn.

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