Recent research suggesting that Oxford University and other top institutions perform badly when it comes to social mobility has been condemned by the Russell Group Director General.The research was conducted by CentreForum, an independent, liberal thinktank that aims to develop evidence-based, long-term policy solutions to the problems facing Britain.The report claims that institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge would do poorly in a league table which ranked universities on the number of students from poorer backgrounds who go on to gain graduate employment.A social mobility league table released as part of the report put institutions such as Edge Hill University and Huddersfield University near the top, whilst leaving Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews trailing at the bottom (with Oxford coming in at second from last).The report, written by Professor Michael Brown, former Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, recommends giving all students tuition in presentation skills, IT, and building relationships, as a core part of their degree.It further suggests that the UK’s top universities are especially in need of this provision.Professor Brown, who worked with CentreForum, the liberal think-tank with close ties to Nick Clegg, to write the report, said that selective universities, “do not necessarily deliver the best professional graduate outcomes for disadvantaged students”.However, the report’s findings have been met with derision by Russell Group universities who have suggested that it makes “very strange assumptions” about social mobility. Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, has said that the report “fails to recognise that those students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to complete their degree at a Russell Group university than they are at other institutions.”Indeed, Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK. Figures published in March 2014 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that only 1.2% of Oxford students dropped out, compared with the national average of 6.7%.She further stated that the report focused largely on students who were six months out of their degree, resulting in its marking down of students who had gone on to further or graduate study.This suggestion was supported by an Oxford University spokesman who told Cherwell, “Thirty per cent of Oxford undergraduates continue their studies after graduation, but these students are given a much lower weighting in this analysis than those who go straight into a job, even “non-professional level work”.“Ninety-five per cent of all Oxford leavers are in work or further study six months after leaving,” she added.The spokesman went on to say, “We have carried out our own analysis of the destinations of four years of Oxford undergraduates and found no statistically significant difference between the proportion of leavers in a graduate-level job who are from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and those who are not.”A second-year Keble student, while agreeing that the report appeared to have some big flaws, went on to suggest consequently that Oxford needed to do more to encourage poorer students into applying to Oxford in the first place. “The research does seem to have missed out a few of the facts,” he commented.“However, Oxford could certainly be doing more to encourage students from poorer backgrounds to apply – it turns over £1 billion every year, yet a miniscule proportion of that money goes into access schemes. “I’d be interested to see if Oxford has fewer poor students going into graduate employment simply because it has fewer poor students in the first place.”
V.CONSENT AGENDA: FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS VI.COMMITTEE REPORTS B.ORDINANCE R-2019-17 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 1700 E. Morgan Avenue, Evansville, IN Petitioner: Robert Scott Stodgill and Julia A. Stodgill Owner: Julia A. Stodgill & Robert Scott Stodgill Requested Change: C4 to R2 Ward: 3 Melcher Representative: Steve Bohleber, Bohleber Law III.REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS Memo Attachment: I.INTRODUCTION C.RESOLUTION C-2019-11 A Resolution of the Common Council Approving Extension of Interlocal Agreement with Knight Township Sponsor(s): McGinn Discussion Led By: Brinkmeyer Discussion Date: 7/22/2019 G.ORDINANCE R-2019-15 Amended An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 313 S New York Ave Petitioner: Harvey Baker & Shirley Baker Owner: Harvey Baker & Shirley Baker Requested Change: R4 to C4 Ward: 4 Robinson Representative: Tanisha Carothers, Carothers Law R-1to M-1 w/UDC Ward: 1 McGinn Representative: Krista B. Lockyear, Lockyear Law IV.SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY F.ORDINANCE R-2019-13 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 706 Wessel Lane, Evansville, IN 47712 Petitioner: Chad Sander Owner: Grimm Property Holdings LLC Requested Change: R1 to R2 Ward: 6 Brinkmeyer Representative: Chad Sander, Real Property Management Results R-2019-17 Attachment: R-1to C-4 w/UDC Ward: 6 Brinkmeyer Representative: Krista B. Lockyear, Lockyear Law E.ORDINANCE R-2019-12 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as Part of 2800 Colonial Garden Road Petitioner: ANB Investments, LLC Owner: ANB Investments, LLC Requested Change: VIII.RESOLUTION DOCKET VII.REGULAR AGENDA: SECOND READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS Agenda Attachment: R-2019-15 Amended Attachment: II.APPROVAL OF MEETING MEMORANDUM B.TAX PHASE-IN COMPLIANCE REPORTS: Andrea Lendy, Growth Alliance R-2019-16 Attachment: B.ORDINANCE F-2019-12 An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Transfers of Appropriations, Additional Appropriations and Repeal and Re-Appropriation of Funds for Various City Funds Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 7/22/2019 C.ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS C.ORDINANCE R-2019-18 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 1603 S. Tekoppel Avenue, Evansville, IN Petitioner: David Properties, LLC Owner: David Properties, LLC Requested Change: C4 w/UDC to C4 w/UDC Ward: 6 Brinkmeyer Representative: Krista B. Lockyear, Lockyear Law R-2019-11 Attachment: A.ORDINANCE G-2019-05 An Ordinance Adding Chapter 9.40 (Unsolicited Materials) of the Evansville Municipal Code Sponsor(s): McGinn, Mosby, Weaver Discussion Led By: ASD Chair Mosby Discussion Date: 5/13/2019 F-2019-13 Attachment: R-2019-13 Attachment: C-2019-11 Attachment: X.COMMITTEE REPORTS A.ORDINANCE R-2019-16 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 2809 Broadway Avenue Petitioner: Robby Pennell Owner: Robby Pennell Requested Change: C2 to C4 w/UDC Ward: 6 Brinkmeyer Representative: Steve Bohleber, Bohleber Law IX.MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS A.THE NEXT MEETING of the Common Council will be Monday, August 12, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. R-2019-18 Attachment: G-2019-05 Attachment: B.RESOLUTION C-2019-10 A Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Evansville, Indiana, Authorizing Affordable Housing Funds for Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, Inc. New Construction Single-Family Projects in the City of Evansville, Indiana in an Amount Not to Exceed One-Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 7/22/2019 TAX PHASE-IN COMPLIANCE REPORTS Attachment: D.ORDINANCE R-2019-11 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 5.01 Acres Directly West of 1603 S. Tekoppel Petitioner: Evansville Vanderburgh Levee Authority District Owner: Evansville Vanderburgh Levee Authority District Requested Change: C-2019-10 Attachment: City Council MeetingJULY 22, 20191 NW MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BLVD. ROOM 3015:30 P.M.AGENDA F-2019-12 Attachment: R-2019-12 Attachment: C-2019-09 Attachment: C.ORDINANCE F-2019-13 An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Repeals, Re-Appropriations within the Department of Metropolitan Development Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 7/22/2019 A.RESOLUTION C-2019-09 A Preliminary Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Declaring an Economic Revitalization Area for Property Tax Phase-In for Redevelopment located at 606 and 607 East Iowa Street, Evansville, Indiana Carpenter Court, L.P. (c/o Pioneer Development Services, Inc.) Sponsor(s): McGinn Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 7/22/2019 XI.ADJOURNMENT FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Dear Editor:Recently Union City Mayor Brian Stack and his Board of Commissioners made it official that the city now falls under sanctuary city jurisdiction. This is a way to boldly affirm that city as a welcoming city and by implication defy both President Trump and Gov. Christie for whom sanctuary status is anathema. And in Trump’s case, it’s seen as shielding the “bad hombres.” I agreed with the Priority Enforcement Program launched in July 2015 but a press release by DHS Secretary Kelly dated February 17 cites 75 percent “targeted enforcement operations” of criminal aliens. What of the remaining 25 percent? The press release mentions those “have been charged with criminal offenses” and that seems to me overly broad. A concern and at times, a fear, is that those who commit low level crimes will become a higher priority under Trump than those previously more relaxed enforcements that held sway under President Obama.It would be a step toward transparency if the public knew how often local enforcement agencies have honored ICE requests of Forms I-247 N, D, X.In the latter, Mayor Fulop’s Executive Order on Sanctuary City status moves in the right direction with Section 7 A-H stipulating record keeping and transparency regarding CBP, ICE, and USCIS enforcement in his city. I tip my hat to him for including that Section. Very kind regards,Tony Squire
Sainsbury’s 400 in-store bakeries are now using 100% British flour, sourced with the help of farming co-operative Camgrain, announced the supermarket.Following work with Camgrain on converting its flour, the switch has been completed a year ahead of Sainsbury’s target.Sainsbury’s claimed it is now the only supermarket to source all its flour for its in-store bakeries from UK farms, offering full traceability. Beginning its work with Camgrain last year, the supermarket has now extended its contract with the co-operative until 2011.”Providing customers with freshly baked bread through- out the day, using quality ingredients, is at the core of our in-store bakeries,” said Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King.”The provenance of those ingredients is a key issue for us and our customers, and in completing our conversion to 100% British flour we’re able to establish an efficient and traceable UK food chain, which underpins our commitment to British farmers.”Camgrain has just opened a new grain storage and drying facility near Cambridge, which was planned for 2012, but increased demand pushed the completion date forward.
Thank you very much indeed, and thank you to the PLSA for inviting me.It is good to be back, I’m not quite in Steve Webb territory of repeat appearances but to misquote Mark Twain, rumours of my demise, or the government’s demise have been grossly over-exaggerated.As you know, I asked to do this job, I wanted very much to do this particular job and I hope that I will be able to continue and I hope I’ll be coming back next year. And whilst I welcome the chance to be here, I love Liverpool, if you want to hold it somewhere in the true North, rather than somewhere halfway up England then my suggestion is that Hexham is a delightful venue, and really if you haven’t been you should go soon.It is very true to say that in the last year we have seen a significant and large number of changes designed – I believe – to improve savers’ experience. In fact, in my last speech last year, I set out a number of those particular matters. But there were a key 4 things that I tried to explain that we were working on.The creation of the Single Financial Guidance Body, expansion of auto enrolment, the Defined Benefit white paper and the feasibility study for the Pensions Dashboard.Now I’m going to change the habit of every single Pensions Minister for a very long period of time, by setting out not in great detail, auto enrolment, and the many things we’ve done in that area. But I do accept that the dashboard, for example, has taken longer than I would’ve liked. There are good reasons why and I’ll be discussing those later on today.When I spoke last year about the Single Financial Guidance Body, this was the first bill that the government brought in after the 2017 General Election. And you may think that we’re all focused on Brexit and other things, but the truth is the first thing the Prime Minister asked us to take through the House of Commons was a bill to provide pensions guidance and to provide financial capability on an ongoing basis.So it is something we have worked absolutely hand in glove with the Treasury on, and I’m delighted that we’re up and running. We have, in Hector Sants and John Govett, outstanding leadership for this organisation, we have the new non-executive directors who have been appointed, I’m meeting the organisation on a regular, almost weekly basis, to discuss financial capability generally, and more specifically the long-term strategy they have to take things forward.At the same stage, we have taken forward the DB white paper, and we have looked at consolidation on an ongoing basis.We have consulted on The Pensions Regulator’s powers, and my apologies, I missed the speech from Lesley earlier today, but the aim of the new powers it seems to me, is quite clearly to enable the regulator to be clearer, quicker and tougher so that they can be more proactive and get involved earlier, and then if necessary, and this should be in exceptional circumstances, punish wrongdoing when employers make changes which could adversely affect their pension scheme.We’re currently considering the responses to this consultation along with the feedback, and we are in a position that the publication of the conclusions will be towards the end of this year.Now, aside from the DB white paper, we have made changes to legislation this year that have made it easier for DC schemes to move members to a new scheme should they wish to exit the market, or consolidate.Fundamentally, and I want to make this clear. I and the government are in favour of consolidation and superfunds. We genuinely believe that big is better and we believe that consolidation within superfunds offers and alternative option for schemes and sponsors that have no realistic option of being able to fund an insurance buyout now or in the foreseeable future.We believe that superfunds will not only incentivise sponsors to improve funding levels, but will also reduce the risks created by future employer insolvencies.However, whilst we welcome this innovation, we need to ensure it is managed safely. We need to set perimeters and parameters which strike the right balance between enhancing member protection, being affordable for employers and commercially viable.Consolidation within superfunds offers an alternative option for schemes and sponsors who have no realistic prospect of being able to fund an insurance buyout now or in the foreseeable future.We believe that superfunds will not only incentivise sponsors to improve funding levels, but will also reduce the risks created by future employer insolvency.However, whilst we welcome this innovation, we need to ensure it is managed safely. We need to set perimeters and parameters which strike the right balance between enhancing member protection, being affordable for employers and commercially viable.Once we have confirmed our position and approach we will of course engage with your good selves and I hope to announce this consultation on DB consolidation very shortly.As you’ll see, in this speech, there are an awful lot of consultations coming shortly.As you’re aware we set out a range of proposals in the DB white paper. Our intention is to legislate for them as soon as possible; I’ll talk about the statutory process later today.I want to talk a little bit more about the TRIG work on reducing transfer times.I have been pleased to hear that the PLSA has publicly committed to supporting the work being progressed by the TRIG group.I know that many schemes, including personal pensions and master trusts, are already signed up to standards and platforms which allow for routine DC to DC transfers in 10 to 12 days, and I sincerely applaud those industry bodies who have made this commitment.However, I do want to take this opportunity now to encourage all pension schemes – specifically those who have not already signed up to any standards or platforms – to adopt this approach. Given that we can fly to the moon in less than a week, given that we can invade the Falkland Islands in about 21 days, it seems to me that 100 days is too long to transfer.It is quite clear that there is work to do to ensure there is an equal standard in the industry, and I’m committed to do that.But I’m a firm believer in encouraging the industry to lead from the front. So I encourage you all to collaborate and to take action to ensure that those schemes whose performance is lagging behind are encouraged to change their processes.As part of that I want to talk about Ruston’s work on Simplified Annual Benefit Statements.I want to give my full support to the work the PLSA are doing to develop retirement income targets, and the work Ruston is doing to build agreement across the industry for a Simplified Annual Benefit Statement. I regard this as utterly key.One of the key points coming out of our review of automatic enrolment in 2017 was that engaging people in pension saving is a shared responsibility – it’s not just government, it will require government, the industry, the advisory community and employers all having roles to play, and to play them collectively.The review called on industry and others to be creative, and to work together, and the PLSA’s work in this area is an example of how that can happen.The development of the Simplified Annual Benefit Statement is a testament to what you can do together frankly. I believe it is a simple and more engaging statement focused on user needs. We’ll be hearing more about it in the conference I know, and I’m sharing a stand with Ruston at a later stage today.But it’s an example of the industry working together, and I want to thank all the team, and it’s not just Ruston, there’s a huge amount of people that have got behind it, for the work they’ve done.We’ve also introduced regulations that will ensure DC pension schemes are more transparent about how much members pay.We laid the Administration and Disclosure (Amendment) Regulations in February. Schemes will now have to publish details of all member-borne costs and charges on a rolling basis between this November and next.I know there remain a few people who believe that members don’t care about, or won’t understand the costs and charges they pay. But I do think that costs matter and transparency matters. This is not the only thing which matters, but it is a factor. And I’m not aware of any other financial products with uncertain returns where members are not told what it will cost them.So, I really want to thank all the members of the Independent Institutional Disclosure Working Group for their work to agree templates for disclosure to pension schemes. But I believe that transparency – sunlight is the best disinfectant – is actually something that will aid all of you.I want to turn, if I can, to the issue of sustainable and responsible investments, and the nature of the particular investment.I accept that it is a difficult and tricky issue for someone in my position to give an opinion on to independent trustees.But the government has also undertaken some important work to clarify on pension schemes and how they invest, specifically when trustees consider their fiduciary duty in relation to environmental, social and governance factors.Our recent consultation on this issue attracted more than 3,000 responses. For a pensions consultation that’s a very large number of responses. It is I believe an indication that as more people begin to save, and begin to understand how their pension savings are invested, we could see a significant and realistic step change in the engagement and interest of this new population of savers.I believe that investing for social, environmental, economic and climate change issues, remains a topic we should be passionate about. I welcome the work that parts of the industry have done – led by Elizabeth Corley – in creating a culture of social impact investment. I will continue to engage across and beyond government to identify how we might remove barriers and make it easier to invest in a way that supports the sort of world we want to live in, going forward.But we’re not just doing that, we’re doing a number of different things in this area, and it merits discussion today.I’m excited about the work that the Treasury, led by my colleague John Glen, with whom I’m working absolutely hand in glove, have contributed on Patient Capital – another group with many representatives of industry from here today bringing forward radical proposals and compelling arguments about how we make it easier to invest in innovative and unlisted firms, and other assets such as unlisted infrastructure.As an aside, one of the things I’d like to see pensions schemes do more is to look again at their investment strategies. The DC scheme consolidation is gathering pace as we know. This means we will have larger master trusts who will increasingly be free to move beyond equities, gilts and bonds – important as those assets are – and to start to look at investing directly in firms, in infrastructure, in housing, and in a different way frankly to how they have on a traditional basis.This is something that I wish the industry to consider, to look at and it’s certainly something I’m discussing with industry on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, the department will be looking at how we can address this, how we can remove barriers and we will be considering what announcements can be made on this topic in the coming months. But as always my door is open.The next thing I want to talk about is the mid-life MOT. I think this is something I’ve personally championed until I’m blue in the face.The reality of the situation is this: every single one of us here, receives interventions on a public health basis, at all particular stages. So if like me, you’re reaching a certain age, my GP is announcing that various parts of my anatomy are going to fail unless I come to see him as a matter of urgency. If like me, you get a text from your dentist saying I really haven’t flossed enough and need to come and see him again. Or if like my missus, you’re getting the regular invites and updates to have the standard sort of checks that are absolutely life-preserving to public health in the modern era, then you will appreciate that to their credit the Department of Health, and health professionals have engaged with us as a wider community to do preventative health in a way that is genuinely transformational.The reality is that we don’t really do that in finance. Almost all of you are in the business of finance. I believe that the sea change will be as we go forward, that there is proper intervention one way or another to engage people, not just with their pension savings but with a whole host of other matters, whether it is their health outcomes, their retraining, their long-term employability, and so much more.But it’s something that we’ve taken forward as a department. I believe that it’s in your interest because I think that the more that we engage people at an earlier stage in their long-term retirement and savings plans, it’s going to be better for the industry.We’ve been working over the summer, as a department, with a number of employers, and I’d particularly like to praise Aviva who have done a mid-life MOT test, and have done a trial and a pilot in their Norwich office. I went to see them and I’ve met many of the people that were engaged in that pilot.And there’s one really interesting thing about a mid-life MOT, if you are an employer, you will probably be thinking this is the sort of worthy thing that HR would like us to do and that will cost my business, in certain circumstances; I might do it because it’s a good thing in terms of employee management but it’s not actually going to bring me any commercial benefit to the business.I genuinely believe you could not be more wrong, and the evidence I believe from the Aviva pilot and the other pilots that are ongoing, will show absolutely conclusively, that if you wish to retain your people, your 20-year people who have absolute muscle memory of your business, if you wish to have a real understanding of how you’re going to have the people that are 40, 50 and 60 continuing to work for your business and making sure that they continue to push your business forward, then a mid-life MOT is something that helps them do that. And the drop-out rate – taking advantage of pension freedoms, taking advantage of the change in lifestyles – is much lower for those doing a mid-life MOT.So I’m a massive fan of this, there are other companies who are beginning to embrace this, I would be doing a disservice to the endless lobbying that Tom McPhail does to me if I didn’t make the point that Hargreaves Lansdown are offering a mid-life MOT to all of their staff, and my point would be simply this: if you are in the business of selling finance to all of your customers, what are you doing for your individual staff? Because if they aren’t engaged with finance, and financial decisions and an awareness of their situation, frankly I don’t know who is.So I believe it’s something we should get behind, and at the same stage we are working on a number of other things.The 2 photos here I have to say something, it’s a fair point to say that I’m working with the lovely Jack Dromey and obviously on CDCs we’re working with Royal Mail and the CWU. I’d like to say, we’re so tight we held a joint meeting, it’s not often I invite a Labour shadow minister into the Department for Work and Pensions, but we held a joint meeting to try and make sure we are joined up in the way we do this.The longer-term viability of pensions legislation means that by and large if you aren’t working together on a cross-party basis you will not get things through.If you haven’t noticed the Prime Minister doesn’t enjoy the largest majority. Obviously everything is going fine, but you do need to work together. And it is absolutely the case that Jack and I are speaking together on a regular basis, mostly in a nice way, occasionally robustly. But we are working very hard to bring things forward.The reality of CDCs is that we’ve been working hand in glove on a regular basis, meeting with Royal Mail, the CWU; they are with the department literally on a bi-weekly basis. And we believe we are very, very close, I would love to have stood up here today and said ‘here is the consultation’ but we’re not quite able to do that. But we are very close to announcing the consultation on CDCs. It is something that we have been working hard on to ensure we have the legislative and regulatory framework, which would work best for such schemes in the UK.Any changes we make to facilitate CDCs have got to work for both the employers and members, and must have the adverse impact upon the rest of the pensions system. But we are making tremendous progress, and contrary to popular belief we’re also making tremendous progress on the Pensions Dashboard.Everyone agrees, and I don’t think there’s any doubt whatsoever, and I’m sure I’ll be grilled later on to within an inch of my life if I was in any doubt. Everybody agrees that a Pensions Dashboard, facilitated by government, led by industry, will be truly game-changing. I certainly believe that.As I set out in my written statement given to the House of Commons in September, we are going to make this happen, we remain utterly committed to making the dashboard a reality – you shouldn’t read too many things in the newspapers that’s for sure – and the feasibility study, examining ways to facilitate an industry-led dashboard is still under way. It is genuinely true that the department is in daily contact with the industry; if we haven’t contacted you individually my apologies but I promise you we’re contacting a lot of people. I’m unable to make a specific announcement today, and I’m sorry that that’s something I can’t do, but I promise you the work that has been done in assessing the feasibility of the Pensions Dashboard, has made it clear that while we shouldn’t underestimate the size and complexity and difficulty of the challenge, at the same stage this is something that we passionately want to do.The simple point is this, very often people will come to any government, particularly this government and say ‘we want you to do this’. It’s quite clear that the government has a role to play in the dashboard, a very significant and real role, and I don’t shirk from that in the slightest but at the same stage so does industry, so ask what you’re doing to make this happen. This is something that can only happen on a collective basis.I want to finish on 2 final points.I want to renew my desire for all of you to work with me in the financial inclusion space.It was a massive honour that the Prime Minister decided to make me the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, and I think the 2 are utterly linked and over the course of the last year, I have drawn a number of conclusions, one of which is that increasingly, customers want all information in a mobile or laptop friendly form. Fintech is transforming banking, without a shadow of a doubt, it is transforming savings and in my view, pensions will be next.At the same time, I’ll make the point again, you all have to ask what you’re doing to enhance financial inclusion amongst your own staff and amongst the customers you have.I want to end on what I consider to be the elephant in the room, which is Brexit.It’s clearly nothing to do with a speech to the PLSA but I think it’s important.It’s easy to get bogged down in the process of our exit from the European Union.For my part though, I’m more interested in the future after our departure, I’m more interested in ensuring we are able to be positive and optimistic about our place in the world, that we’re able to say in a few years’ time ‘look at how we’ve embraced tech, look at how we’ve embraced flexible working, look at how we’ve embraced automation, look at how we’ve embraced lifelong education and training and how that has impacted on the country, on who we are and who we want to be.I want to be able to say ‘look at how we have confronted the politics of anger and rage and nationalism, and replaced it with quiet hope and positive optimism and an ability to rationally disagree, rather than to abuse’. I want to be in a position that we look at how we have reshaped our role in the world, while still championing equality, while still championing international aid, while still upholding human rights and the rule of law. And look at how we have remained open and inclusive.Yes it is the case that this country wants greater control but at the same time, that is the kind of country I am striving for. I think we all accept we are on a journey, and a difficult journey but if we work together, if we commit to, in the future, to being a sunny, optimistic, positive country, then I believe that if we work together we can make this happen. Thank you very much.
Source: Real Good FoodRenshaw and Brighter Foods owner Real Good Food (RGF) has recorded a loss of £4m for the six months up to 30 September 2020.The figure (before tax) from the company’s half-year results compares to a loss of £2.5m in 2019. During the six-month period badly affected by Covid-19 restrictions, revenue from RGF’s continuing operations decreased by 26.4% to £23.9m.The impact of lower revenues was partially mitigated by cost savings, new business and the government’s furlough scheme. Underlying adjusted EBITDA was £0.3m, representing a £2.5m drop from 2019.The company’s net debt stood at £45.1m on 30 September 2020, compared with £39.9m a year earlier.RGF’s food ingredients business Brighter Foods recorded an underlying adjusted EBITDA of £1.1m in the half-year results – £1.4m lower than the 2019 figure. RGF said revenue in the six-month period was £4m lower than the first half of last year due to revenues at its largest customer reducing by £4.8m due to lockdowns.Cake decoration was also hit by the pandemic, with Renshaw and Rainbow Dust recording a loss of £0.6m for underlying adjusted EBITDA, compared with a £0.6m profit for 2019. Revenues from the UK and European wholesale and sugar-craft markets were down significantly on the previous year, with food businesses experiencing lockdowns and lower trading due to Covid-19.On a more positive note, RGF said both businesses have continued to innovate. A total of 35 new products were launched by Brighter Foods and 40 by Renshaw, with annual revenues for the two companies projected at £8m and £2m respectively.Overall, RGF has increased its credit facility by £2m to £10.9m to provide additional headroom during the difficult trading conditions as a result of the pandemic.“Although the group inevitably had a difficult first half, due to the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainties, as reported earlier this month, Q3 performance was much improved on the first half and in-line with last year,” said Mike Holt, executive chairman of RGF.“Both our businesses are getting stronger and more resilient due to operational efficiencies made during the last 12 months.“Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Brighter Foods is well-placed to continue the growth reported in FY20 – capitalising on its additional capacity, market opportunities and new product innovation capabilities – and Renshaw should continue to benefit from its recent restructuring and greater focus on product innovation and customer service,” Holt added.
FARMINGTON – Maine Principals’ Association sports will not be held at Regional School Unit 9 schools this fall, following a board vote Tuesday evening. Instead, an intramural program will be held at the middle and high school levels.The school board supported the recommendation of Superintendent Tina Meserve and the administrative team to not return to competitive play through the MPA system this year, via a vote taken Tuesday evening. Meserve said that administrators focused on COVID-19 related district requirements such as mask wearing and keeping at least 3 feet of distance between students, 6 feet of distance between students and adults and 14 feet of distance between unmasked students. Those requirements were based off guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Department of Education, Meserve said, and couldn’t be met during athletic events.“We’ve concluded that it’s impossible to meet those guidelines with sporting events,” Meserve said.The MPA announced on Sept. 10 that it would not be offering football or volleyball during the fall season but that other high school sports, such as field hockey, soccer, cross country and golf, could be offered. Other restrictions include mandatory mask wearing – except for athletes actively playing – limiting crowd sizes and not holding indoor practices.Meserve said that administrators weighed issues such as busing kids outside the county, staff safety and the advice of the district’s liability insurer in making the recommendation. Other issues included bus capacity, as passenger restrictions increase the number of buses required to transport students, and how athletic teams would interact with the high school’s hybrid model, which splits in-person students into two cohorts.Roughly 30 percent of the high school population participated in fall sports, Meserve said, but a decision to hold or travel to MPA competitions would impact the entire school when athletes return to class. “The problem is that those students go back into our schools,” Meserve said.Meserve said that administrators did consider offering cross-country and golf – sports that are less likely to keep athletes in proximity for an extended period of time, as well as cancelling all after-school activities for the fall. Instead, the recommendation was that the high school not participate in any MPA events but instead develop intramural activities that could be held within each cohort.Directors opposed to the recommendation pointed to other districts that had approved the MPA recommendations. They also spoke to the importance of athletics, particularly given the impact the pandemic has had on students.“It hasn’t been easy on anyone, especially our youth,” Director Betsey Hyde of Temple.The guidelines released by the MPA include a paragraph that indicates that the organization ‘[drew] on the expertise’ of a number of state agencies and athletic organizations, including the National Federation of the State High School Associations, the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, the Maine Department of Education, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Community and Economic Development and the MPA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. The MPA also received approval from the Maine School Superintendents Association.“Everyone seems to be on the same page,” Director Josh Robbins of Vienna said. He argued that there was no way to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 to zero.There were inconsistencies between the MPA guidelines and the CDC ones, Meserve said. For example, students participating in an outdoor class, such as physical education, are required to wear a mask and/or maintain social distancing, but athletes actively playing in a soccer game would not.“The challenge is 3 feet and a mask,” Meserve said.Director Kirk Doyle of Farmington, who supported offering golf and cross-country but not soccer and field hockey, said that he was angry at the discrepancies between the state guidelines for education and the MPA ones.“I’m angry at the lack of consistence of messaging,” Doyle said. “There’s a clear conflict here.”The majority of directors that addressed the issue said that they agreed that athletics were important but thought that sports, particularly the travel aspect, was too risky. Some pointed out that RSU 56 in Dixfield had already closed for two weeks due to a student testing positive for COVID-19. Others referenced comments from a community forum, held earlier.“I’m not sure that the risk is worth it,” Director Dennis O’Neil said, referencing a comment made at the forum that struck him as important.Ultimately, the board voted not to participate in MPA sports this fall but instead support the development of intramural programs in the high and middle schools. The final weighted vote was 608 in favor and 268 opposed. Voting in favor was Chair Angela LeClair of Wilton, Vice Chair Jeffrey Harris of New Sharon, Director Cherieann Harrison of Wilton, Director Carol Coles, Director Scott Erb of Farmington, Director Debbie Smith of Weld, Director Dennis O’Neil of Farmington, Director Irv Faunce of Wilton and Director J. Wayne Kinney of Farmington. Opposed to the motion was Director Craig Stickney of Chesterville, Director Betsey Hyde of Temple, Director Kirk Doyle of Farmington, Director Jesse Sillanpaa of Industry and Director Josh Robbins of Vienna were opposed. Director Doug Dunlap, of Farmington, and Director Lisa Park-Laflin, of New Vineyard, were not present.Athletic Director Chad Brackett will be working with coaches and building administrators to develop plans for after-school activities, Meserve said, and would report back to the board.
In honor of Cinco De Mayo today, nugs.tv will stream the first show of Dead & Company’s inaugural Playing In The Sand, the band’s new destination event at Barceló Maya Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The stream begins tonight at 8 p.m. (EST) and will feature a rebroadcast of Dead & Company’s show on February 15th, 2018. Notably, the show featured a heartfelt tribute to John Perry Barlow, the Grateful Dead lyricist and political activist who died earlier this year. You can read more about this first Playing In The Sand performance here before it’s replayed later today for free.You can head over to nugs.tv here at 8 p.m. (EST) tonight to catch the free Cinco De Mayo webcast of Dead & Company’s show on February 15th, 2018. You can also watch the webcast in the embedded video, and check out the show’s setlist, below. During nugs.tv’s announcement of the rebroadcast, the streaming service also noted that fans should “stay tuned in for more announcements about Summer Tour 2018 webcasts,” so keep an eye out as Dead & Company gears up to start their summer tour on May 30th at Manfield, Massachusetts’ Xfinity Center.Setlist: Dead & Company | Playing In The Sand | Barceló Maya Resort | Riviera Maya, Mexico | 2/15/2018 Set One: Playing In The Band, Me & My Uncle, He’s Gone > Cassidy, Brown-Eyed Women, Bertha > Good Lovin’ > La Bamba > Good LovinSet Two: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain > Althea > Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Jam > Looks Like Rain > I Need A Miracle > Casey JonesEncore: The Weight
Today, Ringo Starr has announced a 2019 world tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his All Starr Band. The announcement comes as Starr and his current All Starr Band lineup wrap up their ongoing 2018 tour this month.After beginning with a date at Harrah’s Southern California Resort and Casino on March 21st, Ringo and company will head to Japan for a stretch of 9 performances across the country throughout the month of April. The tour will continue in August, when Starr and the All Starr Band head back to North America, for a show in Ontario, Canada (8/1) followed by two-night runs in Chicago, IL (8/3, 8/4) and Nashville, TN (8/7, 8/8). Finally, the tour will wrap with a concert at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA on September 1st.The 2019 iteration of the former The Beatles drummer’s All Starr Band will feature vocalist/guitarist Colin Hay (Men at Work), guitarist Steve Lukather (Toto), vocalist/keyboardist Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), saxophonist Warren Ham (Toto, Bloodrock), drummer Gregg Bissonette (Toto, Santana), and Hamish Stuart (Average White Band). Stuart is the only member of the new lineup that was not a part of the band’s 2018 U.S. tour this year, though he previously toured with the All Starr Band in 2006 and 2008. He replaces bassist/vocalist Graham Gouldman (10cc), who was the newest addition to the band this past tour.See below for a full list of upcoming dates.Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band Tour DatesMarch 21st – Funner, CA @ Harrah’s Resort Southern CaliforniaMarch 27th – Fukuoka, Japan @ Sun Palace HallMar 29th – Hiroshima, Japan @ UenogakuenApril 1st – Miyagi Sendai Japan @ Tokyo Electron HallApril 2nd – Koriyama, Japan @ Shimin CenterApril 3rd – Tokyo, Japan @ Hitomi Kinen KodoApril 5th – Tokyo, Japan @ Dome City HallApril 9th – Nagoya, Japan @ Zepp,April 10th – Osaka, Japan @ Archaic Hall,Apr 11th – Osaka, Japan @ Orix TheatreAugust 1st – Windsor, Ontario @ Caesar’s in WindsorAugust 3rd – Chicago, IL @ RaviniaAugust 4th – Chicago, IL @ RaviniaAugust 7th – Nashville, TN @ The RymanAugust 8th – Nashville, TN @ The RymanSeptember 1st – Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek TheaterView All Tour Dates[H/T Rolling Stone]
Susan Murphy, professor of statistics and computer science and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, will receive a Luminary Award at the Precision Medicine 2018 World Conference for her work developing innovative data science methods to improve mobile health care for patients with chronic disease. In recognition of the “highly signiﬁcant impact” of her work applying statistical methods to improving health care, Murphy has also been chosen to deliver the Fisher Lecture at this year’s Joint Statistical Meetings of the American Statistics Association, which is one of the world’s premier statistics meetings.Dr. Murphy is a data scientist working on developing data analysis methods and experimental designs to improve real time multi-stage decision-making in mobile health. She focuses particularly on methods and algorithms that can be employed in wearable devices to deliver individually tailored treatments. Murphy also developed the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART). SMART designs provide scientists with the empirical tools to build adaptive interventions, treatment rules that dictate whether, how, and when to alter treatment for patients. SMARTs are currently being used to build better treatments for a broad range of health problems, including cocaine abuse, depression, alcohol abuse, ADHD, autism, and bipolar disorder.Prior to arriving at Harvard last summer, Murphy had been at the University of Michigan since 1998, most recently as a distinguished University Professor of Statistics, research professor at the Institute for Social Research, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. Among her many honors, Murphy was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine in 2014 and into the National Academy of Sciences in 2016 for her distinguished and continuing achievements in original science. In 2013 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work developing new methods that evaluate treatment courses for chronic conditions and that allow researchers to test the efficacy of adaptive interventions in clinical trials.