Creative sector warns of Brexit threat to economy

Trainspotting 2 film setImage copyright Getty Images Image caption The creative sector is said to support 2.9m jobs in the UK

UK-made films, music, adverts and video games could be hit by a post-Brexit restriction on immigration, harming the economy, a trade body has warned.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) said the £87bn a year the sector generated for the economy was at risk if immigration was restricted.

The sector relies heavily on freelance staff, many of whom are from the EU.

The CIF is urging the government to negotiate free movement of UK and EU workers for short-term projects.

"We need an immigration system that enables our extraordinary sector to continue to grow," said the federation's chief executive John Kampfner.

A survey of 250 firms conducted by the CIF found three quarters employed EU workers and two-thirds said they could not fill those jobs with British recruits.

Lost business

Phil Dobree, head of special effects firm Jellyfish Pictures, which has worked on the latest Star Wars movies, said there was a risk that the UK would lose its competitiveness.

"Without access to the best talent base, which is only available internationally, our business would be lost to regions where access to these broad ranges of skills is readily available."

Image copyright Getty Images

The federation has unveiled a series of policy recommendations for the industry which it says is "one of Britain's fastest growing sectors".

It is calling for:

  • visa-free travel between the EU and the UK
  • A "creative freelancer visa" for workers outside the EU
  • reciprocal rights for UK workers to move and work freely for short-term projects
  • allowing companies to hire EU workers for below the current non-EU minimum salary requirement

A government spokesman said:"After we leave the EU we will have an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK.

"Crucial to the development of this will be the views from a range of businesses, including the creative industries."...

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Milwaukee Bucks aim to bounce back on and off NBA court

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks carries the ballImage copyright Getty Images Image caption The Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo is an emerging star in the NBA

What has historically made Milwaukee famous has been its beer and its motorcycles, but now NBA basketball side, the Bucks, is also hoping to fly the flag for the US city.

Although the team situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan has picked up just one NBA national title, in 1971, in its 50th season it is now hoping to transform its fortunes.

The club has wealthy owners in the shape of New York hedge fund billionaires;and has one of the top young players in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It has also signed a groundbreaking shirt sponsorship deal with Harley-Davidson, and as the current regular season gets underway it is moving into a new stadium.

As well as being specifically designed for basketball and offering a better fan experience, the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center stadium will also host music and entertainment events.

Championship dream

"Our aims are sporting and financial," Bucks president Peter Feigin, who has previously worked in the theme parks and executive jets industries, tells me.

Image copyright Milwaukee Bucks Image caption The Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center stadium is due to open in August 2018

"Our owners are very motivated about the team winning on the court, and also about growing the business to be one of the best in US sport."

At present the club is closer to breaking-even financially rather than making a profit, but it is hoped playing success can bring wider brand exposure and enhanced commercial revenues.

Meanwhile, the new venue where the club will be the main leaseholder will also bring in increased match day income through executive boxes and improved catering.

The team has high hopes for the season ahead.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Milwaukee Bucks (green) opened their season against the Boston Celtics

"There are four rounds of play-offs, we got to the first round last year and the expectation is to go at least one round better this time," says Mr Feigin, a former head of marketing for the New York Knicks NBA team.

"It is achievable - we are in the Eastern Division, which is not as strong as the Western Division, and if we are healthy for the season and have no injuries we will do great."

He adds:"We are in these games to win a championship;it is all directed towards ultimately winning a championship."

'International appeal'

Central to any playing success is up-and-coming star Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 22-year-old born in Athens to Nigerian immigrant parents.

"We have the most-emerging star in the NBA, he is already in the top seven of uniform sales, and had tens of millions of video views," says Mr Feigin."He has gone from 'recognised' to superstar in less than 12 months.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Giannis Antetokounmpo sports a shirt with the fans' chant:Fear the deer

"We have been able to grow our European appeal and our Asian appeal via Giannis."

And the potentially exciting nature of the team has seen the Bucks double the number of live TV games they will be involved in this season, from nine to 18.

"That will be big for us not only on viewing impressions, but big for the brand too," adds Mr Feigin, who prior to joining the Bucks three years ago worked for Six Flags Theme Parks in the US.

He was also previously president and chief operating officer of Marquis Jet, where he was the driving force behind Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway's NetJets acquisition of Marquis in 2010.

Image copyright Milwaukee Bucks Image caption NBA rules allow teams to sign shirt sponsors for three years

Mr Feigin says Milwaukee as at a city is at an "inflection point" between its industrial heritage past and a newly-modernised future, something which also applies to its shirt sponsors for the next three years - local motorbike brand Harley-Davidson.

"Harley are trying to reposition themselves for the next generations, and the NBA can help them do that," he says."They want to reach a young, diverse, more international market."

Public funding

Mr Feigin has been in London this month meeting to publicise the new stadium, pitching it as "a must-play for sports and entertainment" which will host 200 major events a year.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Post-industrial Milwaukee is in the midst of regeneration

The $524m (£395m) arena is a public-private partnership, with just over half the cash coming from hedge-fund club owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan, as well as $250m in public funding.

"It was very challenging to get this approved;especially at at time when there have been questions about the economy, and debates around healthcare and education," admits Mr Feigin.

"But a professional sports team can bring in much more than the stadium outlay, through income tax and sales tax."

Image copyright Alamy Image caption Kareem Abdul-Jabber led Milwaukee to their only title success in 1971

He says in return for that $250m outlay, the venue will help bring in more than $1bn over 15 years for the state.

"The stadium will also create a ripple effect in increasing nearby commercial and residential values," he adds.

Bucks season-ticket and members will be offered deals on entertainment tickets.Conversely, it's hoped music fans will enjoy the stadium experience enough to come back for a Bucks game.

Naming rights

Building work began on the new stadium last June, with the club due to move into its new home on Labor Day weekend next year -the first weekend of September.

"The current venue was not built around basketball as the lead sport, but for ice hockey," says Raj Saha, the arena's general manager, and formerly on the management team of the O2 in London.

Image caption Mr Feigin and Mr Saha have been in London to get support for the new stadium

"The viewing sight lines where we currently play are not ideal for basketball," says Mr Saha, with only one third of the seats close to the action.

The club is looking for six to eight long-term founding commercial partners for the new stadium, paying around $2m a year.Those who have signed up include multi-industrial firm Johnson Controls and bank BMO Harris.

The search is on for a stadium naming rights partner, that would pay around $7m a year for 20 years.

"We are still looking for a naming rights partner.We would have loved to have finalised it by now but are in negotiations with a number of potential partners," says Mr Saha.

Image copyright Populous Image caption The new stadium will be host to a variety of non-basketball entertainment

As well as music acts the arena will also host attractions such as UFC martial arts, boxing, Disney on Ice, and other events.

"We have an idea of how the first four weeks will look," says Mr Saha.

"Opening night is important and we'll go big for that, but the first 100 days will also be very important, too, to creating a success story."...

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One in four people 'trapped in low-paid jobs'

Waiters in a restaurantImage copyright Getty Images Image caption In Britain, a lot of low paid workers are permanently stuck in poorly paid jobs

A quarter of low paid workers are permanently stuck in poorly paid jobs in the UK with little chance of earning more, according to new research.

The Social Mobility Commission said low pay was "endemic" in the UK, with women more likely to get stuck on low pay.

It found just one in six low paid workers had managed to escape from poorly paid jobs in the last decade.

The report defines low pay as hourly earnings below two-thirds of the median hourly wage, which was £8.10 last year.

The median hourly wage for an average person across the entire British workforce was £12.10 per hour in 2016, according to the report.

'Scarring effect'

"This lack of pay progress can have a huge scarring effect on people's lifetime living standards," Conor Darcy, a senior policy analyst with think tank Resolution Foundation, which carried out the research, said.

He called for "a more comprehensive response from business and government" to help people earn more.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Think tank IPPR said wealth inequality was growing in the UK

On average, people stuck on low pay have seen their hourly wages rise by just 40p in real terms over the last decade, compared to a £4.83 pay rise for those who have permanently "escaped", said the report.

The report found that low pay was a particular issue for women in their early 20s and said a lack of "good quality, flexible work" for those with child caring responsibilities was to blame.

The industries with the lowest paid jobs are retail and hospitality, the report said.

Although some employers in the hospitality and retail industries try to keep overheads down with low-paid jobs, Mr Darcy said this solution would not work in the long term, as employment costs are likely to go up[1].

A Business Department spokesman said it had made progress on low pay:"We have more people in work than ever before, taken 1.3 million people out of income tax altogether since 2015 and the national living wage has delivered the fastest pay rise for the lowest earners in 20 years."

A separate report from think tank IPPR said inequality was growing in the UK with young people particularly affected.

It said the richest 10% of British households had an average of £1.32m in net property, pension and financial wealth.

This was five times the £3,200 wealth of the bottom half of households, it said....

References

  1. ^ employment costs are likely to go up (www.bbc.co.uk)

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UK banks exposed to money laundering in South Africa

Lord Hain Image caption Lord Hain was Northern Ireland secretary from 2005 to 2007

UK banks may have been used to launder money stolen from South Africa, a former cabinet minister has alleged in a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Lord Peter Hain said a South African whistle-blower had indicated the banks "maybe inadvertently have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money".

The Labour peer is due to raise the issue in the House of Lords later.

The Treasury said it had sent his letter to financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

"We take allegations of financial misconduct very seriously, and have passed Lord Hain's letter on to the Financial Conduct Authority and relevant UK law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office, to agree the right action," a spokesperson said.

'Corruption and cronyism'

A spokeswoman for the FCA said it was already in contact with the banks named by Lord Hain and would "consider carefully further responses received".

The money laundering accusation rests on alleged ties between the country's President Jacob Zuma and a wealthy business family, the Guptas.

Lord Hain, a leading anti-apartheid campaigner who grew up in South Africa, urged UK authorities "to track that stolen money down and make sure that British financial institutions help return it to South African taxpayers".

The former Northern Ireland secretary alleged the issue was "a result of the corruption and cronyism resided over by President Zuma and close allies the Guptas".

Image copyright AFP Image caption Protesters have demonstrated outside the Gupta family compound

Brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta have interests in computer, mining, media, travel, energy and technology and employ about 10,000 people through their company Sahara Group.

The Guptas have been accused in the past of wielding influence in South African politics under President Jacob Zuma's administration.

Both President Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing, and say they are victims of a "politically motivated witch-hunt"....

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