Fears over income gap
Efforts to reform how the mainland spreads its wealth are being reviewed amid warnings that a widening income gap is jeopardising social stability across the country,
A plan to narrow the gaping wealth gap will be soon drafted, according to officials at the National Development and Reform Commission. Experts are warning that the nation can ill-afford a growing disparity in earnings.
As the mainland faces a widening income gap, there is an accompanying sense of social inequality. The top 10 per cent of the richest citizens earned 23 times more than the poorest 10 per cent in 2007 - up from 7.3 times in 1988.
Costly to do business in Britain
The cost of doing business in Britain rose to £88.3 billion (HK$997.9 billion) this year, an increase of £11 billion,
According to the British Chambers of Commerce's annual Burdens Barometer, the government imposed 40 new regulations on firms this year. The Barometer is compiled by the London and Manchester Business Schools. Although 21 regulations resulted in a recurring annual benefit for companies, the net result was still a new annual recurring cost of more than £1 billion. Results show two-thirds of the total burden are from European Union regulations, and British rules are just under a third.
The most costly regulations include the European Light Duty Vehicle Emissions Standards, that have a recurring cost of £1.48 billion to businesses, and the Community Infrastructure Levy, with a one-off cost of £457 million.
Singapore hopes to raise skills
Singapore is building two continuing education and training centres (CETs) to raise productivity by 2 to 3 per cent each year in the next decade.
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong says Singapore will build a comprehensive CET system to provide more opportunities for workers to upgrade their skills. To be completed by 2013, the centres will serve as key gateways for workers and employers to meet the training needs of the workforce.
He says Singapore must maximise the potential of its human resources by retaining the experience and abilities of older workers, and encouraging more women to join the workforce.
To ensure that low-skilled workers will also upgrade their skills and improve their productivity, Gan says a new scheme will be launched in July to encourage low-wage workers to pursue training.