Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:
- National Audit Office warns Government over approach to personal debt
Reported by Dan James
The National Audit Office (NAO) has said this week the Government’s current strategy towards handling personal debts of the general public is in fact raising unnecessary costs to the tax-payer.
The NAO outlined that people struggling to meet their debit-obligations are likely to move into state-subisidised accommodation and more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression resulting in costs to the tax-payer and NHS increasing.
The Government has been described as having a lack of coordination and a ‘limited’ understanding of the wide impacts of falling into unmanageable debt. The Head of the NAO, Amyas Morse, has said that the Government’s attempt to tackle personal debt has been insufficient to date.
Funding pressure the Government faces currently may be a major reason for personal debts being pursued “too quickly and aggressively”, which leads to a bigger impact on the individual and subsequently the tax-payer.
NAO has outlined that the Treasury has formal responsibility of such personal debts, however they have limited information and do not fully understand the problem. On top of this they are unable to adapt efficiently and effectively in order to provide the best outcome for both the tax-payer and the individuals with the debt.
“The Treasury needs a better understanding of the scale of people’s debt problems and how it is impacting their lives and the tax–payer so it can effectively resolve the problem” Morse has publicly stated.
For more information, see here.
- North Korean charged over Sony cyber attack
Reported by Paige Waters
Remember the 2014 Sony hack?
The US justice department has recently announced that they are charging a North Korean. It is believed that he operated from China.
The cyber attack in 2014 exposed five films which were due to be released. The attack did not stop here, it is stated that the social security details of Judd Apatow, Sylvester Stallone and Rebel Wilson were also released during the hacking of Sony. Furthermore, the hacker revealed the pay gap difference between men and women as it denoted that that Jennifer Lawrence was paid considerably less than her male co-stars in the film ‘American Hustle’.
It has been alleged that the hacker was acting on behalf of North Korea as an attempt to get revenge in retaliation to ‘The Interview’. However, a North Korean official has denied the country having any involvement in the hacking. As well as denying any responsibility.
The North Korean official has stated that “Linking the DPRK to the Sony hacking is another fabrication targeting the country.” This was followed by the diplomat stating, “my country publicly declared that it would follow international norms banning hacking and piracy”.
For more information on this story, visit the Guardian.
- Rise in sale of electric vehicles in the UK in August 2018
Reported by Rui Ci Lee
The demand for electric vehicles in the UK has been on the rise. This is seen during August 2018 when the sale of electric and alternative fuel vehicles sold had increased by over 4,000 units as from the number of vehicles sold in the same period in 2017. Across Europe, there are also now more than . This milestone was achieved nearly a year after China achieved it and before the US.
The rise in sales of electric vehicles such as plug-ins also coincides with the increase of cost of petrol and diesel, incoming bands on combustion engines in the UK and France, establishment of a low-with the average price at the highest level since July 2014.
This has allowed for other companies in the UK and Europe to produce more luxury electric cars. On 5 September, news broke out that German car-maker Mercedes-Benz will be rolling out its first-fully electric SUV. Other brands such as Germany’s Porsche and Audi and the UK’s Jaguar are set to produce luxury electric cars as well.
However, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Mike Hawes warns against viewing the [electric vehicle] market as booming. “August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September,” said Hawes.