ENERGY SUPPLIERS NOT PLANNING TO PASS ON SAVINGS IN WHOLESALE PRICES - Energy suppliers have no immediate plans to cut household charges despite falls in wholesale electricity and natural gas prices.
The Bord Gáis monthly energy index shows that shows that wholesale electricity prices fell 13% to €45.44 a megawatt hour (MWh – equal to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity used continuously for one hour) in December from €51.96 in November. Meanwhile, independent supplier Naturgy recently reported that wholesale electricity charges fell 42% the final three months of last year to an average of €41.81 per MWh, while natural gas prices were down 40% in 2019. ESB, Bord Gáis Energy, SSE Airtricity and Energia - the four big electricity and natural gas suppliers to Irish households - said they would review charges but stopped short of pledging to cut them, says the Irish Times. Electric Ireland, the subsidiary of State-owned ESB that supplies electricity and gas to 1.1 million homes, said that it "keeps its domestic tariffs competitive and under constant review". Bord Gáis Energy, formerly State-owned but now part of British group Centrica, maintained that it was committed to ensuring that customers got their energy at the best possible cost.
MOST LONDON BUSINESS LEADERS BELIEVE HS2 IS TOO EXPENSIVE - SURVEY - Most business leaders in London believe the HS2 high-speed rail project costs too much and will cause too much disruption while being built, a study suggests.
A survey of 500 businesses in the capital indicated that only two out of five believe the line would boost the UK economy. The London Chamber of Commerce said its poll found that nearly three quarters of business leaders think HS2 costs too much and two thirds feel its construction has or will cause too much disruption, says the Irish Examiner. Almost half did not believe that HS2 was necessary. Peter Bishop, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce, said: "With nearly three quarters of businesses voicing concern about the growing cost of the project, this new polling will be of significant interest to the ongoing Government review. It is important to note that London businesses see merits in the project for both London and the UK. However, majority concern about its necessity, costs and disruption, leave a clear challenge for the promoters of the project to effectively convey that the project is worth its mounting cost," he added.
UK STILL 'GENERATIONS AWAY' FROM EQUALITY IN TOP JOBS, STUDY SHOWS - Women are still vastly underrepresented in positions of power, with such slow progress being made in many sectors that the UK is still "generations away" from achieving equality, according to research.
The 2020 Sex and Power Index from the Fawcett Society, a women's rights and equality charity, charts how women remain missing in significant numbers from top jobs in politics, the law, civil service, trade unions, charities, professional bodies and sport bodies. The index, published on Monday 13 January, also reveals an alarming lack of women of colour across the top jobs in all sectors, says today's Guardian. Sam Smethers, the Fawcett Society’s chief executive, said: "Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today’s data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. We are wasting women’s talent and skills.Male dominance of positions of power remains strong, as this 2020 Sex and Power Index shows. If we want change, we have to make it happen. That means quotas, targets and policy interventions to remove the barriers to women’s progression," she added. The Fawcett Society is calling on the government to improve gender pay gap reporting by reducing the threshold for doing so to 100-plus employees, requiring companies to publish action plans and introducing reporting on the gender pay gap by ethnicity.
UK HOUSE PRICES - LONDONERS FLEEING CAPITAL FOR NORTH AT RECORD LEVELS - The British prime minister isn’t the only one to see the north of England in a new light - a record number of those leaving London are relocating in the north.
The proportion of Londoners heading to the North East, North West or Yorkshire and the Humber to buy a home has risen sharply, research by Hamptons International, the estate agents, suggests. In 2009 only 1% of those who left London bought a primary residence in the north. Last year that rose to 13%, writes The Times. Alex Goldstein, an independent property consultant, said that those relocating to Yorkshire tended to be families attracted by the lifestyle, good schools and rail connections.