This Week's News 19.01.18

Skills Minister Anne Milton stays in post after government reshuffle

Anne Milton MP has been the apprenticeship and skills minister for seven months, and will continue to be an education minister. Nadhim Zahawi MP, former apprenticeship adviser to the PM, joins the DfE as a minister, mostly likely for childcare. But after the junior minister reshuffle, the Department for Education is unable to confirm whether Milton or Zahawi will be responsible for apprenticeship and skills policy. Individual ministerial briefs are determined by the new Secretary of State, and Damian Hinds appears in no rush to decide.

In all likelihood Milton will retain responsibility for apprenticeship and skills policy, which would be welcomed. The apprenticeship levy is in full swing and T-Level plans cannot afford further delay. Thank goodness that experience and continuity of leadership is what's needed at this pivotal moment in the perpetual apprenticeship reform cycle.

Free Helpline for Hair & Beauty Salons

The National Hairdressers Federation (NHF) has been helping businesses within the hair and beauty industry for over 10 years from chair renting issues and occupational health advice for back injuries caused by long hours of standing to hiring apprentices. With Employer Advice behind you, you need no longer worry about running your business.

The NHF cost-effective solutions include:

  • Employment contracts and handbooks
  • 24/7 advice, 365 days covering HR and health & safety
  • Tax and Commercial Legal telephone support
  • Risk assessments
  • HR and health & safety management software
  • Tribunal and incident representation and support
  • HR and health & safety training
  • Legal expenses insurance

For free advice based on the Acas Code of Practice, call now on 0333 300 4564.

Hair and beauty industry statistics

The number of businesses in the sector have increased by 2% in 2017 compared to 2016. There has also been a big increase in the number of people who work in the sector, especially in beauty, where the number of workers increased by over 30,000 from 84,000 in 2015 to 115,000 in 2016, reflecting the continuing popularity of beauty as a start-up business. The latest retail figures show that barbershops, beauty salons, nail bars and hair and beauty salons occupied four of the top 10 spots for the most popular start-ups in 2016. While the growth in our sector is providing work opportunities for more people, increasing competition means business are having to fight harder to get and keep clients and to recruit team members and apprentices.

Self-employment statistics

Continuing the growing trend towards self-employment, 2017 saw a big upsurge in the number of people who are classified as self-employed. This was especially noticeable in hairdressing and barbering where the proportion of self-employed was up from 48% in 2016 to 57% in 2017. The percentage of those who are self-employed in beauty has dropped back a little from 57% to 54%, but in both industries, more than half of all workers are now self-employed.

The Review of Modern Working Practices

The Review panel recognised that the majority of self-employed people welcome the flexibility and work-life balance that they get from working for themselves but warned employers must not use flexible working simply as a way of reducing costs and urged the government to make sure that flexibility is not at the 'unreasonable' expense of the self-employed people who work in those businesses. The report proposes that the term 'worker' is changed to 'dependent contractor' to cover people who are not employees but who are not genuinely self-employed either shows the panel understood the frustrations felt by many employers who are infuriated by the competitive advantages enjoyed by businesses relying on self-employed workers and which allow them to undercut on price. Differences in National Insurance Contributions provide a graphic example, as an employee pays NICs at 12% and the employer pays 13.8% on top - but a self-employed person pays NICs only at 9% while the business owner pays nothing at all. The Review therefore calls for greater equality in tax treatment aimed at curbing 'cash in hand' payments, which cost the UK as much as £6.2bn in lost tax revenue.

Carillion, largest employer of construction apprentices, goes into liquidation

The move for construction giant Carillion, whose training division held a £6.5 million Education and Skills Funding Agency contract for apprenticeship provision last year, came after talks between the firm, its lenders and the government failed to reach a deal to save the firm.

The company ran into trouble after losing money on big contracts and running up huge debts, according to a report by the BBC. Its training department, Carillion Training Services, received a visit from Ofsted at the end of 2016 and was rated 'requires improvement'.

Anger as ESFA dodges MPs' scrutiny on subcontracting fees

The government has been accused of shocking double standards on transparency, admitting it probably won't publish its long-delayed findings on subcontracting fees in time for parliamentary inquiry hearings. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has taken over responsibility for publishing all subcontracting "management" fees, but it "aims" to publish them by the end of March - four months after its own deadline and too late to make them available for scrutiny by MPs. The chair of the education select committee, Robert Halfon wants the DfE (Department for Education) to redress this "deeply worrying" situation, and collect the data "immediately" so it "can be collated and we can see them". "The taxpayer should have the exact information readily available as soon as possible, as to how much money is being creamed off," he insisted.

Auto enrolment pensions

Pensions auto-enrolment was introduced in April 2012 and has led to 9 million workers saving into a pension for the first time. As life expectancy increases, it's more important than ever to save for retirement - or face the bleak prospect living in poverty in old age. Since auto-enrolment was introduced, the contributions for both employers and employees have been set at 1%. However, from April 2018, pension contributions will increase to 2% for employers and 3% for employees, and they will increase again to 3% for employers and 5% for employees in April 2019. The government has also unveiled plans to reduce the minimum age for enrolling staff from 22 to 18 in 'the mid 2020s' provided their earnings are over £10,000. This will bring around 900,000 people into the pension system, and will further increase costs for employers who will need to make contributions for this age group for the first time. There are also moves to calculate contributions on all earnings up to £45,000, rather than the current 'banded earnings' system which calculates contributions on earnings between £5,876 and £45,000. NHF chief executive, Hilary Hall, said, "As well as the scheduled increases which will triple pension costs for employers over the next couple of years, future plans to include younger workers and to move away from contributions based on 'banded earnings' will further increase employer costs. These two measures will have a disproportionate impact on the hair and beauty sector because of the sheer number of young people working in our industry, while the banded earnings change will have a bigger impact for workers on minimum wages, also common in our industry. We may therefore see more workers choosing to opt-out of pension contributions, which would defeat the aim of getting people into the habit of saving for retirement."

Specific gene in follicles blamed for age-related hair loss

Thinning hair and the onset of baldness is the result of follicle-creating stem cells becoming damaged over time, a study has found. While scientists have long struggled to understand what causes baldness, research published in the journal Science points to the role of a specific gene in regulating stem cells and how they regenerate. Unlike stem cells found in blood or the intestines, which renew constantly, the stem cells in hair follicles have cyclical active and dormant phases. While they are active, the follicles produce hair, and when they are dominant they do not, but as the years pass some follicles start to produce thinner hair, or sometimes none at all. The study, by scientists in Japan, the USA and the Netherlands, examined hair loss in aging mice. They found that age-related DNA damage reduced the amount of a particular gene, Collagen 17A1, in the follicles. The less this gene was present, the thinner the hair was, and when it was not present at all the follicles regenerated as skin, and did not produce any hair. The researchers tested this theory on the rodents by removing the gene altogether, which resulted in bald mice. The team then analysed the follicles in people over the age of 55, and found they too were smaller as they were lacking in the gene. It is hoped this research will help scientists to further develop ways to prevent and treat age-related illnesses.

Women are getting Botox injections in their scalps for longer lasting blow dries

Women are receiving Botox injections in their scalps, so they don't ruin their blow dries by sweating. Dubbed "Blotox," the procedure works by "preventing communication between the nerve ending and the eccrine gland, which is responsible for sweat," meaning no sweaty scalp and no ruined blow dry. In theory, a procedure that allows your blow dry to last longer sounds great - but for "Blotox" to be effective, the scalp would need around 200 injections carefully placed under the hair follicles, and as with all Botox treatments, the results wear off in about six months - ouch!

Using parental controls to protect family members from inappropriate internet content

You can place parental controls on your home wifi which will cover all devices accessing the internet. These controls are provided free of charge by your internet service provider and you can find out more information on how to set these up by visiting our guide for parents and carers.

There are also parental controls provided by your child's mobile phone network and there is information on how to do so on Internet Matters. You can also make use of parental controls at a device level. To find out how visit Parents Guide to Technology and the Internet Matters interactive house tool.

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