Wednesday, December 12, 2018

UKtech50 2018 – the most influential people in UK IT -

SMC relaunch with 12 new commissioners and bigger research budget - GOV.UK

Young people are the most pessimistic about their chances of moving up in society with just 1 in 7 thinking their generation has the most opportunity to do so, new research shows.

Published to coincide with today’s (11 December 2018) launch of the Social Mobility Commission, the survey revealed deep unease in Britain about the gap between the rich and the poor. It shows that people think the government, employers and schools are doing too little to help the less advantaged get a fair chance in life.

The findings show just 15% of 18 to 24 year olds think their generation has the best chance of moving up in society. Just 13% say their generation will have the best standard of living, and 12% believe they will fare best in terms of personal finances, compared to older generations.

The social mobility barometer polls of over 5,000 people and is carried out by YouGov. The Social Mobility Barometer 2018 report discloses that the over 65s are much more likely to think that apprenticeships offer the best opportunity for progression, compared to the young people that many of these roles are aimed at. Younger people, in comparison, thought higher education offered a better opportunity.

Dame Martina Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission said:

If we fail to act too many young people will continue to face challenges getting into colleges, universities and employment. We all need to do more to tackle these issues, but there needs to be renewed focus from government, educators and employers.

40% of people think it is getting harder for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to move up in society. Over half of the respondents think central government should be doing more to improve social mobility, followed by local government, (39%) schools (36%) and employers (36%).

Dame Martina will announce that the government has allocated an extra £2 million to commission new research and evidence from next April, as she introduces her 12 new commissioners at the relaunch.

Dame Martina said:

I am delighted the government is showing its commitment to the Social Mobility Commission by providing an initial £2 million for research and evidence in our first full year of operating as a new commission. This will enable us to start expanding our research base and deliver on our role to promote social mobility throughout the country.

The 12 commissioners bring a range of expertise from education, business and academia, and are from diverse backgrounds, many with their own social mobility journeys. This diversity of experience and background will bring a wider range of perspectives to the work of the commission. This includes a better grasp of the issues facing young people today – 3 commissioners are under 23 and are passionate about using their voice to help young people.

Saeed Atcha, 22, one of the new commissioners and founder of the magazine Xplode said:

I believe there is always a need to have young voices at the table so I’m thrilled to be representing young people and bringing their voice to the fore. The poll shows they are pessimistic about their future and they do not have the right opportunities. It’s vital that we take urgent steps to address this.

Dame Martina said:

We are a group of people with real-life experiences who are prepared to challenge government, business and society as a whole, to create a fair system where people can thrive.

Matthew Fell, CBI UK, Chief Policy Director, said:

Creating the conditions for an inclusive economy matters hugely to business. We should leave no stone unturned in looking for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders, in all parts of society.

Business is already doing lots, and can do even more. Whether it’s helping to develop new, high-quality apprenticeships or providing young people with insights into the world of work, business has a vital role to play in improving social mobility.

The commissioners will start drawing up their priorities next week. For their first year, these are expected to include a focus on vocational education and skills. In the new year the commission will be releasing a social mobility toolkit for employers and, in March, will set out their annual State of the Nation assessment of social mobility in Great Britain.

Other key findings from the Social Mobility Barometer 2018 report include:

  • nearly half, (46%), of people saying that life chances depend heavily on your background and who your parents are - only a third think that everyone, regardless of background, has a fair chance to get on
  • 75% say there is a large gap between social classes with only 14% saying the gap is small.
  • there are big regional variations with 83% of people in the North East thinking there is a large gap between social classes, falling to 73% in the south of England and East Midlands
  • 44% of those aged 25 to 49 years think social mobility is getting harder, with just 18% thinking it is getting easier
  • overall people think those born between the 1960s and 1970s - the baby boomers - had the most opportunity to move up in society

Notes to editors

  1. Read the Social Mobility Barometer 2018 report.
  2. All figures, unless otherwise stated are from YouGov Plc. The total size of the poll was 5,520 adults. Initial fieldwork was completed in March 2018. A supplemental survey of 1,656 adults in Great Britain was conducted between 9 and 10 October 2018. The survey was carried out online and figures have been weighted and are representative of UK adults aged 18+.
  3. The Social Mobility Commission is an advisory, non-departmental public body established under the Life Chances Act 2010 as modified by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. It has a duty to assess progress in improving social mobility in the United Kingdom and to promote social mobility in England. It consists of 13 commissioners and is supported by a small secretariat.
  4. Alongside Dame Martina Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission and Group Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust, the 12 Social Mobility Commissioners are:
  • Alastair da Costa, Chair of Capital City College Group
  • Farrah Storr, Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan
  • Harvey Matthewson, volunteer, and part-time Sales Assistant at Marks & Spencer
  • Jessica Oghenegweke, Project Co-ordinator at the Diana Award
  • Jody Walker, Senior Vice President at TJX Europe (TK Maxx and Home Sense in the UK)
  • Liz Williams, Group Director of Digital Society at BT
  • Pippa Dunn, Founder of Broody, helping entrepreneurs and start ups
  • Saeed Atcha, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Xplode magazine
  • Sam Friedman, Associate Professor in Sociology at London School of Economics
  • Sammy Wright, Vice Principal of Southmoor Academy, Sunderland
  • Sandra Wallace, Managing Partner UK and Joint Managing Director Europe at DLA Piper
  • Steven Cooper, most recently, Chief Executive Officer Barclaycard Business, moving to Chief Executive Officer C.Hoare & Co
  1. The functions of the commission include:
  • monitoring progress on improving social mobility
  • providing published advice to ministers on matters relating to social mobility
  • undertaking social mobility advocacy

Monday, December 10, 2018

Clever Cup: Costa and Barclaycard launch UK's first reusable contactless payment coffee cup - FoodIngredientsFirst


10 Dec 2018 --- Costa Coffee and Barclaycard have collaborated to launch the UK’s first reusable coffee-cup with integrated contactless payment technology. Powered by Barclaycard’s bPay technology, Costa Coffee’s Clever Cup allows users to make purchases with the cup, top up their in-store credit balance and track payments online or via a dedicated app on both iPhone and Android devices. Launched last month in Costa Coffee stores across the UK, this reusable innovation is expected to decrease the volume of discarded coffee cups.

Sold in packaging made from recycled coffee cups, the Clever Cup features a silicon base and contactless chip, which is detachable for ease of washing. The technology within the cup can be used wherever customers see the contactless payment symbol and not just Costa Coffee stores.

The Clever Cups  are part of Costa Coffee’s wider re-launch of its “next generation” reusable range, encouraging customers to use reusable cups instead of single-use takeaway cups. This follows Costa Coffee’s announcement in April to pledge to recycle 500 million takeaway cups by 2020.

“The Clever Cup will hopefully motivate customers to ditch single-use cups for reusable options, and we encourage Costa Coffee to continue to think creatively about how it can reduce the number of disposable cups it sells each year,” Juliet Phillips, Ocean Campaigner, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), tells PackagingInsights.

“With around seven million disposable coffee cups used in the UK every day, it’s critical that companies shift to reusable options in order to cut down on their single-use packaging footprint.”

“The vast majority of these cups end up in landfill, with reports that less than one in 400 (< 1 percent) are recycled in the UK – creating an estimated 25,000 tons of waste each year. With reusable alternatives so widely available, there’s no excuse for beverage companies to continue to rely on this wasteful means of delivering drinks to customers,” she adds.

“With public appetite to clamp down on single-use plastics at an all-time high, companies should take the opportunity to move beyond incremental change and fundamentally rethink the way they deliver products to customers, committing to phase-out disposable options altogether. Innovations such as the Clever Cup are a step in the right direction but, to ensure a wholescale shift away from our throwaway culture, a more systematic approach to reduction will be required,” says Phillips.

The new Clever Cup is priced at £14.99 (US$19.15), with a £1 (US$1.28) donation from every sale going to The Costa Foundation.

Jason Cotta, Managing Director at Costa Coffee, comments: “Contactless technology has become increasingly prominent in our daily lives and through the launch of the new Costa-Barclaycard Clever Cup we hope to appeal to those tech-savvy customers to help facilitate and drive environmentally friendly behavior.”

“While we are committed to ensuring more takeaway coffee cups are recovered and recycled, we also want to incentivize and reward customers who help reduce the number of takeaway cups being wasted. We already offer a 25p (US$00.32) discount on hot drinks in all our stores for customers using reusable cups, and hope the innovative Clever Cup will become an additional incentive for increasing the use of reusable cups.”

Rob Morgan, Head of Sales and Partnerships, at Barclays adds: “Today’s shoppers are looking for seamless and ‘to hand’ ways to pay. Our wearable chip technology allows almost any accessory to be transformed into a smart payment device, unlocking the benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases. We're proud to be working with Costa Coffee to give the UK another compelling reason to carry a reusable cup as part of their daily routine.”

PackagingInsights has contacted Costa Coffee and Barclays for additional comments.

By Joshua Poole

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst's sister website, PackagingInsights.

To contact our editorial team please email us at

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Blockchain Startup Evernym Teams With Barclaycard On Self-Sovereign Identity - BlockTribune

Blockchain Startup Evernym Teams With Barclaycard On Self-Sovereign Identity

Blockchain, News | December 10, 2018</ br> By:

Barclaycard, a division of Barclays Bank UK, is joining an accelerator program to explore the benefits of “self-sovereign identity” (SSI).

Barclaycard is a multinational credit card and payment services provider. It helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point of sale finance. Barclaycard claims to have over ten million customers in the United Kingdom.

Barclaycard recently announced that its Payment Solutions (BPS) Innovation team will be joining blockchain identity startup Evernym in the latter’s 12-month accelerator program. The program will allow BPS to focus its efforts on developing a commercial proposition in a safe test environment and further explore the customer, business, legal and technical benefits of SSI.

SSI is a lifetime portable identity for any person, organization, or thing. Having a self-sovereign identity allows the holder to present verifiable credentials in a privacy-safe way. SSI proponents believe that SSI has the potential to make the lives of users easier and more safe, replacing usernames and passwords, and even form-filling, forever.

Evernym is the company behind Sovrin, the first open-source distributed ledger network dedicated to self-sovereign identity. The Sovrin Protocol is utilizing blockchain to create a unique, digital identifier that can be used to verify proof of identity anywhere and at any time. Sovrin’s ultimate goal is to reduce cybercrime and fraud, and simplify identity challenges on a major scale.

Barclaycard Payment Solutions said that it decided to join Evernym’s accelerator to become part of the global self-sovereign identity movement and create more secure futures for customers around the world.

“We are excited to be involved with the accelerator program which is helping us develop our strategic response to SSI market opportunities,” said Ed Black, Director of Innovation at BPS. “With access to Evernym’s insight, tools and expertise, we are really able to speed up our learning about Sovrin and self-sovereign identity. And most importantly, we can rapidly develop solutions that solve real customer and business problems.”

Jamie Smith, Strategic Engagement Director at Evernym, said that he believes that self-sovereign identity will revolutionize the way individuals prove who they are.

“Everyone has multiple usernames and passwords – and some people use the same password for everything. Hackers love that,” Smith said. “And it’s not just your email account they can take – once they’ve got your passwords, they can steal your whole identity. With self-sovereign identity, those hackable usernames and passwords are things of the past. With SSI I can prove anything about myself, to anyone, at any time, and organisations can do the same.”

Smith added that SSI also offers a solution when it comes to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy regulations.

“Traditionally, if a business needed to verify that a customer was over 21, not only would they need to ask for their full date of birth, but they’d then need to store that data for future use,” Smith said. “This could then become an easy target for fraudsters. With SSI, all a business would need is a simple “yes” or “no” from the customer confirming they’re over 21 and then verify that data using their unique Sovrin identifier. This gives customers more control over the data they share and organizations a much more efficient and streamlined data-management process for collecting and storing personal data.”

Friday, December 7, 2018

Santander Zero review: a top choice for travellers -

If you’re looking for a card that doesn’t charge fees on overseas use, you'll struggle to beat the Santander Zero credit card.

With the weather so bleak at the moment, you’ll be forgiven for letting your mind wander to next year’s summer holiday.

A crucial part of the preparation for any trip overseas is working out how you are going to handle the spending money, and while changing up cash is a popular option, there are plenty of credit cards designed specifically to appeal to those who need to use them abroad.

One such card is the Santander Zero card. So let’s take a closer look at what it offers and how it compares.

What’s on offer?

Santander Zero card review (Image: Santander)As the name suggests, the big selling point of the Santander Zero card is that there are zero fees to worry about.

So if you use the card to pay in a retailer overseas, there are no charges to pay if you opt to pay in the local currency.

Bear in mind that if you opt to pay in sterling, the retailer or bank will handle the conversion, which may mean you are charged a fee.

There are also no fees if you use the card to withdraw cash overseas. That said, interest is charged on these withdrawals immediately, so you’ll need to clear the balance as soon as possible.

There is no monthly fee to account for with the Santander Zero credit card either.

Another selling point is the ability to earn cashback through Santander’s Retailer Offers initiative. You will be provided with five welcome offers at major retailers, chosen just for you. The cashback only applies for one use, but you can pocket up to 25%.

After that when you use the card at certain retailers you can continue to pocket up to 15% cashback. Participating retailers include Vue Cinemas, Costa, Morrisons and Subway.

The Santander Zero comes with a representative APR of 18.9%.

How does the Santander Zero compare?

The lack of any charges on overseas use makes the Santander Zero a really strong option, though there are a couple of rival cards worth noting here.

For example, there’s the Barclaycard Platinum Cashback Plus. As the name suggests, you pocket 0.25% cashback on all spending until August 2023, so it’s a nice little earner on the money you spend both here and abroad.

There are no fees on spending abroad or cash machine withdrawals, and crucially with the latter, there’s no interest to pay so long as you clear the balance in full at the end of the month.

That’s a potentially key difference from the Santander Zero. The representative APR on the Barclaycard is a little higher at 21.9%.

Another alternative is the Tandem Card, which has no fees on overseas spending nor cash machine withdrawals, though like the Santander Card you are charged interest on these withdrawals immediately.

The big plus point to the Tandem Card is that you can pocket even more cashback when you spend using the card, as it offers 0.5% cashback on your purchases both at home and abroad.

The representative APR on the Tandem Card is 18.9%.

Finally, it’s also worth noting a rival card from Santander itself, the All in One card.

This card comes with no fees on foreign transactions, though charges do apply to withdrawals.

However, not only does the card pay 0.5% cashback on all spending, but you also enjoy whopping 30-month 0% periods on both purchases and balance transfers with the card.

There is a £3 monthly fee to pay though, alongside a representative APR of 21.7%.

Our verdict

The Santander Zero card is a really strong contender if you’re looking for a card that won’t charge fees on overseas use, whether that’s paying at the till or withdrawing cash.

It also comes with the potential to earn some welcome cashback when you spend with certain retailers, while the absence of an annual fee is a further plus point.

However, if you’re looking for more consistent cashback, no matter where you spend, then you may need to look elsewhere.

If you’re interested in the Santander Zero, then you can get a good idea of your chances of being accepted for the card in advance by using our eligibility calculator.

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