Big Bang (financial markets)
The phrase Big Bang, used in reference to the sudden deregulation of financial markets, was coined to describe measures, including abolition of fixed commission charges and of the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange and change from open-outcry to electronic, screen-based trading, effected by Margaret Thatcher in 1986. The Big Bang was the result of an agreement in 1983 by the Thatcher government and the London Stock Exchange to settle a wide-ranging antitrust case, initiated during the previous government by the Office of Fair Trading against the London Stock Exchange under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956; these restrictive practices included the London Stock Exchange's rules establishing fixed minimum commissions, the "single capacity" rule, the requirement that both brokers and jobbers should be independent and not part of any wider financial group, the stock exchange's exclusion of all foreigners from stock exchange membership. The day the London Stock Exchange's rules changed on 27 October 1986 was dubbed the "Big Bang" because of the increase in market activity expected from an aggregation of measures designed to alter the structure of the financial market.
The effect of the Big Bang led to significant changes to the structure of the financial markets in London. The changes saw many of the old firms being taken over by large banks both foreign and domestic and would lead in the following years to further changes to the regulatory environment that would lead to the creation of the Financial Services Authority. In the UK, Big Bang became one of the cornerstones of the Thatcher government's reform programme. Prior to these reforms, the once-dominant financial institutions of the City of London were failing to compete with foreign banking. While London was still a global centre of finance, it had been surpassed by New York, was in danger of falling still further behind. Thatcher's government claimed that the two problems behind the decline of London banking were over-regulation and the dominance of elitist old boy networks and that the solution lay in the free market doctrines of competition and meritocracy; the changes were implemented by the Financial Services Act 1986.
The effects of Big Bang were dramatic, with London's place as a financial capital decisively strengthened, to the point where it is arguably the world's most important financial centre. The boom resulted in the relocation of institutions into new developments in the nearby Isle of Dogs area that of Canary Wharf. Although the "Big Bang" eased stock market transactions there is a debate in the UK about how far it affected the 2007–2012 global financial crisis. In 2010, Nigel Lawson, Thatcher's Chancellor at the time of the Big Bang, appeared on the radio programme Analysis to discuss the banking reform, he explained that the 2007–2012 global financial crisis was an unintended consequence of the "Big Bang". He said that UK investment banks were very cautious, as they operated with their own money, but after merging with major retail banks, the depositors' savings were put at risk, according to the programme this led U. S. banks to follow suit. In 2011 Gordon Brown said that deregulation of the banking sector by the incoming Labour Government of 1997 had contributed by failing to understand how interdependent the banks were.
Speaking at the Institute for New Economic Thinking's annual conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA, Chancellor from 1997–2007, reviewed his changes: We know in retrospect what we missed. We set up the Financial Services Authority believing that the problem would come from the failure of an individual institution," he said. "So we created a monitoring system, looking at individual institutions. That was the big mistake. We didn't understand how risk was spread across the system, we didn't understand the entanglements of different institutions with the other and we didn't understand though we talked about it just how global things were, including a shadow banking system as well as a banking system; that was our mistake, but I'm afraid it was a mistake made by just about everybody, in the regulatory business. Subsequent similar actions, such as the deregulation of the Japanese financial markets in 2001, have analogously been tagged with the phrase Big Bang; the Wimbledon Effect
Governor of the Bank of England
The Governor of the Bank of England is the most senior position in the Bank of England. It is nominally a civil service post, but the appointment tends to be from within the bank, with the incumbent grooming his or her successor; the Governor of the Bank of England is Chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee, with a major role in guiding national economic and monetary policy, is therefore one of the most important public officials in the United Kingdom. According to the original charter of 27 July 1694 the bank's affairs would be supervised by a Governor, a Deputy Governor, 24 directors. In its current incarnation, the Bank's Court of Directors has 12 members, of whom five are various designated executives of the Bank; the 120th and current Governor is the Canadian Mark Carney, appointed in 2013. He is the first non-Briton to be appointed to the post, but made a commitment to the Prime Minister to take up British citizenship. Chief Cashier of the Bank of England Deputy Governor of the Bank of England List of Governors of the Bank of England
The Corn Laws were tariffs and other trade restrictions on imported food and grain enforced in Great Britain between 1815 and 1846. The word "corn" in the English spoken in Nineteenth Century Britain denotes all cereal grains, such as wheat and barley, they were designed to keep grain prices high to favour domestic producers, represented British mercantilism. The Corn Laws imposed steep import duties, making it too expensive to import grain from abroad when food supplies were short; the Corn Laws enhanced the profits and political power associated with land ownership. The laws raised food prices and the costs of living for the British public, hampered the growth of other British economic sectors, such as manufacturing, by reducing the disposable income of the British public; the laws became the focus of opposition from urban groups who had far less political power than rural Britain. The first two years of the Irish famine of 1845–1852 forced a resolution because of the urgent need for new food supplies.
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, a Conservative, achieved repeal with the support of the Whigs in Parliament, overcoming the opposition of most of his own party. Economic historians see the repeal of the Corn Laws as a decisive shift toward free trade in Britain; as a staple of life, as well as an important commodity of trade and its traffic was long the subject of debate and of government regulation – the Tudors legislating against speculating in corn, the Stuarts introducing import and export controls. Import had been regulated as early as 1670. In 1773, "An act to regulate the importation and exportation of corn" repealed Elizabethan controls on grain speculation; the issue however remained one of public debate into the 1790s. In 1813, a House of Commons Committee recommended excluding foreign-grown corn until the price of domestically grown corn increased to 80 shillings per quarter: or equivalent to around £1,102 per tonne of wheat; the political economist Thomas Malthus believed this to be a fair price, that it would be dangerous for Britain to rely on imported corn because lower prices would reduce labourers' wages, manufacturers would lose out due to the decrease of purchasing power of landlords and farmers.
With the advent of peace when the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, corn prices decreased, the Tory government of Lord Liverpool passed the 1815 Corn Law to keep bread prices high. This resulted in serious rioting in London. In 1816, the Year Without a Summer caused famine by disastrously reducing crop yields. Reduced standard of living and food shortages due to poor harvests led to riots, but the ceiling price of 80 shillings a quarter for domestic grain was so high that, between 1815 and 1848, it was never reached. David Ricardo, espoused free trade so that Britain could use its capital and population to its comparative advantage. In 1820, the Merchants' Petition, written by Thomas Tooke, was presented to the House of Commons; the petition demanded an end to protective tariffs. The Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, who claimed to be in favour of free trade, blocked the petition, he argued, that complicated restrictions made it difficult to repeal protectionist laws. He added, that he believed Britain's economic dominance grew in spite of, not because of, the protectionist system.
In 1821, the President of the Board of Trade, William Huskisson, composed a Commons Committee report which recommended a return to the "practically free" trade of the pre-1815 years. The Importation Act 1822 decreed that corn could be imported when the price of domestically harvested corn rose to 80/- per quarter but that the import of corn would again be prohibited when the price fell to 70/- per quarter. After this Act was passed, the corn price never rose to 80/- until 1828. In 1827, the landlords rejected Huskisson's proposals for a sliding scale, during the next year Huskisson and the new Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, devised a new sliding scale for the Importation of Corn Act 1828 whereby, when domestic corn was 52/- per quarter or less, the duty would be 34/8, when the price increased to 73/-, the duty decreased to 1/-; the Whig governments, in power for most of the years between 1830 and 1841, decided not to repeal the Corn Laws. However the Liberal Whig MP Charles Pelham Villiers proposed motions for repeal in the House of Commons every year from 1837 to 1845.
In 1842, the majority against repeal was 303. Although he had spoken against repeal until 1845, Robert Peel voted in favour in 1846. In 1853, when Villiers was made a Privy Counsellor, The Times stated that "it was Mr Charles Villiers who originated the Free Trade movement." In 1838, Villiers spoke at a meeting of 5,000 "working class men" in Manchester. In 1840, under Villiers' direction, the Committee on Import Duties published a blue book examining the effects of the Corn Laws. Tens of thousands of copies were printed in pamphlet form by the Anti-Corn Law League, founded in 1838; the report was quoted in the major newspapers, reprinted in America, published in an abridged form by The Spectator. In the 1841 election, S
HM Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes, the payment of some forms of state support and the administration of other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage. HMRC was formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, which took effect on 18 April 2005; the department's logo is the St Edward's Crown enclosed within a circle. The department is responsible for the administration and collection of direct taxes including Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax, indirect taxes including Value Added Tax, excise duties and Stamp Duty Land Tax, environmental taxes such as Air Passenger Duty and the Climate Change Levy. Other aspects of the department's responsibilities include National Insurance Contributions, the distribution of Child Benefit and some other forms of state support including the Child Trust Fund, payments of Tax Credits, enforcement of the National Minimum Wage, administering anti-money laundering registrations for Money Service Businesses and collection and publication of the trade-in-goods statistics.
Responsibility for the protection of the UK's borders passed to the UK Border Agency within the Home Office on 1 April 2008 and to UK Border Force and the National Crime Agency in 2013. HMRC has two overarching Public Service Agreement targets for the period 2008–2011: Improve the extent to which individuals and businesses pay the tax due and receive the credits and payments to which they are entitled Improve customers' experiences of HMRC and improve the UK business environment HMRC is a law enforcement agency which has a strong cadre of Criminal Investigators responsible for investigating Serious Organised Fiscal Crime; this includes all of the previous HMCE criminal work such as tobacco and oils smuggling. They have aligned their previous Customs and Excise powers to tackle previous Inland Revenue criminal offences, they are responsible for seizing billions of stolen pounds of HMG's revenue. Their skills and resources include the full range of intrusive and covert surveillance and they are a senior partner in the Organised Crime Partnership Board.
HMRC criminal investigation officers have wide-ranging powers of arrest, entry and detention. The main power is to detain anyone who has committed, or whom the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect has committed, any offence under the Customs and Excise Acts as well as related fraud offences. On 30 June 2006, under the authority of the new Labour Home Secretary, John Reid, extensive new powers were given to HMRC. Under Chairman Sir David Varney, a new Criminal Taxes Unit of senior tax investigators was created to target suspected fraudsters and criminal gangs. To disrupt and clamp down on criminal activity; this HMRC/CTU would pursue suspects in the same way the US Internal Revenue Service caught out Al Capone on tax evasion. These new powers included the ability to impose penalties without needing to prove the guilt of suspected criminals. On 19 July 2006, the Executive Chairman of Sir David Varney resigned. HMRC is listed under parts of the British Government which contribute to intelligence collection and assessment.
Their prosecution cases may be coordinated with the Crown Prosecution Service. The department is organised around four operational groups, each led by a director general; the four operational groups are: Personal Tax led by Mike BakerBenefits and Credits led by Nick Lodge Business Tax led by Jim Harra Customer Compliance led by Penny CiniewiczIn addition to the four operational groups, there are five supporting groups. These are: Permanent Secretary for Tax group Chief Finance Officer group Chief information Officer group General Counsel and Solicitor group Chief People Officer groupHMRC deals with the top 2,000 large business via CRM; the next 8,400 business are dealt with via Customer Co-ordinators who provide a single point of contact with HMRC. The merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in the Budget on 17 March 2004; the name for the new department and its first executive chairman, David Varney, were announced on 9 May 2004.
Varney joined the nascent department in September 2004, staff started moving from Somerset House and New Kings Beam House into HMRC's new headquarters building at 100 Parliament Street in Whitehall on 21 November 2004. The planned new department was announced formally in the Queen's Speech of 2004 and a bill, the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill, was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 September 2004, received Royal Assent as the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 on 7 April 2005; the Act creates a Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office responsible for the prosecution of all Revenue and Customs cases. The old Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise departments had different historical bases, internal cultures and legal powers; the merger was described by the Financial Times on 9 July 2004, as "mating the C&E terrier with the IR retriever". For an interim period officers of HMRC are empowered to use existing Inland Revenue powers in relation to matters within the remit of the old Inland Revenue and existing Customs powers in relation to matters within the remit of the old Customs & Excise.
Coins of the pound sterling
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Wales; the Royal Mint commissions the coins' designs. As of 31 March 2016, there were an estimated 30.14 billion coins circulating in the United Kingdom. The first decimal coins were circulated in 1968; these were the five pence and ten pence, had values of one shilling and two shillings under the pre-decimal £sd system. The decimal coins are minted in copper-plated steel, nickel-plated steel and nickel-brass; the two-pound coins, and, as from 28 March 2017 the new one-pound coins, are bimetallic. The coins are discs, except for the twenty pence and fifty pence pieces, both of which have faces that are heptagonal curves of constant width, the new one-pound coins, which have faces with 12 sides.
All the circulating coins have an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, various national and regional designs, the denomination, on the reverse. The circulating coins, excepting the two-pound coin, were redesigned in 2008, keeping the sizes and compositions unchanged, but introducing reverse designs that each depict a part of the Royal Shield of Arms and form the whole shield when they are placed together in the appropriate arrangement; the exception, the 2008 one-pound coin, depicts the entire shield of arms on the reverse. All current coins carry a Latin inscription whose full form is ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX, meaning "Elizabeth II, by the grace of God and Defender of the Faith". In addition to the circulating coinage, the UK mints commemorative decimal coins in the denomination of five pounds. Prior to decimalisation, the denomination of special commemorative coins was five shillings, that is, 1⁄4 of a pound. Crowns, had a face value of 25p from decimalisation until 1981, when the last 25p crown was struck.
Ceremonial Maundy money and bullion coinage of gold sovereigns, half sovereigns, gold and silver Britannia coins are produced. Some territories outside the United Kingdom, which use the pound sterling, produce their own coinage, with the same denominations and specifications as the UK coinage but with local designs. In the years just before decimalisation, the circulating British coins were the half crown, two shillings or florin, sixpence, threepence and halfpenny; the farthing had been withdrawn in 1960. There was the Crown, which was, still is legal tender, worth 25p, but did not circulate. All modern coins feature a profile of the current monarch's head; the direction in which they face changes with each successive monarch, a pattern that began with the Stuarts. For the Tudors and pre-Restoration Stuarts, both left and right-facing portrait images were minted within the reign of a single monarch. In the Middle Ages, portrait images tended to be full face. From a early date, British coins have been inscribed with the name of the ruler of the kingdom in which they were produced, a longer or shorter title, always in Latin.
The English silver penny was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, Henry II established the sterling silver standard for English coinage, of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, replacing the earlier use of fine silver in the Middle Ages. The coinage reform of 1816 set up physical sizes for silver coins. Silver was eliminated from coins, except Maundy coins, in 1947; the history of the Royal Mint stretches back to AD 886. For many centuries production was in London at the Tower of London, at premises nearby in Tower Hill in what is today known as Royal Mint Court. In the 1970s production was transferred to Llantrisant in South Wales. Scotland and England had separate coinage. Coins were hand-hammered — an ancient technique in which two dies are struck together with a blank coin between them; this was the traditional method of manufacturing coins in the Western world from the classical Greek era onwards, in contrast with Asia, where coins were traditionally cast.
Milled coins were produced first during the reign of Elizabeth I and periodically during the subsequent reigns of James I and Charles I, but there was opposition to mechanisation from the moneyers, who ensured that most coins continued to be produced by hammering. All British coins produced since 1662 have been milled; the English penny first appeared as a silver coin. It was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages; the weight of the English penny was fixed at 22 1⁄2 troy grains by Offa of Mercia, an 8th-century contemporary of Charlemagne. The coin's designated value, was that of 24 troy grains of silver, with the difference b
A trade union called a labour union or labor union, is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, working conditions or social and political status through collective bargaining and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by creation of a monopoly of the workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers; the most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring and promotion of workers, workplace safety and policies. Unions may organize a particular section of skilled workers, a cross-section of workers from various trades, or attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry; the agreements negotiated by a union are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.
Trade unions traditionally have a constitution which details the governance of their bargaining unit and have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them to their negotiations and functioning. Originating in Great Britain, trade unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution. Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, past workers, apprentices or the unemployed. Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries. Since the publication of the History of Trade Unionism by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the predominant historical view is that a trade union "is a continuous association on wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment." Karl Marx described trade unions thus: "The value of labour-power constitutes the conscious and explicit foundation of the trade unions, whose importance for the working class can scarcely be overestimated.
The trade unions aim at nothing less than to prevent the reduction of wages below the level, traditionally maintained in the various branches of industry. That is to say, they wish to prevent the price of labour-power from falling below its value". A modern definition by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that a trade union is "an organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members."Yet historian R. A. Leeson, in United we Stand, said: Two conflicting views of the trade-union movement strove for ascendancy in the nineteenth century: one the defensive-restrictive guild-craft tradition passed down through journeymen's clubs and friendly societies... the other the aggressive-expansionist drive to unite all'labouring men and women' for a'different order of things'. Recent historical research by Bob James in Craft, Trade or Mystery puts forward the view that trade unions are part of a broader movement of benefit societies, which includes medieval guilds, Oddfellows, friendly societies, other fraternal organizations.
The 18th century economist Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners. In The Wealth of Nations, Book I, chapter 8, Smith wrote: We hear, it has been said, of the combination of masters, though of those of workmen, but whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate When workers combine, masters... never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants and journeymen. As Smith noted, unions were illegal for many years in most countries, although Smith argued that it should remain illegal to fix wages or prices by employees or employers. There were severe penalties for including execution. Despite this, unions were formed and began to acquire political power resulting in a body of labour law that not only legalized organizing efforts, but codified the relationship between employers and those employees organized into unions.
The origins of trade unions can be traced back to 18th century Britain, where the rapid expansion of industrial society taking place drew women, rural workers and immigrants into the work force in large numbers and in new roles. They encountered a large hostility in their early existence from employers and government groups; this pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour spontaneously organized in fits and starts throughout its beginnings, would be an important arena for the development of trade unions. Trade unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe, though the relationship between the two is disputed, as the masters of the guilds employed workers who were not allowed to organize. Trade unions and collective bargaining were outlawed from no than the middle of the 14th century when the Ordinance of Labourers was enacted in the Kingdom of England but their way of thinking was the one that endured dur
UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment was a UK Government department working with businesses based in the United Kingdom to assist their success in international markets, with overseas investors looking to the UK as an investment destination. In July 2016 it was replaced by the Department for International Trade. UKTI was formed in May 1999 as British Trade International, comprising two parts: Trade Partners UK and Invest UK. In October 2003, the former department name and two inner departments merged and became UK Trade & Investment to simplify the outward recognition of the organisation, to reduce confusion with the two departments. To support its aim to "enhance the competitiveness of companies in Britain through overseas trade and investments. UK Trade & Investment is an international organisation with headquarters in London and Glasgow in Scotland. Across its network UK Trade & Investment employs around 2,400 staff and advisers, including overseas in British Embassies, High Commissions and trade offices, regional offices in the nine English regions The delivery of many UKTI regional services within the United Kingdom is contracted out to other organisations.
In Devon and Somerset, UKTI regional services are now delivered by Serco, In China, the China Britain Business Council, another private body, is the provider. Business and university leaders work with UKTI as "business ambassadors", they highlight trade and investment opportunities. They focus on helping medium-sized enterprises. UK Trade & Investment brings together the work of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy; the UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment works as part of UKTI to promote British business and produce. UK Trade & Investment has public-private partnership agreements with the Federation of International Trade Associations under which they contribute market research and other reports on GlobalTrade.net. UK Trade & Investment has an arms-trade branch called UKTI DSO headed by Sir Richard Paniguian. Official website