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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Why the London Cycling Campaign designed a bike-friendly lorry

Category : Business

A lower driving position and bigger windows could help curb the number of serious cyclist accidents involving construction lorries.

The London Cycling Campaign has designed a new Safer Urban Lorry, and is calling on the construction industry to adopt it to make our towns and cities safer for walking and cycling.

Compared with current construction lorries, our design has a much lower seating position, lower ground clearance, and larger windows at the front and side. Crucially, the driver can now see what’s happening immediately around the vehicle, significantly reducing the risk of killing cyclists and pedestrians.

At present, half the cycling fatalities in Greater London involve lorries, and about three-quarters of those vehicles are from the construction industry. A large proportion of pedestrian fatalities also involve lorries. Tellingly, the most frequent response from lorry drivers after a fatal collision is to say they didn’t see the victim in the moments leading up to the crash.

We’ve taken care to design our Safer Urban Lorry using existing technology, with features that are already found on many refuse trucks. Modern bin lorries are designed to minimise the risk of running over refuse collectors working close to the vehicle (as well as protecting anyone walking or cycling nearby).

Already a common sight in town and city streets, these vehicles have the same low driving position and high-visibility cab seen on our Safer Urban Lorry. All we’ve done is to marry this type of cab with a lower chassis from a construction lorry.

Worryingly, current construction lorry design prioritises off-road convenience and site cost saving over cycling safety. A high clearance means, in the event of a collision, cyclists are often dragged under the wheels instead of being pushed clear. The high driving position encourages the driver to go faster and closer to other traffic; it doesn’t reduce danger.

We’re confident our Safer Urban Lorry features could be adopted without significant risk to the driver or the lorry. New lorries don’t need such a high ground clearance because site roads are becoming better graded for all vehicles, while low-entry cabs reduce falls and injuries to drivers and also encourage more cautious driving.

Indeed, there are no reasonable impediments to the construction industry adopting, over time, our Safer Urban Lorry design. Too many people – often very experienced and responsible cyclists – have already lost their lives because they were run over by lorry drivers who didn’t see what was happening right next to their vehicle. Drivers should not be put in a position where they have restricted vision.

There’s clear evidence is that current construction lorries pose an unacceptable risk when driving urban areas. Only when the construction industry accepts its responsibilities can we expect fewer crashes, and look forward to safer and more inviting streets for everyone.

Safer Urban Lorry features

1. Lower driving position
The seating position in our lorry is approximately 60cm lower than in a conventional construction lorry, which provides the driver with a much improved view of what’s happening around the vehicle, significantly reducing risk to anyone in the immediate area. Inside a traditionally designed lorry a cyclist in a normal riding position is invisible, yet the driver of our Safer Urban Lorry can see them clearly.

2. High-visibility windows
The windscreen and side windows are much larger in our design than those found in today’s construction lorries, which means enhanced visibility to the front and the side, The area to the front-left of the lorry, where the vast majority of lorry-cyclist collisions occur, is clearly visible.

3. Lower bumper clearance
Reducing clearance between the underside of the lorry and the ground helps lower the height of the cab and the seating position. It also increases the chance of a cyclist being pushed to the side in the event of a collision, rather than being dragged underneath the wheels.

4. Sideguards
Sideguards work in the same way as the lower bumper, increasing the likelihood of a cyclist being knocked away from the lorry in the event of a collision, rather than being dragged under its rear wheels.

5. Early-warning cameras
The best of today’s camera systems provide a 360-degree view around the lorry, ensuring the driver is aware of pedestrians and cyclists at the sides and rear of the lorry, even if they’re not directly visible.

Charlie Lloyd, campaigns officer at the London Cycling Campaign, is an expert on the transport and haulage industries, as well as being a former lorry driver. Mike Cavenett is the LCC’s communications manager.

Cycling Olympics axe ‘possible’

Category : World News

Cycling could be dropped from the Olympics if Lance Armstrong implicates its governing body in a cover-up, says IOC member Dick Pound.

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Cycling to get increased funding

Category : Business

Cycling, triathlon and netball will receive extra funding of more than 30% from Sport England as part of a £493m plan.

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Major sponsor ends cycling deal

Category : World News

Rabobank is ending its sponsorship of its professional cycling team following the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.

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Letters: Olympic lessons for the economic cycle

Category : Business

It is all very well for Mervyn King and George Osborne to invoke the “Olympic example” as a way of saving the sinking economy (No growth this year, 9

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James Murdoch was key force behind Sky team’s Tour de France victory

Category : Business

Media mogul’s youngest son is a keen amateur cyclist and was a driving force behind Sky’s ambitions

James Murdoch, Rupert’s youngest son, was among those on the Champs Elysées on Sunday afternoon, cheering home the first British winner of the Tour de France. That was fitting, because while his successor as BSkyB’s chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, was in Team Sky’s backup car, caught on ITV punching the vehicle’s roof in delight, it was Murdoch, a keen cyclist, who was critical to sustaining the media group’s £10m-a-year sponsorship commitment.

Sky’s link with cycling dates back to 2008, when the broadcaster was searching for a sport on which it could have a wide-ranging impact through sponsorship. It began with a £1m-a-year deal to back British cycling, but after the Beijing Olympics the relationship was deepened with a decision to spend about €15m a year to support Dave Brailsford’s post-Games ambitions to conquer the Tour de France with a British rider.

At Sky, where Murdoch is no longer chairman after stepping down in the wake of the phone hacking row, the company is keen to de-emphasise his enthusiasm for the sport. Robert Tansey, who chairs Team Sky, says: “If the question is whether we did this because James is a cycling fan, then the answer is no.”

Tansey, who is also an executive director at BSkyB, says the focus has instead been on “inspiration and participation” – in particular a characteristically ambitious goal to persuade a million more people to take up cycling by the end of 2013. That aim is part of a marketing goal to show that the sports broadcaster can do more than just encourage people to sit on the sofa and consume its content. Sky says it measures its progress using market research, and that it has already notched up 700,000 new cyclists on the way to meeting what is in practice a hard-to-measure target.

Corporate goals aside, friends and allies of James Murdoch say his personal contribution has been crucial. He rapidly became keen on the sport after the deal was struck; when attending the Labour party conference in September 2008, he found time for an early start to visit the National Cycling Centre at Manchester and by the next summer he was riding the Dolomite Marathon in Italy, a demanding one-day race open to amateurs, where riders have to navigate seven mountain passes. Darroch, who had succeeded Murdoch as chief executive in late 2007, is more of an occasional rider.

Ironically, the Tour de France is one of the few sports not featured on Sky, with the race covered by Eurosport live and with ITV providing highlights on ITV4. ITV recently renewed its deal, and holds the rights until 2015, and it chose to broadcast Wiggins’s victory to 2.6m viewers on Sunday afternoon – almost certainly a record audience for an event that until now had barely impacted on mainstream consciousness. Sky will only say that it will look at bidding for the televised rights in due course, but there is no doubt the company benefits from considerable brand exposure from having a successful rider and team all over free-to-air televison, as well as coverage in sports sections of newspapers.

Bradley Wiggins success may owe a lot to his talent and determination, but behind him is a successful team structure put together with the help of the son of the world’s most powerful media mogul. Sky is signed up to continue funding until after the Olympics in 2016, although the broadcaster is surprisingly coy about acknowledging James Murdoch’s decision to back the two-wheeled sport so wholeheartedly.

Chris Hoy defends tax affairs after revelations he took loan from his firm

Category : Business

Olympic cyclist denies he avoided tax and says his arrangements are ‘transparent and in the public domain’

Sir Chris Hoy has defended his tax arrangements after it was revealed that the Olympic gold-winning cyclist had received a £325,000 loan from his own company.

The sportsman released a statement in response to a Guardian article, saying his financial affairs were conducted in the UK and were in the public domain. He added that he took his “responsibilities as a taxpayer as seriously as I do as an athlete”.

Hoy said: “My income-generating activities are organised through a UK-registered tax-paying company. This means that my financial affairs are transparent and in the public domain.”

He said a loan which he took from his company in 2010 was repaid in full in October 2011, which was unknown to the Guardian. “This is standard practice in most small companies in the country,” he said.

He added: “Loan monies, as the Guardian points out, are liable for tax at a 25% rate. The dividends that I took to repay the loan were in fact taxed at the highest rate. Neither I nor my company disguise remuneration.”

Hoy’s defence comes after a story based on the latest accounts of his company, Trackstars Ltd, showed that in 2010 Hoy had been paid £440,000 in dividends, which attract taxes close to that of a UK salary, and £130,000 in 2011.

They also revealed that Hoy owed the company £324,771 at 30 June 2011, which was given to the multiple Olympic gold medallist as an unsecured and interest-free loan, with no repayment terms.

The article said it was not clear if Hoy’s move, which was legal, had resulted in him paying less tax overall.

Hoy said he was forced to respond publicly to the article, which he said made a link between the loan and the amount he received in dividends.

“This is wholly incorrect,” he said. “I saw an opportunity to buy property and with the guidance of my advisers I borrowed money from my company to do so. The loan was subsequently repaid shortly thereafter by declaration of fully taxable dividends.”

Chris Hoy received loan from his own firm

Category : Business

Olympic gold-winning cyclist received £325,000 in arrangement but agent rejects claims of ‘disguised remuneration’

As the comedian Jimmy Carr apologised for a “terrible error of judgment” over his use of a tax avoidance scheme last week, many of his fellow celebrities would have been asking their spin doctors if they should do likewise.

Carr’s now infamous tactic of using a company to pay himself via loans – rather than through salary or dividends – has long been viewed as a cunning but completely legal tax wheeze.

Several top sports stars such as England footballers Wayne Rooney, Gareth Barry and Daniel Sturridge have reportedly employed similar techniques.

But if some might expect such behaviour from a footballer, or even a comedian, then what about an Olympic hero whose sporting development is at least partly the result of lottery funding?

It has now emerged that Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s multiple Olympic gold medal winning cyclist, has also received a loan from his own company.

The latest accounts of Hoy’s Trackstars Ltd state: “At 30 June 2011 Sir Chris Hoy owed the company £324,771 (2010, £898 – owed from the company). This amount was unsecured and interest free with no fixed repayment terms. During the year dividends totalling £130,000 (2010, £440,000) were paid to Sir Chris Hoy.”

To put that in English, in 2010 Hoy received £440,000 in dividends, which attract taxes not hugely dissimilar from salary.

But while he received about £455,000 from the company during 2011, £325,000 came via the open-ended company loan, which attracts minimal tax. It is not clear from the accounts if Hoy’s move, which is legal, resulted in a tax saving.

Having seen Hoy’s disclosure, one tax expert who asked not to be named, said: “It is likely that such arrangements could come under attack under the ‘disguised remuneration’ rules recently introduced by the Treasury.”

In a statement, Hoy’s agent, Rob Woodhouse, said: “Trackstars Ltd is a UK registered taxpaying company established for legitimate commercial purposes. Neither [Hoy] nor the company participates in any ‘disguised remuneration’ scheme.

“[He] has not received any lottery funding since October 2008. He has continued his promotional obligations as a member of the governing bodies’ lottery funded world class programmes.”

Woodhouse declined to explain why Hoy had taken out the loan in the same year as his dividend was slashed by an almost identical figure.

He also would not say if Hoy had repaid any of the loan, or if the Olympian had made a tax saving. Hoy’s accountants, Edinburgh-based Jeffrey Crawford & Co, did not return phone calls.

Directors’ loans started to become known as a tax avoidance tactic after a number of Premier League footballers used such schemes.

Typically, they involved two contracts between player and club – one as a footballer, where they earn a salary and pay income tax, and one for their “image rights”.

The fee for image rights is paid to their company, and then the footballer can take out a loan against that fee until the loan is repaid. If the loan is never repaid, almost no tax is due.

Trackstars is believed to be Hoy’s image rights company – receiving his sponsorship fees in return for him promoting his sponsors’ brands and allowing his image to be used in their advertisements.

Profits at the company have surged over the past two years, on the back of sponsorship deals with the likes of Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB – divisions of the partly taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group – as well as sportswear group Adidas, carmaker Jaguar and shaving brand Gillette.

If the notion of the plucky Olympic amateur ever really existed, it seems to be an age away now: sports agents admit that the stellar growth in sponsorship fees owes much to London hosting the 2012 Games, which received more than £2bn of lottery funds and almost £1bn from the Greater London Authority. Between 2009 and 2011, Trackstars increased post tax profits from £63,404 to £406,693.

It is not clear from the company’s accounts how much Hoy could have saved in tax, although a salary of £325,000 would have been liable for tax of about £147,000. But the calculations are likely to have been more complex than that.

Richard Godmon, of accountants Menzies – which specialises in owner-managed businesses – said: “Directors’ loans can be a tax-efficient way of accessing funds over the short term.”

However, he added that if you borrow from your company you are taxed as if it were an employee benefit.

HMRC assumes you would have paid 4% interest on the loan if you had borrowed it on the open market, so a 50% taxpayer has to pay a 2% tax charge every year.

The company making the loan must also pay 25% of the loan amount to HMRC, which is reimbursed when the loan is repaid by the individual. Directors could still technically avoid repaying loans – and therefore tax – by dissolving their company, as once it is struck off from Companies House all balances due to the company cease to exist.

However, HMRC can strike off applications if it feels there is still tax to be paid.

Last year HMRC introduced new “disguised remuneration” rules. It said: “The objective of this legislation is to prevent the avoidance or deferral of income tax and NICs [national insurance contributions] on employment income.

“It will impact on employers and intermediaries who use trusts or loans to reward employees with a view to avoiding or deferring paying tax and NICs.”

Cavendish sprints for cycling success

Category : World News

Cycling ace Mark Cavendish on sport and business

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Common Types of Texas Bicycle Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Category : World News

Follow these tips to remain safe while cycling in Texas and to hold negligent motorists liable for accident-related injury.

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