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Could recycling be a load of rubbish?

Welsh local authorities have been giving themselves a well-deserved pat on the back for meeting recycling targets. In case you’re wondering, Swansea claimed just over 59% which translates into 70,000 out of 118,000 tonnes recycled in 2015/16 instead of being sent to landfill. Neath Port Talbot recycled 58% of its waste while Carmarthenshire households achieved a 64% rate. The official target is currently 58% rising to 64% by 2020 and 70% by 2025. Theoretically, under-performing councils can be fined for coming up short although a group of them escaped penalties totalling £1.6m last year on the grounds that the Welsh Government felt it would be “counter-productive”. So we have what appears to

Accommodating a change in lifestyle

Last week I found myself in conversation on what is becoming quite a touchy subject in the Swansea Bay region. In fact, you only have to mention “student accommodation” for someone to share a horror story of litter, noise and generally anti-social goings-on. As it happens, my chat was with a national research group who are looking at the social and economic impact of what’s called the ‘pod-living’ revolution. This unattractive term refers to the city-based self-contained studio apartment sector – either owned or rented – and which has seen considerable growth as a favoured form of accommodation. Although their actual data remains commercially confidential, the headline findings they shared i

Labour: Fighting over the ruins

There was once a Conservative poster that read: “If Labour is the answer then it’s a damn stupid question.” It’s a joke that has new meaning but let there be no doubt, the party’s problems are entirely of their own making. When the scale of the general election defeat became apparent last year, the shift away from the centre ground was inevitable. What wasn’t expected however was the creative degree to which party apparatchiks would handle the succession process. Being able to decide the identity of the Labour leader at £3 a pop not only made being left-wing affordable as well as fashionable, it went some way to fulfilling the axiom that capitalists are capable of selling the rope that will

A matter of some interest

If money makes the world go around, as per the saying, then borrowing induces somersaults. For many in business, leaving the EU has lobbed a serious spanner into an already edgy economy. There has been nothing in the way of a Brexit bounce. Growth is non-existent and recession looms. That’s the opinion of the Bank of England anyway, although they’re also acutely aware of the fine line that divides providing an upfront appraisal of the situation from actually talking yourself into a downturn. The response in Threadneedle Street therefore has been to cut interest rates. An estimated eleven million households have a mortgage – which represents by far their biggest single outgoing. Current stati

The wrong kind of power politics

The main problem, as a commodity futures broker eloquently put it during a recent television interview, is that energy is all over the place - commercially speaking. So it’s a safe bet that matters haven’t been helped by the government’s sudden ambiguity about the proposed nuclear expansion deal at Hinkley Point. I suppose it was inevitable that the new incumbent at Downing Street would want to put her stamp on one policy conundrum or other. The Somerset facility is a big call and by no means as straightforward as some would have you believe. An opposition politician pointed out to me recently that Hinkley Point C is likely to be the most expensive power station ever built. The total cost wi

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