LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters)Britain’s debt mountain is likely to rise and hold above 100% of gross domestic product for at least the next few years but Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be in no rush to tackle it with tax hikes, a think tank said.

Public borrowing in 2020 will hit a level unseen outside the two world wars, thanks to the government’s 200 billion-pound ($260 billion) coronavirus spending surge and a 95 billion-pound hole in tax revenues, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

Britain’s public debt pile has already hit 2 trillion pounds, or just over 100% of gross domestic product.

The IFS said it was likely to stand at 110% of GDP in the 2024-25 financial year, the end of its forecast period.

“Without action, debt – already at its highest level in more than half a century – would carry on rising,” IFS director Paul Johnson said. “Tax rises, and big ones, look all but inevitable, though likely not until the middle years of this decade.”

Just to keep debt at 100% of national income, the government would need to raise taxes – or cut spending – by about 2% of national income in 2024/25, or 40 billion pounds.

The world’s sixth-biggest economy has weaker growth prospects than some of its peers because of the large share of jobs hit hardest by the pandemic and the drag from Brexit, according to analysts at bank Citi who worked with the IFS.

At the same time, demands for higher spending on healthcare are unlikely to fade.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak ripped up the economic orthodoxy of his Conservative Party by unleashing a wave of public spending at the onset of the pandemic.

He says his priority remains to slow rising job losses although he has replaced his

On September 15, 2020, Kraft Heinz announced a new day at their investor conference. The session’s goal was to help investors understand the possibilities for the Company and share their plan for a turn around. The problem? The promise is scale and agility. The goal is growth; but the proof points are cost mitigation and manufacturing efficiency. My take? The strategy does not add up.

The Kraft Heinz case study is a great example of a company not being able to save their way to growth. While the presentation is wrapped in beautiful videos and testimonials, when you peel back the onion, the narrative does not pass the litmus test to drive value for shareholders. Instead, the biggest takeaway is the announcement to cut $2B in costs over five years with 350-400M$ in gross savings this year.

Background

Kraft merged with Heinz in 2015. Since the merger, the Kraft Heinz stock lost more than half its value. The quandary for investors is that while the market capitalization for Kraft is $40B, the debt load is nearly $30B. ( Kraft Heinz has written down its brands by $20B since February 2019.) The stock is down 35% year-over-year while the S&P 500 Packaged Foods & Meats index, for the same period, is up 22%.

The primary issue is growth. Kraft Heinz is partially owned by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm, that along with Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc, purchased Heinz in 2013. 3G, famous for zero-based budgeting to cut costs, saved money at Kraft Heinz by cutting jobs and

It’s that time of year again — open enrollment season is approaching, giving many Americans an opportunity to sit down and go over their employer-sponsored workplace benefits for next year.



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This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, more than 70% of employees plan to spend more time reviewing voluntary benefit options offered by their employer, according to a September survey by Voya Financial.

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While most employees are generally familiar with their employer-sponsored health insurance and retirement plans, they may be overlooking other benefits that could help them save money or better protect against an event such as an accident or illness.

“You want to see if there’s anything else out there that you could be taking advantage of to improve your your health, or your financial health or both,” said Kim Buckey, vice president of client services at benefits consultant DirectPath. “We don’t want to miss out on something better and cheaper.”

Where to go for help

If you’re not sure what your employer offers, or want to learn more about your particular plan, there are a few places you can turn to for help.

Your employer may have sent you an updated benefits packet in the mail or online, which you should scan to refamiliarize yourself with offerings, Buckey said. Because the pandemic has limited in-person meetings this year, Buckey said, many companies are offering increased support to enroll in benefits one-on-one over the phone with an independent third party.

“You can call up and spend 20 minutes talking to someone who knows the company’s benefits but is independent so you can ask your deepest, darkest, most embarrassing and personal questions,” said Buckey.

How to choose your health care plan during open enrollment

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Buckey advised against is taking your

Factory workers with face mask protect from outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. Concept of protective action and quarantine to stop spreading of Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19.
Fladgate’s Restart Capital report also reveals that one in five SME’s said their business is already in “distress.” Photo: Getty

One in three smaller firms (SMEs) and 43% of medium sized enterprises do not expect to be in business beyond a year, according to a new report.

The research by law firm Fladgate said its survey of 500 SMEs paints a “concerning outlook” for the backbone of the UK economy.

Fladgate’s Restart Capital report also reveals that one in five SME’s said their business is already in “distress.”

Meanwhile, 31% of respondents said they are still in a “shock and denial phase” or “anger and depression,” which may be hampering their ability to decide how best to move forward.

The survey highlights says that 72% of SME leaders are trying to raise money to ride out the storm, while 46% said they did not succeeded as hoped.

It also found that private investors are willing to deploy capital to support SMEs, with nine in 10 investors or 90% recognising SMEs are the key to the UK economy.

In terms of investment, 85% of investors want to play an active role in their investments, they said they see the highest potential in supporting troubled businesses, with over 50% admitting they had experience of working with distressed firms.

Investors are most interested in allocating capital to sectors hardest hit by COVID-19, the report said.

Construction, which SME leadership teams revealed had experienced a 39% hit to turnover is seen as the most attractive sector for investment, with 29% of investors keen to invest in this market. 

READ MORE: Brexit: UK government warns businesses to ‘act now’ on transition preparation

As government support for businesses in the wake of COVID-19 is unwound, the majority of SMEs and investors seek more government support to

It has been almost thirty years since the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) entered U.S. Navy service. Back then, in a Cold War fleet full of nuclear surface combatants and cruisers, the Arleigh Burke class destroyer was a decidedly mid-tier warship, set to replace a handful of aging surface combatants. Today, both the U.S. fleet and the Burkes have changed, and now America’s sixty-eight Arleigh Burke destroyers comprise the high-end backbone of the U.S. surface fleet. American shipyards are set to crank out brand-new, cutting-edge Flight III Burkes well into the next decade.

For a ship class that started out as a low-end, low-cost selection from an array of far higher-end Cold War alternatives, it has been quite a run.

This is a pattern that the Navy likely hopes to repeat with the newly-named Constellation (FFG 62) class guided missile frigate, which, today, is seen as a lower-cost, lower-capability surface combatant to the Burke class. Awarded to Wisconsin’s rough-and-tumble Fincantieri yard in April, the Navy seems pretty clear that the new frigate will, in time, become the mainstay of the future surface fleet. Once the Constellations start hitting the fleet in numbers, the first Arleigh Burkes will be ushered to the exits, followed quickly by a call for an “improved” Flight II Constellation. And, just like the Burkes, the versatile Constellations will iterate from there. 

But the gradual transformation of America’s latest “lowest-cost technically acceptable” platform into the high-end surface combatant-of-the-future is not without risk. For a platform that was procured largely on the basis of future potential, the challenge right now is to preserve the frigate’s long-term flexibility as engineers struggle to stay within the platform’s designated cost-cap.

This is a perilous period for new