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Daniel Rossall-Valentine: How to reform and improve the Apprenticeship Levy

Daniel Rossall-Valentine is Head of Campaign for This is Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Deputy Chairman of Sevenoaks Conservative Association. He writes in a personal capacity.

Apprenticeships can aid social mobility by providing young people from all backgrounds with an opportunity to “earn and learn”, building a career with a long term future.

I’ve been fortunate for the last three years to work with an organisation that has unparalleled access to business and educational leaders so have been in the front seat as the apprenticeship levy has been implemented. The scheme is far from a failure, but it does need urgent tweaks if it is to win the confidence of employers and fulfil its potential.

The Apprenticeship Levy was announced by George Osborne in his July 2015 budget. It came into effect in  2017. The former Chancellor set an ambitious target of starting three million apprenticeships by 2020.

The levy is payable by all employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million through PAYE at a rate of 0.5 per cent of their full pay bill. Each employer sets up an individual apprenticeship account that holds all levy payments and that an employer can use to pay for apprenticeship training.

Money paid into an apprenticeship account remains available to that employer for 24 months from the date of payment. Any amount that remains unclaimed after that period will expire and is then available to cover the cost of apprenticeship training at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who have not paid the Levy.

The Levy was, and is, a bold attempt to encourage employers to train and progress staff, and a brave effort to tackle some of the UK’s greatest cultural problems; our belief that education primarily takes place in classrooms, our excessive faith in “credentials” and our concomitant under-estimation of on-the-job experience and training.

However, despite its noble intent, the Levy remains a rather clunky system which was created following rushed implementation with insufficient problem analysis, design, testing or adaptation. Whitehall unfortunately defaulted to its long-standing preferences for finding “one best way” and for creating a single top-down template lacking in flexibility.

The Levy has received a good deal of criticism, little of which has so far been accepted by the Government. One exception relates to levy-sharing. Levy-paying firms could only share 10 per cent of their levy with other businesses but from April 2019 firms have been able to share up to 25 per cent with other businesses in their supply chain.

The design errors can be categorised under three headings:

Optimistic forecasting

  • The Government under-estimated the cost of higher-level apprenticeships, and thus the percentage of money that would be claimed back by levy-payers. This has left insufficient money in the digital fund for smaller organisations to claim.

Some aspects of the system are too rigid

  • The system stipulates that to qualify as an apprenticeship at least 20% of the time of the apprentice should be spent away from the workplace.

The claim-back system is too inflexible

  • Organisations are required to spend money set aside within two years or lose it. This often does not give organisations enough time to organise apprenticeship programmes, especially where the firms cannot identify good quality local training providers.

Some aspects of the system are too loose

  • Curiously, there is no mandatory requirement for qualifications within the new apprenticeship standard. Without qualifications being part of apprenticeships, it is hard to see how they can ultimately lead to high-skilled, high-paid jobs.
  • With little regulation of apprenticeship quality, it is too easy for levy paying employers to recoup their payments by rebadging existing training schemes as apprenticeships. Even more concerning, existing staff can simply be designated as apprentices without the creation of any additional job opportunities.

Many large organisations which run excellent training schemes, internships, traineeships and work placements have resigned themselves to simply paying the charge, because their schemes are not compliant with the rules of the levy.
Other organisations have failed to find suitable training schemes in their localities, and so would like to collaborate with other employers to create suitable training, but the Levy only allows them to use 25 per cent of the funds for joint ventures.

Several essential reforms are required urgently.

  • The three million apprenticeships target should be abandoned and new rolling targets set which focus on the number of apprenticeship completions rather than apprenticeship starts. Industry specific targets should also be set for industries which are central to the industrial strategy and national productivity.
  • Increase the funding for the scheme by extending the levy to all large firms operating in the UK. The levy is currently only charged on payroll taxes. This means that large companies that spend less than £3 million on direct staff in the UK escape the levy. If firm size were measured by UK sales rather than payroll cost, the free-rider problem would be removed and the funding significantly improved.
  • A more flexible approach to on-the-job training, moving away from the stipulation that 20 per cent of the training should take place off the job, This four days on site, one day off-site pattern works in some industries but not in others. For instance, this pattern is a common way for accountants to train, but works less well in retail, where learning may all take place on site. This inflexible pattern is also tough for small employers, who may need to reschedule training at short notice due to staff absence or other business needs. No single pattern of work-based learning will satisfy all job types. The new system should allow employers to design bespoke training patterns that fit business requirements and hours of operation.
  • A more robust definition of what an apprenticeship actually is. Lack of definition has resulted in massive definitional stretching with some academics with PhDs being labelled as apprentices, and the apprenticeship badge also being applied to regular management training and routine clerical work. We risk the term “apprenticeship” being rapidly diluted and degraded if definitions and standards are not attached to it.
  • Increase the element of the pot which can be used by firms to collaborate on training. Many parts of the UK have real shortages of training provision and so organisations should be able to use at least half of their levy pots to work with other players to create centres of excellence for training.

The apprenticeship levy has the potential to rapidly deliver the apprentices that the economy needs and produce a highly skilled, productive workforce. But it has become very clear that this has not yet happened, and the levy is not working to its potential. The Levy’s design faults are serious, but not insurmountable. The government needs to listen to its critical friends and produce fast reform of this scheme to help Britain compete and to ensure that our young people get the training and jobs that they need and deserve.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ben Brittain: Get Brexit Done and innovate like Israel

Ben Brittain is a Policy and Data Analyst for a regional economic institute. 

The Conservatives were gifted their ‘stonking majority’ by deprived constituencies that are far removed from the growth and economic power of London. The UK is a tale of two economic nations – a wealthy and highly productive London and South-East, and everywhere else, where gross value added more resembles former communist states. It was in these former mining and industrial heartlands of the Midlands and the North where working-class people lent their vote to the Conservatives to ‘get Brexit done’.

The challenge for this new government is to make the economy one whole, bridging the productivity and wage gap between London and the periphery towns of city-regions. The government will want to reward the North and Midlands for their support at the polls. But getting Brexit done is only one step. The next is to embark on a long process of economic revival in these regions, drive agglomeration within cities through transport infrastructure and skills investment.

The Government has the opportunity to level-up productivity right across the whole UK. For that, we must not look not to Silicon Valley and seek to replicate it on the Tyne – but instead look to Israel.

Today, Israel is considered an innovation superpower, with more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country except the United States. The Israeli success in innovative industries, such as ICT, is based on an R&D-intensive, novel-product-based, export-oriented business model. One that the UK should adopt to create a post-Brexit, R&D-heavy, exporting economy.

Israel is a hot-bed of ground-breaking technology companies such as Waze and the autonomous driving company, Mobileye, which has been snapped up by Intel for $15.3 billion. These large dominant companies are an exporting successes, but large innovative companies have to start somewhere.

Israel’s success is driven by its impressive start-up culture, and this start-up friendly ecosystem is actively fuelling an innovation economy. Israel started more than 10,000 companies between 1999 and 2014, with 2.6 per cent of these start-ups creating revenues of more than $100 million. Their success is down to reform-oriented policy makers driving change in the public sector, embedding innovation, unafraid of the role of the state as a friend to free-markets and individuals that want to start an enterprise.

The UK needs to embed five elements within its future growth framework to drive innovation. These are: support for start-ups; a substantial growth in the training of scientists and engineers; empower research-oriented civic universities and drive commercialisation within universities, expand access to venture capital, and utilise the strength of government and big-data in regional industrial strategies. All of these interact with each other to drive the process from invention to innovation.

The UK has an unrivalled higher education system that is ready to plug-in to regional economies and drive sector specialisations. To achieve this, BEIS should restart the work of the Smart Specialisation Hub and bring it in-house, to further understand how productivity is evolving in regional firms. Businesses are best placed to lead in the identification of new opportunities for growth, and many regions are already developing highly-productive sector clusters, which should not be hindered by central government imposing their own industry preferences. Instead, local industrial strategies should identify current productivity strengths and seek to implement necessary supportive interventions and create the correct ecosystem for their growth.

A culture of people, business and universities fully attuned to research and development is required, as is leveraging long-term private sector commitment. Regions should focus on what they are good at – such as the automotive industry in the West Midlands – prioritise research and innovation investment in a competitive environment, and implement policies that are strategic, based on a shared vision for regional innovation and development (such as the development of UK’s first Tesla-style battery gigafactory in the West Midlands which will build on current agglomeration).

Creating dynamic and innovative clusters in regions previously neglected and cut-off from London’s success will ensure the success of Brexit is the success of Wales, the North and the Midlands. If there are greater opportunities for high-skilled, well-paying work in innovative companies, focused on exporting, catalysed and fuelled by free-ports across the region, in industries such as space, AI, life-sciences, health and clean energy, then London will no longer suck the life out of those regions. More local residents will have better paid jobs, with more disposable income to spend in local high-streets, meaning the physicality of neglected towns in places such as Darlington and Walsall can be overcome.

The nation could be one economic success story; a real One Nation Toryism. To do that the Government will need to get Brexit done and Innovate like Israel.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Local franchise Woofie’s launches academy for aspiring groomers

Westlake Legal Group fluffy-puppy-getting-nails-cut Local franchise Woofie’s launches academy for aspiring groomers woofie's academy Woofie's pets pet groomers pet care local business jobs grooming franchise Education dogs curriculum Animals
Photo courtesy of Woofie’s

In any industry, having proper training and experience is an essential step toward a successful career. And now, thanks to Woofie’s—the NoVA-based franchise that combines pet sitting, dog walking and mobile spa services into one entity—those interested in joining the pet care field have an opportunity to follow a direct path of accelerated training to a stable job with Woofie’s Academy

Officially launched in November, the program offers three levels of certifications labeled as groom tech, pet groomer and pet stylist for aspiring groomers in the field. Once students complete all three levels, graduates from Woofie’s Academy will be offered a position with the Woofie’s team at one of the company’s various NoVA locations. 

“This is a dream that has finally come true,” co-founder and co-owner Amy Reed said in a press release. “Proper training is vital to any trade; and to be able to give our groomers the skills to succeed will only heighten our level of service for our communities we serve.”

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Westlake Legal Group dog-being-bathed Local franchise Woofie’s launches academy for aspiring groomers woofie's academy Woofie's pets pet groomers pet care local business jobs grooming franchise Education dogs curriculum Animals
Photo courtesy of Woofie’s

The Woofie’s team partnered with the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, which has been offering extensive online and in-person courses in the United States for nearly 30 years, to curate an in-depth, individualized curriculum. 

All students of Woofie’s Academy will receive practical, tuition-paid, hands-on learning, ultimately better preparing them for the industry as a whole. From breed-specific haircuts to hydrosurge baths, the majority of the programming will take place within a mobile environment in an effort to acclimate students to the popular trend in pet care services. 

As Woofie’s has a partnership with local animal shelters in the area, students will have the opportunity to practice the skills they learn by grooming dogs from rescue groups and shelters as well. 

Woofie’s Academy is currently accepting applications. For those who are accepted, materials are offered online in a take-home format or at Woofie’s corporate offices in Ashburn, and hands-on training occurs within mobile pet spas. For more information, visit woofies.com/woofies-academy.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Wolf Trap to host summer job fairs

It’s never too early to be thinking about a summer job, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has already announced job fairs for seasonal work there.

Three fairs will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 29; from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 4; and from 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 7 in the Filene Center Musician’s Lounge (1551 Trap Road in Vienna, Virginia).

Attendees can visit with Park Service staff, learn about the various opportunities available and attend resume and application workshops. Seasonal positions (running from mid-May to early September) include grounds maintenance, custodian, Filene Center ushers, visitor service assistance and park guides.

“Each year, these recruitment events consistently attract enthusiastic, talented individuals. We are excited to engage with potential summer employees and introduce them to opportunities within the National Park Service,” Superintendent George Liffert said in a statement.

Source

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

David Davis: How to keep the new working class voters we won last Thursday – and win even more

David Davis is MP for Haltemprice and Howden, and is a former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

The Conservative victory last Thursday was not just a landslide win: it marked the beginning of the transformation of our political landscape and our country.

The new MP for Blyth Valley, Ian Levy, won a mining constituency never previously held by the Conservatives . As a former NHS worker he is, like many of his new colleagues, anything but a toff, and signals a coming transformation in the complexion of the Party both in Parliament and the country.  A number of the new 109 MPs are Tory working class heroes.

The question on everybody’s mind, from the Prime Minister to the newest arrival, is: “now that we have won them can we hang on to them?”   If we are any good at our job, the answer to that question should be a resounding “yes”.  Many Labour MPs – not just the left-wing apologists for Jeremy Corbyn -are consoling themselves that these Labour constituencies will return to type at the next election.

But they should look at Scotland, where the SNP swept aside a previously dominant Labour Party riddled with complacency and corruption – and it still has not come back.   The same could happen in England and Wales if they are not careful.

It was clear on the doorstep during these last six weeks that the electoral base of the Conservative Party has changed dramatically. Our voters are more working class and more urban. They are more provincial and less metropolitan.  They have a no-nonsense common-sense, and are certainly not politically correct. They have a quiet unassuming patriotism – proud of their country but respectful of foreigners.  They are careful with money, and know it has to be earned.   They want tougher policing but also have a strong sense of justice.  They depend more on public services, and are the first to get hurt when these fail.  Many of them would be classified as “working poor” and dependent on welfare payments, although they themselves may not see it that way.

So what should we do in order more fully to win their trust? Obviously we should deliver on our manifesto: get Brexit done, and provide more money for the health service, for education, for the police, and for more infrastructure – not least new broadband.   But this is nowhere near enough.   A manifesto should be a lower limit on delivery, not an upper limit on aspiration.

This should be no surprise. The Thatcher manifesto of 1979 was fairly slim. It certainly did not detail the actions of most radical and eventually most successful government of the twentieth century.

What Thatcher achieved was a revolution in expectations: about our country, about ourselves, about what was possible.  We have to do the same.

And our target should be unlimited.   We should be planning to prove to our new base that we care about improving their lives, but we should also be targeting the votes of younger people, too.   There should be no no-go areas for the new Conservatives.   Fortunately, the necessary policies are similar, and they require Boris Johnson’s hallmark characteristic – boldness.

There should be a revolution in expectations in public service provision, from health care to education. This is about imagination more than money. There are massive technological opportunities opening up, from genetics to big data to diagnostic technology, and we should be enabling the NHS to make better use of it.

On the education front, the international comparisons have not shown much progress since the turn of the century, despite the best efforts of successive Education Secretaries,  Other countries from China to Belgium have seized on new technology to completely reengineer the classroom. We should be doing the same.

And we should now work to further social mobility.   None of my doorstep conversationalists mentioned this phrase, but many talked about the opportunities (or lack of) for themselves and their children, which is the same thing.   We used to be a world leader in social mobility; now we are at the back of the class.   Every government since Thatcher has paid lip service to the problem, but none has done anything about it.   Indeed, they have made it worse.

Take for example the disastrous university tuition fees and loans system introduced by Tony Blair and made worse by David Cameron.   It has delivered poor educational outcomes, high costs, enormous debt burdens and widespread disappointment, as well as distorting the national accounts.

The heaviest burden of this failure falls on young people from the poorest areas. The Augar Report gave strong hints about how to fix it, even though its terms of reference forbade it from providing an answer.   The new policy aim should be simple.  Allow children of all backgrounds a worthwhile education to get good enough qualifications to start a decent career without crushing lifetime loans. It should be an early priority of this government.  It would be the single most targeted way of helping a generation that deserves our support.

One of Thatcher’s great contributions to social mobility was to encourage home ownership: 65 per cent of young people either owned or were buying their own homes then.  Today, that number is 25 per cent.   The reason is simple.   We are just not building enough homes.  In the last 15 years the population has grown by just shy of seven million people.

We have built nowhere near enough houses to cope with that.   The current incremental strategy is not up to the job, and we need to adopt a wholesale programme of garden towns and villages around the country, and a new process to drive much of the planning gain to reducing house prices and improving housing and service quality.   We should also look very closely at reform of the Housing Association sector, to deliver more homes for both rent and sale.   We were once a proud homeowning democracy, and a return to that would not be a bad aim for a modern Conservative Party.

This would be just a start.   But it has to be paid for.   This has always been the Conservative Party’s trump card: the ability to run the economy and deliver the funding for good public services.   Brexit opens up the possibility of a new economic renaissance, which the Prime Minister believes in, and is capable of seizing with both hands.

But we will need to rediscover the Lawson lessons: that simpler, lower taxes deliver more growth, more jobs, more wealth, and eventually more tax revenue.   Our tax system is now littered with irrational anomalies – most recently demonstrated by senior doctors refusing to do extra work because they were effectively being taxed at 100 per cent as a result of covert Treasury pension taxes.

It is time we swept much of this structure away, and liberated people to gain from their own efforts without excessive state burdens.   It should also not be too hard for us to do it in a way that helps the North as well as the South.  And this does not just apply at the top: the working poor face similar anomalies under the tax credit system.

Which brings us back to the ‘new’ Conservative working classes.   We should not imagine that an appeal to them is a novel gambit bu the Conservative Party.* The most successful political organisation in the world for two centuries has been just that because for most of that time it has relied on the working class for at least half of its vote.

From Disraeli’s reforming government to Shaftesbury’s great social and industrial chang, to Lord Derby’s legalisation of trades unions, we have a long and deep commitment to caring about the welfare of the working classes.   If this were not true, one of Johnson’s old Etonian predecessors as Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, would never have won the impoverished North Eastern constituency of Stockton – and held it throughout the great depression.   And of course in modern times Margaret Thatcher inspired Essex man and held many seats in the North – not least Darlington, which we won back last week.

So we have been here before. Blue collar Conservatism has a proven track record – one we should resurrect.  In this new political battle, the greatest tension will not be left versus right or even fiscal and monetary doves versus economic hawks.   It will be a battle between creativity and convention.   I have always thought that the Prime Minister subscribes to Nelson’s maxi  that “Boldness is the safest course,” so I suspect that this will be a battle that he will relish.   If he does, these will not be the last seats we win in the Midlands Wales and the North.

A few years ago I presented a BBC Radio 4 programme which showed that the Conservative Party has been heavily dependent on working class votes for most of its 200 year lifespan.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How much money are people really making in Northern Virginia?

Westlake Legal Group stack-of-dollar-bills How much money are people really making in Northern Virginia? salary salaries issue salaries professions News & Updates money jobs december cover story december Culture Features Culture cultural features careers
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Admit it. You’re curious. But no one will ever come out and ask that gauche, direct question. (Although, the popular cocktail-party question in the region, “What do you do?,” is considered acceptable—and is essentially the same thing).

So we asked for you. Northern Virginia Magazine ran an anonymous poll asking readers to share their salaries, along with where they live, their gender and age.

Read on to see what the average Northern Virginian is making across an array of professions.

Education

Teacher Assistant
$28,000
Lives in: Ashburn
Female/ Age: 31

Teacher
$89,000
Lives in: Springfield
Female/ Age: 43

Admin/Faculty, Higher Education
$37,500
Lives in: Fairfax
Female/ Age: 30

Math Teacher
$65,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 30

Art Teacher
$97,000
Lives in: Lorton
Female/ Age: 68

Elementary School Teacher
$60,248
Lives in: Annandale
Female/ Age: 39

Nanny
$18 per hour (50-hour weeks)
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 22

Tech/IT/Engineering

Geographic Information Systems Analyst
$106,000
Lives in: Reston
Female/ Age: 32

Senior Manager Cloud Operations
$162,000
Lives in: Manassas
Male/ Age: 60

Business Systems Analyst
$67,907
Lives in: Aldie
Male/ Age: 34

Field Engineer
$74,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Male/ Age: 23

Solution Architect
$175,000
Lives in: Reston
Female/ Age: 49

Global Services Director, Telecom
$250,000
Lives in: Chantilly
Male/ Age: 40

Program Director, Cybersecurity (Government Agency)
$156,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Male/ Age: 47

Application Support Analyst, Telecom
$91,000
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 52

Configuration Administrator, IT/Tech
$85,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 47

IT Program Manager, Government Contracting
$153,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Female/ Age: 36

Vice President, Hospitality Technology
$161,600
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 36

Community Development Manager, Digital Marketing
$57,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 32

Vice President, Tech
$400,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 40

Systems Administrator, Tech
$103,000
Lives in: Centreville
Male/ Age: 30

Solution Architect, Software Consulting
$175,000
Lives in: Reston
Female/ Age: 49

Nonprofit

Digital Organizer, Climate Change Nonprofit
$45,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 22

Director of Advocacy
$106,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 37

Director of Finance and Administration, Arts & Culture Nonprofit
$166,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 50

Senior Digital Strategist, NGO
$115,000
Lives in: Arlington
Male/ Age: 28

Executive Director, Nonprofit
$145,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 43

Director of Annual Giving, Fundraising
$82,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 28

Executive Assistant, Nonprofit
$79,000
Lives in: Springfield
Female/ Age: 46

CFO, Nonprofit Association
$200,000
Lives in: Ashburn
Female/ Age: 43

Medical/Science

Pharmacy Sales Rep
$47,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 22

Cytotechnologist (A lab professional who studies cells)
$83,200
Lives in: Bristow
Didn’t share

Hospital Manager
$53,000
Lives in: Manassas
Female/ Age: 32

Plastic Surgery Scheduler
$75,000
Lives in: Springfield
Female/ Age: 33

Behavioral Health Specialist
$66,000
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 34

Pediatric Surgeon
$560,000
Lives in: Vienna
Male/ Age: 39

Research Physicist
$160,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 48

Forensic Scientist Supervisor
$110,000
Lives in: Manassas
Female/ Age: 42

Clinical Social Worker
$55,824
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 22

Medical Receptionist, Orthopedic Medicine
$30,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 28

Physician’s Assistant
$95,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Female/ Age: 25

Military/First Responders

Military Officer
$148,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Female/ Age: 40

Security Manager
$125,000
Lives in: Chantilly
Female/ Age: 35

Police Officer
$81,000
Lives in: Loudoun
Male/ Age: 33

Communications/Media/Marketing

Marketing Manager
$122,000
Lives in: Aldie
Female/ Age: 36

Senior Staff Reporter, Media Company
$72,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 38

Director of Customer Marketing
$175,000
Lives in: Leesburg
Female/ Age: 42

Marketing Manager, Nonprofit
$65,000
Lives in: Chantilly
Female/ Age: 35

Production Assistant, Cable News
$44,500
Lives: Arlington
Female/ Age: 23

Reporter, Media Company
$85,000
Lives in: Centreville
Male/ Age: 44

Consulting/Business

Business Advisory Consultant, Professional Services Consulting Firm
$70,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 22

Director of Finance Operations
$98,500
Lives in: Leesburg
Female/ Age: 38

Senior Staff Accountant
$105,000
Lives in: Herndon
Female/ Age: 53

General Ledger Manager
$118,371
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 40

Capture Manager, Business Development
$190,000
Lives in: Sterling
Male/ Age: 46

Office Manager
$39,000
Lives in: Vienna
Female/ Age: 57

Business Analyst, Consulting
$57,500
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 23

Financial Professional, Professional Services
$120,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 24

Senior Consultant, Management Consulting
$124,000
Lives in: Falls Church
Female/ Age: 35

Director, Survey Research
$72,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 39

Managing Scientist, Consulting
$112,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 34

Consultant, Professional Services
$210,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 32

Management Consultant
$155,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 55

Senior Accounting Coordinator, Real Estate
$47,800
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 34

Vice President of Marketing, Consulting Firm
$53,000
Lives in: Manassas
Female/ Age: 38

HR Director, Consulting
$138,000
Lives in: South Riding
Female/ Age: 50

Human Resources Manager, Retail/Distribution
$89,200
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 32

HR Association (Onboarding Logistics)
$60,000
Lives in Arlington
Female/ Age: 25

Lighting Quotation Manager, Electrical Distributor
$120,000
Lives in: Fairfax
Female/ Age: 55

Real Estate

Realtor
$73,000 (average)
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age 33

Vice President, Data Science, Real Estate
$221,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Male/ Age: 37

Administrator, Property Management
$33,000
Lives in: Centreville
Female/ Age: 30

Politics/Government/Government Contracting

Media Buyer, Political Advertising
$82,500
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 30

Policy Advisor, Government
$135,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 35

Government Analyst
$132,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 43

Government Relations Professional, Defense industry
$103,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 32

Data Analytics Chief, Government
$140,000
Lives in: Arlington
Male/ Age: 37

Government Lawyer
$140,000
Lives in: Herndon
Female/ Age: 57

Aeronautical Information Specialist, Government
$153,000
Lives in: Leesburg
Female/ Age: 50

Contracts Manager, Defense Industry
$110,000
Lives in: Ashburn
Female/ Age: 51

Senior Director, Federal Systems Integrator
$270,000
Lives in: Potomac Falls
Male/ Age: 50

Transportation Planner
$102,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 32

Law

Deputy Clerk of the Court
$41,000
Lives in: Woodbridge
Female/ Age: 38

Law Clerk (Attorney), Federal Court
$136,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 42

Paralegal
$62,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 35

Director of Legal, Tech
$206,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 36

Policy Attorney, Nonprofit Legal Services
$53,000
Lives in: Manassas
Female/ Age: 34

Attorney
$120,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 31

Attorney
$165,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 44

Miscellaneous

Travel Agent (Team Lead)
$68,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 53

Landscape Architect
$45,000
Lives in: Alexandria
Female/ Age: 35

Licensed Massage Therapist
$75,000
Lives in: Arlington
Female/ Age: 47

This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue, as part of “The State of the Salary” cover story. For more great reads, subscribe to our newsletters.

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Ryan Bourne: Thatcher and Cameron made us happier

Ryan Bourne is Chair in Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute.

Perhaps David Cameron had better foresight than he’s given credit for. At a Google conference in 2006, the then leader of the opposition declared “It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being.” With the financial crash ravaging the public finances through 2010 and conventional economic indicators in the doldrums, he risked opprobrium by tasking the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to measure wellbeing for the first time.

Well, his desire to be judged on such metrics now looks incredibly prescient. Never mind sluggish GDP growth throughout and after his premiership. Forget the polarisation of Brexit. The ONS’s latest wellbeing stats, released last week, show that the British people are significantly happier and more satisfied than back in 2011.

It really is remarkable. Every self-reported measure of wellbeing has improved near continuously in the past eight years. Asked on a 1-10 scale whether they are satisfied with their lives (0 being “not at all” to 10 “completely”), the public’s mean score has risen from 7.11 to 7.42, with the proportion answering 7 or above rising from 76 percent to 82 percent. This isn’t some anomaly either. How worthwhile we perceive our lives and self-reported happiness have been ever rising too, on average. Anxiety, meanwhile, has fallen, albeit having levelled out recently. If Cameron had convinced us of wellbeing’s central importance, we’d now be celebrating his wonderful legacy.

As it happens, of course, this “good news” got about as much coverage last week as a positive Brexit business story. Remainer demands for a new Brexit impact assessment show that pounds and pence are still king in UK politics (at least until there’s an EU regulation the same Remainers want us to follow). We free-marketeers were fearful, when subjective happiness metrics were introduced, that they’d become active targets of policy. We needn’t have worried. Political leftists’ attachment to them proved skin deep, falling away as soon as they suggested Britain was not hell on earth under the Tories.

But was classical liberals’ fear of such metrics misguided? Perhaps. Consider a new paper from researchers at the University of Warwick. Reviewing eight million publications digitized through Google Books, the study aims to construct longer-run indices of wellbeing from 1820 through to 2009. Its findings are even more jarring than the ONS stats.

Here’s how their index is put together. Use of positive words in published books, such as “cheerful,” “happy,” and “joyful,” are considered proxies for better subjective wellbeing. Negative words such as “sad” or “miserable,” are tallied up as measuring worse wellbeing. In short, the academics assume that in a happier world, more “happy words” would be written in published tomes.

Now, I was sceptical of that methodology. But they check their results against life satisfaction data over recent decades from Eurobarometer and the UN, finding strong correlations in the numbers. Emotive positive/negative language does appear to proxy well for self-reported wellbeing since the 1970s, when both sets of data are available. Having satisfied themselves of the methodology, the retrospective application to earlier periods produces fascinating results.

Wellbeing was consistently high in the UK in the 19th century, fell around the time of World War One, before then recovering. Unsurprisingly, it plunged again during World War Two, before rebounding to a lower peak. But the post-war phase is most striking, splitting clear into two obvious periods. From the 1950s to 1980 there was a sustained fall in wellbeing. After 1980, there was a dramatic rebound, fitting with Eurobarometer data showing a sustained improvement in life satisfaction in the UK over the past 40 years. Britain’s life satisfaction index since 1950 is therefore distinctly V-shaped.

What might explain this dramatic inflection circa 1980? Social trends would surely be a slower burner. People had been getting better off between 1950 and 1980 too, so this is about more than rising wealth. No, there’s one rather obvious explanation fitting the time trend: the UK’s abandonment of its quasi-socialist economic model and embrace of Thatcherism.

Such a thesis is supported by the fact the US experienced a near identical V-trend in its index centred around the launch of Reaganism. Germany, in contrast, saw wellbeing completely flatline from the 1950s onwards. Neoliberalism’s birth, it seems, facilitated sustained rises in wellbeing.

These findings dunk all over accepted truths. Claims from the Spirit Levellers that inequality and marketisation made us miserable are dismissed. If anything, the exact opposite appears true: the post-war period saw socialist equality beget misery. Life satisfaction rose with inequality through the 1980s and continued to rise once inequality settled at a higher level.

Nor can GDP or the labour market adequately explain the trends. Rising GDP per capita, other things given, would be expected to improve life satisfaction, and Britain’s economy did perform well relative to other countries after 1980. But growth was stronger in previous decades, when life satisfaction was falling. Wellbeing does not appear to have fallen after the financial crash either. Sure, tightening labour markets might explain some of the rise in wellbeing since 2011, but Britain had very high unemployment in the 1980s, just as life satisfaction took off.

No, the absence of clear outcomes-based economic explanations suggests that my friend Terence Kealey may be right. What might explain the reversal from 1980 is simply that we Anglo-Saxons value our economic freedom, above and beyond its GDP or employment impact. Economic liberty makes us happier.

The post-war period saw high tax rates, capital controls, Keynesian demand management, nationalisations, price and income controls, and high inflation. Afterwards we shifted towards freer trade and migration, lower taxes, lighter touch regulation, and free movements of capital. Of course, we’re not near libertopia; if anything the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions proved a brake on a longer-term government juggernaut. But there was a paradigm shift on economic freedom. We Brits, and our American cousins, found it deeply satisfying.

For a libertarian, this isn’t surprising. Our worldview is centred on the belief that individuals know best how to live their lives to improve wellbeing. Thatcher, of course, claimed her economic liberalisation agenda was in tune with the true instincts of the British people. All this suggests she may well have been right.

David Cameron had no such ideological inclinations. In fact, he probably advocated happiness metrics, in part, to distance himself from the supposed economics-obsessed “libertarian” wing of his party. How ironic then that the sorts of wellbeing measures he championed took off when classical liberals turned the tide on socialism, and strengthened through the “age of austerity.”

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Neil O’Brien: How we can win support from younger voters – and turn our present strength into an enduring majority

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

It’s time to look to the future. Brexit isn’t quite over yet, but the Prime Minister has landed a great deal, and he has got off to a fantastic start, with a blistering series of popular announcements on the police, schools and hospitals. We’ve soared in the polls, while Corbyn deflates like a sad balloon

But let’s not stop now. Let’s work to turn our present strength into an enduring majority. In particular, let’s think about how we do better among younger voters.

In elections between 1950 and 2010, the Conservatives were on average eight per cent behind Labour among younger voters, but nine per cent ahead among older voters. But in the last election, we are were 35 points behind among the young (18 to 24-year-olds) and 36 points ahead among over-65s.

For me, the most concerning thing wasn’t being behind among the very young, but being behind among everyone under age 47. That meant we were behind among people with jobs, kids, bills… responsibilities – all things which tended to make people Conservative during previous years.

Doing better among younger voters isn’t about gimmicks: it’s about having answers to the big issues facing young people and young families.

Some of this is about action on issues younger voters care about. For example, we have a great record on the environment. We have the lowest emissions since 1888, and are one of the first countries in the world to set deadlines to end coal use, to go to all electric cars and net zero emissions.

But a lot of it is about doing things that will benefit young people directly.

Let’s start with housing. Declining homeownership explains a big chunk of the age gap in voting that has opened up. Looking at middle income people aged 25-34, the home ownership rate fell from two thirds in 1996, to just a quarter by 2016.

I’ve written elsewhere about the long term action we need on both supply and demand to drive up home ownership: building upwards and regenerating brownfield sites in our cities; rebalancing the economy to spread growth beyond the south east; getting away from the kind of piecemeal, tacked-on development in our towns and villages which maximises opposition to new housing; and making sure developers pay for the cost of the new infrastructure that’s needed with new housing.

But it’s also about building the tax reforms we’ve made since 2015. Those rebalancing tax reforms have led to the first sustained period for some time in which we have seen growth in home ownership, not just growth in the private rented sector.

But a plan to fix the housing problem over the coming decades isn’t enough. As well as a long-term solution, we need to provide immediate help. Many young people feel they’re on a cruel treadmill, unable to save because they are paying high rents. There are many who could afford a repayment mortgage (in fact it would be cheaper than renting), but they can’t save up for a deposit. So let’s create deposit loans: like Help to Buy, the government would take a repayable stake. But unlike Help to Buy, the purchaser would not have to provide a deposit up front.

There are a further group of people who might be able to save up a deposit over time, if only their existing rental costs were lower. They are the sorts of people who would have been helped by council housing in earlier generations – but (perversely) wouldn’t get it today, precisely because they’re working, so don’t qualify.

We could fund the creation of a huge number of cheap rented homes for young working people by transferring the remaining local authority housing stock into charitable housing associations, unlocking huge value.

Another part of our offer to younger people has to be about the cost of education. We have to be bold, not tinker.

Let’s cut the cost of going to university in half. And let’s pay for it by driving down the number of low value, mickey mouse courses which aren’t good value, either for students or the taxpayer. At present, one in ten graduates isn’t earning enough to pay back a single penny of their loan even ten years after graduation. And thanks to the LEO dataset, we now have a good idea of which courses they are, at which universities.

We need to build up technical education and apprenticeships. In Germany 20 per cent of the workforce has a higher technical qualification, but in Britain it’s just four per cent, while we rely heavily on importing electricians, plumbers, technicians and engineers from the rest of the world.

Tony Blair set a target for 50 per cent young people to go to university, but no such target for technical education.
We spend six times more per person on university students than technical students. We should become the champions for the 50 per cent who choose not to go to university too. We are introducing the new T levels, have brought in the Apprenticeship Levy, and are driving up number of Higher Apprenticeships. But there is much more to do.

But if we are serious about winning over younger voters we also need to talk about the pressures of life with a young family. Childcare costs are a huge worry for many.

Successive governments have built up a rather a confusing array of policies: the 15 and 30 free hours offers, Tax Free Childcare, the Childcare Element of Universal Credit, not to mention other benefits for children like Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. Each has complex rules on eligibility and requires a certain amount of bureaucracy to claim.

We could be incremental, and refine and build on existing policies. For example, one frustration with using the 30 free hours for working families is that it only covers 38 weeks a year, following school terms. So how much you pay yo-yos up and down wildly each month. We could make it year-round, so it is more generous and predictable.

Or we could think more radically. As Conservatives we think people are best placed to make their own decisions. For example, when two police women were prosecuted for looking after each others’ children in 2009, conservatives saw it was an example of socialist meddling gone mad.

One way to simplify this alphabet soup of complex policies would be to bring back the tax allowances for children which Labour abolished in the 1970s. Tax allowances for children existed between 1909 and 1977, and gave a higher personal allowance for people with children, on the conservative principle that you should be able to provide for your own family before you pay tax. Rather than taking money off people, and then getting them to jump through hoops to claim it back, we could go back to just leaving it with people in the first place.

There are lots of other things we could do. But as we move into the post-Brexit era, it’s time to look to the future.
Let’s make sure that in our next manifesto, we think big for younger people.

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Target Workers Get a Predictable Rude Awakening After Company Implements Minimum Wage Increase

Westlake Legal Group seattle-minimum-wage-620x319 Target Workers Get a Predictable Rude Awakening After Company Implements Minimum Wage Increase target raise the wage progressives Politics North Carolina minimum wage Media journalism jobs Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Economy democrats Culture Capitalism Business & Economy Allow Media Exception #FightFor15

As I’ve written before, the “Fight for $15” campaign may have had its share of victories in a handful of blue states like New York, but studies have shown that over time these “wins” are largely symbolic and ultimately end up hurting workers.

They hurt them in an number of ways, and one of them is in how companies – in response to these campaigns – start exploring different ways to save money to offset rising labor costs.

Though not bound by any mandate, Target decided to get woke a couple of years ago by announcing they would raise their minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020.

In a shocking display of actual journalism, CNN recently interviewed over 20 current and former Target employees who say that the gradual wage hike (their minimum is now $13) brought along with it less hours and, of course, less take-home pay. Why? Because Target started to look for ways to cut corners:

But some store workers say the wage increases are not helping because their hours are falling, making it difficult to keep their health insurance and in some cases to pay their bills.
[…]
“I got that dollar raise but I’m getting $200 less in my paycheck,” said one, Heather, who started in November at a Florida store working around 40 hours a week. She’s now below 20 some weeks, she said. “I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent or buy food.”
[…]
Beyond just a drop in earnings that Target workers who spoke with CNN Business have experienced, employees who average fewer than 30 hours of work a week during the year aren’t eligible to qualify for health insurance benefits through the company during annual enrollment season in the spring.
[…]
Target workers who say their hours have dropped have been given a variety of reasons why by their supervisors, including that there were not hours available or that their managers couldn’t fit additional hours in their budgets. Others said they received no explanation for why their hours fell.

One former store director in Ohio who oversaw around 130 employees said hours dropped at the store in the past year for several reasons, including the introduction of self-checkout and elimination of backroom shifts.

It’s almost as if this had been predicted or something.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Target Workers Get a Predictable Rude Awakening After Company Implements Minimum Wage Increase appeared first on RedState.

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Watch: Dan Crenshaw Wrecks the Left’s “Income Inequality” Narrative

Westlake Legal Group RepDanCrenshaw-620x317 Watch: Dan Crenshaw Wrecks the Left’s “Income Inequality” Narrative socialism republicans Poverty Politics Middle class jobs Income Inequality Front Page Stories Economy Dan Crenshaw Business American Enterprise Institute Allow Media Exception

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, left, listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

During a House Committee on the Budget hearing titled “Solutions to Rising Economic Inequality,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw totaled the idea that income inequality is not only a worsening problem in our society, he destroyed the idea that it’s a problem at all.

Speaking to Romesh Ponnuru of the American Enterprise Institute, Crenshaw started off by pointing out the two different ways we tend to look at financial prosperity, opportunities, and the economy which are usually defined by the left and the right’s views on wealth:

So, on the one hand, you have a deep and persistent focus on inequality – it’s defined as the gap between the rich and the poor – and at first glance, that seems pretty reasonable. But in reality, it means you’re dividing your attention. Half your attention is focused on protesting the wealthy – and these days that seems actually where most of the attention is – and that leaves only a small amount of focus on the real issue, which is people in poverty and their ability to move up the economic ladder. This is the kind of backwards thinking that leads to ideas like Andrew Yang’s, where we raise taxes on the rich only to give it right back to them in the form of universal basic income. It’s hard to imagine a more inefficient and ineffective way to reduce poverty.

As a conservative, our approach is different. Instead of creating resentment against success, we focus on who actually needs our help, which is the people who are having trouble moving up the economic ladder. After all, the fact that there’s a much wealthier person down the street from you is not the problem.

Crenshaw then asked Ponnuru whether or not income inequality is worse than ever, especially given all the welfare benefits and inflation. Ponnuru let everyone in the room know that we’ve actually never looked better economically:

No, it does not appear to be true. The Congressional Budget Office’s reports on the distribution of income suggest that income inequality peaked in 2007, that it has been falling since then, and so, we are, I think to some extent, looking at a problem in the rearview mirror. Of course that could change. Maybe next year’s numbers will be different, but the trends over the last decade or so have been toward shrinking inequality.

Crenshaw later dropped some statistics that back up the claim that Americans are more economically prosperous than the left lets on.

“It also turns out that 56% of Americans will at some point in their lives be in the top 10% of earners. 73% of Americans will be in the top 20% of earners in their lifetime. It’s an amazing statistic,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw pointed out that this means that the left is right, and the middle class is shrinking, but not because people are becoming impoverished, it’s because they’re moving up in the income brackets. Therefore, the narrative that income inequality is worse than ever is actually wildly inaccurate.

“This is all good news – doesn’t mean we can’t improve – the point is that the rhetoric about inequality is not only inaccurate, but it’s just flat-out unhelpful to the people we are actually trying to help,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw’s point was clear. The left gets too preoccupied with income inequality to the point where they actually set up roadblocks for people to become wealthy, or even come up with inane solutions that only make the problem worse like “universal basic income.”

They are effectively relying on socialism, which is a provenly failed method of economic governance, to fix problems that we’re not even having in the first place. At least not on a scale nearly so bad as the left is claiming.

The Daily Wire even backed up Crenshaw’s point by referring to various sources that showed America has been improving for years when it comes to upward economic mobility:

According to AEI’s Mark Perry, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, from 1967 to 2017, the percentage of high-income households in the United States increased from 9% to 29.2%. Meanwhile, the percentage of low-income households decreased from 37.2% to 29.5%. The share of middle-income households did shrink (from 53.8% to 41.3%), but many moved upward.

A 2018 publication from Pew Research states: “From 1971 to 2011, the share of adults in the middle class fell by 10 percentage points. But that shift was not all down the economic ladder. Indeed, the increase in the share of adults who are upper income was greater than the increase in the share who are lower income over that period, a sign of economic progress overall.”

While Crenshaw is right, and we can always improve, we need to begin looking at ways to use positive solutions for the economy instead of continuously resorting to solutions to “even the playing field.” The goal isn’t to be even, the goal is to get ahead. Onward and upward.

 

The post Watch: Dan Crenshaw Wrecks the Left’s “Income Inequality” Narrative appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group RepDanCrenshaw-300x153 Watch: Dan Crenshaw Wrecks the Left’s “Income Inequality” Narrative socialism republicans Poverty Politics Middle class jobs Income Inequality Front Page Stories Economy Dan Crenshaw Business American Enterprise Institute Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com