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Legal Matters Scotland
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Bloomberg reports on how machines are getting better at the white-collar office tasks that were once thought to be the preserve of humans as U.S. businesses race to automate as much as they can amid rapidly rising wages, workers in short supply, and near-record job vacancies. The latest generation of software robots builds on advances in artificial intelligence and machine-learning that enable computers to perform tasks including speech recognition, and make some of the decisions that used to be reserved for employees. Bloomberg observes that the automation of mundane tasks should free up employees for more challenging and satisfying work, but some roles could begin to entirely disappear — without obvious alternatives for the people who earned a living from them.Full Issue
The Sunday Times’ Matilda Davies looks at efforts to plug post-pandemic gaps in the workforce as firms struggle to recruit enough staff despite a recent hiring spree. Data show that the number of households in which no one is employed is on the rise, hitting a five-year high of 4.2m in June. The number of “economically inactive” people – those not in employment and not seeking employment - has also been climbing. In the three-month period to July, about 22% of the UK population aged 16 to 64 was economically inactive. Tony Wilson, a director at the Institute of Employment Studies, says the increase comes as older people are leaving work and a lot of people are unable to work due to long-term ill health. Some firms are targeting older and retired workers to fill roles; some are retraining existing staff to cover areas where there are shortages; while others have developed training and apprenticeship programmes to tackle skills gaps.Full Issue
The U.S. Department of Education has announced Stronger Connections grants totaling nearly $1bn, to help schools provide all students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments that are critical for their success. State education agencies (SEAS) must award these funds competitively to high-need local educational agencies (LEAs), as determined by the state, to fund activities allowable under section 4108 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As part of the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent chief state school officers a Dear Colleague Letter outlining three principles that SEAs are strongly encouraged to consider when designing a competitive grant competition and providing LEAs with direction for how they use these funds: to implement comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to to create positive, inclusive and supportive school environments; to engage with students, families, educators and staff on the deployment of these strategies; and to ensure that they are responsive to underserved students, protect student rights, and demonstrate respect for student dignity and potential.Full Issue
Florida residents and business owners affected by Hurricane Ian will have extra time to file their tax returns. The IRS said returns due in mid-October, including individual tax returns for 2021 where taxpayers received the automatic six-month extension, are now due February 15th 2023. Throughout Florida, the IRS also delayed quarterly estimated tax payments due in January along with payroll- and excise-tax returns due in October and January. All will now be due February 15th.Full Issue
Banks in the EU will collectively need a further €1.2bn to meet a set of global capital rules in full by 2028, the bloc's banking watchdog has said. The European Banking Authority said implementing the Basel III global accord in full would result in an average increase of 15% in current core 'Tier 1' capital buffers, with much of the shortfall among smaller, domestic-focused lenders. Requirements under Basel III have largely been rolled out, but some remaining elements are due to be fully implemented by 2028 in the EU, Britain, the US and other jurisdictions. The EU plans to delay when banks should start to implement the remaining Basel III rules until January 2025.Full Issue
Legal Matters Scotland
Legislation requiring local authorities across Scotland to establish a licensing scheme for short-term lets has now come into effect, with existing hosts and operators given until April 1 2023 to apply for a licence, and with a July 2024 deadline for all short-term lets to be licenced. Housing Secretary Shona Robison said that while the "vast majority" of operators are following safety standards, the new scheme "will support responsible operators and give guests the confidence that their short-term let, be it a flat in Edinburgh, a property for a business trip to the Borders, or a cottage in the Highlands, meets the same set of safety standards". While a number of tourism bodies have criticised the new rules, the Scottish Government has said it will monitor the impact on both hotspot areas and the wider tourism sector.Full Issue