DINNER PARTY INTEL...
The topics you have to be able to discuss this week
1. Tax on revenues?
European finance ministers want digital firms such as Amazon and Google to be taxed in Europe based on their revenues, rather than only on profits. In a joint letter, the ministers of France, Germany, Italy and
Spain say the companies should not be allowed to do business in Europe while paying minimal amounts of tax.
The digital firms are taxed on profits booked by subsidiaries in low-tax countries such as Ireland, even if the revenue originated from a different EU country.
“It would be good for the ANC [to lose the next election] because those elements who are in it for the largesse will quit it, will desert it and only then would the possibility arise for salvaging whatever is left of it.” Kgalema Motlanthe, speaking to the BBC’S Hardtalk
2. China clamps down on cryptocurrencies
The growing popularity of bitcoin in China may have caused the government to see it as a threat to the local currency. China is rumoured to be going after bitcoin exchanges in an effort to step up its clampdown on cryptocurrencies. The news caused the price of bitcoin to fall close to US$4,000. Three Chinese exchanges made up more than 45% of the global market share over the past 30 days, according to Bitcoinity.org.
3. Wind energy cheaper than nuclear
Energy from offshore wind in the UK will for the first time be cheaper than electricity generated from nuclear. Companies say they can build offshore plants for £57.50/MWH. This is half the price of wind power subsidies granted in 2015. In comparison, the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant now being built secured subsidies of £92.50/MWH.
Wind subsidies will run for 15 years, while subsidies for nuclear run for 35 years. Nuclear will still be part of the UK’S energy mix, but the huge price difference has put pressure on the government to reconsider its commitment to a new generation of nuclear stations.