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She loved the product — an app and card that provided zero-fee international money transfers, the ability to use digital currency bitcoin, as well as other services — and was excited at the prospect of working for the company. She did a minute job interview over Google Hangouts with the London-based head of business development, Andrius Biceika, and was immediately told she had passed to the next round, which would involve a small test. The instructions on the exercise said the applicants should recruit at least clients in a week to have a chance at passing to the next interview phase.

Following revelations about the exercise on Spanish website eldiario. At the time, besides the role Laura had applied for, the company was recruiting for similar positions in eight other European countries, but West wouldn't answer questions about how widespread this practice was, how many clients Revolut had acquired that way, or which company executives had been aware of the practice. Revolut's "home task" required applicants for various positions to recruit new app users.

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A copy of an email from May 25, shows the company had already asked applicants to complete the same exercise months earlier when recruiting for a Greek PR and community manager. A role Chad West, as head of communications, likely would have known about, according to a former manager who was at the company when the policy was brought in. While part of the job description of a business development manager would include customer acquisition, this was not a skill PR managers would be expected to have. He says that none of the applicants was paid for bringing in clients.

Buckley, who has come across several former Revolut employees when helping to hire them for other companies, says the issue of burnout and high staff turnover comes up repeatedly.


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Depending on the role, workers spend on average between eighteen months and four years at a startup. Staff retention at Revolut is far lower, Buckley claims. Revolut was given detailed questions about all the points raised in this article, including that head of communications Chad West knew that applicants were being asked to conduct free work prior to the revelations by eldiario. The company declined to comment. It also did not respond to questions about bullying, unfair dismissals and low retention rates of senior HR staff. They emphasised that in the last year the company had grown from to people, with staff turnover of less than 2.

An analysis of the start and end dates of former Revolut employees on LinkedIn suggests that over 80 percent had lasted less than a year, and over half stayed at the company for less than six months. Martin, who asked for his name to be changed, had been told he would be given a budget to hire a team, and relative autonomy to run the company branch in that country. He quickly discovered the budgets for staff were non-existent and bullying by senior managers was commonplace.

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One by one, he claims, his fellow country managers quit or were fired. According to Linkedin, country managers in the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Germany all spent a year or less at the company, and have not been replaced as of the time of writing. The economy goes in fickle booms and busts, cycling merrily through bubbles and crises, but cities, built in concrete and steel, generally stay put. What we are making now, we will all have to live with for a very long time. The iniquities of the banking crash have been intricately unpicked, but the wilful destruction of the places where we live and work remains something of a mystery.

We may rant and rage against ugly additions to the skyline , but what of the mechanisms that are allowing it to happen? How did it come to this? The principal reason can be traced to the fact that awarding planning permission in the UK comes down to a Faustian pact. Introduced as a negotiable levy on new development, Section agreements entail a financial contribution to the local authority, intended to be spent on offsetting the effects of the scheme on the local area.

The impact of a hundred new homes might be mitigated by money for extra school places, or traffic calming measures. In practice, since council budgets have been so viciously slashed, Section has become a primary means of funding essential public services, from social housing to public parks, health centres to highways, schools to play areas. The bigger the scheme, the fatter the bounty, leading to a situation not far from legalised bribery — or extortion, depending on which side of the bargain you are on. Vastly inflated density and a few extra storeys on a tower can be politically justified as being in the public interest, if it means a handful of trees will be planted on the street.

But take a closer look, and it seems the new standards it is setting comprise an impressive ability to avoid providing any affordable housing at all. And of the 4, new homes being built, just 79 will be social rented ie. The system has spawned a whole industry of S avoidance, with consultancies set up specifically to help developers get out of paying for affordable housing at all scales of development. So what exactly does it mean when a property developer pleads poverty?

The power of the policy to leverage affordable housing has been further eroded since the introduction of community infrastructure levy CIL in A non-negotiable fixed-rate tax on new development, CIL was intended to introduce more transparency and give developers a level of certainty about how much they would be expected to contribute towards infrastructural improvements.

But, in reality, it has provided another excuse to dodge Section obligations. A further change to the town planning act last year has made Section agreements renegotiable, allowing review and appeal of all existing obligations, in a misguided attempt to promote growth — which simply makes it easier for developers to wriggle out of their promises, as happened in Tottenham and elsewhere.

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The silver bullet of planning applications, the viability appraisal explains, through impenetrable pages of spreadsheets and fastidious appendixes, exactly how a project stacks up financially. It states, in carefully worded sub-clauses, just why it would be impossible for affordable housing to be provided, why the towers must of course be this height, why no ground-floor corner shop or surgery can be included, why workspace is out of the question; indeed, why it is inconceivable for the scheme to be configured in any other form.

Presented as a precise science, viability is nothing of the sort; it is a form of bureaucratic alchemy, figures fiddled with spreadsheet spells that can be made to conjure any outcome desired. It means one thing: commercially viable. Immune from public scrutiny, viability assessments have rightly come under fire for clouding the accountability and transparency of what should be a statutory public process.

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One such case recently ended in victory for housing campaigners, when after two years of fighting, which culminated at a tribunal, Southwark Council was ordered to disclose the viability assessment produced by Lend Lease over its controversial redevelopment of the Heygate Estate. The figures explaining why this was the only feasible way to develop the site were safely locked away in the viability appraisal, which Southwark fought tooth and nail to keep secret. It sets an encouraging precedent for campaign groups battling similar situations elsewhere, from Greenwich Peninsula to Earls Court — where the information commissioner has supported further disclosure of viability assessments on gargantuan regeneration schemes.

Developers getting into bed with local authorities might usually happen behind closed doors, but at Mipim the conspicuous chumminess was proudly on show along the Croisette for all to see. Developers have long thrown parties and funded foreign trips as a way of lubricating their plans through the system, but the quest for permissions now extends into the statutory planning process itself, through the rise of deals known as planning performance agreements.

You pay for a better service. Presented as a means of empowering communities, they have in fact left the door wide open for canny developers to move in, host a few community coffee mornings with felt-tips and post-it notes, and engineer a plan to their own advantage.

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But such a tactic would require at least cursory engagement with the community and the council, something which many developers are increasingly choosing to bypass altogether. Rather than being the last resort option, after negotiations with the local authority have broken down, the process of planning by appeal has become a tactic in itself. When the Rolls Royce legal team of the private developer meets the quivering case officer of the emasculated public sector, its not hard to guess the outcome. The scheme was approved in April, against the advice of the local authority and the cries of heritage groups.

How right they were. With a storey shaft already on the skyline, the council was in no position to refuse further skyward ambitions. A wall of glass stumps is beginning to sprawl along the river from Wandsworth and Battersea to Nine Elms and Vauxhall — and beyond. Nothing hangs together as a result, nothing makes sense at ground level.