With the general elections just a few weeks away, a number of issues are currently being discussed by members of parliament. While the economy, health and infrastructure are all hot topics, there are other discussions which are perhaps closer to home for some voters – including the future of the TV licence.

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has claimed that the licence does not have a long-term future and will “likely be replaced” within the next 15 years. The changes could take into account developments in technology, which are causing viewers to turn away from their television sets and seek out their favourite television programmes via other methods such as catch up services or apps.

Currently, the TV licence is priced at £145.50 per year and allows the BBC’S UK services to remain free of advertisements and independent of shareholder or political interest.

In 2013, it was revealed that 400,000 households were forgoing their licence fee by watching their favourite television programmes on these aforementioned catch-up sites such as BBC iPlayer.

But while this may work for those of us who want to catch up on our soaps, can it cross over into the sporting world? Certainly, those who were looking forward to watching the Rugby Six Nations would have had no choice but to pay their licence fee, thanks to the BBC’s comprehensive coverage of the sport earlier this year via its TV, radio, online and social media platforms.

If there is anything that this has proved however, it’s that the sporting world can be viewed via a multitude of different media, putting into question the very need to purchase a TV licence in the first place. In 2015, the rise of mobile technology has given us access to sports updates like never before, allowing us to stream live games on our mobiles and check the scores via a simple tap of an app.

This has something which has been cashed in on by sports betting websites – not only can sports fans now compare the chances of their favourite teams, but they can also keep up-to-date with any sporting news such as player transfers and injuries. It’s a huge range of developments that is causing monumental growth in the mobile world and could soon make the television world obsolete.

The influence of mobile sports media has also had its effects across the pond – of the 125 million viewers to this year’s NFL Super Bowl event, it was estimated that 10.3 million came from video streams. This throws into question, then, the very future of the TV licence. While of course there is more to British television than just sport, the current ongoing political discussions do suggest that the BBC needs to move more in line with the times.

Today’s British sports viewers face a choice, then, if they wish to stop paying the fee – endure adverts, akin to our American brothers, or move away from television altogether and make the most of the internet offerings out there. It’s a short term solution if the MPs’ predictions are correct, but it could certainly make sports viewing cheaper and more accessible for British residents over the next 15 years.

Kitchen gadgets are not what they used to be. A combination of new technologies and a growing market, with more and more young people taking an interest in cooking, has led to rapid improvements. With great gadgets like these in your kitchen, you can really take the trouble out of cooking – and put the fun in.

Food processors

Today’s food processors are much more flexible than they used to be, with many different inserts suited to different kinds of task. The Breville Sous Chef food processor even has a variable slicing disc so that you can choose how finely you want it to chop things, whilst the Kenwood Multipro Classic has a 1,000W motor for remarkable power and fine speed control. If these aren’t quite flexible enough for your needs, you can also get excellent hand mixers with adjustable settings.

Coffee machines

From their humble origins as mere labour saving devices, coffee machines have become better at making coffee than the experts, no matter what your preference. You can keep things simple with a compact model like the Tassimo T12 VIVY or invest in something larger that will make you lattes, espressos, cappuccinos or flavoured drinks. The Tassimo hot chocolate machine shares their hi-tech features, delivering your drink at just the right temperature, perfectly prepared – and all these machines are guaranteed to look stylish in your kitchen.

Vegetable cutters

You may think that all you need for vegetables are a chopping board and a good knife, but if you want to speed the process up or do something more interesting with them, there are a number of modern gadgets that can come in handy. Lakeland’s Vegetable Spiraliser turns vegetables into fine, looping strands that look fantastic in salad or stir fry, whilst the Magimix Mini Chopper is fantastic for very fine chopping or puréeing. Improving blade technology also means that the traditional mandolin is better than ever for fast chopping.

Rice cookers

The humble rice cooker has been transformed from its ancient low tech origins into a stylish futuristic machine, something so useful that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The Zojirushi Rice Cooker brings Japanese tech into play and produces soft, fluffy rice perfect for donburi, whilst you can also use it to cook other grains, from oats to quinoa; the Tiger Electric rice Cooker has a toasting option which scorches some of the grains to give your rice dishes a nutty flavour. Look for machines that use induction cooking to make sure the rice will be cooked evenly all the way through.

Re-equipping your kitchen with devices like this will enable you to prepare food and drink more quickly and easily than ever, and to produce better quality culinary creations. They’re a big help if you’re a busy person with a family to feed and they’re fantastic if you’re entertaining. Hi-tech cooking is enabling chefs to create brand new dishes with lots of character – it’s time to explore it for yourself.

Cowhide rugs are one of the best types of rugs for a home or office. There are many reasons why many people are choosing these specific types of rugs to meet their needs, and knowing what a cowhide rug can do for your living space can make a world of difference in your own life. There are a lot of different sizes and styles of rugs available on the market, so it really is up to you what type and look you're trying to achieve in order to find the ideal rug for your own house or office area.

One of the main benefits of going with a cowhide rug is that they are incredibly versatile. They can be a wonderful option for a living room area, but they can equally go well in a nursery, office or child's room. Because of their versatility, many people are choosing cowhide for almost all rooms of the home. They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors, so it is incredibly simple to just match the rug with the specific area it is going to be used it. You'll find that the rug is ideal for your home because of how well it goes with everything.

Another major benefit to using cowhide rugs is that they are easy to clean while also being hypo-allergenic. You won't have to worry about allergens within the rug because of the fact that they are easy to clean. You just have to shake out the rug regularly to loosen any dirt or dust and you're ready to put it right back into your living space. It makes a wonderful option for people who do not necessarily have a lot of time to do the house cleaning and want something that is much easier to care for long-term. There are also many cleaning products that can quickly and simply be used on these types of rugs.

You will find that the cowhide rugs you choose to use within the home complement any type of decor and area they are going to be used in . You are going to adore the unique look and shape of each specific rug that you choose to go with when making your final purchase. Because of the benefits of cowhide, you will want to put one of these rugs into just about any room that currently has a dirty and dusty area rug. Cowhide is a grand choice for just about any home and room , so make sure to consider it if you are looking for something that you want to last a lifetime while still providing the home with a beautiful look that you can truly cherish for yourself.

Whether you're a seasoned investor or an individual just looking to put your money where it will see a return above the present pitiful saving account rates, small businesses can prove a rewarding prospect. Every world-beating business has to start small. Those with radical new ideas or unproven technologies struggle to win support from the banks can be the companies that change the way we live. However, for every start-up firm that goes on to be the next Facebook or Vodafone, hundreds will fail within their first couple of years. Investing in small companies is a high-risk activity, but it's also a gamble that can pay off spectacularly.

Spotting potential and taking advise

If you're new to the investment game, it's good to go for areas you already know something about. This way you have the ability to accurately assess a new company's potential. If you have an interest in the field, you have a better chance of buying shares at a bargain price before the city investors catch on. It's always a good idea to listen to the experts however, or at least to take advantage of whatever information is available, especially on the internet. The Fisher Investments excellent Flickr page has plenty of easy-to-digest information in graph and flowchart forms, giving you an insight into the way the market works and the risks involved. The golden rule is never to put all of your eggs in one basket, especially where small businesses are involved. Assume a certain amount will go bust, don't risk more than you can stand to lose and be prepared to wait a long time before you see a profit. Also, be on your guard against fraud, especially if investing online.

Tax breaks

In the UK, several government schemes offer tax relief to those investing in small, unlisted companies and start-ups. These can offer a buffer against losing money on your investments. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers 30% tax relief up to £1m per tax year on profits and loss, while the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, specifically relating to start-ups, offers a 50% break. Not all businesses qualify however, and not everyone can take advantage of these breaks, so make sure you have all the facts before going ahead.

The risks of investing in small businesses are high; you'll need good strategy and more than a little luck to come out ahead. But you'll have the buzz of championing the underdog, and hopefully the thrill of seeing it grow into a serious contender.  

A tough day at work? We know how you feel, we have all been there before. Perhaps taking a short break is just what you need to relax, unwind and get back into the right mood. But what to do? A short stroll around the office? Sure, why not. A call to your best friend? Not a bad idea. A fun online game? Now that's something that should make you feel better in no time! Why not take a couple of minutes for yourself and enjoy an amazing free slot game online!

Why games are a great choice when you want to take a break?

Online games are fun and entertaining, but they are so much more than just that. They will efficiently improve your brain functions and thus make you more effective at anything you do. For example, if you need to get started on an important presentation, online games will help you relax, which can improve your creativity and provide you with a number of great ideas for your presentation. If you are overworked and tired, online games will help you clear your brain and get back at the top of your game in no time.

What kinds of games are available?

Slot.com offers a wide variety of different slot games, but the most important fact is that they are all free and can be enjoyed online, so you can play them wherever you are. Most of the games are social slot games, which means that you can compete against your friends or co-workers, and see who's better when it comes to progressing along the ladder. If you get tired of online games easily, don't worry; there is an interesting selection of some of the most popular and extremely fun online games, so there is definitely plenty to choose from, and new games are becoming available every month, so the experience is always fresh. And if you need a little bit of extra motivation, we should also mention that if you play it right, you can win coins, which enable you to level up and unlock new games, features and even bonuses.

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