Thursday 1 November 2012

Rip-off News round-up. Our pick of the last week's media (Thu 1st November)

Occupy protesters were right, says Bank of England official

The anti-capitalist protesters who occupied St Paul’s Cathedral were both morally and intellectually right in its attack on the international financial system, said senior Bank of England official Andrew Haldane. The movement’s “tent city” occupied the grounds of St Paul’s for more than three months. The protest ended after the Corporation of London, home to the UK’s major banks, had them evicted, claiming that the protesters were despoiling the cathedral’s grounds. TELEGRAPH
(“Those dummies! Had they despoiled the whole world and thrown it into a global recession, we’d have given them one of our big fancy buildings to live in,” said the Corporation of London.) 

Trainee teachers will face tougher entry tests
Education Secretary Michael Gove wants more rigorous tests to select trainees, in order to raise standards. But the National Union of Teachers criticised Gove for raising entry requirements while at the same time advocating that academy schools should be free to employ unqualified teachers. The proposed tests will assess the candidates' ability to solve problems, recognise patterns, think laterally, evaluate and analyse issues. BBC NEWS
(“If we’d had this sort of testing to screen every Education Minister over the last 30 years, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now,” said every teacher in the land.)

London "tax dodge" inquiries by foreign governments rise by 18%
Overseas governments have intensified their pursuit of their own tax dodgers who hide in the UK. The global crackdown on tax evasion is picking up pace. In recent years legislation designed to fight terrorism and money-laundering has made it easier for countries to share information on tax affairs. Pinsent Masons, the law firm, said "The expertise of London in wealth management makes it a stable 'haven' for individuals looking to protect their assets from political or economic instability overseas." GUARDIAN
( “Political or economic instability”?? Surely “the taxes their honest hard working fellow citizens pay all the time.”)

Bob Diamond should explain Libor role in court, says judge

Guardian Care Homes (GCH) claims that Barclays mis-sold it a complex interest rate swap product based on Libor (the key interbank interest rate). Earlier this year major banks were caught rigging Libor rates, which affect transactions worth trillions of dollars worldwide. The landmark legal case will also determine which other firms can claim banks mistreated them. The judge warned Barclays against any attempt to undermine the trial, in which the bank will have to disclose 1.2m Libor-related emails. GUARDIAN
("Oops, sorry. I just deleted them all," said a Barclays executive.)

Almost five million British workers are paid less than the living wage
The research by KPMG found that 4.82m workers survive on less than a living wage, currently £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 in the rest of the country. The government has resisted campaigns to increase the current minimum wage of £6.19 to living wage levels, fearing that it would hit employment figures. All three main party leaders expressed support for the Living Wage campaign before the last election but have done nothing about it since then. GUARDIAN
(“Sorry, it slipped our mind. We’ll get a few of our unpaid interns on to it straight away,” said the Tory, Labour and LibDem HQs one after the other.)

Banks blamed for rise of unscrupulous PPI claims management firms
Banks were caught mis-selling useless Payment Protection Insurance, and ordered to refund over £10bn. The process of getting a refund is so simple that applying to the bank directly is sufficient. However, banks have turned down so many genuine claims that people have mistakenly believed that using a claims management firm (which takes a 25% cut) will make a difference, which it won't. The chief financial ombudsman has concluded that banks not investigating PPI claims properly has therefore played into hands of the unscrupulous claims management firms. DAILY MAIL
("Out of thin air we've created thousands of new jobs and a whole new industry that takes a 25% cut for doing nothing at all. It's what we do best!" said our banking insider.)

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