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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, December 20, 2012 with No comments | Labels:

Queen Asks Bank Bosses About Financial Crisis
During a visit to the Bank of England, the Queen asked why nobody saw the financial crisis coming. She was told that everyone thought that markets worked efficiently, that economies were stable, and nobody realised how interconnected the system was. The Queen suggested the regulator "didn't have any teeth." SKY NEWS
("Teeth? It didn't have any b...." added the Duke of Edinburgh, in that way that he does.)

Britain's biggest TV and net firms used Luxembourg loophole to avoid £80m in tax
Virgin Media, Sky and Talk Talk set up companies in Luxembourg to benefit from VAT rates as low as 3%. The three firms all claimed that because their businesses had UK presence, customers were effectively importing from Luxembourg. All three companies are in the process of moving their operations to the UK, implying they will pay this tax in future. But they have no plans to repay the £80m. DAILY MAIL
(Surprisingly, this item didn't make it into the news feeds of Virgin, Sky or Talk Talk. But several stories of cats falling into bath tubs did.)

300,000 more homes will be in fuel poverty this Christmas
More families are facing a choice between 'heating or eating'. A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel for adequate heating. Rising prices, stagnant wages and welfare cuts are responsible for the rise. INDEPENDENT
(“More lefty rubbish. In this globalised world of interconnected economies, it’s unrealistic to expect the UK government to have known that it gets cold in the winter,” said one minister.)

Six-fold rise in people relying on food handouts, including those in work
Cameron challenged by Miliband on poverty and rise in use of food banks. In response, Cameron said keeping inflation down, including wages, was essential. He also praised the role of volunteers who helped the poor, explaining they were "part of what I call the big society". GUARDIAN
(NEWS LATEST: Six-fold rise in sales of dartboards with Cameron's face on it.)

Two ex-Financial Services Authority supremos get jobs at banks
Hector Sants, former boss of the bank regulator, the FSA, has been given a new top job to improve Barclay's reputation. Meanwhile, Lloyds has announced the hire of the FSA's general counsel Andrew Whittaker. Both executives were running the FSA when it failed to spot and stop the banking system from collapsing. BBC NEWS + THE LAWYER
(And in other news: Inspector Clouseau is hired by the International Federation of Jewel Thieves as its Global Director of Compliance.)

Greed culture: former FSA boss Hectors Sants gets job at Barclays for £3m
Sants is the former boss of the bank regulator, the FSA. Lord Myners, the City minister under Labour, says that Barclays has “made a big mistake” in offering its new compliance officer, Hector Sants, a pay package reportedly worth as much as £3m. It was proof that we have not yet “seen the end of a greed culture” in the banking world. TELEGRAPH

Google crackdown on payday lenders - websites must follow new rules or see their ads banned

The world's number one search engine has ordered payday lenders to 'prominently' display how much interest they charge on their website's homepage. They must also state what happens if customers fail to make payments. DAILY MAIL
(NEWS LATEST: HMRC ordered to display what happens if massive multi-national corporations like Google fail to pay any tax on huge UK revenues. "Errr.. nothing," said the HMRC website.)

Eric Pickles' town hall cuts will end in skeleton services, warn councils
Councils in England face spending cuts of up to 8.8% from April, with an average cut of 1.7%. Pickles outlined 50 ways for councils to save money, including scrapping the post of chief executive, cutting translation services by printing official documents in English only, opening coffee shops in libraries, and banning free mineral water at council meetings. GUARDIAN

Banks and building societies withdraw their best savings accounts, because they already get "cheap" money from the Bank of England
Savers face another four years of very low interest rates on savings accounts. Banks are using the Bank of England's £60bn Funding for Lending Scheme because it is more profitable than using the money of ordinary savers. Moneyfacts said the banks were even trying to drop out of consumer "Best Buy" tables; the only way to do so was to withdraw the accounts completely, given their interest rates were already virtually zero. BBC NEWS
("...as is our commitment to turning round the economy," said our banking insider.)

UBS hit with £940m fine after regulators reveal traders made 2,000 requests to fix Libor
The Libor rate affects $500 trillion of contracts from mortgages to corporate loans. Libor manipulation at UBS was common knowledge: at least 45 individuals including traders, managers and senior managers were involved in, or aware of, the practice. The manipulation was also discussed in internal open chat forums and group emails. At least 16 banks around the world are being investigated for manipulating Libor. UBS also bribed brokers from other firms. DAILY MAIL

Most tax scams are not caught by our procedures, admits HMRC
54% of tax dodging schemes are not caught by HM Revenue and Customs. HMRC identified 41,000 “open avoidance cases” worth £10.2bn last year among rich individuals and small firms, but has no strategy to deal with the problem. HMRC had only taken 11 cases to tax tribunals for non disclosure of tax affairs since 2004. TELEGRAPH

The great HMRC telephone rip-off: Inland Revenue costs taxpayers £136m a year by putting calls on hold 
Given calls to 0845 numbers can cost up to 45p a minute from mobiles that means some customers are spending £5 before they even get through to an advisor. While HMRC does not directly profit from the income from 0845 numbers its telephone operator Cable & Wireless does. However tax officials said they did not know how much because they had “no contractual access” to the figure. INDEPENDENT
("...As Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, we are the last people to know how much money global corporations are making in the UK," said our HMRC insider.)

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