Thursday 31 January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
OFT clears oil firms on petrol prices, despite experts' claims that they quickly rise but fall too slowly
Competition is ‘working well’ at the petrol pump and price rises over the past decade are largely due to increases in tax and the cost of crude oil - and not because of sneaky retailers cashing in - the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reported this morning. It says it found ‘very limited’ evidence pump prices rise quickly when wholesale prices go up but fall more slowly when it drops. As a result, it will not be launching a full investigation into the market. The watchdog failed to implement a measure called for by motoring organisations that would have seen wholesale petrol prices published, so that customers could easily see whether the price at the pump was fairly rising and falling. DAILY MAIL

Britain’s biggest multi-national companies oppose Cameron's call for tax disclosure 
Most FTSE100 businesses have warned David Cameron to abandon plans which will expose corporate tax dodging. They say it threatens to undermine the economic recovery. The PM said that firms have a moral duty to pay tax - in comments which angered global business leaders meeting in Davos, Switzerland. TELEGRAPH
(“It’s that word tax that makes us furious. And moral. And duty and pay, for that matter,” said our global business leader insider.)

Minister says UK pension charges pass the 'baked bean test' despite them being among the highest in Europe
Pensions minister Steve Webb says there is no need for price controls in the "vibrant" pensions market. Asked about the possibility of a cap on charges,  he said: "Why doesn't the Government set a price cap on a tin of baked beans? We don't need to because there's a vibrant market, people have lots of choice." Many workers and employers with little previous experience of pension saving will invest in poor value deals, say critics. TELEGRAPH
(Do you really think the pensions market is fine, minister? Or is that just the baked beans talking?...)

HMRC helpline keeps 16 million people hanging on the telephone, and paying for it
MPs attack HMRC for keeping helpline callers on hold for more than five minutes. Last year HMRC’s 0845 helpline cost callers £136m through delays in answering calls. HMRC has promised to move to a cheaper number. GUARDIAN
(We reckon HMRC should start using an offshore phone provider. They are always the cheapest, for reasons HMRC understand better than any of us.)

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , ,
The government officially allows big corporates to meet ministers "to improve coordination." The dates of the meetings are publicly available, but what was said is not! Don't worry, Cameron will save us...

Sunday 27 January 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013 Posted by Jake 3 comments Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

As official GDP data showed Britain flirting with a 'triple dip recession', we take yet another look at whether we are really 'all in this together'. 

For this post our focus is on how the Tory party's policy of 'austerity' is reflected in the unemployment rates in parliamentary constituencies around the country. Data from a report by the House of Commons Library, released in January 2013, shows that vast swathes of the country have low unemployment. Austerity is not so hard if you have a job. A wage freeze is far less austere than moving from a salary to the dole. So with all the vast swathes of low unemployment, where is the high unemployment and who is actually paying the price of austerity?

The data in this report reveals the unemployment rates in each parliamentary constituency. This shows just 10 Tory MPs and 4 Lib-Dem MPs have unemployment rates higher than 5%. While the unemployment rate is higher than 5% in 137 Labour MPs' constituencies.

Friday 25 January 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013 Posted by Hari 4 comments Labels: , , , , ,
Can KJ change Fee's mind?..

Thursday 24 January 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:

NHS staff crisis: Hospital pays £1,800 a day for agency nurse
The bill for temporary workers has risen by more than 20% in just one year, with private agencies receiving more than seven times the rate paid to nurses on the pay roll. The use of temporary staff has become endemic with almost every trust in the country now relying on private agencies to plug gaps in staffing. The total bill for temporary nurses is set to reach £450 million - a 21% rise on the previous year. Official figures show there are 6,000 fewer nurses working in the NHS since May 2010. TELEGRAPH
(...and what are the odds that, miraculously, there are 6,000 more nurses working for agencies!)

'Buddy' scheme to give more multinationals access to ministers
The controversial "strategic relations" initiative was launched in July 2011, giving 38 companies, including oil, telecoms and pharmaceutical giants, a direct line to ministers and officials. That number will now be extended to 80. The 38 companies – more than two-thirds of which are based overseas – have collectively had 698 face-to-face meetings with ministers under the current government, prompting accusations of an over-cosy relationship between corporations and ministers. The full degree of contact between the chosen companies and the government is not known as the content of telephone calls, emails, and meetings with officials are not recorded. GUARDIAN
("Why 'Buddy'? An alternative word was put forward but did not survive a successful court challenge for defamation by the Association of British Prostitutes," said our government insider.)

Gas market whistleblower who accused firms of price fixing is sacked
Seth Freedman, the whistleblower at the centre of energy market manipulation allegations, has been sacked by his price reporting agency, ICIS Heren. Freedman's concerns about unusual movements in the wholesale gas trade triggered investigations by the regulators. ICIS said it removed him because he had lost the trust of price reporting agencies (PRAs) and his colleagues. Freedman said his "victimisation" may make other ICIS staff too scared to speak up. GUARDIAN
(“Don’t worry. We have now made it clear to all staff that their concerns about market manipulation will be dealt with swiftly and effectively. A P45 can usually be issued in minutes,” said our ICIS insider.)

Watchdog gives banks final warning over staff incentives that lead to mis-selling
20 out of the 22 firms the FSA investigated had features that increased the risk of mis-selling. Managers face a conflict of interest as they have to oversee standards, yet get rewarded if sales increase. Despite the failings it has found, the FSA said it does not want to ban incentive schemes. DAILY MAIL
(“You simply cannot protect customers if you are always rewarded for making the banks more money. And I should know,” said former FSA boss Sir Hector Sants, who got his knighthood and a £3m job at Barclays within months of leaving the utterly useless FSA.)

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , , ,
Surely Cameron can commission another poll giving a different answer...

Sunday 20 January 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013 Posted by Jake 7 comments Labels: , , ,
You can tell how much miscreants respect authority by the effort they put in to hiding their misbehaviour. Shoplifters in a well guarded store take great care, preparing themselves with voluminous bags and outer-wear providing space to stuff misappropriated stuff. British prisoners of war took the most elaborate precautions to avoid the notice of their jailers when trying to dig themselves out of prison camps. 

On the other hand, where the guardians are either incompetent, complicit, don't actually give a damn, or have been ordered to turn a blind eye, the miscreants have no need to take precautions.

The contempt the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is held in by those they pretend authority over is evident from the stunning openness of their wards' frauds. To know this you have to look no further than the FSA's own reports, such as that into LIBOR rigging by the bank UBS. Undisguised extensive, widespread, open and shamelessly documented rigging occurred over several years and several continents before the FSA's pips squeaked. The traders made scant effort to disguise their misconduct which the FSA describes as "extensive and widespread" involving "At least 2,000 requests for inappropriate submissions [that] were documented – an unquantifiable number of oral requests", and occurring in "various locations around the world including Japan, Switzerland, the UK and the USA".

The financial services industry contempt for the FSA is well founded:
a) They know they are unlikely to be caught.

b) Even if they are caught, the fines - even those that run into hundreds of millions of pounds - are a small fraction of profits.

c) Fines are paid by shareholders. The individual staff who perpetrate the misdeeds hardly ever pay any meaningful penalty.

To detail the brazen behaviour banks get up to, contemptuous of their regulators, we need do little more than quote directly from the FSA:

Friday 18 January 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013 Posted by Jake 3 comments Labels: , ,
The 18th of January 2013 was the date for the second reading of the Financial Literacy in Schools bill. Being greatly interested in the progress of this bill we invested in a packet of ginger snaps and settled down with a mug of Tetley's to watch Parliament TV.

As it turned out this eagerly awaited debate lasted a minute (at 14.02) and would fit into a tweet. We therefore reproduce the debate in its entirety:

"Financial Literacy (Curriculum) Bill, Second Reading"

"Not moved"

And so this much heralded legislation seems to have faded away. The time, 14.02 (two minutes past two in the afternoon) is important, as House rules state:

"Note: If proceedings on the first Bill end before 2.30 pm, the second Bill and, possibly, subsequent Bills may be debated in the time remaining. After 2.30 pm, only those Bills which are unopposed may make further progress."

Being prior to 2.30pm, this bill had a right to be read even if it was opposed. So why wasn't it read?

The bill's sponsor, the Labour MP Thomas Docherty, said the reason for not debating this bill was the filibustering time wasting of the Conservative MPs, the members for Shipley (Philip Davies), Plymouth (Oliver Colville), Rosendale (Jake Berry) and Bury (David Nuttall) who droned on about a bill relating to the Antarctic.

"I am sure many people are disappointed that we have not had the chance to debate energy tariffs or financial literacy. I hope that those Members who are now slinking out of the Chamber, such as the hon. Members for Shipley (Philip Davies), for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile) and for Rossendale and Darwen (Jake Berry), will reflect, particularly in this weather, on the fact that we did not have the opportunity to discuss a measure that would help thousands of their constituents because they filibustered it out. I hope that their voters are made aware of that.  On a more positive note, I thank the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the hon. Member for Newbury (Richard Benyon), for the productive way in which his Department has engaged with this [Wild Animals in Circuses] Bill."
Thomas Docherty MP, 2.02pm Friday 18th January 2013

MPs of all complexion suffer from chronic verbal diarrhoea. The question that occurs to us is why Docherty decided he didn't have time to discuss Financial Literacy, and then went on to spend more than half an hour on his next bill concerning "Wild Animals in Circuses", to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

Now we at Ripped-Off Britons have as soft a spot as the next man for elephants and the like. But it seemed a strange choice of priorities in this current era of rampant financial scams by the nations banks, insurers and investment managers. We would have thought the children would have come first.

Perhaps someone could enlighten us? Please do let us know (email us at
Friday, January 18, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , ,
Chris is suspicious...

Thursday 17 January 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Seven in ten MPs on £65k believe they are underpaid
A majority of MPs said they deserve a 32% pay increase to £86,250. The survey by the Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) also found that more than a third of MPs believe they should keep generous final salary pensions. Unlike in other parts of the public sector, Ipsa is not proposing to introduce performance-related pay, regional pay or to take outside earnings into account. Facing accusations of hypocrisy, the Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said his consultation was open to the public “and I would urge people to get involved in this debate.” TELEGRAPH and IPSA
(...Get involved in the debate? Isn’t that an incitement to riot? Someone call the police!)

Seventeen NHS hospitals have dangerously low numbers of nurses
The warning coincides with an imminent report on the scandal at Stafford Hospital, where up to 1,200 patients died needlessly while managers slashed their budgets and staff numbers in pursuit of NHS foundation trust status. At Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex, women in labour were exposed to unnecessary risk because there were not enough staff. At Milton Keynes, patients with dementia were left unable to reach call bells, tables, drinks and warm clothing. TELEGRAPH
(...and in Whitehall ministers with blind right-wing myopia were left unable to see the storm brewing among an angry electorate who consider the NHS our most treasured institution...)

Taxpayer-owned RBS to be fined for rigging Libor market 
In 2012 banks were caught rigging Libor, affecting $300 trillion of trades worldwide, causing losses for ordinary savers and investors. The RBS fine is expected to exceed the £290m fine paid by Barclays but not the £940m fine paid by UBS. It is not clear whether bankers will lose their bonuses. BBC NEWS
(“We’re now all in a panic and have truly learnt our lesson,” said our RBS insider, barely audible above the sound of wrists being slapped...)

Major defence projects are hit by delays and £6.6bn overspend
Despite last year’s promise by the MoD that costs are under control, the National Audit Office found costs of the 16 largest projects had risen by £468m and slipped in timescale by 11 years. Overall, project costs have risen by £6.6bn. Delays to a £32m Falcon communications system for Afghanistan mean it will not now be ready until after British troops have withdrawn in 2014. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond compared improving efficiency at the MoD to "turning around a super tanker," with fuel inflation and other factors outside of the department's control responsible for three-quarters of the cost increase over the past year. BBC NEWS
(...the ‘super tanker’ of other factors being the infamously corrupt deals with the military-industrial complex and foreign governments, perhaps?..)

Tesco beef burgers found to contain 29% horse meat
Horse meat has been found in burgers on sale in British supermarkets. Tests on beef products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores uncovered low levels of the animal’s DNA. TELEGRAPH
(And that’s why I always buy my burgers from Fortnum & Masons. They're contaminated with veal, venison and sometimes lobster. Much better...)

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , , ,
It could be formalised by September 2014, but it already happens...

Sunday 13 January 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013 Posted by Jake 6 comments Labels: , , , , ,
We are told not to be harsh on bankers because most bankers are not reckless rogues (just the ones in the board rooms and on trading desks). Having crashed the World economy in 2008, the bankers promised to behave better, lend more to businesses, and accept new rules to reduce the risk of them going bust. They didn't behave better (e.g. LIBOR rigging); they screwed businesses (e.g. IRSA scams); and now they have wriggled out of the tighter rules (generous bank lobbying has resulted in liquidity requirements being greatly relaxed). Banking robbers dodging weak kneed regulators: not much of a surprise here.

We are told not to despise MPs because some of them didn't fiddle their expenses. They have continued to fiddle (e.g. they can't claim the cost of mortgages on their flats anymore so they swap them and claim rent that they pay to one another); in December 2011 they argued for an extra £20k in allowances; and in January 2013 they dumped their expenses regulators. In a survey of MPs done by IPSA and published in January 2013 "69% of MPs questioned think they are underpaid and, on average, they suggest a MPs’ salary should be £86,250.", a 32% payrise. Pompous MPs patiently manoeuvring for a big payday: not much of a surprise here.

With all this forgiveness for greedy bankers and grasping MPs, we are told it is necessary to punish the unemployed because while the rest of us trek to work of a morning the sofa-surfing-skivers are eating hot buttered toast dunked in cheap gin.

The debate about benefits cuts has been focussed on the "Strivers and Skivers". With the "Skivers" allegedly pocketing vast amounts of taxpayers' money to fund their skiving. The government has decided that by getting the money out of the skivers, they can afford to cut the top rate of tax (already done) and not impose a wealth tax (determinedly not imposed). 

The lie is exposed by figures from the Office of National Statistics and the Department of Works and Pensions that show less than 1% of all benefits spending is paid to possible "Skivers". And yet it is the whipped up contempt for the skivers that is used as a smokescreen to attack all benefits and deflect the public's attention from handouts to the very wealthiest.

So, lets look at the figures:

Saturday 12 January 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013 Posted by Jake 6 comments Labels: , , ,
Despite the evidence of fraudulent schemes, no firm has ever been disciplined by any professional accountancy body
By Prem Sikka, 
Professor of Accounting, University of Essex 

George Osborne's attack on organised tax avoidance is a huge disappointment. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is investigating some 41,000 tax avoidance schemes, but there is still no investigation of the industry that designs and markets aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
In contrast to the UK, reports by various US Senate committees have been critical of the predatory practices of the major accountancy firms (for examples, see herehere and here). KPMG was fined $456m(£284m) for facilitating tax evasion and a number of its former personnel have been sent to prison, as have some of the former personnel of Ernst & Young.
Now the public accounts committee (PAC) chair Margaret Hodge has PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Deloitte in her sights. The PAC should investigate the role of these firms in organised tax avoidance. An earlier internal HMRC study estimated that these four firms "were behind almost half of all known avoidance schemes".

Friday 11 January 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , ,
KJ, Fee and Chris wonder what will happen if G4S take over...

Thursday 10 January 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Poorest households will be hit hardest by benefit changes, Whitehall admits
The government plans to limit rises in working-age benefits to 1% in a bid to save £3.1bn by 2016. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report found that 30% of households would be hit by the change, with the average working household losing £3/week and single parents £5/week. The DWP admitted that households "further down the income distribution" would suffer the greatest loss of income. GUARDIAN
(“...which is what you expect from a government further down the evolutionary chain,” grunted the DWP spokesperson.)

Probation service 'revolution' means wholesale privatisation
The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, wants the wholesale outsourcing of the probation service. Private companies and voluntary sector organisations will take over the rehabilitation of the majority of offenders by 2015. He denied that it was a quick-fix to save money. The public probation service will be scaled back to deal with only with the most dangerous offenders. The majority of services will be contracted out on a payment-by-result basis. “It creates a world where innovation will flourish,” said Grayling. GUARDIAN
(“...and we’re all looking forward to seeing the bids from Atos and G4S,” say us.)

Health screening: top doctors attack 'scare tactics' by private companies
The British Medical Association says direct marketing letters should be 'put straight into the bin.' The BMA said if you get a clear result on an EGC, for example, it does not mean you are not going to have a heart attack, yet companies do a hard sell on the "reassurance" factor. One company, Prescan, advertises breast awareness consultations from £250 and brain scans for £1,280. The site includes a quote from Dragon's Den star and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne: "My trip to Prescan gave me peace of mind." GUARDIAN
(“...The brain scan removed my doubts that I had any principles,” said Mr Bannatyne.)

Passengers treated like 'cash cows' as rail firms hike car parking charges five times the rate of inflation
Fares are regulated, but not car parking charges. Rail firms simply charge whatever parking fees they think they can get away with. At some stations the increase has pushed the annual parking fee over £1,000. Meanwhile rail minister Simon Burns is under fire after it emerged he shuns commuting by train in favour of a chauffeur-driven car. The MP is ferried the 35 miles between his Essex home and his Whitehall office in the comfort of a Government car which costs the taxpayer £80,000 a year. DAILY MAIL
(“I don't know how this has happened. I’m very sorry and I won’t do it again,” the minister said.)

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 Posted by Hari 5 comments Labels: , , , , , , ,
But how will Cameron get out of this one?...

Sunday 6 January 2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013 Posted by Jake 8 comments Labels: , , , ,
In January 2012 we wrote a post about "The House of Commons Committee on Members' Expenses" calling for £20,000 pay rises. This would be achieved by converting certain 'expenses' that must be costs proved to be incurred for the sole purpose of MPs doing their jobs into 'regional supplements' that are just paid to MPs regardless. That Commons committee last met in December 2011, and has patiently waited, with no  minuted meetings, for the whole of 2012.

No meetings in the whole of 2012? In spite of the committee's recommendation, made in December 2011, that:

"In not more than six months' time, the House should have the opportunity to consider the merits of that cost-benefit analysis and evaluation and to make a decision on whether there should or should not be a system of regional supplements instead of the existing travel and accommodation provisions."

What ever were they waiting for? 

In the summer of 2012 an advert appeared on the parliamentary website:

Applicants invited for IPSA board membership....Individuals put forward for appointment by the House of Commons must have been selected by the Speaker on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, with the agreement of the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. 

In case you were wondering, IPSA (the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) was, in its own words:

"created in 2009 by the Parliamentary Standards Act. We are tasked with independently monitoring and controlling MPs’ expenses, pay and pensions. We set up new rules to make a clean break with the past."

"The past" being broken with is the parliamentary expenses scandal. The scandal that shocked and entertained the nation with stories of duck houses, moats, mortgage flipping, and more mundane dodgy expense claims by MPs and peers giving their incomes a dubious top-up. 

January 2013 saw the end of the terms of members of the original IPSA board created in 2009. There had been an expectation that those board members who wanted to stay would be automatically extended for one further term. However, the anger of MPs continuing to get their fingers caught in the public purse demanded revenge. Which the Speaker, John Bercow, provided by ruling that the entire board of IPSA must reapply for their jobs, and by putting a member of his own committee on the selection panel. Unsurprisingly apart from the chairman (whose appointment goes to 2014) all the members of the original board decided to leave, making the following statement on the 13th November 2012:

"The four ordinary members of IPSA’s Board have today announced they did not reapply for their positions. Of course, these are individual choices but one contributing factor was their concern about the process used to appoint and reappoint members to the Board. 

These concerns were first set out in an exchange of letters between IPSA chair, Sir Ian Kennedy, and the Speaker over the summer. The letters are available here:

Sir Ian Kennedy will continue as IPSA chair."

Friday 4 January 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013 Posted by Hari 1 comment Labels: ,
Fee, KJ and Chris try to work out why...

Thursday 3 January 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:

MPs are paid thousands of pounds from lobby groups 
Arms manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms and foreign governments have reportedly been paying MPs and peers in parliamentary special interest groups. In one case the Associate Parliamentary Health Group was allegedly paid over £190k from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and others. In exchange, the firms were permitted to send representatives to meetings held by the group. Also, the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group was said to have received £60k last year from brewers and other industry figures and organisations. TELEGRAPH
(Spot the difference: Party + beer = drunk and incapable. All-Party + beer lobby = sober and incapable.)

Universal credit plan 'is a disaster in the making', says minister just months ahead of launch
New system will replace list of unemployment handouts. But senior figures, including Chancellor George Osborne, are concerned about whether the computer software needed for the £2bn project is on schedule. Also, although Osborne supports the scheme in principle he is worried about such a high profile scheme affecting so many people in the run-up to the next election. It doesn't make sense to pay people not to work, in the government's opinion. DAILY MAIL
(...unless that person is Iain Duncan Smith, in our opinion.)

Hector Sants, City watchdog boss accused of being 'asleep at the wheel' during the financial crash, gets knighthood
Hector Sants spent five years as head of the Financial Services Authority. He receives the honour despite widespread criticism that the regulator had failed during the banking crisis. After he left the FSA he secured a £3m job at Barclays, one of the worst offenders. DAILY MAIL
(Very British, our honours system. It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. And Sants has played his better than anyone.)

Crackdown on doctors who prescribe expensive branded drugs when cheaper alternatives are available, wasting £1bn a year
The NHS must reduce its annual £8bn family medicine bill. The cost of an individual prescription item can vary from as little as 81p for a generic drug, to over £20 for branded drugs. Part of the problem lay with GP practices with on-site pharmacies, which make money for the doctors working in the practice. Because the profit margins on branded drugs are substantially higher, they have an incentive to prescribe more expensive drugs. INDEPENDENT
(On-site pharmacies that profit the doctors? Is there a Ministry of Conflicts of Interest they're not telling us about?)

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 Posted by Jake 3 comments Labels: , , ,
We at Ripped-off Britons aim to provide you with well sourced facts and data so you can digest and pass them on by word of mouth, by email, by re-tweeting.

But there's a limit to what we can do. So we invite you to find relevant articles and recommend them to us for publication on our blog.

We ourselves look around for suitable material ourselves, and have already gratefully accepted contributions from a number of guest authors. But there are only so many hours in a day available from our other duties. So we invite you, our readers, to suggest articles you have come across by doing the following:

  • Email us a link to the article, to
  • We will check out the article, to see if it fits in with our campaigning
  • If it does, we will contact the author and invite them to contribute the article to Ripped-off Britons
  • If the author accepts our invitation and we publish the article, we will invite you to select a Ripped-off Britons cartoon of your choice, which we will print and sign and post to you. (Perhaps not as liquid as cash, but it's the only sort of Quantitative Easing we can afford, and a sight less dodgy than the Bank of England's).
The articles we seek need to be more than unsupported assertions. We want evidence to back up the assertions, such as:

  • Quotes from recognised sources
  • Data from respected organisations
  • Well presented graphs and graphics
Campaigners like us are in competition with those who sell their rip-offs. Rip-offs that include dodgy financial products; gouging energy and transport price hikes; mendacious political stances. In this competition, in spite of the overwhelming financial power of advertisers, impecunious campaigners can still punch above our weight. According to a survey by Nielsen (a research company that aims to provide “the most complete understanding of what consumers watch and buy”):

“Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible.”

Which still means us campaigners are at a vast disadvantage, but less vast than you might think. 

The difference, dear reader, is you. People believe you far more than they do a costly advertising campaign or a weasel government statement. In contrast, corporate executives hoping to swipe your money and government ministers hoping for promotion and for private clients for their "cab for hire" services are greeted with the scepticism they deserve.

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