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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, January 10, 2013 with 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.)

Disgraced high street banks 'to be welcomed into the classroom to teach children lessons in financial education'
Banks included Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Lloyds may be given permission to use branded material and make presentations in English schools from September 2014. Lessons would include calculating the cost of a loan. Teaching unions and campaigners have warned that schools would need to ensure banks did not treat lessons as potential marketing exercises. DAILY MAIL
(“Your children’s future is safe in our hands,” said a shadowy figure who followed this with a spooky, deep-throated gurgling laugh that went on for ages...)

PPI payouts to boost the economy in 2013 by £6bn
Banks are being forced to refund much of the 40 million (£50bn) Payment Protection Insurance policies mis-sold to consumers who did not need it and could never benefit from having it. This compensation windfall is equivalent to more than 1.5p off the basic rate of income tax. PPI refunds last year were also £6bn. The government hopes that the economy will be bolstered when those receiving compensation opt to spend it on consumer goods and services. DAILY MAIL
("This is the only way to make you lot save. We steal from you, then pay it back years later. Frightening, yet strangely beautiful," said our banking insider.)

Banks get new year's boost as liquidity rules relaxed
Banks have been given a further four years to build up capital buffers to avoid them having to be bailed out by the taxpayer. Commentators say they have once again outwitted their regulators. GUARDIAN

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