Thursday 24 January 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, January 24, 2013 with 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.)

FSA snubs banks' call for PPI deadline
The banks want a cut off date for claims on their mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. But the financial regulator said it will not put a deadline without a full public inquiry. TELEGRAPH

IRSA rate swap scandal: mis-selling bill to top £1.5bn
The cost of compensating up to 40,000 small businesses for the mis-selling of complex derivative products is to double to more than £1.5bn across the UK's major banks. TELEGRAPH

Cuts in food safety checks mean that horsemeat scandal could happen again
Local authorities are having to make cuts to essential services, and find innovative ways of saving money. The number of public analyst laboratories has fallen from 31 in 2000 to 17 now, while the number of analysts themselves is down 61 to 32. Meanwhile, because of the discovery of traces of horse meat, an estimated 10m budget beefburgers have been removed from supermarket shelves. INDEPENDENT
(...and what are the odds that, because of tightening local authority budgets, 10m budget beefburgers have mysteriously appeared in school dinners?)

Pension firms hide how charges eat away at your pension
Pension companies are not obliged to show these charges in a standardised form. Instead, a percentage fee, rather than the exact cost in pounds and pence, is shown. This makes it very difficult to understand how much of your pension is disappearing in charges. A pension fund worth almost £250,000 with no charges would be reduced to just £174,556, after 40-years, with a 1.5pc annual charge. By increasing the annual charge to 2.5pc, this reduces the value of the fund to £139,986. TELEGRAPH

HMV will accept gift vouchers after all
Deloitte, the administrators of the failed HMV, have said that the music and DVD retailer will start accepting £7m of unspent gift vouchers. Deloitte had previously said that gift cards could not be redeemed in stores, leading to anger among many customers. HMV were accused of selling vouchers over Christmas to tens of thousands, knowing that bankruptcy was around the corner. BBC NEWS

National lottery ticket price to double
Camelot said the payout for the average Saturday jackpot would increase from about £4.1m to £5m. It defended the change, saying that charities, retailers selling tickets and government coffers would all benefit from the price rise. Around 60% of UK adults play the Lotto regularly, and annual sales across the lottery products account for more than £6bn annually. Charities and other good causes get 28% of lottery revenue, while 12% is paid to the Treasury. Small shops, which pocket 5% of sales, will also benefit. The lottery is a voluntary tax on low income households, say critics. GUARDIAN
(“…and a 1 in 14 million chance of hitting the jackpot is the best investment return for any saver on a British high street since 2008,” say Camelot, accurately.)


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