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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, January 31, 2013 with 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.)

Libor rigging: US regulators may chase RBS on criminal charges
RBS is already expected to be fined £500m by US and UK regulators for its role in the rigging of the $300tn Libor market. Swiss bank UBS was fined £940m and pleaded guilty to felony. Despite the imminent fine, RBS’s bonus payout may still exceed £250m. Unions warn that paying the RBS fine may result in the bank cutting ordinary bank jobs without penalising the “fat cats.” GUARDIAN

1,000 postgraduates a year 'too poor' to take up Oxford place
About 1,000 students a year turn down a postgraduate place won at Oxford on academic merit because of the financial demands of study there, university figures suggest. This amounts to 15% of the 7,500 students offered a place. It only makes financial sense to take on student debt if you are sure you can get a good enough job to repay it. But in the current climate around 40% of university leavers are in non-graduate jobs two years after graduation. GUARDIAN
(Too poor, or too smart?...)

Speaker John Bercow tells David Cameron not to block MP salary rise to £86,000
John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has warned David Cameron not to “appease” public opinion by blocking large rises in backbench MPs’ “ordinary” salaries. Submissions to the Parliamentary review by MPs suggest that members believe their salaries should rise by a third to more than £86,000. Bercow said that MPs “resent” moves by independently wealthy party leaders like the Prime Minister to prevent increases in their pay. TELEGRAPH
(“Cameron is totally blind to the hypocrisy of it all,” said Bercow, totally blind to the hypocrisy of it all.)

Ministers accused of “bending” the new high-speed rail line to avoid George Osborne’s affluent constituency
The Government faced claims of hypocrisy after it emerged that the northern section of the new HS2 rail network would include a £600 million “detour” around parts of the Chancellor’s seat of Tatton in Cheshire. TELEGRAPH
(...and a £600m “detour” around all principles of fairness and justice.)

Bank of England’s £375bn QE a 'monumental mistake', pensions experts say
A committee of MPs were told Quantitative Easing has reduced the value of pensions. This forced people to put more in their pension pots, thus squeezing their spending, and forced companies to divert cash to pension funds rather than investing. Also, by pumping money into the system, QE also drives up prices, which hits consumer demand. The Bank of England has created £375bn (Quantitative Easing) to help banks lend over the credit-crunch. GUARDIAN

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