Thursday 4 April 2013

Thursday, April 04, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, April 04, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Over 300 banking adverts caught mis-selling last year 
Financial companies were forced to remove or amend more than 300 advertisements last year. But the bank regulator refused to name the offending promotions. So consumers have no way of knowing if they were a victim. Consumer champion Which? says: “It’s ridiculous that if you run a misleading advert for chocolate spread you’re named and shamed, but the names of the firms that have issued hundreds of misleading adverts for complex savings, investments, insurance products and bank accounts are kept secret.” A study six years ago found that more than three-quarters of all adverts published broke the bank regulator's rules. FINANCIAL TIMES
(Said the bank regulator: “Of course we won’t name the offending banks. They lied. They were caught lying. They were forced to stop lying... For an industry that depends on lying, that’s punishment enough.”)

Employers raid workers' pensions to pay fees for external consultancy
New pension rules mean millions of workers are being automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. The consultancy is for setting up these schemes, but the advice is of no benefit to the workers. Despite this, many employers are charging the huge consultancy fees to the individual employees' pension funds.  For example, fees deducted from each worker’s pension can be £400-£450 for the first year plus ongoing annual charges. For a low earner, this could see their pension fund reduced by nearly half in the first year. The government regulators have no plans to intervene. MONEY OBSERVER
(You plebs are too stupid to save for your old age. Your government’s too stupid to save for your old age. So everyone’s gonna have to depend more and more on their employer and the private pension providers. And as you can see from the huge fees they charge, they’re not stupid at all…)

Energy supplier SSE fined £10.5m for mis-selling gas and electricity
The SSE fine is the largest ever imposed on an energy supplier by Ofgem. EDF Energy was forced to pay £4.5m compensation last year. Investigations into E.On, Scottish Power and Npower are still continuing. Among the catalogue of evidence, some customers were told they would save money when in fact they were switched onto a more expensive contract. The people SSE employed to audit doorstep sales got a commission on sales, so had no incentive to report mis-selling. SSE was forced to stop doorstep sales in 2011 due to mis-selling, but continued it in stores and over the phone. The fine is 0.5% of the cash generated year-in and year-out by SSE. No heads have rolled among SSE's senior executive team, but their bonuses have been squeezed. BBC NEWS
(Bonuses "squeezed"? And what’s the difference between squeezed and cut? When you squeeze something you make it smaller, temporarily. Sometimes you just change its shape a little.)

Welfare cuts unjust, say four churches
The Easter criticism comes from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, and the Church of Scotland. They accuse politicians and parts of the media of making the cuts easier to impose by misrepresenting poor people as lazy. They said the British public had "come to believe things about the poorest in our society which are just straightforwardly not true... The public believes that the major cause of poverty is laziness, yet the majority of people in poverty work." Figures published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that families will be an average of £891/year worse off starting this week because of tax rises and cuts to tax credits and benefits introduced since 2010. BBC NEWS
(Said one bishop: “This crisis was caused by the rich and powerful! And what a time to launch all these cuts against the poor! It’s Easter. The holiest part of the Christian year. When we remember how the life of one that was innocent and defenceless was taken, so that the rest of us can be saved... Oh, right… I get it now…”)

Benefit changes: Who will be affected?Ministers argue the changes are necessary to tackle the rising cost to the taxpayer and cut the budget deficit. They also say it will simplify the system and provide greater incentives for people to work. However, charities and opposition politicians say the moves will force families into rent arrears and increase homelessness. BBC NEWS

Petition avalanche for Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week
On Monday's Today Programme David Bennett, a market trader on benefits, said that after his housing benefit had been cut, he lives on £53/week. The next interviewee was Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who was defending the changes. The interviewer then asked IDS if he could live on this amount. He replied: "If I had to, I would." Within hours a petition was launched calling on IDS to live on this budget for at least one year. Within 48 hours over 360,000 had signed. EVENING STANDARD
(Has David “We’re all in this together” Cameron signed it yet? I don't think so...)

Minimum wage could be frozen or cut if it starts to cost jobs or damage economy
At present, the Low Pay Commission, which sets the minimum wage, only has to “consider” the impact on the wider economy. The government now wants to force it to set a minimum wage that supports government cutting costs during a recession. The news alarms anti-poverty campaigners who have been urging the government to adopt the higher “living wage”, which is estimated to be £7.45 this year. Labour is considering making the living wage a key part of the party’s 2015 election manifesto. TELEGRAPH
(“Stop scrounger businesses from abusing the system! A business depends on people spending their wages on the high street. So businesses that pay crummy wages are living off the backs of businesses that pay decently,” said the right wing press and government ministers. Not.)

Big rise in firms hiring staff on “zero-hours” contracts
23% of employers with more than 100 staff have adopted the flexible "zero hours" contract terms for at least some staff following a surge in the number of public sector services contracted out to private providers, including the police and the NHS. These contracts keep workers on standby and deny them the same conditions as regular employees. The contracts have long been popular with companies like McDonald's, Poundland and Abercrombie & Fitch. Large charities and public sector organisations have also adopted the arrangements. Employers say the contracts provide flexibility for workers juggling other commitments. GUARDIAN
(...such as hours spent at job centres looking for an employer that won’t screw them over.)


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