Thursday 16 May 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, May 16, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Cameron threatens to prosecute oil bosses for fixing the price of petrol
BP and Shell’s London HQs have been raided for evidence by the European Commission. They are investigating claims that prices were rigged for more than a decade. It could have had a "huge impact" on the price of petrol at the pumps "potentially harming final consumers". Four months ago the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruled out an investigation into petrol price fixing after finding "very limited evidence." TELEGRAPH
(Oh no, not another EU initiative that tells us what to do. We Brits do things differently! Errr... we do nothing.)

Iain Duncan Smith caught exaggerating benefit cap figures
The Work and Pensions Secretary said that his new benefit cap was having "the desired impact" because 8,000 people who would have faced a benefit cut had been incentivised to get jobs. But the UK Statistics Authority, the statistics watchdog, said his figures were simply "unsupported by the official statistics published by the department". For the third time in just six months, the head of the UK Statistics Authority has written to ministers to warn them about their misuse of statistics. BBC NEWS
(However, their sister regulator, the UK Lies Damn Lies Authority, once again gave IDS its full support...)

100 of UK's richest people concealing billions in offshore tax havens
An unprecedented global investigation is now under way as HM Revenue and Customs acts on a 400-gigabyte cache of leaked data. George Osborne, the chancellor, warned the alleged tax evaders and a further 200 accountants and advisers accused of helping them cheat the taxman: "The message is simple: if you evade tax, we're coming after you." HMRC declined to name any of the individuals, advisers or companies it is investigating. GUARDIAN
(“...And why should we? A quick look at the list of Tory party donors should tell you all you need to know,” said HMRC...)

One nurse for 250,000 patients: whistleblower reveals nurses are replacing GPs to cover entire counties 
The revelations about Britain's biggest out-of-hours private care provider Harmoni come from a whistleblower GP. Harmoni makes £100million a year from NHS contracts. The GP has made a number of other startling allegations about how Harmoni is routinely jeopardising safety to cut costs. They include:  
  • Terminally-ill cancer patients made to wait eight hours for a doctor to visit them at home and administer pain relief 
  • Foreign doctors with a poor grasp of English being used to plug gaps in the rota
  • Locum doctors flying in on easyJet from Europe, or driving from elsewhere in Britain, to work back-to-back shifts round-the-clock without sleep 
(How about Easy Group cuts out the middle man and launches its own “no-frills” out-of-hours private care provider. Call it easyNHS?... easyGP?... easyMoney!!!)

SSE boss says he is 'ashamed' over mis-selling
In April, energy firm SSE was fined £10.5m and ordered to compensate customers who were lied to, switched to SSE, and ended up paying more. But Chief Executive Ian Marchant insisted that examples of his staff lying were “few and far between” and that “a more common thing that was happening was misunderstanding – either deliberate or accidental”. BBC NEWS
(...And the latest addition to the Oxford Dictionary? A “Marchant” - a deliberate misunderstanding, otherwise known as a lie.)

Ban on pensions middlemen whose rip-off fees wipe out retirement saving
Rip-off charges levied by middlemen consultants that can wipe out large portions of pension savings will be banned from auto-enrolment schemes, as part of a two-pronged attack on pension charges. New rules mean employers must auto-enrol 11m workers onto pensions in the coming years. The ban however is not retrospective and will only be effective on schemes which are set up from today. But supporters of the fee said if employers cannot pass on the cost of the advice to their staff, they won’t bother to seek advice and end up choosing the wrong workplace pension provider. DAILY MAIL

Co-op Bank bosses face clawback of bonuses
The news follows the six-notch downgrade by Moody’s of the Co-op Bank’s credit rating, which was relegated to junk status after its failed takeover of Britannia Building Society in 2009, and a deal to buy 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group collapsed this year. The Co-op’s directors are understood to be looking at what action they can take against managers, including former Co-op Bank boss Neville Richardson. He left the in 2011 with a package worth £4.6m, including a £1.4m payment for “loss of office”, as well as £1.39m in “compensation” for leaving. TELEGRAPH

Government cuts threaten gender equality gains
Some of the most vulnerable women in society – including single mothers, those who are disabled or from minority ethnic groups – are bearing the brunt of government policies. The findings come in a report by an umbrella organisation of 42 women's and human rights groups, including Women's Aid and the Fawcett Society. The report says all but the richest women are doing worse than in 2008, and that further spending cuts will worsen things further. Latest polls suggest support for the Conservatives among women is 15 points behind Labour, while it is roughly neck and neck among men. GUARDIAN

UK's top companies condemned for prolific use of tax havens
  • Only two FTSE 100 companies have no subsidiaries in tax havens
  • Big four banks and Tesco among biggest users
The UK's 100 biggest public companies are running more than 8,000 subsidiaries or joint ventures in onshore and offshore tax havens. Cameron and Osborne have promised the UK will lead a global clamp down on tax dodging. But 1,685 of those tax haven subsidiaries are in UK Crown dependencies such as Jersey, or overseas territories such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Bermuda and Gibraltar. GUARDIAN


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