Thursday 9 May 2013

Thursday, May 09, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, May 09, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

“Shrinkflation”: Food products are getting smaller while the price you pay stays the same
Manufacturers and retailers are increasingly sneaking in new reduced sizes while describing them as special offers or re-launches. One shopper said: ‘It feels like being lied to. Why act in a deceptive manner unless it is to make more money out of us?’ The shrinking has happened over the past few years, with many customers being none the wiser. 
  • Bakery chain Greggs cut the meat content of its Steak Bake pie by 15% while keeping the price at £1.35.
  • Walkers crisps contents have fallen by 6% from 34.5g to 32.5g, but the price remains the same.
  • A Mars bar has shrunk 2.5g to 58g.
Tell-tale signs are “special deals” which are just a cover for shrinking goods. They even have the nerve to make boasts like “less fat” when it is due to them offering less everything.’ Shredded Wheat Superfruity used to be sold for £2.68, so Sainsbury’s put it on £2 special offer before returning it to £2.68 but with less content. A spokesman for PepsiCo, which owns Walkers, said: ‘We have faced rising commodity prices and raw ingredients costs. Where possible we absorb costs but we have had to make slight reductions to the weight of some crisp products.’ Laura Sandys, Tory MP for South Thanet, says: ‘It’s wrong that consumers are forced to absorb inflation without knowing about it. The Government is looking at the issue.’ DAILY MAIL
("…we certainly are. So we can pull the same trick. Pay, pension and benefits freezes force those on lower incomes to absorb inflation more than anyone, but sadly they know all about it!" said our government insider…)

£20m 'Sweetheart' tax dodge deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs was struck to save Government embarrassment, court hears
The deal has become the subject of a legal challenge by UK Uncut, the tax pressure group. The deal allowed Goldmans to escape paying between £6m and £20m in interest on tax owed to the Exchequer. HMRC apparently feared that Goldmans would pull out of George Osborne’s new tax monitoring agreement unless it was let off the tax. UK Uncut wants the High Court to declare the deal unlawful, but even if it does so, the deal cannot be overturned and Goldmans will not be obliged to pay the money. The court saw incriminating emails by Dave Hartnett, who was the top ranking civil servant at HMRC at the time. INDEPENDENT
(“So… it always pays to dodge tax. Even if we get caught, we get to keep the interest on the cash we’ve stashed. And get to blackmail George Osborne while we’re at it!” said our Goldmans insider…)

One in four UK children will be living in poverty by 2020, says thinktank
The IFS says tax and benefit reforms introduced since April 2010 account for most of the projected rise in numbers. Another 600,000 children may fall into relative poverty during this parliament, with this figure rising by more than 1 million by 2020, the IFS says. The jump will result in Britain missing binding targets to reduce child poverty by 2020: the target was to reduce it to one in 10, or fewer, of all children, or about 1.3 million. A government spokesman replied: "...We want to take a new approach by tackling the root causes of poverty including worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown.” GUARDIAN
(“Ummmm… and all our tax and benefit reforms introduced since April 2010,” the government spokesman added. Not.)

Is ScottishPower the next to be fined for mis-selling and repeatedly misleading customers?
SSE has already been fined £10.5m for repeatedly misleading customers. The other two firms being investigated by Ofgem are Eon and npower. All the investigations relate to past mis-selling: in SSE’s case it concerned hundreds of thousands of customers mis-sold contracts between 2009 and 2012. Angela Knight, boss of the industry’s trade body Energy UK, said that the industry faced an issue of trust when dealing with the public, and that companies that made mistakes should own up promptly. DAILY MAIL
(…And Angela Knight knows all about trust and owning up promptly. Her last job was the head of the British Bankers Association from 2007 to 2012…)

Help to Buy 'bubble' could push house prices up by 30%
The Government’s "reckless" Help to Buy scheme uses taxpayer money to provide a loan of up to 20% of the value of a new build property, provided the borrower can raise a 5% deposit. But it risks creating a new housing bubble and could push the average UK house price up by 30% to £300,000 by the end of 2015, a leading economic think-tank has warned. “Help to Buy is a reckless scheme that uses public money to incentivise the banks to lend precisely to those individuals who, absent the scheme, would not and should not be offered credit," said Fathom Consulting, set up by former Bank of England economists. TELEGRAPH
(Hmmm… lending vast sums to people who can’t pay it back. Where have we heard that before?…)

One in five families rely on loans and savings to meet grocery costs
The worst-affected group was households earning less than £21,000 a year and squeezed 30 to 49-year-olds, many of whom had children. 31% of people surveyed by Which? cut back spending on essentials last month, and they were most likely to be women aged between 30 to 49 years old. Which? Said: “Our tracker shows that many households are stretched to their financial breaking point, with rising food prices one of the top worries for squeezed consumers.” 68% of people across the survey described the state of the economy as poor, although 9% said it is good. DAILY MAIL
(…and 100% of payday lenders said it is bloody fantastic!)

£410m pension crackdown on foreign spouses will be 'bureaucratic nightmare'
A new law will close the loophole that allows 220,000 spouses who live abroad to receive UK state pensions. Steve Webb, the pensions minister, said that every year £410m is spent on spouses living outside the UK, some of whom are foreign citizens who have “never set foot in Britain at all”. The pensions can be worth £3,500 a year for the entire length of a person’s retirement. But experts say administering the new system will be a "bureaucratic nightmare" that could cost as much as it saves. TELEGRAPH


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