Thursday, 13 June 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments
Posted by Jake on Thursday, June 13, 2013 with No comments

Nation's wage bill falls £52bn to £638bn in five years with North West suffering sharpest cuts
Falling real wages, reduced hours and changes in the kind jobs people are doing has reduced the nation’s total pay, said a TUC report. This means a 7.5% drop on average since the eve of the recession in 2007. The North West suffered the sharpest cut of 10.6%. The South West, West Midlands and Scottish economies have also seen pay packets shrink by around 10%. Despite a small rise in the number of people in work since 2007, it has failed to offset the sharp cuts to workers’ wages. The TUC says if people have less money and are spending less, businesses will struggle: “It’s no wonder businesses are struggling when so much demand has been sucked out of the economy.” MIRROR
(“It’s tragic. There’s only one union left that can stand up to the merciless self-defeating slash and burn rhetoric of wage cuts these days, and that’s us,” said the National Union of Fat Cats. "See below...")

Top companies' bosses pay and perks rise 10% to £4.3m on average
This year the leaders of FTSE 100 firms continued to enjoy salary hikes, while the average worker received a pay rise of just 1%, well below the current 2.4% inflation rate which equates to a pay cut in real terms. According to the Office for National Statistics that 1% figure is the lowest since its records began in 2001. DAILY MAIL

Nestle and Mars charged with price-fixing of chocolates
Authorities in Canada have charged the food giants Nestle and Mars, together with a network of independent wholesale distributors, in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices of chocolates. Three individuals have also been charged: former Nestle Canada president Robert Leonidas; Sandra Martinez, former president of confectionery for Nestle Canada; and David Glenn Stevens, president and CEO of distributor ITWAL. Mars, Nestle and ITWAL vowed to fight the charges. But Hershey Canada, an alleged co-conspirator, is expected to plead guilty in exchange for leniency, blaming previous management. BBC NEWS

Vodafone paid no corporation tax in Britain last year
Generous tax breaks mean the UK’s second largest mobile phone company reduced its tax bill to zero for the second consecutive year. The blue chip company has distributed £4.8bn in cash dividends to shareholders in the last 12 months – more than any other British business. CEO, Vittorio Colao, collected £11m in pay last financial year, down from the £15.7m he earned the year before. The drop in his pay is due to revenue targets missed in recession hit Europe. GUARDIAN
(News? This isn’t news. News would be “Vodafone pays some corporation tax in Britain!!!” surely?...)

Ex-HBOS chief James Crosby stripped of knighthood
Following a highly critical report by the Banking Standards Commission in April, Sir James asked for his knighthood to be removed. The report described him as the "architect" of the strategy that led to HBOS' downfall. Mr Crosby also gave up 30% of his £580,000-a-year HBOS pension, meaning he will waive around £174,000 this year. Mr Crosby's knighthood is the second casualty of the banking crisis. Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of RBS, was stripped of his knighthood in 2012 after leading the bank to near-collapse in 2008, and an eventual multi-billion pound government bailout. BBC NEWS

Privatised rail has meant 'higher fares, older trains and bigger taxpayers' bill'
A TUC-commissioned report says the rail selloff 20 years ago has brought little private investment in new technology but the dearest fares in Europe. Over 90% of profits go straight to the shareholders. Investment is overwhelming being paid for using taxpayer subsidies or government-underwritten borrowing. Between 2007 and 2011 rail firms got £3bn in subsidies. The report noted that the only firm that re-invests its profits is East Coast, which is publicly owned. GUARDIAN

Water giants' profits and tax 'morally questionable'
Jonson Cox, the chairman of the water industry regulator Ofwat, criticised companies for making “exceptional returns” and paying little or no tax while “hard-pressed customers have seen annual bills rise by 13.5% since 2010/11”. Ofwat has already asked companies to look at ways of sharing these windfall gains with consumers. While four have so far responded “positively”, Ofwat may intervene to “set the rules to make sure that customers benefit.”  TELEGRAPH

Sold down the river: How Thames Water diverts its tax liability via the Caribbean despite £549m profit and 6.7% price hike
Thames Water's profits were £549m i.e. 30% of their turnover of £1.8bn. They awarded their chief executive a £274,000 bonus. Yet they put up customer bills by 6.7%, customer satisfaction has dipped and hundreds of people’s homes were flooded with sewage. Critics said it was a “disgrace” that one of Britain’s biggest and most profitable companies was not making a greater contribution to the Exchequer. INDEPENDENT

Disability Living Allowance changes begin
Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) are replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). As part of the government's welfare reforms, the new PIPs require claimants to be assessed by private providers. But the charity Scope warns of a repeat of the problems with the fitness-to-work test, known as the Work Capability Assessment, where thousands appealed successfully against their test results. Capita, one of the firms carrying out the assessments, says the test is more of an interview than a medical assessment. The head of Capita's PIP programme said: "Applicants could be asked to bend over and touch their toes, but it will not be more complicated than that." BBC NEWS
(...and the taxpayer who's paying Capita et al for this service, whether they cock it up or not? "They'll just be asked to bend over," said our Capita insider.)

Lloyds admits “shortcomings” in the handling PPI mis-selling complaints
An undercover reporter at the Times said staff at one of the bank's complaints handling centres had been taught to "play the system". The reporter said he was told to ignore possible fraud by Lloyds salesmen and that most complainants would give up if rejected the first time." The reporter was also told that some salespeople secretly ticked the “payment protection insurance” box before the customer signed. The centre was operated for Lloyds by the leading accounting firm, Deloitte. BBC NEWS

Survey: Four in 10 would join consumer boycott over tax avoidance
Tax dodging by some big companies has persisted in the headlines since the start of the economic crisis. The survey shows older people (54%) the most likely to take action, with much less support from the young (28%). David Cameron has promised to put tax avoidance centre-stage when he chairs the G8 summit. Analysts point to pessimism and defeatism among the young. The economy-wide unemployment rate of 7.8% rises to 20.7% among those aged 16-24. Whereas 79% of the prewar generation believe that their own generation has had a better life than their parents, among the youngest this figure drops to 42%. GUARDIAN


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