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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, June 27, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Payday loans market faces competition inquiry
Office of Fair Trading suspects payday lenders of preventing, restricting or distorting competition. Payday lenders charge annual interest rates of more than 4,000% in a £2bn market, making up to 50% of their money from customers who extended or rolled over loans or incurred late payment charges. Lenders are using practices which make it difficult for consumers to identify and compare costs, and create barriers to switching when loans are rolled over. The regulator said variable levels of compliance with credit laws and guidance meant firms that invest time and effort to comply were at a competitive disadvantage. GUARDIAN
(Said one payday lender  that fully complies with the laws, “If it wasn’t for Osborne throwing tens of thousands into poverty every week, we’d be out of business by now.”)

Starbucks pays UK corporation tax for first time since 2009
A company spokeswoman said it had listened to its customers, paid £5m now, and would pay another £5m later this year. The move follows pressure from politicians and campaigners, and an agreement by world leaders last week to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance. Starbucks has only reported taxable profit once in 15 years in the UK, despite sales of £400m last year. To deflect public criticism, big tax dodging corporates highlight the jobs they creats, and the tax and national insurance they pay on behalf of their staff. But that is not the tax paid by the corporate. BBC NEWS
(“...It is, kind of. ‘Cos they’re paying the tax we dodge. And so are you!” said one joyous finance director...)

Drug companies accused of colluding with chemists to overcharge the NHS for drugs
Following a whistleblower tip-off, undercover reporters approached specialist pharmaceutical companies that discussed ways chemists could bill the NHS for more than they actually spent. One company described a "rebate" scheme, whereby the chemist would inflate their invoice to charge the NHS more than they actually paid for the drug. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are feared to have been wasted in recent years due to the practice. TELEGRAPH

British Gas pays £10m to settle row after allegation it broke rules by failing to round down gas figures on bills
British Gas had been displaying the 'calorific value' figure to four decimal places on bills when Ofgem rules require it be rounded down to one decimal place. British Gas had been interpreting the rules this way for five years. British Gas argued that bills were no higher than they otherwise would have been because the sum lost from rounding down the figures would have anyway been recouped through higher retail prices. DAILY MAIL

Auditors failed to declare the risks accumulating on banks' balance sheets
The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS) said the incestuous relationships between banks and their auditors meant that "at best, auditors did not act as the last line of defence against banks' questionable reporting on their own businesses and, at worst, they were cheerleaders for it." The accounting method used meant banks were paying out on profits that had not yet been made. The PCBS recommends that tightening up the audit rules should be an essential part of bank reform, even if it makes banks look less profitable. The PCBS, set up by the government in the wake of a string of scandals involving the industry, found bankers, regulators, investors and auditors all failed to understand the risks building up in the banking system. ACCOUNTANCY AGE
(“Look. We were completely thrown by the huge numbers involved. I mean, just look at them,” said bankers, regulators and auditors as they stared at their pay cheques...)

Outgoing governor of the Bank of England says Government is blocking tough new rules for British banks
Sir Mervyn King said banks put ‘tremendous pressure’ on Downing Street, after which the bank regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, was contacted by politicians or senior officials close to David Cameron or George Osborne. Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said: ‘Pressure had been brought to bear on the PRA, as a result of calls by the banks to Number 10 and Number 11... Representations of the views of banks are desirable. Attempts to influence the independent regulator are unacceptable.” The cause of the current global crisis is irresponsible lending on a massive scale. DAILY MAIL

Deloitte gets one-year New York ban
The Financial Advisory Services division of Deloitte has agreed to a one-year suspension from doing new consulting work for financial firms in New York state. Last year, UK-based Standard Chartered agreed to fines totalling over $650m to settle charges it violated US sanctions on Iran, Burma, Libya and Sudan. Deloitte, the global accountancy firm, were advising Standard Chartered. Deloitte also violated New York banking law by disclosing confidential information of other clients to Standard Chartered. Deloitte will also pay the state of New York $10m (£6.4m) under the agreement. BBC NEWS
(We need some of that US law enforcement over here. And fast...)

Infant classes over 30 almost treble in five years
The number of four-to-seven-year-olds being taught in classes of more than 30 pupils almost trebled in five years, according to official data. In 2008, there were 730 infant classes with more than 30 pupils, representing 1.7% of the total. By 2013, this had risen to 2,299 "over-sized" classes, 4.1% of the total. BBC NEWS 

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