Thursday 25 July 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, July 25, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Archbishop of Canterbury wants to 'compete' Wonga out of existence
The head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, laid down a challenge to the UK’s leading payday lender after launching a new credit union for clergy and church. Welby, who served on the parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, said he plans to expand the reach of credit unions as part of a long-term campaign to boost competition in the banking sector. There are also plans to encourage church members with relevant skills to volunteer at credit unions. Small, local lenders could also be invited to use church buildings and other community locations with the help of church members. GUARDIAN

New bank rip-off: banks face £1bn bill for mis-selling credit card fraud insurance
Millions of bank customers mis-sold useless credit card theft insurance are set for payouts from a £1billion compensation fund, but there are fears that it could be higher. Customers of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Nationwide will be paid compensations over the next few months. It follows an investigation last year by the Financial Conduct Authority into CPP, a company which sold so-called card and identity theft cover via banks between 2005 and 2011. Not all banks sold these policies. While many high-street operators did, Lloyds and Halifax chose not to. Roughly nine in ten were sold via banks and the rest bought directly from CPP. These policies, which together cost £120 a year, promised cover of up to £100,000 if crooks went on a wild spending spree with a stolen card. But banks already cover customers for this for free. DAILY MAIL

HMRC yet to collect £2bn in unpaid tax held in offshore trusts
The taxman believes approximately 6,500 companies used employee benefit trusts (EBTs) as a mechanism to pay high earners yet dodge tax, particularly in the early 2000s. EBT's are a loan from a trust set up by a company to pay its employees. Usually the loan does not need repayment for a substantial amount of time, some even for 100 years. Around £650m of the total £3bn dodged has been collected, with a further £300m expected. But most of the businesses involved are holding back while the outcome of litigation is known. ACCOUNTANCY AGE

The end of rip-off council parking fees? Barnet residents win landmark court battle against permit hikes
Residents argued price hikes made parking in Barnet's residential streets more expensive than parking outside Harrods. The case could prevent other councils from using parking charges to raise revenue for other transport purposes. The cost of parking leaped from £40 to £100 in 2011 in the north London borough. Barnet council intended to use the additional income to meet projected expenditure for road maintenance and improvements, concessionary fares and other road transport costs. But London's High Court ruled that the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act ‘is not a fiscal measure and does not authorise the authority to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes’. This is thought to be the first successful legal challenge against the level of parking charges set by a local authority and could see thousands of Barnet residents reclaim millions of pounds in unlawfully collected charges. DAILY MAIL

Atos to lose monopoly after 'flawed and unacceptable' disability benefit assessments
More than 600,000 of the 1.8 million assessments carried out by Atos since 2009 have been the subject of an appeal, at a cost of £60m. Around 30% of those appeals succeeded. The findings mean Atos will be stripped of its monopoly. Other companies will be invited to bid for fresh regional contracts by summer 2014. The disability charity Scope said: “It’s about time the Government told Atos to smarten up its act. But, it’s also strikingly clear to disabled people that the whole £112m per-year system is broken.” INDEPENDENT

A&E crisis plans 'not good enough', MPs say
Just 17% of hospitals had the recommended level of consultant cover, while difficulties with discharging patients and a lack of beds at times meant the flow of patients through the system was disrupted. The four-hour A&E waiting time target was missed across the NHS from January to March - the first overall breach for nine years. More than 300,000 patients waited longer than they should have - a 39% rise on the previous year. Labour said almost 5,000 nursing posts had been cut since the 2010 election and accused the government of taking "unacceptable risks with patient care". BBC NEWS

Bank lending to small businesses falls in 98 of 120 postcode areas
The postcode breakdown – published reluctantly by the banks through the British Bankers' Association (BBA) – has not satisfied the government as it only covers the first two initials of a postcode – such as TR for Truro. Vince Cable, the business secretary, to comment: "It's frustrating that these figures show the declining amount of money going to small businesses from the banks." GUARDIAN

Fracking controls 'removed in dash for unconventional energy resources'
Councils will no longer be able to investigate issues such as seismic activity, venting and potential impact on ground water supplies. Instead the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive will take responsibility for regulation. Critics say the new guidelines - which will not be consulted on - will remove local authorities' right to make decisions independent of central Government energy policy. Friends of the Earth said "This could threaten communities' quality of life and will mean more climate-changing pollution being pumped into our atmosphere - and despite all the hype, there's plenty of evidence that it won't lead to cheaper fuel bills." INDEPENDENT

More than £13bn left rotting in 'dog' funds
The amount of cash investors have in so-called dog funds has soared from £12.1bn at the start of the year to £13.3bn now. To qualify as a dog, funds must have underperformed in each of the past three years and by 10 per cent or more over the three-year period. INDEPENDENT


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