Thursday 29 August 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, August 29, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Furniture and carpet retailers investigated over bogus “bargain” claims
Carpetright and ScS are among six chains accused of inflating prices for short periods in order to mislead shoppers into believing they are getting a bargain during sale periods. Typically, just 5% of products were sold at the artificially inflated reference price, while a significant number of products were found to have never been sold at that price level. GUARDIAN

Employers who pay below minimum wage to be actively named and shamed, at last
Minister says the current system of issuing financial penalties, without naming the offending employer, has not sufficiently deterred companies from underpaying staff. The policy could embarrass hundreds of companies which pay below the minimum wage of £6.19 for people over 21. In the last tax year HM Revenue & Customs, which enforces minimum wage laws, found 736 employers who were paying staff too little, leading to the recovery of £3.9m in unpaid wages for more than 26,500 workers. Since 2011, when rules were first relaxed to allow officials to name and shame the worst offenders, just one company – a hair and beauty salon in Leicester – has been exposed. GUARDIAN

Police called in over alleged fraud by Serco staff
A government audit has shown that some Serco staff were recording prisoners as having been ready for court when in fact they were not. This data is regarded as a key performance measure for the £285m contract with Serco that could determine whether or not it is terminated. Last month the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into potential overcharging by tens of millions of pounds by the private security company G4S on a £700m contract for the electronic tagging of offenders. GUARDIAN

Private patients 'paying too much' through lack of competition
Most patients in UK private hospitals are paying more than they should for treatment because of a lack of local competition, says the Competition Commission. More than 100 private hospitals around the country are in areas with little rival healthcare provision, and many of these hospitals are owned by three major groups. The Competition Commission said it believed that the lack of local choice pushed up health insurance premiums for all patients. BBC NEWS

New rules mean fraudsters could be "tipped off" about inspections by trading standards officers
The proposed legislation includes a plan which would require officers to give a warning of at least two days for routine inspections, and explain the reason for the inspection. The government says that this is part of a policy to reduce the burden of regulation on businesses. However, Andy Foster, of the Trading Standards Institute, said: "the only people that gain from this are the fraudsters and the conmen". He said fraudulent businesses, such as counterfeiters, would be able to get rid of evidence before inspectors arrived. INDEPENDENT

Workless households at record low, says ONS
A workless households is one where no adult aged 16 to 64 is in work. The Office for National Statistics said there were 3.5 million such households in the UK between April and June this year, about 17.1% of all households including a working age adult. This was down from 3.7 million, or 17.9%, a year earlier. The highest percentage of workless households was in north-east England. But Stephen Timms, Labour's shadow employment minister, said: "Underemployment is at record highs, long-term unemployment is at its highest level for 17 years, the number of young people out of work is edging back towards a million, and millions are working harder for less. It is becoming harder and harder for millions to make ends meet." BBC NEWS

Help To Buy scheme will create another house price bubble, warn banks
A body representing some of Britain's biggest banks has warned the government Help to Buy scheme could create a bubble.  House prices could rise more than 11% in three years due to government stimulus, according to a report by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association. The new housing bubble will also make life even more difficult for those trying to buy their first home. Lenders say the government's Help to Buy scheme, which is designed to allow more people to buy property, could easily push average house prices up to £180,265 by the end of 2016. TELEGRAPH

Energy bills set to be 'simple and fair'
By the end of this year each supplier will offer no more than four core tariffs for electricity and four for gas. All will have a standing charge and a singe unit rate - rather than several. This will dramatically slim down the previous tariff ranges where individual suppliers offered hundreds, if not thousands, of tariff types. But consumer champion Which? says this doesn’t go far enough.  They argue that the big energy firms conceal their true profitability within their parent companies. Which? wants OFGEM to require energy businesses to separate their retail/supply operations from their "upstream" generating divisions. Which? said: "We want the Government to ring-fence energy supply from generation businesses to increase confidence that there is effective competition in the energy market.” TELEGRAPH


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