Thursday 19 September 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, September 19, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Quarter of MPs give jobs to family: Taxpayers' bill for politicians who employ wives and children soars to £4m a year
Despite fury over parliamentary expenses, 155 MPs – nearly one in four – now have wives, children and even parents on the public payroll. The relatives enjoy salaries as high as £50,000 for office duties – costing taxpayers £4million last year. Hypocritical MPs dishing out taxpayers’ money to relatives while arguing for a freeze on public sector pay include Cabinet minister Michael Moore, health minister Dan Poulter and foreign minister Alistair Burt. MIRROR DAILY MAIL

MPs' expenses rise to record high
The bill for politicians is higher than it was before the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal, with claims of almost £100m last year, official figures show. The total cost of travel, accommodation and running the offices of MPs rose by 10%, which is thought to be a record for claims by politicians in a single year. After the scandal broke, MP's claims fell to £90.7m as parliament brought in an independent watchdog to keep down the bill. The independent parliamentary standards authority said the cost to taxpayers was higher this year because MPs were allowed higher staffing budgets. GUARDIAN

Benefit fraud could lead to 10-year jail terms, says DPP
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said it was time for a "tough stance" on the £1.9bn annual cost of the crime. Suspects can now be charged under the Fraud Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. In the past, benefits cheats were commonly charged under social security legislation with a maximum sentence of seven years. In 2012 the number of offenders jailed for benefit fraud was 262 and the average sentence length was six months and one week. Last year the CPS saw more than 8,600 such prosecutions. The changes mean welfare cheating would now be classed alongside offences such as money laundering and banking fraud. BBC NEWS

Barclays to refund £100m to at least 300,000 borrowers
Barclays Bank is to refund at least 300,000 personal loan customers because it made mistakes on their paperwork. If mistakes are made in loan paperwork, all interest paid must be returned. The errors date back to October 2008. It is now investigating whether similar mistakes had been made in other parts of the business such as Barclaycard. This is the latest in a catalogue of problems for the bank including: a £290m fine for attempting to manipulate Libor; £2.6bn to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance; setting aside £850m to compensate businesses that were mis-sold products to insure them against interest rate rises. BBC NEWS

Barclays faces £50m fine from the FCA watchdog for Qatari deal
The FCA accused the bank of agreeing £322m in secret payments to investors to gain their support for a previous share issuance, worth just over £5bn, taken up in 2008 by Qatar Holding, part of the state-owned investment authority of Qatar. Barclays said the fees were for giving advice. The deal, at the height of the 2008 credit crisis, helped Barclays to avoid the need for a government bailout which saw rivals RBS and Lloyds end up part-owned by the UK taxpayer. BBC NEWS

Ofwat to challenge Thames Water’s 8% bill rise
Thames's proposed increase could add £29 to the average £354 annual household bill. The water regulator, Ofwat, is challenging Thames's claim that bill increases are justified because it is facing rising costs. Thames is the only one of the 18 regulated water companies to have applied to the regulator for a bill increase in advance of the next pricing review. But Ofwat is examining whether financial gains the company has made elsewhere make such bill rises unnecessary. BBC NEWS

Petrol retailers urged to cut pump prices 'immediately' as they benefit from sharp drop in wholesale costs
The RAC said a litre of unleaded petrol was now 6p cheaper on the wholesale market than at the end of August, while diesel was down by 2p a litre, giving petrol stations the power to lower prices on the forecourt. While wholesale petrol prices are not just determined by the oil price, the fall back in oil to $109 a barrel and strong sterling certainly means fuel retailers are paying a lot less for their petrol now than in July. DAILY MAIL

Productivity gap between UK and other G7 nations widens to largest in 20 years
Output per hour in Britain is 29% lower than in US and 24% lower than in Germany and France, the Office of National Statistics says. John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, said: "The relative improvement in the UK's productivity performance from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s has clearly gone into reverse in an economy reliant on falling real wages, rather than increased output, as the main driver of employment growth... the UK economy clearly needs in particular a strong resurgence of business investment in order to regain its pre-recession productivity mojo." GUARDIAN

Abandoned NHS IT system has cost £10bn so far
When the original patient record system (the NHS National Programme for IT) was abandoned the total bill was expected to be £6.4bn. Successive ministers and civil servants have been blamed for the NHS project, launched in 2002, which has been described as the biggest IT failure ever seen. The NHS's particular problems stem from the original contracts signed before 2002. When IT companies failed to deliver, the NHS found the contracts could not be cancelled without paying them compensation. GUARDIAN


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