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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, October 10, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Government to cap “back door” rail fare hike - while state-run railway company hands £209m profit back to taxpayers
Under the current rules, rail fares are tied to the rate of inflation plus 3%, averaged across all fare types. This allows them to increase some fares above the average so long as other fares rise below average. The proposed new rules will prevent firms from deliberately putting up prices on the busiest routes by much more than the average, a practice that the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin called ‘a huge back door hike’. The announced curbs come as the state-run railway company in charge of the East Coast main line has returned nearly £209m to taxpayers, even as the Government prepares to privatise. Rail Maritime and Transport trade union boss Bob Crow said the profit figures ‘destroy from top to bottom’ the case for handing back the line to ‘rip-off merchants from the private sector’. DAILY MAIL

Back-To-Work schemes: Majority of UK believe government is deliberately replacing paid staff with volunteers
Two thirds of UK respondents believe that volunteers are being used to deliver public services where once paid staff operated, according to new research by volunteering body Community Services Volunteers (CSV). In a tough economic climate, the government has come under fire for implementing back-to-work schemes which detractors say both mimic community service for criminals, and shrink the job market by replacing actual paid work. The government’s new Help to Work programme will include compulsory community work through community and voluntary organisations. INFORMATION DAILY

Disability charity attacks rise in 'disgraceful' short care visits lasting just 15 minutes
Short care visits to elderly and disabled people are "disgraceful" and on the rise, a charity has claimed. Leonard Cheshire Disability says 60% of councils in England use 15-minute visits, which are not long enough to provide adequate care. "It is disgraceful to force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or to go to the toilet by providing care visits as short as 15 minutes long." Research by the UK Homecare Association published last year suggested 87% of home visits in Northern Ireland lasted 30 minutes or less, 73% in England and 42% in both Scotland and Wales. BBC NEWS

Fat Cat city workers line up for government's Help To Buy scheme for taxpayer-backed guarantees on 95% mortgages
Property analysts expect bankers to be some of the most eager to apply for the Help to Buy scheme. Sandy Chen, banking analyst at Cenkos Securities, said: "Getting a 95% loan to value mortgage lets you speculate on the expected house price increases a lot more than a 75% mortgage," he said. "Bankers are speculative types and are likely to be highly attracted to the possibility of making lots of money." Bankers using Help To Buy will embarrass the prime minister, who said the scheme, which is available on properties costing up to £600,000, would help "people who can afford the monthly mortgage payments but haven't got rich parents and can't pay the deposit up front". GUARDIAN

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Letters warning of 10% energy price rises to start hitting doormats in next two weeks
Households should be braced for an energy bill bombshell. City experts argue that pressure from investors to protect profits and the need to give consumers plenty of notice of any price rises means hikes of ten per cent or more will have to be announced within the next two weeks. DAILY MAIL

Tobacco companies deliberately fuel black market in Britain, say MPs
Britain's tobacco industry is accused of fuelling the black market for its products by oversupplying European countries, leaving the surplus available for smugglers to bring back to the UK free of tax. Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts committee, blasted HM Revenue and Customs for knowing about the practice by tobacco companies but "not fining a single one of them". The lapse was costing Britain £1.9bn a year in lost tax, with 9% of cigarettes and 38% of hand-rolling tobacco sold in the UK estimated to have come from the black market. GUARDIAN

'Irresponsible' Wonga payday loan advert banned
A radio advert by Wonga has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because it was deemed "irresponsible" for implying high-interest loans could be taken lightly. The ad featured the Fifties song Mr Sandman with newly written lyrics – "Mr Wonga lend me some dough. Make it the simplest loan that I'll ever know. Give me two choices when I go on line. One for how much I want. Two for what length of time. Mr Wonga at wonga.com. You make it easy when the month feels too long" and so on. The ASA challenged the advert for its claims: "Make it the simplest loan I'll ever know" and "you make it easy when the month feels too long", which were deemed irresponsible because it gave the impression that a high interest short-term loan was something that could routinely be taken between paydays in order to supplement a monthly income. MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis has called Wonga and other 6,000% APR loans "the crack-cocaine of the moneylending world". TELEGRAPH

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