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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, October 17, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

People at foodbanks give back food that needs cooking because they can’t afford to turn on the electricity
The Trussell Trust is calling for an inquiry after they registered a tripling in foodbank usage. Over 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers in the same period last year. They say that UK hunger is getting worse and the charity is calling for an inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty. Food prices have risen by 12.6% above inflation over the past six years and rising energy prices this winter are likely to see more people forced to choose between eating and heating. But a government spokesperson said: "The Trussell Trust itself says it is opening three new food banks every week, so it's not surprising more people are using them." BBC NEWS TRUSSELL TRUST

Red Cross launches emergency food aid plan for UK’s hungry – the first time since the Second World War
The Red Cross will this winter start collecting and distributing food aid to the needy in Britain for the first time since the Second World War, as welfare cuts and the economic downturn send soaring numbers of people to soup kitchens and food banks across Europe. Its volunteers will go into supermarkets across the country at the end of November and ask shoppers to donate dry goods. Across Europe, the Red Cross recorded a 75% increase in the number of people relying on their food aid over the last three years. At least 43m people across the Continent are not getting enough to eat each day and 120m are at risk of poverty. INDEPENDENT

0.7% average pay rise is barely over a quarter of inflation rate
The Office for National Statistics said total pay rose at an annual rate of just 0.7%. Excluding bonuses, pay growth was marginally stronger, at just 0.8% – the weakest figure since comparable records began in 2001. Inflation was running at 2.7% in August. Also, the drop in unemployment has not yet been reflected in the kind of pick-up in wage growth economists have been hoping for to translate the early signs of recovery into a solid upturn. Young people appear to have been left on the sidelines with unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds almost unchanged at 958,000 between June and August. GUARDIAN

Google Funnels More Billions To Bermuda
The US internet giant shifted €8.8bn of royalty payments to Bermuda last year, 25% more than in 2011. It’s a strategy that has saved Google billions of dollars in tax. Because Google books almost all of its foreign income through Ireland, the company has been able to capitalise on differences between the US and Irish tax codes to move the profits from Ireland to Bermuda. Other big brand business facing public wrath include Starbucks and Amazon. In June this year, MPs on the Public Accounts Committee recommended HMRC investigate Google’s tax affairs after it paid just £10m in tax despite generating £11.5bn in revenue from the UK in 2012. David Cameron said he was ‘determined’ to put an end to the ‘secretive companies in secretive locations’ which cost billions of pounds in lost tax revenues. MANAGEMENT TODAY

More energy price rises expected after SSE’s 8.2% increase in energy bills
SSE said its average annual dual fuel energy bill would rise by £106 to £1,380 on 15 November. SSE blamed the rise on the higher costs of buying wholesale energy and paying to deliver it to customers' homes, plus government taxes. Energy firms say their 5% profit margin is reasonable. But critics say the “Big 6” energy firms conceal their profits in their parent companies from whom they buy their gas, and operate as a cartel. BBC NEWS

Ofwat plans to block Thames Water's price rise
Thames had asked to add an extra £29 to the annual average household bill. Thames say it has faced extra costs of £291m, because various items have cost more than the amount estimated when the price regime was set in 2009. These include bad debts, the transfer of private sewers, land purchases and higher Environment Agency charges. Every five years, Ofwat sets the prices that water companies can charge. Ofwat said it had now looked at the evidence that Thames Water had provided and that although the company did face higher costs, they were not high enough to trigger a price rise. Ofwat's previous agreement with Thames allows it to increase charges by 1.4% above inflation in 2014-15. BBC NEWS

MPs to probe 'underpriced' Royal Mail sale
Some members of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee (BIS) want to interview executives from the syndicate of banks responsible for pricing Royal Mail's initial public offering (IPO) at 330p-per-share. Following a 38% jump on Friday, the postal operator's shares closed up 4% on Monday, valuing the company at 475p-a-share, or £4.75bn - almost £1.5bn more than the level at which the Government decided to privatise it. On Saturday, the Financial Times reported that the Government had examined whether it could raise the price at which shares in Royal Mail were sold but that institutions threatened to withdraw if ministers attempted to do so. SKY NEWS

New breed of bank overdrafts as expensive as payday loans, claims Which? as it calls for crackdown on 'sky high' charges
Which? also found consumers were racking up ‘sky high’ default charges for slipping over their agreed overdraft limit with their bank. It found that even bank charges on agreed overdrafts were sometimes as high as payday loan charges - with Halifax and Santander current accounts among the most expensive. Customers borrowing £100 over one month with Halifax within an agree overdraft were charged £30 for the period (an effective annual percentage rate of 356%), while Santander charged £20. Borrowing the same amount for the same period with payday lenders Quickquid or Wonga costs £20 and £37 respectively. Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: ‘The Government and regulators have rightly focused on the scandal of payday lending, but they must not lose sight of the urgent need to clean up the whole of the credit market. High street bank overdraft fees can be just as eye-watering as payday loans.” DAILY MAIL

Reforms of banking system don't go far enough and put recovery at risk, says Banking Commission chief
Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Parliamentary Commission into Banking Standards, as well as the Treasury Select Committee, said the Government was ignoring important parts of the Commission’s recommendations and in some cases favouring non-binding guidelines over proper legislation. He said the Government's plan to regulate banks' leverage ratios - the total amount of money they lend to borrowers versus the capital they hold - which the Commission described as ‘the single most important tool to deliver a safer and more secure banking system’ was one area where the ministers were fudging the issue. He also raised concerns that powers to claw back bankers' bonuses were not being written into law and that regulators would not get new powers to intervene at banks where leadership may be failing. Mr Tyrie has complained before that significant changes to the Banking Reform bill were being rushed through so it could become law in 2014. DAILY MAIL

British shoppers are being fooled over where their cheese is made, warns Dairy Crest boss
The group’s chief executive, Mark Allen, is pushing for straightforward labelling of where cheese is made to replace current rules. At present, shoppers do not have to be informed in the case of cheese which is sliced and packaged. The EU only requires that the packaging shows where the last significant stage of processing took place, meaning imported Cheddar can be cut into smaller pieces in the UK, packaged, and given a UK health mark. The British Cheese Board (yes, that’s their name!) has also been lobbying the Government for clearer indications of where cheese was made. DAILY MAIL

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