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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, November 07, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

More than 5 million people in the UK are paid less than the living wage
The number of those earning below the cost-of-living benchmark has risen 400,000 in a year, with women and the young worst hit. A report for the international tax and auditing firm KPMG also shows that nearly three-quarters of 18-to-21-year-olds now earn below this level. Women are disproportionately stuck on pay below the living wage rate, currently £8.55 in London and £7.45 elsewhere. Some 27% of women are not paid the living wage, compared with 16% of men. Part-time workers are also far more likely to receive low pay than full-time workers, with 43% paid below living-wage rates compared with 12% of full-timers. The charity Save the Children says the number of children living in families with earnings below the living wage has risen from 1.82 million in 2010-11 to 1.96 million in 2011-12. The charity said it was increasingly concerned that 1.7 million households struggling with low incomes would have even lower entitlements under the government’s new universal credit welfare reforms. GUARDIAN

Cable: “Extraordinary anomaly” that foreigners are exempt from paying capital gains tax on second homes
UK citizens typically have to pay capital gains tax - a levy on any profits made when an asset is sold - on non-primary residences, including holiday homes in the UK or overseas and buy-to-let investments. But foreigners are exempt from paying tax on second home transactions. Capital gains tax for high-rate UK taxpayers was raised from 18% to 28% in the 2010 Budget. Mr Cable said it was an "extraordinary anomaly" that UK citizens were liable for the tax but foreigners were not. BBC NEWS

The middle class debt meltdown: Toll of wealthy professionals in financial trouble rockets by a quarter in four years
The middle classes are plunging into debt problems faster than any other social group – and it will only get worse when interest rates rise. A leading debt recovery agency, Capquest, has revealed a staggering 25% surge in the past four years among more affluent people ending up on its books, including professionals and property owners. Both Citizens Advice and the Financial Ombudsman Service said they have been shocked by the rise in middle class families in difficulty. Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: ‘The squeezed middle are finding that they can’t keep on top of their financial commitments... As employment floundered, workers were forced to take jobs that paid less and they’ve been unable to reverse that trend.’ Unsecured consumer debt is running at an estimated £322bn, and rising. DAILY MAIL

HS2 report overstated benefits by six to eight times
A KPMG report claimed the high-speed rail project would bring £15bn in additional benefits to the UK. But the findings, widely cited by the government used a method for estimating this figure that was "essentially made up", said Henry Overman, professor of economic geography at the LSE. Overman was an adviser to HS2 Ltd until 2012. Earlier, the KMPG partners who produced the report defended their work to MPs as robust, but admitted it was produced over four months for a total fee of £242,000. Committee chair Andrew Tyrie asked: "You don't normally do work of this scale for a couple of hundred thousand do you?" KPMG's Richard Threlfall replied: "We didn't quite anticipate the degree of debate the report would create." GUARDIAN

EU watchdogs line up hefty fines for RBS and HSBC over Euribor rate rigging
The Euribor rate is calculated from what banks expect to pay to borrow in the euro money markets. It is used to price some €250trn (£210trn) worth of financial contracts ranging from home loans to complex derivatives. Other banks involved include Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and Barclays. Banks have already been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for rigging the Libor rate, which is similar to the Euribor. INDEPENDENT

BP and Shell 'rigged Brent oil price for a decade'
BP and Royal Dutch Shell have been accused of manipulating the Brent crude oil price for more than a decade, in allegations filed in a lawsuit in New York. The North Sea oil benchmark is used as the basis for trades across the global commodity markets, affecting the price of thousands of consumer products from petrol to food. The class action claim, brought by four traders, was lodged last month in the wake of the European Commission in May launching an investigation into alleged price rigging by the companies. The court filing alleges that the companies – along with Norway’s Statoil, Morgan Stanley, Trafigura, Vitol and others - “monopolized the Brent Crude Oil market and entered into an unlawful combination, agreement, and conspiracy to fix and restrain trade in, and intentionally manipulate Brent Crude Oil prices and the prices of Brent Crude oil futures contracts”. TELEGRAPH

Serious Fraud Office launches inquiry into G4S and Serco overcharging claims
Investigation follows the justice secretary's claims that firms overcharged the taxpayer by tens of millions of pounds for the electronic tagging contracts for offenders. An external audit had revealed that the overcharging included billing for tracking the movements of criminals who had moved abroad, who were back in prison, who had had their tags removed and even, in a few cases, those who had died. The two companies were charging for tagging 18,000 offenders a day under the £700m contract when only 15,000 were actually being monitored. The two companies are among the government's biggest suppliers. Both have already agreed to withdraw from bidding for the £3bn next-generation tagging contract. GUARDIAN

Royal Navy aircraft carrier costs 'to double'
In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.
The department says it is renegotiating the contract to avoid further significant rises. Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn. The worry though is that the government - and the taxpayer - still don't know what the final bill will be. That £6bn does not include the cost of buying the new F35 jets for the carrier. Nor has the government made clear whether the Royal Navy will be getting one new carrier or both. The original plan was to mothball one. BBC NEWS

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