Thursday 10 April 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, April 10, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

Bupa 'harming NHS' by offering patients “bribes” of £2k to use public services instead of private hospitals
Bupa is accused of offering the cash handouts to customers who agree to undergo cancer, heart, gynaecological and other operations on the NHS. A letter from the private health giant to a male cardiac patient explains: “The cash payment takes the place of private treatment funding... If you are admitted to hospital under the NHS as an in-patient for any of the above procedures, we will pay you a fixed sum amount.” Operations can cost fives times more than the cash payments offered by Bupa. For example, private hospitals charge a minimum of £10,000 for having a pacemaker fitted. So Bupa is offering its customers £2,000 to have it done on the NHS. This effectively passes Bupa’s costs onto the NHS. The cash payments have been condemned as “outrageous” and “disgusting” by doctors. Bupa raked in a staggering £2.57billion in revenue last year, and pocketed £139million in profit - up 26% on 2012. Bupa denied that the cash offers were bribes, and insisted it was simply “offering customers choice”. MIRROR

Benefit cheats face higher fines and losing their homes
Welfare cheats will be forced to sell their homes and pay higher fines to reimburse taxpayers for the money they have wrongly claimed, under plans to tackle benefit fraud. The plans form part of a major campaign from ministers this week to publicise reforms to the welfare system, which the Conservatives regard as among their most popular, vote-winning policies. A publicity campaign, including posters urging claimants to report those whom they suspect to be cheating the system, and letters warning individuals to check they are not receiving too much. TELEGRAPH

MP expense pong: Ex-Culture Secretary Maria Miller bought a £1.2m mansion with proceeds of '2nd home'
Maria Miller’s stunning new home, a sprawling barn conversion complete with oak beams, wood-burning stove and library cost her £1.2million - almost exactly the profit she made selling a property funded by taxpayers. Mrs Miller made taxpayers fund some of the mortgage payments on her London property, then sold it and used the whopping profit to buy this ‘charming’ Tudor house in Hampshire. It boasts five bedrooms, a spectacular vaulted gallery and its own woodland set in more than an acre of land. DAILY MAIL

Are high frequency traders rigging stock markets? Split-second sharks accused of profiting at expense of ordinary investors
US financial firms are being accused of using speed - an advantage of just a few thousandths of a second - to fleece big money rivals and by extension ordinary savers and investors. The allegations have prompted the US Justice Department to say it is probing high-speed trading for possible insider trading violations. The FBI and US financial watchdogs are also investigating the industry. The book focuses on Wall Street share trading, but one City insider has commented: 'The same players are in the UK and Europe – if it’s happening in America, it’s happening here too.' DAILY MAIL

Barclays settles with Guardian Care Homes in Libor-linked court case
Barclays has settled a £70m Libor court case that will spare its former boss Bob Diamond and other senior colleagues from testifying in a lawsuit that the bank had been vigorously defending. Guardian Care Homes had alleged that the bank had mis-sold it two interest rate swaps worth £70m that were linked to Libor, the benchmark interest rate used to price financial products worth about £300tn around the world. The case was being watched closely by the banking industry, which is already making compensation claims to customers mis-sold interest rate swaps, amid fears that it could encourage more customers to bring cases linked to Libor. Diamond, who is now building a banking business in Africa, left Barclays in July 2012 in the wake of the furore caused by the bank's £290m fine for rigging Libor. GUARDIAN

73% of financial advisers fail to explain their charges, regulator finds
The Financial Conduct Authority's latest review into disclosure by financial advisers found that "too many" were not being clear on how much advice costs and whether they were "restricted" or limited in the sorts of investments they can advise on. The review found that 73pc of advisers failed to provide information on their costs. The failings were "widespread" and were more prevalent among wealth managers and private banks. TELEGRAPH

Newham Council refunds up to £347,000 in illegal parking fines
Between 2009 and last year, Newham Council issued tickets to 4,952 people from unauthorised cameras. By law, only camera models that have been specifically authorised by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) can be used by councils. Otherwise authorities might use cameras that are not of a high enough calibre to be relied upon for evidence. But Newham Council used cameras that did not have approval. After the problem came to light, the council cancelled all the parking tickets that were unpaid, writing off a total of £216,133 last June, but it refused to refund those drivers who settled the unlawful fines straight away. Following a campaign by those affected it has now written to them all offering a total of £347,000. BBC NEWS

Energy complaints triple in a year, says ombudsman.
There were 10,638 gripes forwarded to the Energy Ombudsman, with billing the biggest source of concern. Last month, regulator Ofgem announced a competition inquiry into the sector, as the energy firms remained in the political firing line. The study, by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), is looking at whether the "big six" UK energy suppliers prevent effective competition and how this affects bills. The inquiry could take at least 18 months. BBC NEWS

Wonga advert banned for saying 5853pc rate was 'irrelevant'
The television ad for the payday loans company featured a conversation between two puppets, who said: "Right, we're going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won't of course - that's just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed £150 for 18 days, it would cost you £33.49." The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided this was misleading, and also found that the representative example, including the representative APR, was not sufficiently prominent in the ad and that the ad irresponsibly encouraged viewers to disregard the representative APR. TELEGRAPH


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