Thursday 3 July 2014

Thursday, July 03, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, July 03, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

Nestle agrees to pay living wage to all contractors
Nestle, the world's largest food company, has become the first major manufacturer to say it will pay the living wage to all its staff. The firm already pays the living wage to its 8,000 employees but Nestle says it will now extend this to its 800 contractors by the end of 2017. Nestle UK & Ireland chief executive Fiona Kendrick said: "As a major UK employer, we know that this is the right thing to do. Not only does it benefit our employees but also the communities they live and work in." The living wage is based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living. Living costs vary in different parts of the country so there is a different rate for London and the rest of the UK. The living wage is now set at £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 an hour elsewhere. By comparison, the national minimum wage is significantly lower. Since 1 October, 2013, the national minimum wage has been £6.31 an hour for adults aged 21 and over, and £5.03 for those aged 18 to 21. The GMB union said: "This shows once and for all that if one leading manufacturer can pay a living wage to all employees, including young workers and those contracted out, then many more are able to do so." BBC NEWS

PM's party for donors - with an £11bn guest list: Billionaires, bankers, and lobbyists among attendees at glittering dinner that gave them access to top Tories
A list of billionaires, bankers and lobbyists who received £12,000-a-table access to David Cameron and other senior Cabinet ministers was published for the first time last night. Documents seen by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed there were 73 financiers, 47 retail and property tycoons, ten people in oil, gas and mining and 19 attendees working in public affairs and PR. The documents revealed that almost 450 attendees at last summer’s glittering Tory fundraising dinner had a combined wealth of more than £11billion. They sat at tables costing up to £12,000 each alongside Mr Cameron, Home Secretary Theresa May, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and London Mayor Boris Johnson. It is not known how much was raised from the 2013 event, but Electoral Commission figures show that since the ball, those present have donated £5million to the Conservatives. Of this, £1.1million was registered in the week after the event. Table sales raised at least £250,000, with cheaper tickets going for £400. The guest list for the private event last summer at Old Billingsgate Market in Central London included six billionaires and 15 people with a personal wealth above £100million. The revelation will give further ammunition to Labour, which wants to paint the Conservatives as the party of the rich. The Tory fundraising dinner is an annual event and this year’s will be held next Wednesday at the Hurlingham private members’ club in West London. DAILY MAIL


Former Tory health minister: NHS in danger of collapse within five years
Senior Tories have called on David Cameron to increase NHS spending significantly. Stephen Dorrell, a former Conservative health secretary, claimed that the challenge to make £30bn efficiency savings to redistribute around the NHS had failed. He said he would be ashamed if the NHS budget did not receive a boost in income at a time when the economy was growing. "I am in favour of the government not denying what 5,000 years of history tells us is true, which is that every time a society gets richer it spends a rising share of its income on looking after the sick and the vulnerable," he said. A slew of bad news over the NHS has raised Tory fears that the health service could again prove to be a toxic issue just 10 months before a general election. The NHS says 299,031 patients arrived at A&E departments last week – the highest number on record. A&E waiting time targets were missed for the 49th consecutive week and a record number of beds were filled last month by patients who could not be discharged, often because community or social care services were not in place. This week Labour MP Clive Efford introduced a private member's bill to lay out how it would repeal the coalition government's controversial health and social care act, which ushered in greater private sector involvement in the NHS. GUARDIAN

CBI says recovery in jobs market bypassing society's disadvantaged
The young, minority ethnic groups and people without advanced skills are missing out on the recovery of the jobs market, and women are still getting a raw deal on pay, according to a report by the CBI, Britain's leading business group. The CBI says its research into who has lost out most since the downturn in the UK economy indicates that personal background still has too much influence on prospects. The group has called for politicians from all parties to help the most disadvantaged in society. The organisation's research forms part of a "Growth for Everyone" project by the lobby group and coincides with a speech this Thursday to be made by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, on "inclusive prosperity". Katja Hall, the CBI's deputy director-general, said the research reflected a growing awareness among businesses that the recovery was not improving living standards for many people. GUARDIAN

Spending watchdog criticises ministers over £16bn renewable energy deals handed to big corporates
The National Audit Office warned that the government may have handed benefits to corporate power providers at the expense of consumers by awarding £16.6bn of renewable energy contracts without putting them out to competitive tender. The watchdog also noted that the eight contracts to companies such as SSE, Dong Energy and Drax will provide only 5% of the 20% target, and yet the contracts allow them to reduce these targets in future by 36% without financial penalty. The criticism from the NAO came as statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate change showed that a fifth of all electricity was generated in Britain by solar, wind and other green technologies in the first three months of the year to 18.1 terawatt hours, enough for 15m homes and up 43% on the same period of 2013. GUARDIAN

Stiffer rules for payday lenders come into effect
Payday lenders will no longer be able to roll over loans more than twice or make continued raids on borrowers' bank accounts to recover their cash. The new rules are designed to deter lenders from offering loans to borrowers who cannot afford to repay them over the original term, and to protect those who struggle with repayments from incurring spiralling costs. Payday lenders, such as Wonga and the Money Shop, offer short-term loans arranged over days or weeks. They argue that annual interest rates in excess of 5,000% are misleading because debts are paid back before that much interest accrues, but charges can quickly add up if debts are rolled over or repayments are missed. Wonga said that 4% of its loans were extended once, 1.4% were extended twice, and only 1.1% had been extended three times, while 93.5% had never been rolled over. Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Consumer Finance Association, which represents some of the biggest payday lenders, said members were fully committed to meeting the new rules. But he added: “...if the regulator turns the screw too far and drives reputable lenders out of the market, these borrowers will be forced to look for credit elsewhere and this creates a perfect market for illegal lenders." GUARDIAN

Households face higher bills to cover £250billon cost of upgrading UK's crumbling roads, railways and utilities and poor will be hit hardest
Major energy, water and transport projects have all been planned over the next 15 years, but no regulator or government department has worked out whether households will be able to pay for them, MPs warned. The Treasury is planning to splash out more than £375billion to replace old assets that don’t comply with EU regulation, to support economic growth and prepare for the needs of a growing population. As much as two-thirds of this investment will be taken on by private companies, but paid for by consumers through utility bills and user charges such as rail fares. This is likely to lead to higher household bills, hitting poorest families hardest as they spend a higher proportion of their incomes on bills. Energy bills alone are predicted to be 18 per cent higher in real terms in 2030 than in 2013. Consumer group Which? said that the government has not gone far enough to ensure that costs are being kept down: ‘...the NAO and the PAC, the Government has still not published an affordability assessment of the impact on consumer bills of infrastructure costs or made a convincing case that these are being kept under tight enough control.' DAILY MAIL

British Gas and Sainsbury's Energy embroiled in mis-selling scandal
British Gas, part of energy giant Centrica, has now agreed to pay compensation to customers who were provided with inaccurate information when signing up for tariffs. The majority were signing up to tariffs branded as Sainsbury's Energy but sold by British Gas staff through its partnership deal. The supplier has paid in the region of £500,000 compensation, shared between roughly 4,300 customers who were given incorrect information about their likely savings. The figure is a relatively small sum compared with other mis-selling cases but is symbolic because British Gas had prided itself on being the only one of the major energy companies not to have mis-sold. TELEGRAPH


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