Thursday 1 October 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, October 01, 2015 with No comments | Labels:

Government abandons plans designed to counter corporate wrongdoing
In a surprise U-turn, the Justice Minister, Andrew Selous, said the Government was no longer considering creating a new criminal offence as “there was little evidence of corporate economic wrongdoing going unpunished.” The Conservatives had pledged in their manifesto to strengthen powers to curb corporate misbehaviour, following widespread criticism of the failure to hold major companies such as international banks and other global financial institutions to account for scandals such as rigging the Libor index, tax evasion and insurance mis-selling. Critic Susan Hawley, policy director of Corruption Watch, said: “Companies in the UK are rarely brought to justice and are often effectively above the law because of the UK’s outdated corporate liability laws. It appears that the government is allowing its pro-business deregulation agenda to derails its anti-corruption commitments.” The decision is a blow to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), whose director David Green QC, has championed reform to improve his department’s ability to tackle economic crime.In a speech earlier this month, he said: “If the public interest, in terms of public confidence, demands more prosecutions of corporates, then such change is surely necessary.” The Law Commission, which advises the government on law reform, criticised existing corporate liability laws four years ago, describing them as “inappropriate and inadequate” but a full scale review has been dropped. INDEPENDENT

Sky boss gets 250% pay and perks increase to £16.9m after customers get price hikes
According to the satellite giant’s annual report, CEO Jeremy Darroch saw his pay and perks package rocket by nearly 250% last year. His bumper deal included an £11.8m bonus, through a “long term incentive plan”, for hitting targets in previous years. He also got a near £2m annual bonus, £960,000 salary and £147,000 instead of a pension. It took the amount Darroch has earned since 2010 to £57m. Yet it came as Sky customers were landed with price hikes in June. The broadcaster confirmed subscription fees would rise, just weeks after announcing their record breaking £5.1billion Premier League rights deal. Deborah Hargreaves, director of the High Pay Centre, slammed Darroch’s pay deal , which would take the average UK worker on £27,200 a staggering 620 years to earn. Hargreaves said: “I am sure he has done a good job but it is not just one person driving the firm’s success.” MIRROR

RBS facing inquiry amid accusations it 'falsified' customer records
RBS is accused of editing customer emails and call transcripts and how it presented its 'central file' record of correspondence. The Times newspaper reports the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office have been made aware of the claims raised by RBS business customer Andy Keats, who claims RBS forced the closure of his pet tag business Keepsafe after withdrawing its debit and credit card facilities. Keats claims to have uncovered discrepancies in records held by the bank which he says show his customer data had been “falsified to suit RBS”. He claims in some cases entire paragraphs were deleted in correspondence as opposed to being redacted from text and email records, including punctuation changes, with no acknowledgement changes had been made. Keats also claims to have seen the banks' central file records which shows a key exchange between himself and the bank in 2012, relating to mortgage and personal account issues, was missing a key passage in which Keats states he was under no contrafactual obligation to make monthly capital and interest payments. Under Data Protection rules, data-holders are permitted to summarise customer data under certain conditions, though deletions or edits which would change the meaning of the correspondence are forbidden. DAILY RECORD

After the VW scandal, EU probes TV makers over dodgy energy efficiency test scores
Software used in TVs may be skewing their energy rating scores. One study indicates that some Samsung TVs nearly halve their power consumption when a standardised test is carried out. Another accuses a different unnamed manufacturer of adjusting the brightness of its sets when they "recognise" the test film involved. Samsung has denied any wrongdoing. However, one environmental campaign group has likened the accusations to the Volkswagen diesel scandal, in which the German car firm admitted to programming its cars to deliberately cheat emissions tests. Manufacturers run the test themselves and then file the results. Some of these are then double-checked by various countries' energy regulatory bodies. ComplianTV, a consortium that represents various non-governmental organisations including the UK's Energy Saving Trust (EST), found that the power demands of one of the South Korean firm's LCD TVs dropped from 70 watts to about 39 watts within a minute of the test video starting. "That's not normal, it's an anomaly," explained Richard Kay, an EST spokesman. But he added: "We don't have any evidence to back up the accusation that Samsung has a technology to recognise when it is tested." The European Commission says it is "following up" two reports. BBC NEWS

Wide range of cars emit more pollution in realistic driving tests, data shows
New diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and other manufacturers have been found to emit substantially higher levels of pollution when tested in more realistic driving conditions, according to new research compiled by Adac, Europe’s largest motoring organisation. It shows that some of the diesel cars it examined released over 10 times more NOx than revealed by existing EU tests, using an alternative standard due to be introduced later this decade. Only a quarter of the 79 different cars ADAC tested using the WLTC standard matched their official performance on the existing EU test. The controversy over high nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from diesel cars was sparked when Volkswagen, then its Audi and Skoda brands, were caught using software in millions of cars to cheat pollution tests. Emissions experts have warned for some time that there were problems with official lab-based NOx tests, meaning there was a failure to limit on-the-road emissions. “Gaming and optimising the test is ubiquitous across the industry,” said Greg Archer, an emissions expert at Transport & Environment. GUARDIAN

Morrisons to pay shop floor staff more than Osborne's living wage
Campaigners have piled pressure on employers this year by highlighting that the government was topping up low pay through the benefits system. They targeted the annual shareholder meetings of major retailers, including Morrisons, Next, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, with protests to demand the adoption of the full living wage. Then George Osborne stood at the despatch box and declared: “Britain deserves a pay rise.” His new national minimum wage takes effect next April, but only for over-25s. Now the UK’s fourth largest supermarket became the latest employer to take the hint – and stump up a pay deal better than the chancellor had in mind. Morrisons is to increase pay for 90,000 shop floor staff to £8.20 an hour from March. That is above Osborne’s £7.20 “national living wage” announced in the July budget and even tops the living wage calculated by independent campaigners. The pay rise – a hefty 20% increase from Morrisons’ current minimum wage for shop floor staff of £6.83 an hour – will apply to staff of all ages. Some of the increase will be offset by changes to benefits - including the end of extra pay for Sundays and paid breaks - but the like-for-like pay rise will still be a considerable 13%. “We guarantee no worker will be worse off,” a spokesman said. Morrisons said the move would cost £40m. The deal, negotiated with shopworkers’ union Usdaw, will be subject to a workers’ vote on 12 November. This month Sainsbury’s increased its standard rate for shopfloor staff by 4% to £7.36 an hour, Amazon staff pay increased to £7.20 an hour. In March, The Co-op committed to raising pay by 8.5% over two years to about £7.30 an hour. John Hannett, general secretary of Usdaw, said retailers were realising they needed to tackle low pay: “There is a mood among employers that they don’t want to be the lowest.” GUARDIAN

Right to 30-day refund becomes law
New consumer protection measures - including longer refund rights - have come into force under the Consumer Rights Act. For the first time anyone who buys faulty goods will be entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after the purchase. Previously consumers were only entitled to refunds for a "reasonable time". There will also be new protection for people who buy digital content, such as ebooks or online films and music. They will be entitled to a replacement, if the downloads do not work, but not a refund. If a download also infects a computer with a virus, the provider could also be liable to pay compensation for getting the virus removed. The Act also covers second-hand goods, when bought through a retailer. People buying services - like a garage repair or a haircut - will also have stronger rights. Under the new Act, providers who do not carry out the work with reasonable care, as agreed with the consumer, will be obliged to put things right. Or they may have to give some money back. In many cases retailers offer to refund goods even when they are not faulty - for example if customers change their minds about a product - but there is no statutory right to a refund. When disputes occur, consumers will now be able to take their complaints to certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers, a cheaper route than going through the courts. Examples of this include the Consumer Ombudsman, which is free to use for consumers. However not all retailers are signed up to such ADR providers. The Act also enacts a legal change that will enable British courts to hear US-style class action lawsuits, where one or several people can sue on behalf of a much larger group. BBC NEWS


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