Network Rail's own staff 'choose to fly within the UK because it is cheaper than the train'
Network Rail bosses travelling on business spent £1.3million on UK flights in the last year because it was cheaper than taking the train. Employees of the public sector body took 8,353 flights from April 2013 to March 2015. The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information Request submitted by The Sun, show around 90 per cent of the domestic flights were to Scotland. The data revealed Robin Gisby, former operations managing director of NR, spent the most on domestic flights during the time period. He travelled on 15 flights between January 2013 and September 2014, which cost £2,250. A spokesman for NR said if staff have to attend a meeting in Scotland it is “cheaper to fly than take the train” and spend money on accommodation. He said: “For the majority of staff travel, rail is much the better way to go. A total of £1.3 million was spent on flights in 2013/14 and 2104/15 but £32 million was spent on rail travel during that period... Network Rail's 35,000 people have to pay the going rate for all travel, be it air, rail or car. Our people are also obliged to use the cheapest method available, sometimes that means by air but mostly we travel by rail." A spokeswoman for the rail passenger watchdog Transport Focus (formerly Passenger Focus) said: “It is no surprise that so many longer-distance journeys were made by air. Unless passengers can book weeks in advance, rail can be prohibitively expensive for many people”. GUARDIAN
200,000 "revenge" evictions by landlords: UK in breach of its own UN human rights commitment
The report by Just Fair suggested that so called “Revenge evictions”, where tenants lose their homes when they complain about standards, are so widespread that as many as 200,000 happening in 2013. That, Just Fair argued, amounted to a breach of the UN covenant’s prohibition against arbitrary eviction. Just Fair’s members include Crisis, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Save the Children and Unicef UK. They warn of “profound issues of lack of supply, increasing housing costs, lack of security of tenure and homes of such poor quality that they are unfit for habitation”. In a 40-page report, Just Fair concluded: Private rents are at double the level of council properties, at £163 a week, and a quarter of those renting rely on housing benefit to meet the cost; A third of homes in the private rented sector do not meet basic standards of health, safety and habitability; Rough sleeping in London increased by more than a third between autumn 2013 and autumn 2014, while funding for shelters fell; Last December there were almost 62,000 households in England living in temporary accommodation, the highest number for five years, and 280,000 households are at risk of homelessness; The number of families living in bed and breakfasts more than tripled from 630 in 2010 to 2,040 last year. GUARDIAN
Poundland is NOT such a bargain: you often end up paying more because you are getting less product
Once the preserve of the poor, nowadays the shop — founded 25 years ago by Dave Dodd and Stephen Smith — is a magnet for the middle classes. Almost every item is sold for £1 in each of its 575 stores in Britain and Ireland. But a report claims Poundland charged up to 50 per cent more than other stores and that while its goods may have the lowest price, they are often sold in smaller amounts. Here are some typical examples: Poundland’s Heinz Beanz cost £1 for 150g, but Tesco’s costs £1.25 for 200g. You get more Beanz for your money at Tesco. It's a common ploy, so you should always check how many kilos or grams you're getting for your money. Poundland’s Quaker Oats cost £1 for 500g, but Iceland sell 1kg for £1.50. Same product, but slightly different packaging, so you can be assured the taste is the same. If you're looking for a bargain, Iceland's pack is twice the size of Poundland's. Poundland’s Bernard Matthews Wafer Thin Turkey Ham costs £1 for 200g, but Asda sells 400g for £1.48. Poundland's packaging claims there's 42 per cent extra free. But buy the Asda pack that's double the size for just 50p more and you'll find it a much better bargain. DAILY MAIL
Britain's biggest banks face further £19bn of fines and charges to pay for financial scandals
The UK’s ‘big four’ banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland – have already racked up a £42billion bill over the last five years. This represents 88 per cent of the industry wide total of £48billion in charges faced by 13 banks and building societies in Britain. S&P said it now expects the UK’s four biggest lenders to face further penalties in 2015 and 2016 of £19billion – taking the total for the big four to £61billion. The bill has been driven by the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) as well as interest rate hedging products to small and medium-sized businesses. ‘We think that conduct and litigation charges are now a way of life for the UK banking industry,’ said S&P in the report. DAILY MAIL