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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Thursday, June 02, 2016 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, June 02, 2016 with No comments | Labels:

Student petition forces debate in Parliament over hike in loan paybacks 
When higher fees and loans were introduced in 2012, ministers said the repayment point would rise in line with average earnings. But last year, the government decided to freeze it at £21,000, meaning students will start paying off their loans sooner than was originally planned. Campaigners say lower-paid graduates will be hit particularly hard by the change because they will be paying a larger percentage of their monthly income. The petition, started last week by Alex True, an engineering student at Durham University, calls for the retrospective changes to the student loans agreement to be stopped. "By introducing retrospective changes it threatens any trust in the student finance system," the petition argues. It says the changes will mean 2 million graduates will end up paying £306 more a year by 2020-21 if they earn over £21,000. Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis, who was involved in the consultation process on the original plan to reform student loans, called the change "a disgrace" and welcomed the petition's success. "It is fantastic that this petition's numbers exploded so quickly to force a parliamentary debate... Having said that, I have already engaged lawyers, written to the prime minister and met with Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, and at every stage, the government has pig-headedly refused to budge even a fraction. My concern is even after a parliamentary debate they'll put their fingers back in their ears." BBC NEWS

Sugar tax will hit poorest hardest, as Costa chai lattes are excluded
The Treasury said soft drinks would be taxed because they were the main source of added sugar in children's diets. But the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA), which wants the levy to be axed, tested 49 drinks and found that some coffee shop drinks had more sugar than Coca Cola, but would not be taxed. The TPA survey found that Coca-Cola, with 10.6g of sugar per 100ml, will be subject to the levy, but a Starbucks signature hot chocolate with whipped cream and coconut milk, which has 11g of sugar per 100ml, will not. The study also noted energy drinks such as Monster Origin, 11g/100ml, will be taxed, but Tesco chocolate flavoured milk, 12.4g/100ml, will not be. Overall, the 10 most sugary drinks analysed by the group which campaigns for lower taxes will not be subject to the levy. Four are from branded coffee chains, the others are all flavoured chocolate milks. TPA chief executive Jonathan Isaby said it was "deeply concerning" that the government was "pushing ahead with this regressive tax which will hit the poorest families hardest". The Treasury says treating obesity and its consequences costs the taxpayer £5.1bn every year. The recommended maximum intake of added sugar per day for those aged 11 and over is about 30g or seven teaspoons. BBC NEWS

Proposed new rules mean online comparison sites can ditch small energy suppliers
Consumers can provide basic details to price comparison websites, which then provide what they believe to be the best options. But it was often not clear that they only showed options for firms that have paid the site a commission or fee. Following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the energy market, it concluded that such sites should make it clear whether they received a commission from the energy firms whose offers were being recommended. However, it also said that price comparison websites such as Uswitch, Energyhelpline or Go Compare should no longer have to show all available energy offers. That would mean that only firms that pay the fees, such as the "Big Six," will show up in searches under proposed new rules. Six smaller providers fear that such a move would discourage competition. "Millions of people go to price comparison websites believing them to be transparent shop windows for the cheapest prices rather than 'brokers' in an increasingly skewed market," according to a letter to the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, signed by the chief executives of GB Energy Supply, COOP Energy, Go Effortless Energy, Bulb, So Energy & Zog Energy. The CMA is set to publish its final recommendations on remedies for the energy sector before the end of June. The Government said that before it came to power in 2010, there were just 13 energy suppliers, with independents accounting for only 1% of the market. The Department for Energy said there were now more than 40 providers, with smaller firms making up 15% of the dual fuel market. BBC NEWS

A million more youngsters to live with parents, says Aviva
The main reason is the affordability of housing, the company said. The study forecasts that 3.8 million people aged between 21 and 34 will be living at home by 2025, a third more than at the moment. The number of households containing two or more families is also expected to rise, from 1.5 million to 2.2 million. "Multigenerational living is often seen as a necessity rather than a choice, particularly when adults are forced to move back in with family to help save for long-term goals like buying their own house," said Lindsey Rix, managing director of personal lines at Aviva UK. "But rather than being an inconvenience, our report shows it is often a positive experience, with shared living costs reducing financial strain and the added benefit of constant company." Figures from the 2011 census show that 1.1 million households in England and Wales were officially overcrowded. In London 11.3% of all homes were overcrowded, rising to 25% in the London borough of Newham, the worst affected area in the country. BBC NEWS

Number of retirees expecting to leave an inheritance HALVES in just five years as they dole out money to support families
Some 52 per cent of people who retired in 2011 planned to leave an inheritance, but only 28 per cent stopping work this year said they would follow suit. Research by Prudential says its findings highlight a potential reason for this decline, which is that 35 per cent of retirees are already providing ongoing support to their families. More than a third of this year's retirees are providing financial help of £250 a month on average, while one in seven are spending more than £500 a month - and their assistance often spans several family generations. Those who do so are helping out an average of four family members. Some 81 per cent are supporting children and their children’s partners, 30 per cent their grandchildren, 15 per cent their own parents, and 5 per cent their grandparents. Other reasons for fewer retirees planning to leave an inheritance are the need to fund a retirement lasting on average 20 years, the declining numbers retiring on final salary pensions, and the prospect of paying care costs in future years, according to Prudential. The trend towards retirees sharing their wealth with family members during their later years has emerged in an era when younger people can face bigger financial challenges than older relatives did in their own youth. These include the sky-high costs of taking out loans to pay for university, buying or renting a home, and putting aide enough for pensions that are likely to be much poorer value in future. DAILY MAIL

France seeks €356m (£276m) in unpaid tax from Booking.com
Documents filed with US regulator said French authorities recently completed an audit of Booking.com's accounts from 2003 to 2012. The French government said Booking.com had a base in France and was obliged to pay income and value-added taxes. The company said the majority of funds being sought are penalties. "In December 2015, the French tax authorities issued Booking.com assessments for approximately €356m, the majority of which would represent penalties and interest," the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said. The company said believed it complied with local tax law, and would contest the ruling in court if it could not reach a settlement with the French government. In the same filing its parent company Priceline said Italian tax authorities were examining "whether Booking.com should be subject to additional tax obligations in Italy". Last week, Google's headquarters in Paris were searched as part of an investigation into possible tax evasion. BBC NEWS

Blatter, Valcke and Kattner awarded themselves £55m, say Fifa lawyers
The spectacular scale of greed at the top of Fifa was revealed on Friday when lawyers said that three high-ranking former officials – Sepp Blatter, Jérôme Valcke and Markus Kattner – had secretly given themselves pay rises and massive World Cup bonuses totalling 79m Swiss francs (£55m). The lawyers acting for Fifa said the contracted payments were made during the officials’ last five years in office. They appeared to violate Swiss law. Evidence will now be given to the US justice department and to Swiss federal prosecutors who are investigating the financial scandal engulfing the world football body. Fifa revealed details of the contracts of its former president Blatter, former secretary general Valcke and former finance director Kattner one day after police raided its offices to seize evidence for the Swiss investigation. It is understood Blatter received £23.3m, Valcke £22.9m and Kattner £9.5m. The raid included searches in the office of Kattner, Fifa’s German deputy secretary general, who was fired last week. The Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, opened criminal proceedings against Blatter last September, and against Valcke in March. Both are suspected of criminal mismanagement of Fifa money. Blatter and Valcke deny wrongdoing but were banned for six and 12 years respectively by Fifa’s ethics committee. GUARDIAN

'Like giving your car keys to a five-year-old': Sir Philip Green savaged by City grandees for selling BHS to a three-time bankrupt playboy
The billionaire tycoon was lambasted for putting the reputation of British business at risk amid mounting anger over the demise of the 88-year-old chain and loss of up to 11,000 jobs. Green sold the company to three-time bankrupt and playboy Dominic Chappell for just £1 last year and has faced fierce criticism over his handling of the situation in recent months. Lord Myners, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer and a former City minister, said selling BHS to Chappell was 'like giving the keys of your car to a five-year-old'. The boss of the Institute of Directors – which traditionally stands by senior businessmen and women – also launched a fierce attack on Green. Simon Walker said: “Sir Philip is a very high-profile business leader. He is the person who is on the front page with Kate Moss on his arm and who has a £100million super yacht and so on. 'When someone like this ends up behaving like this, people think that's how business is, and it's not.” On Thursday, BHS's administrator Duff & Phelps announced the business will be wound down and all 164 shops closed and sold to other retailers after it failed to find a buyer. DAILY MAIL

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