Posts Tagged ‘government’
Good news! If your phone gets nicked and the perpetrators use it to call their gangster pals in Serbia, or decide to Shazam everything and upload snuff movies onto it, you won’t be hit with a large bill.
The government has reached an agreement with four mobile phone companies – EE, Three, Virgin Media and Vodaphone – to put a cap on bills from stolen mobile phones from next Spring.
If you’ve reported your phone lost or stolen, there will be a £50 limit on bills. Also, phone providers will have to behave themselves when it comes to mid contract price rises. Customers will be able to decide to cancel their contract without any charges if their provider announces a price hike – following a ruling from Ofcom.
It’s all part of what the Government likes to sensationally call ‘the great mobile phone rip off.’ As announced earlier in the year, mobile providers must also work with the EU to end data roaming charges by 2016.
These days, if a Tory minister doesn’t mention ‘hardworking families’ in a speech, they’ll be jolly well egged and chucked into the River Cam without a punt. And Culture Secetrary Maria Miller didn’t disappoint.
‘We are ensuring hardworking families are not hit with shock bills through no fault of their own. Families can be left struggling if carefully planned budgets are blown away by unexpected bills from a stolen mobile or a mid-contract price rise. This agreement with the telecoms companies will deliver real benefits to consumers and help ensure people are not hit with shock bills.’
It turns out that the Government hasn’t actually asked the Big Six energy companies to freeze prices, despite rumours that ministers had been pressuring them to fix prices until the 2015 election.
‘This story is utterly misleading.’ snapped a snippy Tory source, ‘The Government has not asked for a price freeze. People should wait for us to announce our plans.’
(Yes, we will wait. Wrapped in blankets, coughing. Whatever you say, guv.)
Meanwhile Energy minister Ed Davey has promised make changes to the green levies for businesses, which the government have vaguely said they wanted to ‘roll back.’ This refers to the ECO scheme (which one Tory referred to as ‘green crap’). But nobody knows what the rollback entails, and no energy companies have agreed anything just yet.
But some of the Big Six have said they would cut prices if the government actually got its act together. Npower issued a statement saying: “If the green levies are rolled back then Npower will cut prices to its customers as soon as possible. We need to understand the detail of the roll back before we can comment further.’
There will be an announcement of their plans in the Autumn Statement on December 5th. But there doesn’t look like there’ll be a price freeze. After all, that would be too CARING. Looks like the only things that will be frozen are the icicles on our dead noses.
Lovely alcohol is all very well, until the morning after. So former government advisor and general mad professor David Nutt has invented a pill that gives you all the falling down, slurring, idiotic pleasure of drinking, without the bad head in the morning.
So instead of guzzling 25 Jagermeisters in a bar full of hotties, you can just pop one pill and lurch around the town centre like a dying baboon. The pill works on the pleasure centres of the brain just like alcohol, but it’s OK – Professor David has also perfected an ANTIDOTE PILL, so you can just reset your drunk head to sober and drive home, feeling like a king.
The controversial Prof Nutt, who looks like the manager of a struggling football club at the bottom of the Calor Gas League, has called on the government to fund his research and says the drug could be made into cocktails – and it’s ok –he’s tesshted it on himsshelf! (hic!)
‘I’ve done the prototype experiments myself,’ he said, laughing maniacally and blowing some smoke off the top of bubbling green test tube. ‘I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist. That’s what really gave us the idea. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.’
But alcohol support groups say that it would be swapping one addictive substance which makes us behave appallingly, for another.
Also, even if Prof Nutter gets funding, is a boring pill really going to compete with the fun of drinking tasty drinks all night, going to the toilet 52 times and throwing up in your shoe?
The stupid gits in government are planning to mess with our jams and marmalade and it isn’t on. In a bid to ‘boost the economy’, they plan to relax the rules on the minimum amount of sugar needed to classify a product calling itself jam.
Obviously, huge companies not paying tax is fine, but the economy would be saved if we got our breakfasts spoiled instead.
Lib Dem MP, Tessa Munt, is getting all Citizen Smith and fighting for the rights of ours spreads, saying that this move will be ”the end of the British breakfast as we know it” and that we’ll all end up with cheaper, runnier spreads with a shorter life span.
Talking to Auntie Beeb, she said: “I’m actually quite worried because I think this is going to be the end of the British breakfast as we know it. Our jams and marmalades are so important – and we know what to expect when we go into the supermarket or into our local shop or farm shops locally, we know exactly what we’re going to buy when something says jam on it – or marmalade or jelly – we know exactly what to expect.”
“At the minute, we’ve got a jam that we know exactly what it’s like. It’s a fantastic colour, a really good shelf life – it’s going to last a year – it’s beautiful consistency, it’s got a gloss to it. If these regulations change, we’ll end up with something much more like the French and German product – and worse still the Americans – where they have things a bit like a fruit butter or a fruit spread.”
Of course, manufacturers are behind the idea of lowering the sugar levels. That’s because they’ll be able to spend less money. Worse still is that these regulations will only apply to England, meaning that our cousins across the border in Wales and Scotland will be able to mock us loudly with delicious jam on toast while we watch our breakfast run through our fingers.
This. Is. An. Outrage.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, didn’t manage to overturn an earlier ruling that said regulations that backed up the schemes were invalid. Presumably, no-one could get away from the notion that, should Poundland have enough work for jobseekers to do, then surely, they are able to pay for it.
As the appeal was whisked to the Supreme Court, the Government forced through retrospective legislation – the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act – through Parliament. However, five whole Supreme Court justices upheld a Court of Appeal decision which went against the Government.
This all focused on Cait Reilly who was made to work for Poundland for free, as well as Jamieson Wilson who objected to doing unpaid work cleaning furniture, and saw his dole getting taken off him for 6 months. The lawyers representing the pair said all applicants who had their jobseeker’s allowance withdrawn for non-compliance with this ridiculous scheme could now reclaim their allowance as a result of this ruling.
Reilly said she was “really pleased” with today’s judgment. She hopes the whole thing “will serve to improve the current system and assist jobseekers who have been unfairly stripped of their benefits,” adding: “I brought these proceedings because I knew that there was something wrong when I was stopped from doing voluntary work in a local museum and instead forced to work for Poundland for free.”
However, the Supreme Court ruled that all this doesn’t actually constitute forced labour, which of course, saw IDS gleefully stroking his balls, saying: “We are very pleased that the Supreme Court today unanimously upheld our right to require those claiming jobseeker’s allowance to take part in programmes which will help get them into work. We have always said that it was ridiculous to say that our schemes amounted to forced labour, and yet again we have won this argument.”
“Ultimately this judgment confirms that it is right that we expect people to take getting into work seriously if they want to claim benefits.”
IDS then presumably tootled off home to his wife, Betsy Fremantle – daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe – to his country house who belongs to his father-in-law’s estate in Swanbourne, chuckling at his personal wealth of millions, wondering what all this fuss is about.
Christmas is good if you’re young. If you’re old, the cold weather will probably kill you. At least we’ve got heating for our houses, right? Wrong. See, tens of thousands of elderly customers are staring at a rise in their energy bills just in time for the coldest bit of the year after E.on withdrew their tariff for pensioners.
The scheme that has been scrapped is the StayWarm scheme, which offered fixed-price bills. However, E.on are pointing the finger at the Government, saying that the new rules which limit the number of tariffs an energy company can offer are responsible for them ending your nan.
These changes, backed by Cameron, are being implemented by Ofgem, and are limiting the total number of tariffs to four per fuel. ”Due to new Ofgem rules, which includes limiting the number of tariffs we can offer, the StayWarm tariff will close as current contracts come to an end from October 7th,” an E.on spokescrooge said.
Customers will be contacted about the news, but, if they aren’t contactable, they’ll automatically be shunted onto a more expensive standard tariff. Of course, Ofgem aren’t having it, saying that E.on could have continued with StayWarm.
“We have never told suppliers which tariffs they have to close to comply with this rule, as that is a decision for them,” said an Ofgem spokesperson. ”In fact we have been clear with all suppliers that they would have been allowed to keep social tariffs (which for example offer discounts to customers who have difficulty paying bills) under our rules.”
Is your pension hopeless? Are you destined to spend your dotage eating tinned stew out of an old hobnail boot? Well the Office of Fair Trading has ordered a crackdown on bad value pensions– after discovering that £40bn of savers money is stuck in schemes that will pay out piddling amounts.
Out of that 40 billion, £30 bn is in antiquated schemes with high charges, while £10bn resides in smaller schemes that are just as poor value for money.
5 million workers are paying into defined contribution plans, which are cheaper to run than traditional salary based schemes and are becoming increasingly popular amongst cash-strapped employers. The OFT also found that many employers don’t have the incentive to offer better value for money schemes to their workers.
The Department of Work and Pensions has agreed to look into whether new laws are needed to tackle the issue – with increased transparency top of the agenda.
Steve Webb, minister for pensions, said: “In particular, we need to ensure those already in pension schemes are getting good value for money, and will be actively involved in the audit of pension schemes sold prior to 2001.’
So knows, when you hit retirement age, you might be able to afford some stale bread to go with your tinned stew. It’s the little things that count. *cough, splutter, die penniless*
Sellers are returning to the housing market in their droves, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. They’ve been 26% busier in August compared to 16% in July. There’s also been 66% more inquiries from potential buyers last month, thanks to the government Help to Buy scheme.
All this activity is an encouraging sign, says Peter Bolton King of RICS, who said: ‘It’s not surprising that more and more people are looking to sell their homes. The buyers are out there and prices are on the up, so if you’re looking to move, it’s a good time to do so.’
The big question is – is the housing market recovery REAL or is it just a government sponsored, self inflating bouncy castle of lies? Well, surveyors are keeping a sceptical eye on this flurry of activity, wondering whether house prices will go up so much that they will simply become unaffordable.
House prices are 5.4% higher than last year, and surveyors expect house prices to keep on rising.
So polish your dado rail now and get your hovel on the market before people realise that it’s all just a bubble with Phil Spencer’s face on it, ready to pop and drown us all in a soapy river of debt. (By the way, you might want to brick up your sex dungeon before you put it on Rightmove).
If you’re middle class, chances are you’re constantly swilling Voigner from a glass as big as your head, and murmuring something about fruity top notes while stirring the cous cous. Unfortunately, wine is bad for you. So the government, (because they drink like fishes as well) want to do something about it.
But instead of telling them to stop boozing, ministers are suggesting that wine should be watered down. Lord Howe, the health minister, is arguing that the minimum strength of wine should be reduced from 8.5% to 4.5%, to protect middle class livers.
According to the NHS, professionals are twice as likely to drink more than poorer people, who are too busy queuing at the food bank to get their drink on at All Bar One.
Lord Howe argues that the market for reduced and low alcohol wines has been increasing in recent years. He said: ‘The Government has consistently made the case for a change to the EU wine rules to permit reduced and de-alcoholised products to be called wines.’
A government spokesman added: ‘We will continue our efforts to change EU wine rules, to allow all wine producers to make and market lower-alcohol products. This will help to help promote healthier choices and tackle the serious harm alcohol causes’.
But surely that’s not the point. Wine buffs don’t want to quietly sip watered down rubbish while they watch the telly. They want robust reds and cheeky whites. They want to gurgle and sniff and spit and drink so much they can’t SEE. That’s the POINT OF WINE.
Maybe they could just encourage the middle classes to drink one bottle less a week and give their wine money to the poor?
No wonder we feel so skint. We are skint. Brits are officially moth-eaten, pond dwelling losers, earning some of the lowest wages in the EU. Even Spain, which has been hit by severe austerity measures, is doing better than us.
House of Commons figures show that the UK’s average hourly wage has dropped by 5.5% since 2010 – which puts us in the bottom four countries along with Portugal, the Netherlands and Greece. Conversely, in Germany and France, everyone is living it up with steins of beer and cheeky absinthes, with wages rising by 2.7% and 0.4% respectively.
With the recent news that British workers will have lost £6660 from their wages by the next election, things are looking grim. Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said: These figures show the full scale of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis. Working people are not only worse off under the Tories, we’re also doing much worse than almost all other EU countries.Despite out of touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.’
Why aren’t we taking to the streets to protest? Well, we would, but we’ve got to don our tabards and put in another shift at Chicken Cottage.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is championing a move to allow shoppers to park on double yellow lines, in a bid to perk up the high street and encourage more business.
Say for example, shoppers want to nip into a shop to buy very large pork pie (not that Eric would do anything like that). They’ll get a 15 minute grace period and they wouldn’t be subject to any fines.
Pickles has called British high streets ‘ghost towns’ and partly blames lack of parking and high parking fees for the exodus of shoppers to larger shopping malls. (Nothing to do with the fact that the high street is made up of two branches of Card Factory and a William Hill.)
Between 2000 and 2007, average parking charges jumped 40 per cent from 86p for two hours to £1.21, and research has shown that shoppers are put off by extortionate charges. However, critics say parking fees are necessary to curb illegal parking and encourage shoppers to use public transport.
AA president Edmund King was less sure about the proposal and recommended a full review of the double yellow system.
‘Rather than just allow drivers to park on double yellow lines, a thorough review of the lines would be more effective. Many double lines are there for historical reasons and could be lifted.There is plenty of opportunity to ease back on the signs and lines in many places, giving drivers short-term waiting bays instead, so they can stop briefly to buy a paper or loaf of bread.’
Where do these people go shopping? TRUMPTON? You need more than 15 minutes to browse the rails at TK Maxx, try on lipstick at Boots, get a fish pedicure and go for a Nandos, mate.
Mary Whitehouse David Cameron is going after porn, because porn is, according to our glorious leader, a “corroding” influence. And there’s us thinking it was just something to whack-off to when you were bored.
Now, every household in Britain with an internet connection will be obliged to declare whether they want to access grot or not. By the end of next year, you’ll have to actively disable smut-filters.
And why is he doing this? He’s doing it under the pretense of child sexual abuse.
He says that “extreme pornography” will be outlawed, even that which only features consenting adults. He also says that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) are going to draw up a blacklist of “abhorrent” internet search terms to identify and prevent paedophiles searching for illegal material.
Of course, he’s not actually going to go after the people who MAKE child abuse videos or indeed, try and go after paedophiles. He’s just going to shout at Google & Co in the hope that, if it disappears offline, everything will suddenly be better. Sending people who want to rape children into the undergrowth, where they’ll be even more difficult to find, doesn’t seem like a good idea.
It has been reported that the prime minister will say: “By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family-friendly filters will be automatically selected. If you just click ‘next’ or ‘enter’, then the filters are automatically on.
“And, in a really big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your home internet account. No more hassle of downloading filters for every device, just one-click protection. One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe.
“Once those filters are installed, it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing. So we have agreed with industry that those filters can only be changed by the account holder, who has to be an adult. So an adult has to be engaged in the decisions.”
“There are certain types of pornography that can only be described as ‘extreme’ … that is violent, and that depicts simulated rape. These images normalise sexual violence against women – and they are quite simply poisonous to the young people who see them.”
“I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this – and it is a moral duty. If there are technical obstacles to acting on [search engines], don’t just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them.”
“You’re the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the Earth from space; who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information. Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it.”
So there you have it. Stop weird stuff from appearing online and that’ll fix everything. Not that everyone will easily find a way around this anyway and that, prior to the internet, rape and child abuse existed anyway. Funny how people who want to do illegal things tend to ignore warnings, laws and restrictions and crack on with it anyway…
Young people in England can only dream of home ownership these days, as 1 in 3 houses are now owned by beige warriors over the age of 65. And while they smugly sit on their decking in their amazing mortgage free homes, occasionally yelling ‘it’s all mine!’, the younger generation is forced to put up with landlords who consider a toilet a luxury.
The Government English Housing Survey revealed that 35% of people are forced to rent, the highest figure since 1987, while the amount of pensioners who own their own homes is at a record 30% high.
In 2003, at the height of the property boom, 71% of people were owner occupiers, but that figure has slid to 65.3%. Meanwhile, the number of renters has risen by 2 million.
The Housing Minister Mark Prisk said the government was ‘determined to offer help to anyone looking to get on in life and take that first step onto the property ladder.’ But now house prices are rising again, it seems that even if you want to ‘get on in life’, you’re buggered.
You could argue that older people have worked hard to pay off their mortgages, and therefore should be entitled to enjoy their dotage, using their spare rooms as storage for their spare cash and cigar humidors.
OR, we could demand that they quit hogging all the UK’s prime real estate and move their baggy arses into a nursing home (where they’ll end up anyway). Meanwhile they could donate the houses to young families who actually need the space. Just a thought.
Britain needs a million more affordable houses to rent to avoid a homelessness crisis by 2021, a Cambridge University study has revealed. At the moment, the UK is already suffering a shortfall of 300,000 rented homes at below market prices. In London alone – where it costs a million pounds to live in an old Amazon box under the Westway with the crack fox – the shortage amounts to 190,000.
While the UK bristles with overpriced properties that are ‘stunning’ (ordinary), ‘bijou’ (suitable only for a Lego Minifigure) and boast ‘open aspects’ (view of abbatoir), a lack of cheap social housing will soon be epidemic.
Jack Dromey MP, the shadow housing minister said: ‘This is yet more evidence of the biggest housing crisis in a generation. The Government’s failure is having dramatic consequences for people all over the country.”
Meanwhile the government say they’re building 170,000 new affordable homes to rent by 2015, and are planning to accelerate the building rate.
It’s doubtful that the Tories are really going to put a rocket under a huge social housing project, though, what with their intense hatred of council houses, poor people, devil dogs, curtains drawn in the middle of the day etc. You can bet they’ll want everyone to buy, buy, buy.
So if you are unemployed, an asylum seeker, or on benefits, you should probably get your box sorted out now.