Citizens Advice: Payday lenders set debt-trap for struggling families
With one in four people coming to Citizens Advice with a debt problem, the charity highlights the financial struggles families are facing. Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “Payday lenders have set a debt-trap for struggling households.  In the battle to make ends meet people are turning to short-term loans just to get by.  A lack of checks, high interest rates and fees means what is supposed to be a quick fix turns into a long term nightmare. “It’s not just payday lenders that are preying on the worst off.  Citizens Advice expects up to 60,000 log book loans to be taken ... More
Energy switching times will halve by end of 2014
Switching energy supplier is set to become much quicker, with energy companies confirming they are committed to slashing switching times by 50 per cent by the end of the year. This will reduce the time it takes to switch energy supplier from five weeks to around two and a half weeks. Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey challenged energy suppliers back in October 2013 to reduce switching times dramatically, as part of the Government’s work to help energy customers get the benefits of increased competition, and called on the industry to work collaboratively to bring about major change ... More
Flood protection has been restored to 115,000 homes
350 damaged flood risk management assets have been repaired following winter flood and storm damage restoring protection to 115,000 properties Over 150,000 flood risk management assets have been inspected in the wake of severe storms and flooding Over 100 Environment Agency flood risk management specialist inspectors, aided by around 200 members of the armed forces took six weeks to complete the inspections Many of the flood risk assets that were damaged in the extreme weather since December are already being repaired by the Environment Agency – with repairs to over 350 defences already completed, restoring protection to over 115,000 homes. A further 650 ... More
Only the Lib Dems can be trusted to give pensioners a fair, secure income
Liberal Democrats have increased the state pension by £650 compared to under Labour. We have done this by creating a ‘triple lock’ rule, where the state pension must always rise with inflation, earnings or 2.5% – whichever is highest. This has only happened because the Liberal Democrats are in Government. The rule was originally scrapped by Thatcher and Labour refused to reintroduce it during their 13 years in power, and even increased the state pension by just 75p one year! Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to give pensioners a fair, secure income. ... More
Check if a health and safety excuse is genuine by contacting the Myth Busters Challenge Panel
Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions. The Panel is chaired by the HSE Chair Judith Hackitt, with HSE Board member Sarah Veale as the Vice-Chair and they are supported by a pool of independent members who represent a wide range of interests. This includes small businesses, public safety, trade   union, the insurance industry and many outside interests where day-to-day common   sense decisions on risk management are made. This ... More
Gas Fitter receives suspended prison sentence for unregistered gas work
A Staffordshire fitter has been handed a suspended prison sentence for illegal gas work that potentially endangered lives. Glenn Edkins, 43, trading as GPE Plumbing and Heating, carried out faulty gas work while installing a boiler at a home in Barton-under-Needwood between 8 and 22 November 2012. Mr Edkins was not Gas Safe registered as the law requires. His illegal handiwork was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (15 April) prosecuted Mr Edkins for breaching gas safety law. Burton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Edkins left the boiler working and filled in the commissioning paperwork and boiler guarantee, quoting ... More
Vince Cable takes aim at dodgy directors
Plans for tougher penalties against reckless directors have been unveiled by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable today. While the UK already has one of the strongest disqualification regimes in the world – with disqualification periods ranging from two years up to fifteen years for the worst offenders – the new measures will mean the rogue minority face stronger deterrents to break the law and more robust sanctions if they do. With around 1,200 directors disqualified each year, the Government is determined to make sure those who flout their responsibilities, cost jobs and cause investors to lose their money face the strongest ... More
Minister tells Councils to stop misuse of health and safety laws
Schools and councils across the country need to educate their staff to prevent the misuse of health and safety laws, Minister Mike Penning said today, following a number of complaints from members of the public. Nearly 300 people have approached the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Myth Buster Challenge Panel in the last 2 years, claiming they have been fobbed off with bogus excuses. The Minister responsible for Health and Safety, Mike Penning, has written personally to councils and schools on issues ranging from a ban on ‘Help for Heroes’ wristbands to a council’s refusal to clear dog mess in a playground. Mike ... More
Ed Davey MP writes: An onshore wind cap makes no sense
Rarely a week goes by without an onshore wind story appearing in the media – normally negative, with some Conservative source trying to undermine this important source of renewable energy. The past few weeks have been no different. First, let’s set the record straight. Liberal Democrats in Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. Of course what other parties choose to put in their manifestos is a matter for them. But this Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables and we will not lose focus or rewrite policy. Second, let’s remind ourselves of how successful we’ve ... More
PHE publish guidance for managing continuing increase in cases of scarlet fever
Public Health England (PHE) has reported a continued substantial increase in scarlet fever notifications across England with 1,049 new cases reported from 31 March to 6 April. A total of 7,198 new cases have now been reported since the season began in September 2013. Scarlet fever is a seasonal disease and this is the time of year when the highest numbers of cases are typically seen. As such, a decline in numbers of cases should become evident over the coming weeks. PHE has this week published new guidance on the public health management of scarlet fever outbreaks in schools, nurseries and ... More