Japan’s airline authority has followed the US regulator in clearing Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner to fly again once batteries are replaced.
See the original post here: VIDEO: Japan lifts Boeing Dreamliner ban
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Japan’s airline authority has followed the US regulator in clearing Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner to fly again once batteries are replaced.
See the original post here: VIDEO: Japan lifts Boeing Dreamliner ban
All Nippon Airways is to begin Dreamliner test flights after Japan’s regulator followed the US aviation authority in clearing Boeing’s 787 to fly.
More here: Japan lifts Boeing Dreamliner ban
Head of new Financial Conduct Authority says complaints data helps consumers and boosts competition
Santander has been named as the most complained about bank by the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Spanish-owned bank, which is advertising its 123 current account heavily at the moment, was the subject of four complaints for every one of its 1,000 banking customers during the second half of last year.
Overall, Santander had the fifth-largest number of complaints to the regulator, but the most banking problems per customer. On investments, it was the most-complained about firm with 2,236 complaints, and also received the most mortgage complaints, 14,080.
Barclays topped the new financial regulator’s figures in terms of the gross number of complaints, including banking, insurance, payment protection insurance (PPI) and other issues.
The FCA, which has just taken over from the Financial Services Authority, said that in total there were almost 3.5m complaints about financial service firms during the six months to the end of 2012 with 2.1m about mis-sold PPI. The figure was 1% higher than the first half of the year as the number of PPI complaints climbed by 5%.
There was some better news for pure banking customers. Complaints about current accounts fell 6% while problems with insurance rose by the same amount.
The figures show that Barclays was the subject of 414,302 complaints to the FSA, which is down 6% since the first half of 2012. Lloyds TSB had 349,386 (down 19%), Bank of Scotland/Halifax: 338,912 (down 7%) while Santander received 237,923 (down 1%). The card provider MBNA received a large number of complaints – 270,486 (a drop of 3%).
FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says: “Greater transparency drives greater competition, and the publication of the complaints data lays bare the track record of the UK’s financial institutions when it comes to resolving customer conflicts.
“When I meet the bosses of the financial institutions they frequently tell me they do not want to be at the top of the table, which means they strive to improve both their sales and complaints handling processes.
“Not only does our data help consumers compare and contrast their current bank or lender, it also boosts competition among firms.”
Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint by Virgin Media that claims about the service being ‘unique’ were untrue
Virgin Media has won a victory against fledgling rival YouView, getting its launch TV and press campaign banned after the advertising watchdog ruled that claims it is “unique” and the “easiest” service were untrue.
After a protracted development period, YouView launched last summer. It was backed with a £10m ad campaign that debuted in September, featuring stars including Gary Barlow and Benedict Cumberbatch. The service is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk to bring internet-connected TV to Freeview households.
Virgin Media lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about claims made in the campaign, which ran on TV and in the Radio Times.
The claims included: “YouView is the easiest way to watch catchup TV, on your TV” and the assertion that its electronic programme function has a “unique scroll-back function”.
YouView produced its own customer research to back its claims, as well as conducting its own comparisons with rival services.
The ASA said that YouView had failed to ask the general, basic question about whether it was in fact the easiest way to watch catchup video on their TV sets.
“We concluded the claim had not been adequately substantiated,” the ASA said.
The watchdog also concluded that the “unique” claim was misleading as YouView is not the only service on the market offering a scroll-back function on its programme guide.
The ASA said the ads could not run again without changes and told YouView “to ensure they held adequate evidence to substantiate comparative claims and to ensure their claims were not misleading”.
In a double blow for YouView’s growth, the advertising regulator also ruled against a TV ad and direct mail campaign run by TalkTalk.
TalkTalk, which is aiming to add to its broadband and phone services by offering YouView TV, ran an ad campaign claiming it was offering free YouView set-top boxes to customers.
A complainant said the ad campaign was misleading as there was a £50 engineer installation cost, which the ASA agreed was in breach of rules promising “free” goods.
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Andrew Bailey, head of Prudential Regulation Authority, says it’s odd action taken only against people lower down in failed banks
Britain’s most senior banking regulator has questioned why none of the bosses of the country’s failed banks have been formally charged over their roles in the financial crisis. Andrew Bailey, head of the new banking regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, said: “It is more than odd that action has been taken against people lower down in institutions, but no action has been taken at the top.”
At a conference debating how to rebuild trust in Britain’s scandal-hit banks, Bailey said it was a “source of surprise” that no senior bank directors have been disqualified. He pointed out that the secretary of state sought the disqualification of Barings Bank for their roles in failing to adequately supervise Nick Leeson.
Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, said bankers caught trying to play the system in order to line their own pockets should be “thrown into jail”.
He said it “cannot be right” that benefit cheats who fiddle the system for a couple of hundred pounds are thrown into jail while “those who seek to rig the financial system and receive hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result never seem to suffer the same fate”.
In an impassioned speech at the Future of Financial Services summit in Canary Wharf on Monday, Umunna said the City would not be able to rebuild trust with society “until custodial sentences are imposed on those guilty of criminal wrongdoing in your sector”.
He said the “prospect of jail for gross wrongdoing” was one of the best ways to affect cultural change in Britain’s scandal-hit banks.
No bankers have been jailed in connection with the Libor rate-fixing scandal, but the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a criminal investigation and arrested three men. In the US, two former UBS employees have been charged.
Umunna acknowledged that politicians were hardly in the best position to lecture others on trust and morals. “We are less popular than you and we learned the hard way after the expenses scandal, when we had to get our house in order,” he said. “But at least the people saw politicians brought to book – with some of our number serving jail time for their wrongdoing.”
He also attacked Barclays for trying to sneak out news that it paid its bosses bonuses of £39.5m on budget day. Umunna said it “sent all the wrong messages”.
Ashok Vaswani, boss of retail and business banking at Barclays, who was also at the debate, admitted that the timing of the release was “a mistake”.
Labour will on Tuesday resume its push for changes to banking reforms going through parliament, calling for stronger immunities for whistleblowers.
In Tuesday’s parliamentary debate, Labour will table amendments to the bill to protect whistlebowers as well bolster protection for customers of savings schemes such as Farepak, which collapsed in 2006.
Labour will also produced figures showing that the government’s levy on balance sheets has brought in £2bn of revenue less than originally forecast.
Chris Leslie, a shadow Treasury minister, also intends to call for a full licensing review of bankers. “If a GP or a barrister was involved in serious misconduct, they would have to answer to the BMA or Bar Council ethical practice committees and could lose their licence – and so we also need similar processes for those who break financial regulations too,” Leslie said.
The Financial Conduct Authority says the number of complaints about the mis-selling of PPI fell in the second half of last year.
Read the original here: PPI complaints start to decline
Which? research reveals a flood of frustrated customers ready to take advantage of shakeup in current account market
Record numbers of people are expected to ditch their bank in the coming year as mis-selling, poor customer service and a faster switching service persuade them to make the move. More than a quarter have had a problem with their current account, according to research out today from Which?, with a fifth who made a complaint saying it was not resolved satisfactorily.
The findings come as the Post Office shakes up the market with its first current account since the late 1980s, when it sold the state-run Girobank. Virgin Money and Tesco are expected to follow suit later this year, after the launch of long-awaited changes in September to guarantee customers a smooth bank switch within seven days. This will be backed by a multimillion-pound TV, radio and press advertising campaign and is being endorsed by the chancellor, George Osborne, who wants to see “new faces on the high street”.
Laura Willoughby, chief executive of the MoveYourMoney.org.uk campaign, said: “This will be a big year for switching, partly because of the faster switching service but also because of the new entrants expected to shake up the market.” Last year 1.2 million people switched current accounts – up from 600,000 in 2009 – but this is still only 2.5% of all customers. According to YouGov research, 14 million would be more likely to switch if it was easier. The new rules mean it will only take seven days – instead of three weeks now – and automatically sweep money wrongly sent to the old account into the right one.
According to the Which? research, Bank of Scotland, Barclays and the Co-operative Bank had the highest proportion of complaints, while First Direct and Nationwide had the least. The survey, based on conversations with 2,000 customers, also ranked the biggest banks for customer satisfaction. All did poorly, with Halifax scoring the highest satisfaction of 38% for its complaint handling and Santander the worst, with 30%. Banks’ attitudes towards complaints were also revealed. A Lloyds TSB customer said: “They were rude and made me feel small for daring to question their level of service.”
There were 323,000 complaints about current accounts reported to the Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the FSA) in the first half of 2012, with the figures for the next six months due to be released tomorrow.
At the start of this month, new rules came in that aim to put an end to banks and building societies mis-selling paid-for current accounts. The authority said some customers had been throwing money “down the drain” by paying monthly fees for accounts with add-ons such as travel or mobile phone insurance or car breakdown cover, which turn out to be useless to them.
“Banks are going to have to up their game,” said Kevin Mountford of moneysupermarket.com. “There could be an interesting 12 months ahead.”
The claims made for Mrs Thatcher’s transformative powers are grossly exaggerated
The empress has no clothes or, at least, not the clothes in which so many want to robe her. Despite all the praise, Mrs Thatcher did not arrest British economic decline, launch an economic transformation or save Britain. She did, it is true, re-establish the British state’s capacity to govern. But then, although she wanted to trigger a second industrial revolution and a surge of new British producers, she used the newly won state authority to worsen the very weaknesses that had plagued us for decades. The national conversation of the last six days has been based on a fraud. If the Thatcher revolution had been so transformatory, our situation today would not be so acute.
In the 20 years up to 1979, Britain’s growth rate averaged 2.75%, although it had been weakening during the ills of the mid-1970s. In the years before the banking crisis, there was a vexed debate about whether the Thatcher reforms, essentially unchallenged by Blair and Brown, had succeeded in restoring the long-run growth rate to earlier levels. Certainly, the gap in per capita incomes between Britain, France and Germany had narrowed, as, apparently, had the productivity gap.
The question is whether any of it was sustainable. Now, there is a growing and dismaying recognition that too much growth in the past 30 years has been built on an unsustainable credit, banking and property bubble and that Britain’s true long-run growth rate has fallen to around 2%. The productivity gap is widening. All that heightened inequality, the unbelievable executive remuneration, wholesale privatisation, taking “the shackles off business” and labour market flexibility has achieved nothing durable.
This bitter realisation has been sharpening in non-conservative circles for some months. The pound has fallen by 20% in real terms since 2008, yet the response of our export sector to the most sustained competitive advantage since we came off the gold standard has been disastrously weak. Britain’s trade deficit in goods climbed to 6.9% of GDP in 2012 – the highest since 1948 – and February’s numbers were cataclysmically bad. Britain simply does not have enough companies creating goods and even services that the rest of the world wants to buy, despite devaluation.
The legion of Mrs Thatcher’s apologists argues she can hardly be blamed for what is happening 23 years after leaving office. But economic transformations should be enduring, shouldn’t they? Thatcherism did not deliver because dynamic capitalism is achieved through a much more subtle interplay. She never understood that a complex ecosystem of public and private institutions is needed to support risk-taking, the creation of open innovation networks, sustained long-term investment and sophisticated human capital. Believing in the magic of markets and the inevitable destructiveness of the state, she never addressed these core issues. Instead, the demand for high financial returns steadily rose through her period of office, along with executive pay, even while investment and innovation sank. And the trends continued because none of her successors dared challenge what she had started.
Instead, her targets were trade unions and state-owned enterprise in the ideological project of brutally asserting the primacy of markets and the private sector, and thus a conservative hegemony, in the name of a fierce patriotism. This was real enough: she really did want to put Britain back on the map economically and politically and the task force sailing for the Falklands embodied the intensity of that impulse. But she did not pull it off, as even she acknowledged, in her more honest moments out of office.
Trade unions certainly needed the Thatcher treatment in terms of both accepting the rule of law and the need for responsibilities alongside their rights. But companies, shareholders, banks and wider finance also needed this treatment. But as “her people” and part of the hegemonic alliance she aimed to create, they would never get the same medicine. Instead, her Big Bang in 1986, allowing banks worldwide to combine investment and commercial banking in London, was a monster sweetheart deal to please her own constituency. Britain became the centre of a global financial boom, but at home this meant an intensification of the financial system’s dysfunctionality, helped by little regulation and a self-defeating credit boom, worsening the anti-investment, short-termist that needed to be reformed. This is now obvious to all. But for nearly 30 years, the apparent success of Thatcherism hid the need.
However, in one serious respect, trade unions were a proper target. By the late 1970s, a handful of trade union leaders in effect co-ran the country, the beneficiaries of the failure of successive governments to bring free collective bargaining into a legal framework. This despite the fact that they could not deliver their members to agreed policies, and the third year of an incomes policy had collapsed. On this question, the Labour party was intellectually exhausted and politically bankrupt; the Conservative government under Heath had been defeated too. It had become a first order crisis of governability, even of democracy.
This was her opportunity and she seized it . The early employment acts and the victory over Arthur Scargill‘s NUM decisively reaffirmed that the fount of political power in the country is Parliament, at the time a crucial intervention. But she wildly overshot. Trade unions within a proper framework are a vital means of expressing employee voice and protecting worker interests. Labour market flexibility – code for deunionisation and removal of worker entitlements – has become another Thatcherite mantra that again hides the complexity of what is needed in the labour market: employee voice and engagement, skills and adaptability. When she left office, 64% of UK workers had no vocational qualifications.
The best thing that can be said about Thatcherism is that it may have been a necessary, if mistaken, staging post on the way to our economic reinvention. She resolved the crisis of governance but then demonstrated that simple anti-statism and pro-market solutions do not work. We need to do more sophisticated things than control inflation, reduce public debt, roll back the state and assert “market forces”.
The coalition government is developing new-look industrial strategies, reforming the banking system and reintroducing the state – as a vital partner – into areas such as energy. New thinking is emerging everywhere. For example, in the north-east of England an economic commission chaired by Lord Adonis, of which I was a member, recently recommended the de facto reintroduction of the metropolitan authority in Newcastle, abolished by Mrs Thatcher. It would co-ordinate a pan-north-east redoubling of investment in skills and transport, along with winning more investment. And it wants the local economic partnership to work in the same building as the proposed new combined authority, driving forward an innovation and investment revolution. This complex interaction of private and public the commission is trying to develop is a world away from Thatcher – and widely welcomed.
The empress really has no clothes. Wednesday’s funeral is a tribute to the myth and the conservative hegemony she created. If the royal family is concerned, as is reported, that the whole affair will be over the top, they are right. Mrs Thatcher capitalised on a moment of temporary ungovernability that, to her credit, she resolved, then sold her party and country an oversimple and false prospectus. The landslide Mr Blair won in 1997 was to challenge it, but he did not understand at the time, nor understand now, what his mandate meant. The force of events is at last moving us on. But Britain has been weakened, rather than strengthened, by the revolution she wreaked. • This article will be opened for comments on Sunday morning
The chancellor is correct that the light-touch system of regulation overseen by the Financial Services Authority has been discredited (Report, 2 April). Last year we exposed the extent of corporate capture at the FSA and the way in which the supposed watchdog acted as a lobbying arm for the sector it was supposed to regulate. However, this week’s shift of powers to the Bank of England and new institutions is not the “fundamental change” in the regulation of the City that George Osborne claims. It is window dressing to disguise business as usual. In a meeting last week, officials at the new Financial Conduct Authority complained about a “burden of regulation” being brought in following the financial crisis, apparently oblivious to the contribution of years of self-regulation to the global financial meltdown. The repercussions of this approach are still being borne by citizens in the UK and globally. To ensure a genuinely secure financial system, we need a regulatory body that is entirely independent of the industry it is supposed to police. What we have is another lapdog.
World Development Movement