5th June 2008
Competition Commission Report into Payment Protection Insurance
The Competition Commission has published provisional findings on Payment Protection Insurance (PPi). The report details that companies face little or no competition when selling to their credit customers. As a consequence, customers appear to be overcharged by over £1.4 billion a year. Inquiry Chairman Peter Davis said: "We've found serious problems with the PPI market and customers are paying for the lack of competition. The way PPI is sold as an 'add-on' to a loan or other credit product means distributors escape the pressure they should face from competing suppliers. Distributors don't appear to compete much with each other on either price or quality of PPI; neither do they appear to do much direct advertising of PPI to win customers from each other". Download the Report
5th June 2008
Government Toughens Up Knife Crime Sanctions
The Government has announced a crackdown on knife crime, targeting those over 16 years of age. Anyone over 16 now caught in possession of a knife can expect to be prosecuted on the first offence. Under 16s committing offences without aggravating factors should still receive a formal caution together with referral to a knife education scheme. The new sanctions come after a Downing Street meeting with Ken Jones the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers and Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss new national guidance for police and prosecutors. The Prime Minister said "We have to send out a message and reinforce it with immediate action. It is completely unacceptable to carry a knife. Young people need to understand that carrying knives doesn't protect you, it does the opposite - it increases the danger for all of us, destroys young lives and ruins families. Recent tragic events have reminded us of that. I am pleased to see the Police and the Courts working with us to tackle this and make the streets safe in all our communities". Read all about it
4th June 2008
Obama Claims US Democratic Party Nomination
Barack Obama has claimed the Democratic Presidential nomination, even though Hilary Clinton has yet to concede victory. Speaking in St Paul, Minnesota where Republicans will meet in September formally to proclaim John McCain as their nomimee, Obama said "I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States" and that "we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another". The final two primaries were won by Mrs Clinton (South Dakota) and Barack Obama (Montana). Clinton said "In the coming days, I'll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way". It is understood that Hilary is open to the idea of being the Vice-Presidential running-mate.
3rd June 2008
Official Opening of EU Chemicals Agency
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has been officially opened in Helsinki. ECHA is responsible for managing the implementation of the REACH requirements in relation to the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction processes of chemical substances. Whilst ECHA formally began activities last year, the work to date has been devoted to preparation, including staff recruitment and establishing support structures and procedures. On 1st June this year two key processes of REACH entered into operation: Registration of chemicals and pre-registration of the 30,000 chemicals currently in use. Visit the ECHA website
2nd June 2008
Government Targets Youth Drinking
The Government has launched a new Youth Alcohol Action Plan aimed at helping young people to make the right decisions about drinking, to stop them drinking in public and to assist parents about the risks. An initiative between the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Department of Health and the Home Office, the plan sets out the involvement of the police and the courts, parental responsibility in the home and how the alcohol industry should continue the good progress it has made to reduce the sale of alcohol to under-18s but how marketing and promoting alcohol should be carried out in a more responsible way. Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said "Tougher enforcement powers are needed to tackle under-age binge drinking but enforcement measures alone are not the solution. We need a culture change about drinking with everyone from parents, the alcohol industry and young people all taking more responsibility". Download the Action Plan here
1st June 2008
Paisley Formally Replaced by Robinson
Peter Robinson has formally replaced Dr Ian Paisley as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, and is due to take over as First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Thursday.
31st May 2008
Henley Conservatives Select Howell
Henley Conservatives have confirmed Councillor John Howell as the selection to fight the forthcoming by-election. Howell is a former partner in City accountants Ernst & Young, and was awarded an OBE in 2000.
31st May 2008
Commons Report on Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry
30th May 2008
Labour Slumps to Record Low in Poll
A YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph shows Labour slumped to a record low of 23 points compared to the Conservatives with 47. The LibDems polled 18.
29th May 2008
Tory Local Shortlist for Henley By-Election
The Conservative Party has shortlisted three local councillors in the run up the to Henley by-election: John Howell, Ann Ducker and John Cotton. Stanley Johnson, the father of outgoing MP Boris Johnson who had expressed an interest in standing has not been taken forward. Richard McKenzie is standing for Labour, Stephen Kearney for the Liberal Democrats and Mark Stevenson for the Green Party. No date has yet been set for the by-election.