Nicky Morgan wants leaked report into RBS published

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Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan has called for the full publication of a leaked report into the treatment of customers in RBS’s global restructuring group (GRG).

The report, produced for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), suggested the group mistreated many of its clients.

RBS denies that claim.

Mrs Morgan has asked FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey to secure RBS’s permission to publish it “without delay”.

“The report is in the hands of an unknown number of third parties,” she said.

“The balance has tipped firmly in favour of full publication.”

GRG operated from 2005 to 2013 and at its peak handled 16,000 companies.

It was introduced as an expert service that would turn around a business and stepped in when companies missed a loan repayment or had a drop in sales or profits.

But the FCA report found struggling companies that were placed in the recovery group had a slim chance of emerging from it.

Four-year wait

“The FCA told the committee in November 2016 that a ‘full account’ of the findings from the skilled persons’ report would be published,” Mrs Morgan said.

“Nearly a year later, and nearly four years since the report was commissioned, we are still waiting for answers.”

“I have asked Mr Bailey to update the committee on any information that the FCA uncovers as part of its inquiry into the leak,” she said.

“This would not be the first instance of leaking from the FCA, but lessons must be learned to ensure it is the last.”

The FCA said it would respond “in due course” to the request from Mrs Morgan.

“We have already initiated a leak inquiry into the disclosure of the s166 report on RBS GRG to the BBC, and we have asked the other parties who had access to the report, namely RBS and Promontory, to do the same.

“If the Treasury Select Committee or the BBC have evidence that the document was leaked by the FCA, we encourage them to share that with us.”

‘Address concerns’

In November 2013, Lawrence Tomlinson, then ‘Enterprise Czar’ for Business Secretary Vince Cable, made several allegations against RBS in a report into the GRG.

On the same day, RBS chairman Sir Andrew Large published an RBS-commissioned report into its own lending performance, which said that the bank needed “to address the concerns that have been raised by some customers and external shareholders”.

Two months later the FCA announced its own review into the group’s conduct.

Bank of Scotland receives most complaints – again

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The Bank of Scotland remains the most complained about financial business in the UK, according to the complaints watchdog.

In the first six months of 2017 the Financial Ombudsman said it dealt with 20,541 complaints about the firm – part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

However only 22% of those complaints were upheld.

The vast majority of the complaints about the Bank of Scotland – 83%- concerned its sales of PPI insurance. Meanwhile PPI complaints once again topped the table of consumer concerns, with a 14% rise in complaints to the Financial Ombudsman in the first half of the year, compared to the last six months of 2016. In total the Financial Ombudsman Service received 89,513 PPI complaints, up from 78,375 in the previous period.

Increasing workload

Bank of Scotland was also the most complained-about financial firm in the last six months of 2016. The latest figures put Lloyds Bank in second place. The bank was the subject of more than 18,000 complaints, but more of these – 37% – were upheld.

The group has so far put aside £18bn to compensate customers who were mis-sold PPI. Last month the Financial Conduct Authority ruled that all PPI claims will have to be lodged by 29 August 2019. That is likely to lead to a further rise in complaints, as claims management firms seek to capitalise on the deadline.

“While we still don’t know what impact this will have on our workload, today’s data shows that PPI complaints are already increasing,” said Caroline Wayman, chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service. The peak for the number of complaints about PPI was in 2013/14, when the Ombudsman received nearly 400,000 referrals. The Ombudsman also received over 15,000 complaints about Barclays, the highest number for issues to do with banking or credit.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) starts the clock on the two-year PPI reclaiming deadline.

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MILLIONS more customers could be due compensation even if they’ve been turned down before because of the Plevin court ruling, experts have warned.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today is starting the clock on the two-year PPI reclaiming deadline, as it seeks to draw a line under the mis-selling scandal that has already cost banks £27.4 billion. Experts from MoneySavingExpert (MSE) are now reminding customers this also means they can now make claims on the back of a court case known as Plevin.

The ruling means customers can get money back if their bank did not declare that at least 50 per cent of the cost of the PPI policy was in commission. As bank loans with PPI typically averaged 67 per cent and lenders almost never mentioned it, a lot of people are likely to be owed compensation. This means over 1.2 million people who’ve had past claims rejected by the bank or the ombudsman will rightly have their cases reopened due to the ruling. And it’s possible millions more will be able to claim now too, according to MSE.

If you’ve had a PPI claim rejected in the past, you should resubmit it to your PPI provider and ask them to check for undisclosed high commission. Martin Lewis, the founder of MSE, said: “Until now, you were usually only due money back from PPI if the firm had either given you an inappropriate policy, such as employment cover for the self-employed, or lied to you, like saying PPI was compulsory.

“Yet with Plevin, in most cases it’s simply a case of ‘Did you have PPI? Then you are owed money.” “So if you have a loan, credit card or other debt product that has been active at some point since 2008 and had PPI on it, then if you haven’t reclaimed already, you’re almost certainly due some money back, even if you don’t think you were mis-sold in any other way.” Around 60 million PPI policies were sold over the past 30 years – during which there have been 18.4 million complaints, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA is urging people who are “unsure” whether they had PPI to make a claim before the deadline on August 29 2019. The claims industry believes just a third of eligible claims have been paid so far, leaving banks facing the prospect of huge payouts. Last month, Barclays set aside £700m and Lloyds Bank another £1bn to pay for further compensation claims.

Gareth Shaw, a money expert at consumer group Which?, previously said: “With banks now setting aside more money for PPI claims, it shows that the fallout from this mis-selling scandal is far from over and there are significant amounts of compensation due to consumers.”


Row breaks out over bin fines

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The town hall has defended its decision to fine residents for leaving their bins out past midnight on collection day.

Workers at Wigan Council issued a notice to Leigh resident, Adam Peers, who returned after a night away to find a note on his wheelie bin. The image of the notice has circulated on social media, forcing a split between people who agree and those who oppose this type of disciplinary action.

The instruction reads: “Please put your house number on you bins as unnumbered bins will be removed from site. “Your bins must be taken in by midnight on day of collection to avoid a FINE.” But the notice has sparked a row on social media, with some people agreeing that bins should be brought in promptly, and others branding the fines as a money-maker for the council.

Mr Peers originally said: “My bins are numbered and they were left out because I wasn’t even at home to bring them in as I’d been at work and slept at another address overnight am I no longer allowed to sleep out or go on holiday in fear of a fine off our council?

“I always recycle and never not paid council tax, just makes me want to not bother anymore,”

But in a statement to the Wigan Observer, the council has explained that the fines are to help rid the streets of bins which can be used as vehicles for vandalism. Paul Barton, assistant director for environmental services at Wigan Council, said: “Bins being left out on the street can become a target for arson, vandalism and theft which not only blights our communities but costs the council more than £250,000 a year to deal with.

“When we receive reports of bins not being removed after collection we do deploy staff to inspect and to remind residents of the need to remove their bins as soon as possible. “We also encourage residents who are out at work to try to make arrangements for someone to remove their bins in their absence.”

Firefighters recently issued a warning to remind residents to lock away their bins where possible as they can be used to start fires which result in time wasted for crews. There have also been some instances where flames have spread from a wheelie bin and caught fire to nearby houses, cars or sheds.

Police have also warned people that burglars can use wheelie bins as a way of accessing higher entrance points to properties, for example standing on the top of a bin to gain access to a window. But the news has sparked a lively debate between residents, with many agreeing with the fines and others going as far to call it a “dictatorship”. Elizabeth McGrath said: “Fire service working in conjunction with the council that have implemented this many years ago…makes sense to me especially with all the recent bins being set on fire.

The fire service attending to bins that have been left out could potentially stop a crew reaching a much more severe incident.” Gary Collinge added: “How’s about us sticking a notice on a WBC bin wagon. Asking those who empty our bins to put bring the bin back to our front instead of leaving in on the kerb next to the main road. I have very little time for bin men these days.”







VW launches new UK diesel scrappage scheme

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Volkswagen UK is offering customers discounts of up to £6,000 to trade in diesel vehicles when buying a new car.

All the Volkswagen UK brands – including Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – will participate. VW launched a more generous scheme in Germany in August in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal. Competitors in the UK, including BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall have already launched schemes.

Rival Toyota also launched a scrappage scheme on Friday, offering up to £4,000 off a new Toyota. VW’s UK scheme is a continuation of the initiative launched in Germany, which was brought in after a top level summit between politicians and the country’s leading carmakers, including BMW, Daimler and Opel.

VW’s German scheme offered a discount of up to 10,000 euros (£9,000) to trade in diesel vehicles Diesel cars have been under scrutiny over high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions, sparked by VW’s diesel scandal. Two years ago it was revealed that Volkswagen had cheated emissions tests, affecting 11 million vehicles worldwide. Car manufacturers have been under increasing political pressure, especially in Germany, to encourage consumers to buy less polluting cars.

UK trade-ins

VW’s UK scheme will apply to any diesel vehicle that has emissions standards lower than Euro 5 and was registered before 2010. Incentives range from £1,800 off a new VW Up! to £6,000 off a Sharan people carrier. Electric and hybrid vehicles, which attract government grants, will be included in the scheme. So, for example, an e-Golf, which gets a £4,500 grant from the government, will also have VW trade-in saving of £5,500, adding up to £10,000 off in total.

Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, said the move was both about restoring VW’s credibility after “Dieselgate” and boosting sales. “We’ve seen a bit of a drop in the UK car market this year after years of really accelerated growth. I think the manufacturers are looking to get people into their showrooms,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “At the same time VW are showing they are being socially responsible. They are getting some of these older diesel vehicles off the roads.”

Positive publicity

Jim Holder, editorial director of Haymarket Automotive, told the BBC that VW’s scrappage incentives would vary from country to country, due to factors such as transport costs and vehicles being cheaper in its home market. However, he said VW would probably have pitched their discounts in order to compete with rival schemes in the UK market. VW’s UK scheme offers substantially higher discounts than some of its competitors, which seem to hover around the £2,000 mark as an upper limit. However, Mr Holder added that it was not clear what impact the VW scheme would have on vehicle sales. “Owners of older vehicles typically don’t have the money to spend on a new vehicle, even with these discounts – in normal circumstances it would be far more likely that they would trade up to another, less old, used car. “However, there are some potentially good savings here, and the positive publicity could stir interest at a time when registrations are down across the market,” he said.

‘Win-win solution’

Toyota’s scheme runs from 1 September to 31 December and is open to any vehicle more than seven years old. Customers can get a discount of £2,000 off models including Aygo, Prius and Hilux, and £4,000 off a Land Cruiser. Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota GB managing director, said: “Our scrappage scheme is a win-win solution. Motorists can dispose of their older vehicles and have access to our cleaner, more efficient model range.”

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