Why Philip Hammond should be getting ready to break up RBS

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized Comments Off on Why Philip Hammond should be getting ready to break up RBS

Conservative Leader Theresa May Addresses Party Conference

The new series of The Missing is surely the gloomiest television of the year. But it has nothing on the endless saga of RBS, which seems to use the same disturbing time-shift device: whenever there’s a horrible new plot twist, you have to spot whether we’re in 2008, 2011 or today.

The crippled bank, still 73 per cent state-owned, has lost £2.5 billion in the first three quarters of this year, having just paid out another £425 million in ‘litigation and conduct’ costs chiefly relating to mortgage-backed securities hanky-panky in the US. Since its bailout eight years ago, it has lost considerably more than the £46 billion of taxpayers’ money that was pumped into it, and has never reported a full-year profit. Attempts by chief executive Ross-McEwan, after three years in post, to persuade analysts to focus on the bank’s positive underlying performance, rather than the extraordinary charges that are the legacy of his cursed predecessor-but-one Fred-Goodwin, fall quarterly on stony ground.

The harsh truth is this: if ever there was a company that cried out to be broken up, its operating business either sold to the highest bidder or if unsellable then parked in a ‘bad bank’ to be gradually wound down, RBS is surely it. The parent brand deserves to be buried forever, even if the main subsidiary brands of NatWest and Coutts are still viable and the original Scottish branch network might have a new life under a new (or old) name. But the one serious attempt to sell off a significant piece of the group — the separation of 314 branches into a ‘challenger bank’ under the revived and well-respected name of Williams & Glyn — has turned into the biggest cock-up of all.

The disposal was insisted upon by competition officials in Brussels, to be done by 31 December next year as a condition of the 2008 bailout. Plans for flotation of Williams & Glyn this year were abandoned because it proved too difficult to clone a separate computer platform; ‘restructuring costs’ relating to that and other problems amounted to £301 million in the most recent quarter alone. Next, Santander withdrew as a potential buyer because of incompatibility with its own superior systems; and after a recent second look, the Spanish group withdrew again because the price asked by RBS was too high for the can of worms on offer.

Now the Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group — a hard-nosed operator recently spun off by National Australia Bank — has made a tentative offer, causing its own share price to dip as a result. But RBS says neither this nor any other Williams & Glyn sale can hope to be signed off by the end of 2017. In which case, Brussels may appoint its own ‘trustee’, somehow to force the disposal to completion.

What a farce. Philip Hammond, with none of George Osborne’s baggage to carry on this one, should call for a reappraisal of RBS’s chances of ever returning to the private sector in anything like its present size and shape. If he wants to set a generous time limit, he might say ‘before the opening of Heathrow’s new runway’. But if the expert advice is that the likelihood is close to zero however distant the deadline, he should send in a ruthless hit squad of accountants and liquidators to retrieve whatever value for the taxpayer they can find.

That would at least have some justice to it, since it is what RBS was accused of doing to so many of its struggling business customers during the recession.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/author/martin-vander-weyer/

 


The worst airline for delays – and what you’re owed if your trip is affected

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized Comments Off on The worst airline for delays – and what you’re owed if your trip is affected

Heathrow-Airport

Flights get delayed all the time – but not all airlines are happy about paying up afterwards. These are the worst (and best) airlines when it comes to disrupted travel. Every day at this time of year, the UK’s airports help to ferry hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers all around the world. And, while we all hope for a smooth start and end to our time away, sadly some peoples’ plans do get hit by late flights. In fact, recent research by consumer group Which? found that almost a quarter of flights out of UK airports are delayed by 15 minutes or more. But what happens if you are lumbered with a late flight? And who is going to sort you out most effectively if the worst happens?

That’s why I thought I’d go through your rights when your plane is delayed, and work out which airlines deal with their delays most effectively…

When can you claim?

There are 3 basic rules as to whether you’re entitled to compensation for a delays:

  1. The flight must be delayed by more than three hours, and the delay has to be compared to the time the flight is meant to arrive and not the time that it takes off (oh, and ‘arrival’ counts as the point at which the cabin crew open the doors… not when the plane touches down)
  2. The flight must take off from the UK or European Union. If it’s a long-haul flight into the UK/EU, it must be via a UK or European airline and the flight must be longer than 3,500km
  3. The issue must be ‘within the control of the airline’ (so bad weather or air-traffic control disputes are going to leave you without any compensation)

What you can claim for also has some fixed guidelines:

  • If the flight is less than 1,500km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €250
  • If the flight is between 1,500 and 3,000Km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €400
  • If the flight is more than 3,000km and leaving the EU, or is an EU airline flying into the UK and is between three and four hours late, then you could get back €300. (If it is more than four hours late, then you could expect up to €600.

 

But just because your flight delay should mean compensation, it doesn’t mean the airline will just hand it over.

Dealing with delays

Using unique insights from the tens of thousands of airline customers who raise their flight delay complaints via resolver.co.uk every month, I’ve looked at which airlines you’re most likely to complain about, and which will sort your issues out most effectively if you do…

The most commonly complained about airlines                                                                                                                   

  1. Ryanair
  2. British Airways
  3. Thomson Airways
  4. easyJet
  5. Thomas Cook Airlines
  6. Flybe
  7. Jet2
  8. Norwegian Air
  9. Vueling Airlines
  10.  Monarch

Of course, a lot of complaints, doesn’t mean a lot of unhappy people – so here are the satisfaction rankings (out of 10, where 10 is satisfied and 1 is very unsatisfied) too:

The best airlines at dealing with your delays

  1. Monarch 7
  2. British Airways 7
  3. Virgin Atlantic 7
  4. Thomson Airways 7
  5. Flybe 7
  6. KLM Royal Dutch 7
  7. Emirates 6
  8. Jet2 6
  9. Qatar Airways 6
  10. Air France 6

The worst airlines at dealing with your delays

  1. Vueling Airlines 4
  2. Turkish Airlines 4
  3. Norwegian Air 4
  4. Etihad Airways 5
  5. Wizz Air 5
  6. Lufthansa 5
  7. easyJet 5
  8. Ryanair 5
  9. American Airlines 5
  10. Delta Airlines 5

 


‘Serious risks’ of further financial services mis-selling, MPs warn

Posted on by CCKeith in Uncategorized Comments Off on ‘Serious risks’ of further financial services mis-selling, MPs warn

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There are “serious risks” of further mis-selling scandals in the financial industry, MPs have warned.The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said there has been a recent surge in complaints about “packaged” accounts, where consumers generally pay a monthly fee in return for a bundle of products and services included with a current account. The committee also warned that pension freedoms introduced last year, which give people aged over 55 more choice over how to use their retirement pots, could be a “potential trigger” for future mis-selling on a mass scale.

The PAC warned that more needs to be done to tackle the culture of firms, and highlighted the “failure” of regulation which has led to management companies making up to £5 billion from payment protection (PPI) insurance payouts.”The widespread mis-selling of PPI is a vivid demonstration of the risks facing consumers in the financial services market,” said Meg Hillier, chair of the PAC.”The fall-out is still with us. Many people have waited years for a decision on compensation and, because of the way they have pursued their claims, even then they may not receive the full amount. Serious risks of further mis-selling remain.”The PAC urged regulator the Financial Conduct Authority and the Treasury to take stronger action to find out how much mis-selling is still happening and identify how best to prevent it.

The committee said in a report that more than 12 million consumers were mis-sold PPI and firms have paid over £22 billion in compensation to them since April 2011.

 


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