New Laws To Slash Cost Of Calling Company Complaint Lines

From next summer on new legislation will put limitations on the amount of money customers could be charged for calling telephone numbers regarding complaints and enquiries about products they have bought.

From the 13th of June 2014, companies will not be able to charge the calls of their customers in a way they want but will have to take into consideration the rate for a call to a mobile phone or a local landline number.

The changes come as part of the local implementation of the European Consumer Rights.

Ofcom figures point out that nowadays such a call may cost you from 12p to 41p on a mobile phone, or from 1p to to 13p on a landline.

The numbers covered by these statistics are 0843, 0844, 0845 and 0870.

Companies that currently earn money because of these prefixes are around 30,000.Together with the new requirements for the telephone lines, some corporate legal documents might be required.

The aim of the new legislation is to make sure people would not stop expressing their disappointment only because of the high phone charges.

In case customers call in order to make an initial purchase of products or services, companies would still have the right to charge them higher.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson wrote that in her view these changes would make consumers feel more confident and at the same time would supports new businesses.

“Taken together with the Consumer Rights Bill I believe this legislative reform represents a great and important opportunity to benefit consumers, businesses and provide the right framework for a stronger economy,” she said.

 

Google competition plan ‘not good enough’ – EU official

As an answer to the accusation that Google uses its 90% market share of internet search in Europe to popularize its own services, the company answered they would change the way some results are displayed.

However, European Commission competition chief Joaquin Almunia commented that Google’s proposal was not good enough. By the way, have you seen The Legal Stop`s corporate document templates?

On Wednesday Mr. Almunia said: “I concluded that proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns”.

Al Verney, Google’s spokesman said their offer was in force only on the areas of concern that the EU mentioned.

Those were:

  • how Google favours its own services in its search results
  • how it displays content from other websites
  • how it manages adverts appearing next to search results
  • how its actions affect marketers’ ability to buy adverts through rival networks

Both Google and the commission mentioned they were ready to reach a settlement.

The proposal of Google, which came in April, was to start displaying links to rivals close to where it displayed its own services on its results page.

Another proposal was that the results of YouTube, Google Maps and its other sites would be more clearly labeled.

Other companies, on the other hand, said these steps would not be enough in order to show any progress.

“It is clear that mere labelling is not any kind of solution to the competition concerns that have been identified. Google should implement the same ranking policy to all websites,” Microsoft said in April.

Google’s proposals were submitted to the complainants, who in this case are a group of businesses including Microsoft, Expedia and Trip Advisor.

A study of UK web users commissioned by the group, suggested that one in five of the 1,888 people studied clicked on Google’s commercial web services, and only one in 200 clicked on its rivals’.

 

EU referendum: MPs call for public to have their say

Conservative MPs try to persuade the public that they need to give their votes in a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

James Wharton proposed that such thing has to be voted by 2017 and the first time his proposal has been debated 304 MPs backed it.

Right after David Cameron found out the results of the vote he wrote on Twitter: “Referendum Bill passes first Commons stage, bringing us one step closer to giving the British people a say on Europe.”

Despite the results, which raised people’s hopes there are still many who will certainly oppose to the bill.

Ken Clarke, Sir Richard Shepherd, Jason McCartney, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Gary Streeter were the only Conservative MPs who decided not to vote. Many companies might be affected by the result, as many corporate documents will be required if any changes occur.

When starting the debate Mr. Wharton said his bill would allow UK citizens decide the future of their country.  He mentioned that a good example of what he had said were the referendums held in Wales and Scotland.

“We have had so many referendums on so many things,” he said. “It would seem to be farcical to deny a say on such an important thing which matters to so many people.”

William Hague asked all the true democrats to support this bill as it would definitely lead to referendum.

However, Mr. Alexander called this referendum an obsession and stated it was unrealistic.

Because of the Lib Dem opposition, the promise of the prime minister of a referendum by the end of 2017, cannot be accomplished.

Bills proposed by private members have to be backed by the government, otherwise they cannot become laws.

According to UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage if the campaign of the referendum is a good one many people would give their votes.

 

David Cameron: Intelligence Agencies Work within Law

According to PM David Cameron intelligence agencies operate within the law.

There are allegations that certain agencies have gathered and shared phone records and internet data.

It is still not confirmed or denied if GCHQ had been given access to a US spy programme called Prism but America’s National Security Agency and the FBI are expected to get access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Skype, Microsoft and some other of the world’s top internet companies. They all said they would not give the US government access to their servers.

Mr. Cameron stated that UK’s intelligence agencies kept people safe as at the same time operated within the law. The Legal Stop also keeps their clients safe and helps them find a wide variety of business documents, corporate documents, employment documents and HR documents.

In the words of Conservative MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind due to the British law such agencies need to get ministerial authority so that they get the opportunity to look at the content of the emails of British citizens.

An increase of 137% was registered for the intelligent reports GCHQ did in the 12 months to May 2012.

However, the minister with responsibility for GCHQ announced that UK citizens had nothing to worry about.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told Today: “These agencies do vital work for us week in and week out. But it’s also vital that the public have confidence that they are operating in a framework of legality.”

Conservative MP Dominic Raab shared his opinion that the happening changes influenced seriously the view of the people so public confidence would erode.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects the content of people’s phone conversations.

Government officials may scoop up information on duration and timing of certain calls.

Mr. Obama announced surveillance programmes would protect the US from terrorist attacks

 

Ofgem to Receive New Powers After Fears of Energy Market Rigging

With the aim to stop the manipulation of the energy market the energy regulator Ofgem will receive new powers which will lead to lots of changes.

After many people expressed their concerns that providers and financial institutions may be rigging the energy prices, now Ofgem will be able to inspect company premises and obtain potentially incriminating data, including a wide variety of legal documents.

In case it finds something wrong it would be able to fine the perpetrators.

The energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey will soon announce the new powers to the Parliament. These come as a consequence of the Libor scandal where banks were misreported to lend to one another trying to rig the system.

This led to fears about similar manipulation in the energy markets where the prices of oil, gas and energy may also be rigged so that the speculators may earn money on the shoulders of the average consumer.

Many say that reports may show what the current situation is, but in fact they may also be counterfeited and in he end consumers are deceived again.

One of the price-reporting agencies received a report with false data so that Ofgem and the Financial Services Authority conducted an investigation.

According to the European Commission the Remit legislation has to be adopted till the end of this month.

In order to get all the possible details of any attempted market manipulation EC authorities would ask for reports from companies of their buying and selling activities relating to oil, gas and power.

 

Bank Loans to Business Fall Again Despite Funding for Lending

In spite of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) the aim of which was to cope with fall of the UK bank landing, it still continues.

For the first quarter of 2013 net landing has fallen with £300m.

The opinion of banks is that they would make more loans in the second part of the year with better loan agreement clauses.

Now under the new scheme banks and building societies should only prove they would give the money to individuals or businesses and they could borrow it cheaply from the Bank of England.

The period for this scheme was extended by a year.

The latest figures showed that as the old loans were phased out, new lending was about to be granted.

The Bank’s executive director for markets Paul Fisher said:

“The picture of flat lending growth overall is broadly as expected at this stage, reflecting reductions in some legacy portfolios being roughly offset in aggregate by expanding new lending”.

Data showed that there are also banks and building societies like Barclays and Nationwide that have increased their loans.

The current trend has not changed much since the previous figures had been showed- the decline is still in the business landing while lending to individuals started improving.

The Bank of England said that the financial crisis had serious effect over three big lenders (RBS, Lloyds and Santander) and due to them the percentage in reduction of loans was that big.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) was strongly disappointed with the figures.

“It is a concern that lending continues to contract despite the Funding for Lending Scheme having been in place for nearly a year,” said John Longworth, the BCC’s director general.

One example is an online estate agency, called hatched.co.uk, based at Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

It applied for a bank loan of £60,000 last year, but was eventually given just £20,000.

“For me, the bank funding just isn’t filtering through to small businesses like our own,” said the company’s managing director, Adam Day.

“And it’s small businesses like ours which are going to help the economy grow,” he said.

 

Google’s Eric Schmidt ‘perplexed’ over UK tax debate

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt stated that he was bewildered by the affirmation that according to the corporate documents, they did not pay proper amount of taxes.

Between 2006 and 2011 Google paid £10m in UK corporate taxes on revenues.

According to Mr. Schmidt the government had to change its tax systems, otherwise companies would never start paying more taxes.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Start the Week, he said: “What we are doing is legal.

If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply. If the taxes go up we will pay more, if they go down we will pay less. That is a political decision for the democracy that is the United Kingdom.”

On the other hand, Margaret Hodge, the head of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, called for a new committee, which had to oversee the tax arrangements of major firms.

In her opinion, the committee had to hear evidence from companies in secret, so that they could not hide the affairs behind confidentiality rules.

European Union leaders gathered last week and took the decision to monitor the situation using information exchange.

The chairman of Google called for a debate on tax reforms claiming taxes had to be paid not only on revenues but on company’s profits.

“Our hope is to move the debate forward, with everyone engaged constructively in developing a clearer, simpler system – one in which companies that abide by the law know that the politicians who devised the rules are willing to defend and commend them.”

 

Cameron To Appeal To EU Summit For Action On Tax Avoidance

Prime Minister David Cameron is about to ask other EU leaders to consider joining him in the fight against tax avoidance.

This idea came to him because of the rising dissatisfaction in the UK against such companies as Google, Amazon and Starbucks that do not pay as much tax as they have to, as shown in some corporate documents.

This is one of the things recently added to the agenda not only of the UK but also of Germany and France.

According to the latest researches EU loses about 1 TRILLION euros every year because of tax evasion and avoidance and of cource some speculations with the legal documents.

This is why the PM has decided to make all EU members work together and share information with each other so that everybody knows which organizations do pay taxes and which do not.

Before the summit the PM sent to all EU leaders a letter suggesting a “multilateral automatic information exchange” on the taxes each country gathers. The UK, Italy, France, Germany and Spain already try to cooperate in the proposed way.

The declaration in support of a global tax reporting system has already been signed by the finance ministers of 17 EU countries.

Unfortunately there are still 11 nations who have not taken this step so there are fears these may try to

set up their own systems, aside from the one proposed for the whole EU.

Those who oppose the idea of more open tax reporting are Luxemburg and Austria. This is because of the fact they prefer secrecy regarding banking matters.

Last night MEPs voted in Strasbourg on some plans the aim of which is to stamp out tax avoidance.

“According to HMRC figures, in the UK alone £9 billion is lost every year which could pay for the construction of more than 600 new schools or over 50 new hospitals or pay the annual salaries of over 330,000 police officers” said Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy.”

 

The Queen’s Speech 2013: Immigration

In her latest speech today the Queen announced a new approach to immigration which is supposed to reduce the number of people coming to the UK. What was mentioned was that the government had prepared a variety of measures in order to crack down illegal immigration.

The monarch stated that due to the new measures the country would attract only people who would contribute, which sounds reasonable. The Legal Stop will continue to contribute to the businesses with high quality corporate documents and request a document service.

The future migrants will receive stricter limitations on using NHS and getting social benefits and housing.

Businesses found to employ illegal immigrants will be penalized financially. Landlords will also have to be more careful when taking immigrants in their properties. Illegal immigrants will not be able to receive driving licenses.

The mentioned and also the foreign criminals will have to be deported easier because of the new measures.

When talking to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We want this country to attract people who will add to our national life — but those who will not should be deterred.”

Many shared the opinion that today’s speech was focused on immigration mainly as an attempt to attract voters who supported the anti-immigration UK Independence Party in recent local elections.

Before the speech was announced the coalition was criticized as many people did not understand how in fact a number of the proposals would be put into practice, saying that the mentioned will probably not lead to a significant reduction in the amount of illegal immigrants removed from the country.

Limiting immigrants’ access to benefits and other of the “new” proposals were said to be similar to the rules which are already functioning.

 

The Universal Credit Benefits System is Now Being Tested

The new universal credit benefits system is now being tested in Greater Manchester. Many new legal document templates will be presented to the customers not only in Manchester, but to those from all over England.

Working people(those who have an employment contract) and those seeking work(who need a job application form) will not pay multiple separate benefit payments and tax credit but a single payout.

The scheme will start functioning across the whole country in October.

The expected results from the overhaul are simpler welfare system and assurance that people would be able to move off benefits and into work easily.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “What we have to do is to start changing people, and that’s what this system is about.

“It’s about trying to help those who are the most vulnerable to get ready for the world of work, and that will improve their lives dramatically.”

Many people shared they were concerned because not everyone had access to the internet.

Others mentioned the fact that in most of the cases such complex computer systems are not as reliable as expected so things could go wrong.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said he liked the idea but according to him it was late for such a scheme and it was over budget.

However, unions criticized the government strongly as it did not focus on creating more jobs but ‘demonising’ people who are out of work.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union would stage a protest in Ashton-under-Lyne.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If Universal Credit was being introduced to genuinely make life easier for people entitled to benefits it would be commendable, but the Government’s pernicious language exposes its real intent is to demonise and punish them.”