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Chief Rat

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Chief Rat last won the day on January 3 2017

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  1. Jeffrey Barry: Brutal murder of Kamil Ahmad was 'avoidable' 21 June 2018 Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police Image caption Jeffrey Barry stabbed Kamil Ahmad more than 25 times The murder of a man by a violent schizophrenia patient "could have been avoided" had a medical tribunal been given complete information on his past, a report has concluded. Jeffrey Barry stabbed neighbour Kamil Ahmad at their supported flats in Bristol in July 2016, hours after his release from a secure mental hospital. Barry was detained after hearing voices and threatening to murder Mr Ahmad. The report said the decision to release him had "tragic consequences". A review by the Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB) found information sharing between Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) and the psychiatric hospital where Barry was an inpatient had "failed due to the absence of key personnel due to annual leave". It said systems "should have been robust enough" to have contingency plans for when "a key professional is absent from work". The legal team representing Mr Ahmad's family said the report "lays bare the crisis within the NHS and the social care system". Image copyright Kamaran Ahmad Image caption Kamil Ahmad was not aware Jeffrey Barry had returned to their supported flats Barry is now serving at least 23 years at Broadmoor secure hospital after being found guilty of murdering Mr Ahmad in a "savage and sustained" attack, in which he sliced off the Kurdish refugee's penis. The judge described the failures leading to his release as being "nothing short of calamitous". Because of bed shortages, Barry was moved from the Callington Road NHS psychiatric hospital to the privately-run Cygnet Health Care Hospital in Kewstoke, north Somerset. He did not want to stay and asked for his case to be reviewed but his NHS care team were only given 24 hours' notice to compile their notes for the independent mental health review tribunal. But the safeguarding report found the decision to discharge him had been "based on incomplete information" and had "foreshortened his compulsory treatment". Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJeffrey Barry admits killing neighbour to a 999 call operator. It said the tribunal had not followed the "recommendations of the professionals involved" or appreciated the "inherent risk" of his return to the supported flats. The report also detailed a lack of face-to-face planning for Barry's release. Each of the agencies "recognised" this problem but the meetings "did not take place". During this time, Barry's care coordinator "effectively lost management oversight" of his case and when he transferred to the privately-run Kewstoke hospital, the assumption was made that he would transfer back to an AWP facility before his release was considered. The report found this assumption was partially down to overwork and "other conflicting workload responsibilities". But a lack of "professional curiosity" from workers at Kewstoke, who faxed and emailed details of Barry's case to the care coordinator and did not get a response, also contributed to his early release. Analysis: BBC West home affairs correspondent Charlotte Callen Today's report highlights the failures to assess the risk Barry posed in the days and weeks leading up to Kamil Ahmad's death. Barry's medical notes - that he gave us permission to view - show his extensive psychiatric history was not provided to an independent tribunal who agreed he should be released from hospital. According to Jeffrey Barry's legal team it is not just Kamil Ahmad who's been failed. They told me they question whether the decision to release him was made as a result of costs and lack of bed space as opposed to clinical and mental health considerations. The report today concludes Kamil's death could have been avoided if Jeffrey Barry had received better care. That will be of little comfort to either Kamil's family or the families of at least 15 other people killed by patients under the care of AWP since 2007. The housing organisation looking after Barry, the Milestone Trust, also viewed his release as a "fait accompli". This led to there being a failure of any "effective discharge process" meaning Barry was allowed to leave hospital after 23 days with "no meaningful handover" between the hospital and other agencies. Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police Image caption Police found notes in Barry's flat Chair of BSAB Louise Lawton said the report had "identified opportunities" which could have been taken to separate Mr Ahmad and Barry. "Of particular consequence is the process by which [Barry] was discharged from a secure hospital on the day of Kamil's murder, how agencies worked together to coordinate care and assess risk, and opportunities to terminate [Barry's] tenancy at the housing provision," she said. "Whilst nothing can make up for the loss that Kamil's family have suffered, I hope that the review's recommendations will help to safeguard other adults at risk of harm in the future." Tony Murphy, who is representing Mr Ahmad's family, said Barry had told a "myriad of public authorities" involved in his care that he wanted to kill Kamil. "Yet, despite having weeks to do so, not one of those authorities made any plan to protect Kamil's life," he said. 'Litany of blunders' led to savage murder Man jailed for refugee neighbour's murder Rebecca Eastley, from AWP, said it accepted the findings of the report "in its entirety". "This was a tragic and brutal death and we are deeply sorry," she said. "We are committed to doing all we can to prevent such an incident happening in the future." Cygnet Health Care said the only aspect of its services that had needed addressing was its "discharge procedures". It said a "more cohesive approach" had been introduced to access and understand "pre-admission information on all its patients". Following the report's publication, BSAB recommended: There are clear standards and protocols for discharge planning meetings Ensuring case managers are told about patients' progress in hospital and are aware of when they are about to be discharged Safeguarding inquiries should not be closed down before there has been a risk analysis and key professionals have been consulted Revision of AWP's bed availability policy to avoid mentally ill people in crisis remaining in the community where they are a risk to themselves and others Ensuring Cygnet Health Care discharge procedures offer a safe handover of responsibility between the hospital and community services All staff at AWP should be trained on when to use the police 101 (non-emergency service) and when a 999 call is appropriate View the full article
  2. Brexit: Theresa May vows 'smooth and orderly' EU exit 21 June 2018 Related TopicsBrexit Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionLiam Fox tells Laura Kuenssberg rebels have not changed Brexit stance Theresa May has welcomed the passing of the Brexit bill through Parliament as "a crucial step" in delivering a "smooth and orderly Brexit". Peers accepted the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill sent to them from the House of Commons, meaning the bill now goes for Royal Assent, becoming law. The vote passed 319 to 303 after would-be Tory rebels were given assurances they would have a meaningful say. The PM said more detail on the UK-EU's future relationship will be given soon. Mrs May said: "Today's votes show people in the UK, and to the EU, that the elected representatives in this country are getting on with the job, and delivering on the will of the British people." "Over the next few weeks we will publish more details of our proposed future relationship with the EU in a White Paper, and will bring the Trade and Customs Bills back to the House of Commons. "But today has been an important step in delivering the Brexit people voted for, a Brexit that gives Britain a brighter future, a Britain in control of its money, laws, and borders." Who really backed down over Brexit vote? Can Theresa May 'take back control'? Brexit: All you need to know Brexit: Your guide to EU jargon The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and negotiations have been taking place over the terms of its departure. Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sky News Mrs May would now attend a summit of EU leaders next week "with full strength, with the ability to say the legislation to leave the EU, under EU law and UK law, is now fully in place". 'No change' Before the Commons vote, Dominic Grieve, leader of the would-be rebels - who wanted to ensure MPs had the power to stop the UK leaving without a deal - said the "sovereignty of Parliament" had been acknowledged. Both sides have claimed victory with Stephen Hammond, a pro-EU MP who eventually sided with the government, suggesting ministers had agreed to give Parliament a "real say" on top of other concessions. International trade secretary Liam Fox said nothing had really changed and the option of a no-deal Brexit had been left firmly on the table. He said the government had "to be able to hold out in our negotiations the prospect of no deal" otherwise the EU would get the upper hand. On Wednesday evening, following the Commons vote, Leader of the Lords Baroness Evans of Bowes Park said the EU (Withdrawal) Bill had been "debated at length" and was very different as a result of amendments tabled by the Lords. Peers approved the government's proposal without a vote. Analysis By Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editor The government was worried enough about losing today to budge, even if they only gave an inch. It might be a concession that only really parliamentary lawyers understand, but the PM had to move, again, despite not wanting to. And despite the fact that she did compromise even in a meaningless way (yes I can't believe that I did just write that sentence, but it is relevant), the vote was still relatively close, certainly not comfortable enough for the government to relax any time soon. What's also the case is that the Tory rebels, or potential rebels more like, weren't willing to take dramatic action in enough number to humiliate the PM. The vote result suggests that they have the hypothetical numbers, but their critics, and their internal opponents in the Tory party would question if they really have the guts. Read more from Laura How the vote unfolded Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMPs vote by 319 to 303 to reject amendment to the Brexit bill The government has been at odds with the Lords in the long-running row over what happens if the UK cannot reach a deal with the EU, or if MPs reject whatever deal the government agrees with the EU. The Commons vote had been expected to be tight and the government eventually prevailed by a majority of 16. Six Tory MPs - Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Antoinette Sandbach and Phillip Lee - rebelled while four Labour MPs backed the government and six other Labour MPs abstained, as did Kelvin Hopkins, who sits as an independent after having the whip withdrawn. One Labour MP, Naz Shah, voted in a wheelchair after being released from hospital amid Labour claims that normal arrangements sparing unwell MPs from having to enter the chamber had been abandoned. The sticking points The debate centred on what happens in three Brexit scenarios: If MPs vote down the UK-EU Brexit deal If Theresa May announces before 21 January 2019 that no deal has been reached If 21 January passes with no deal being struck. Under these circumstances, the government has said, a minister will make a statement in Parliament, setting out the proposed next steps. MPs will then vote on this statement. The government says this vote should be "on neutral terms", with MPs simply noting what has been said. But an amendment backed by the Lords on Monday went further, saying MPs should have to "approve" the minister's statement. The Department for Exiting the European Union has now conceded that it will be up to Commons Speaker John Bercow to decide the matter at the time. The concession Speaking in the Commons, Dominic Grieve said the issue of the meaningful vote was about giving "assurances to the House and many, many people in the country who are worried about this process and how it will end". Image caption The government statement that Mr Grieve has accepted Mr Grieve said he had insisted on a key paragraph in the government statement accepting "it is open to MPs to table motions and debate matters of concern and that, as is the convention, parliamentary time will be provided for this". Another potential rebel Nicky Morgan said she did not wish to see Mrs May "destabilised or undermined" ahead of the EU summit but warned of further battles to come over the UK's trade and customs arrangements with the EU. Please upgrade your browser Your guide to Brexit jargon Enter the word or phrase you are looking for Search View the full article
  3. Gosport hospital deaths: Prescribed painkillers 'shortened 456 lives' 20 June 2018 Related TopicsGosport hospital deaths More than 450 patients died after being given powerful painkillers inappropriately at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, a report has found. An independent panel said, taking into account missing records, a further 200 patients may have suffered a similar fate. The report found there was a "disregard for human life" of a large number of patients from 1989 and 2000. Dr Jane Barton was responsible for prescribing painkillers over 12 years. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  4. Medicinal cannabis use to be reviewed by government 19 June 2018 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption'Common sense has bust the system wide open' The use of medicinal cannabis is to be reviewed, which could lead to more prescriptions of drugs made from the plant, the home secretary has said. The decision was prompted by recent high-profile cases of children with severe epilepsy being denied access to cannabis oil to control seizures. But Sajid Javid stressed the drug would remain banned for recreational use. Charlotte Caldwell, whose son Billy has severe epilepsy, welcomed the decision after campaigning for change. Boy discharged after getting cannabis oil Cannabis delay for epileptic boy 'cruel' Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr Javid said the position "we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory". Image caption Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley both have severe epilepsy He said the cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell had made him conclude it was time to review the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. He also announced that six-year-old Alfie, who has a very rare form of epilepsy that causes up to 150 seizures per month, was being issued with a licence to receive cannabis-based drugs. His family had originally applied to the government in April, saying his condition improved after using cannabis oil in the Netherlands. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionHome Secretary Sajid Javid says Alfie Dingley can have the medicinal cannabis he needs Meanwhile, Billy, 12, was granted a 20-day licence for the drug last week after doctors made clear it was a medical emergency. He was admitted to hospital after his seizures "intensified" following his supply being confiscated at Heathrow Airport. His mother Charlotte, speaking after Mr Javid's statement, said: "Common sense and the power of mothers and fathers of sick children has bust the political process wide open and is on the verge of changing thousands of lives by bringing our medicinal cannabis laws in line with many other countries." But she added that while it was a "clearly largely positive" announcement, "we still want to hear the details". Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionLabour MP Andy McDonald said parents were "living through the same fears" he had experienced Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott welcomed Mr Javid's statement, telling MPs that it was "long overdue". The review would be held in two parts, Mr Javid told MPs. The first will make recommendations on which cannabis-based medicines might offer real medical and therapeutic benefits to patients. In the second part, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will consider whether changes should be made to the classification of these products after assessing "the balance of harms and public health needs". He said: "If the review identifies significant medical benefits, then we do intend to reschedule." But he added: "This step is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use." The UK's drugs regulations currently divide drugs into five "schedules", each specifying in what circumstances it is lawful to possess, supply, produce, export and import them. Cannabis is currently Schedule 1, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value and therefore cannot be lawfully possessed or prescribed, but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office licence. Drugs in Schedules 2 and 3, such as methadone, can be prescribed and therefore legally possessed and supplied by pharmacists and doctors. Does cannabis have medicinal benefits? By Michelle Roberts, BBC News online health editor Image copyright Getty Images Cannabis contains different active ingredients and experts say some of them might be therapeutic for certain patients. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the part that makes people feel "high", but CBD or cannabidiol is another component found in cannabis that scientists are interested in understanding more about as medical treatments. CBD-based treatments have shown some promising results for reducing seizures in children with severe epilepsies. Medical trials of cannabis-based medicines have largely focused on pharmacological preparations, but some parents of children with epilepsy have been buying oils containing CBD and THC. There is currently little scientific evidence on the safety and effectiveness of these oils as a treatment for epilepsy, although they do contain the same active ingredients. Some health food shops sell CBD oils as food supplements. These have low levels of active ingredient and are legal to buy in the UK. It is vital that you talk to your doctor or health professional before making any changes to your epilepsy medication. View the full article
  5. NHS funding: PM calls for 10-year plan to spend cash By Nick Triggle Health correspondent 18 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The funding boost means an extra £20bn a year for the NHS by 2023 The NHS must come up with a 10-year plan to best use its £20bn funding boost in England, Theresa May will say. In a speech in London, the prime minister will stress the NHS must ensure "every penny is well spent". It follows Mrs May's announcement that the NHS budget would rise by 3.4% a year on average over the next five years. But the PM is under continuing pressure to explain where the money will come from to pay for the rise. On Sunday Mrs May promised that, by 2023, an extra £20bn a year will be available for the health service in England on top of any rises to keep up with inflation. This year's NHS budget is £114bn. NHS at 70: Share your stories and memories 10 charts that show why the NHS is in trouble Does the Brexit dividend actually exist? While the spending commitment has been widely welcomed by those within the health service, Mrs May has been asked to explain how the extra spending will be paid for. Her answer that the increase will be partly paid for by a "Brexit dividend" has already been questioned, with Labour saying the government was relying on a "hypothetical" windfall. There has been criticism from within her own party as well. The Conservative chair of the House of Commons' Health and Social Care Committee, Sarah Wollaston, said the idea of a Brexit dividend was "tosh". And Paul Johnson, director of economic think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said the only way the rise could be paid for was by an increase in taxes. He said the financial settlement with the EU, plus the UK's commitments to replace EU funding, "already uses up all of our EU contributions" for the next few years. Year-by-year funding increases 2019-20 - 3.6% 2020-21 - 3.6% 2021-22 - 3.1% 2022-23 - 3.1% 2023-24 - 3.4% All figures are above inflation Mrs May has not ruled out tax rises, and there will be much interest in what she says about that in her speech on Monday morning. The PM will fill in some of the details on her proposed 10-year plan, which she will say must ensure "every penny is well spent". "It must be a plan that tackles waste, reduces bureaucracy and eliminates unacceptable variation," she will say. Mental health Mrs May has asked NHS England boss Simon Stevens to help draw up the plan with the input of senior staff working in the health service. Work on the plan will get under way almost immediately, with final proposals expected towards the end of the year. Four main areas of improving the efficiency of the NHS will be looked at: The workforce Technology Buildings Productivity The plan will build on the five-year strategy Mr Stevens set out in 2015. A big part of that was shifting care out of hospitals and into the community. Ms May is known to be keen to see a specific stress on mental health and cancer this time. The PM will also recall her own reliance on the NHS for help when she was diagnosed with type one diabetes, saying: "I would not be doing the job I am doing today without that support." Meanwhile, councils have questioned why the funding announcement did not also include more money for social care and public health, which covers everything from stop smoking services to obesity prevention. Both are considered essential to the sustainability of the NHS, but the increase announced only applied to front-line NHS services such as hospitals, GPs and mental health care. Councillor Izzi Seecombe, of the Local Government Association, said: "Without essential council services, which help people live healthy lives in their own homes and communities, the NHS cannot thrive." The announcement for England means the rest of the UK will also be given extra money, although it is up to the governments in Wales and Scotland to decide exactly how that is spent. View the full article
  6. 15 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images An attempt to make upskirting a specific criminal offence in England and Wales has been blocked by one Conservative MP. The government had given its support to a change in the law earlier. But Sir Christopher Chope shouted "object" to the bill, leading to cries of "shame" from other MPs. The campaign for the bill against upskirting - when photos are secretly taken under a skirt - was started by victim Gina Martin. I was a victim of upskirting - but I'm fighting back Live Nation exec filmed up women's skirts The private member's bill, brought to the House of Commons by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, would have made upskirting a criminal offence in line with other voyeurism offences - meaning offenders could face a maximum of two years in prison. It was expected to pass after the Ministry of Justice earlier showed its support. But the rules in Parliament mean it only requires one MP to shout "object" to block a bill's progress. Ms Hobhouse has asked for her bill to return to the House on 6 July. 'I was upskirted at the bus stop' Image copyright Getty Images Debbie was 17 when a man came and sat down next to her at a bus stop, and then started moving closer towards her. She says: "I was aware something wasn't quite right, but every time I turned around he pretended to be looking out towards the road where the bus was coming from. "You don't always have the confidence to say something, so I stood up and walked away. "But when I turned around to look at him he was holding up his mobile phone. It was a video of my bum - he had been trying to video up my dress." Read more about Debbie's story and other upskirting victims Ms Martin started the campaign after two men took a picture up her skirt while she was at a concert in London's Hyde Park last July. Police said they were unable to prosecute as the picture was not graphic enough because she was wearing underwear. As there is no law specifically naming and banning upskirting in England and Wales, victims and police are currently only able to pursue offences of outraging public decency or as a crime of voyeurism. The new law would change that, bringing it in line with other voyeurism offences. It would also allow, in the most serious cases, those convicted to be placed on the sex offenders register. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"He was laughing": Three women tell the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire about their experience of upskirting View the full article
  7. 12 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Vulnerable old and disabled people will see cuts to vital care services and higher charges, council chiefs say. The annual budget survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services shows councils expect to spend £21.4bn this year in England. While this is a rise from £20.8bn last year, the cost of inflation combined with growing demand means this will not be enough, ADASS said. The warning comes as ministers prepare to unveil plans to reform the system. A green paper on social care is expected to be published in the coming months. Vulnerable facing 'bleak future' ADASS said it was desperately needed given the pressures on councils - local government has seen cuts in the amount of funding it gets from central government over the past decade. It surveyed all 152 councils in England. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"I'll be broke if I live to 100" Three-quarters said they would be cutting the amount of care they provided, while nearly half said they would be introducing higher charges - people are expected to contribute to the cost of care where they can. It means more people are likely to be pushed into the private market. Currently only a fifth of those needing care get help from councils. The ADASS report showed that councils were also concerned about the impact on the care firms they pay to provide these services. Nearly one in three had seen home care services close or cease trading in the past six months, while slightly more had seen residential and nursing homes go under. Analysis: By Alison Holt, social affairs correspondent The stresses and the strains faced by a care system under pressure usually play out quietly in the lives of people who are older and disabled - but the consequences can be no less devastating. If, as this survey of local authority directors of adult care suggests, councils end up supporting fewer people, it will mean only those with the very highest needs get help. For many that will mean they have to reach a crisis, whether it is a fall which takes them to hospital or the illness of a husband and wife unable to cope any more with caring for their partner. It is hard to underestimate the human cost of that. The government has acknowledged the pressures on the system and promised reform - something other governments have failed to do. Most experts agree the biggest challenge will be sorting out the money needed to pay for care - with the NHS also under pressure, the fear is that the less visible crisis in social care will be overlooked again. ADASS president Glen Garrod said the findings were of "serious concern" and described the care market as "fragile". Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said it was a "disgrace" that there were people who were not getting the support they needed for daily essentials like "getting dressed, going to the toilet, taking their medication or preparing their food". "Unless policy makers are willing to invest in care, hundreds of thousands of older people face a bleak future, living without their needs being met," she added. A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said plans would be set out soon to create a "diverse, vibrant and stable market". She also pointed out that extra money had been found in recent years to relieve some of the pressures, but conceded the system was "under pressure". View the full article
  8. By Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News 6 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images A computer failure at TSB that caused up to 1.9 million people to lose access to online banking services is being investigated by the financial regulator. The introduction of a new IT system in April left customers struggling to make transactions and see their balances. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the bank's boss, Paul Pester, had given an "optimistic view" of services. He is due to appear before MPs for a second time on the crisis later. FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said: "We do not normally make this information [the investigation] public, but, given the level of public interest, I want to be clear that we will be conducting this work." He added that the bank's poor communication may have hit customers' trust in banking. Some TSB customers are still facing problems with services after its five million customers were moved to a system run by its Spanish owner Sabadell six weeks ago. Skip Twitter post by @phillgamble Report End of Twitter post by @phillgamble In the midst of the crisis, Mr Pester told MPs on the Treasury Committee that most TSB customers could carry out transactions as normal. In a letter to the committee, the FCA's Mr Bailey said that view was optimistic and too positive. "Greater caution would have made sense," he wrote, adding that Mr Pester should have shared more details about the problems with MPs on the committee. The customers themselves were told by the bank that the vast majority of them could use their online accounts, when only half could do so. Mr Bailey wrote: "The FCA has been dissatisfied with TSB's communications with its customers and we have had concerns that TSB was not being open and transparent about the issues experienced." Image copyright Ben Alford Image caption Ben Alford and Francesca Cuff pictured in Barbados shortly after they got engaged One TSB customer told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours last month that he watched thousands of pounds in wedding savings being stolen from his internet account as he waited on hold for the bank's fraud department. Ben Alford, from Weymouth in Dorset, said it took more than four hours to get through to TSB, by which time most of the money had gone. TSB said it had put in "additional resources" to support customers. Lorna Connolly, formerly Lorna McHale, told the BBC how she was unable to access her account days before her wedding day. The 26-year-old said she had to "ring to grovel" with suppliers for the wedding. TSB rang the day before her wedding to offer her compensation of £100. What caused the problems? When TSB split from the Lloyds Banking Group, it continued to use its computer system while a new one was developed. When it was ready, TSB moved customers' data from the Lloyds platform to its own. This was a long-planned disruption to the service. The bank said it informed customers of the change, and that it would lead to them being unable to use online banking or payment systems that weekend. That led to two problems. First, many customers said they were unaware of the changes and so were caught out. Second, customers experienced difficulties long after the deadline that TSB had promised things would be fixed. Many services have improved, but the situation remains unstable, with 40% of those trying to call the bank unable to speak to someone, while waiting times have run to more than 30 minutes. Fraud has become a problem, with confused customers being tricked into allowing access to their accounts. Yet the FCA said that TSB had failed to refund their money quickly enough. TSB crisis: No end in sight for customers TSB letter error 'may have broken law' TSB left man on hold as his wedding savings were stolen The FCA has had its own team embedded with TSB since the crisis unfolded, with as many as 14 supervisors from the regulator and the Prudential Regulation Authority deployed. Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Treasury Committee, said she was "deeply concerned by TSB's poor communications about the scale and nature of the problems it has faced, by its response to customer fraud, and by the quality and accuracy of the oral and written evidence provided by Mr Pester to the committee". The committee will question senior members of the FCA and TSB bosses on Wednesday afternoon. A TSB spokesperson said it was "doing whatever it takes to put things right for our customers and ensuring that no customer will be left out of pocket as a result of the recent IT issues". View the full article
  9. London Bridge attack: Memorial to mark one-year anniversary 3 June 2018 Related TopicsLondon Bridge attack Image caption The victims of the attack clockwise - Chrissy Archibald, Sebastien Belanger, Kirsty Boden, Ignacio Echeverria, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas, Alexandre Pigeard, James McMullan The UK's determination to overcome the threat of terrorism "has never been stronger", Theresa May has said a year on from the London Bridge attack. A service remembering the victims will be held at Southwark Cathedral later - one of a number of events taking place to mark the anniversary of the attack. Eight people died when three men drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed people in Borough Market. There will also be a national minute's silence to commemorate the victims. It comes as the Home Office has said the UK faces a severe threat from Islamist terrorism for at least another two years. The government is preparing to unveil a strengthened counter-terrorism strategy on Monday. Victims of the London Bridge attack London attack: What happened London Bridge: How people fought back LWho were the attackers? The private service at Southwark Cathedral will honour the emergency services' response to last year's attack on 3 June, as well as remembering the eight people who died and the 48 who were injured. Politicians are among those who have been invited to the 15:00 BST service, along with relatives of the victims, who will light candles during the ceremony. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Traders at Borough Market observe a minute's silence ahead of the first anniversary There will be a short procession afterwards from the cathedral to Southwark Needle, at the corner of London Bridge, which will end with the national minute's silence at 16:30 BST. The hashtag #LondonUnited was projected onto London Bridge on Saturday night and will be done so again on Sunday. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionLondon Bridge attack: Father 'left out' of memorial The father of the only British victim of the attack - James McMullan - says he was not involved in preparations for Sunday's commemoration service. Simon McMullan told the BBC: "We haven't been contacted by anybody. We haven't been approached by any of the authorities. "What we got was a letter which laid out what was going to be done. So we weren't asked, we were told." He also wanted to put up a plaque to his son, but wasn't given permission. Southwark Council says it has tried to arrange a "thoughtful and fitting" commemoration with "limited resources". Ahead of the day's commemorative events, the prime minister said the "stories of courage" from that night will always stay with her. Mrs May highlighted Geoff Ho, who was stabbed in the neck while trying to protect his friends, and Ignacio Echeverria, who died trying to defend a woman by using his skateboard. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionGeoff Ho: "I engaged with them, I engaged with the attackers" She said: "Today we remember those who died and the many more who were injured, and also pay tribute to the bravery of our emergency services and those who intervened or came to the aid of others." London attack: How people fought back Terror attack hero feels 'abandoned' She added: "My message to those who seek to target our way of life or try to divide us is clear - our resolve to stand firm and overcome this threat together has never been stronger." London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "proud" of the way the city had responded to terror attacks, by "standing united in defiance and staying true to our values and way of life". 'Islamist threat could increase' Meanwhile, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who will attend Sunday's memorial service, is to announce a range of steps aimed at boosting the authorities' counter-terrorism approach. The new strategy, which is launched on Monday, is expected to include plans for MI5 to share its intelligence more widely. The Home Office said: "We expect the threat from Islamist terrorism to remain at its current, heightened level for at least the next two years, and that it may increase further. "We assess the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism is growing." View the full article
  10. Jeremy Thorpe 'hit-man might not be dead', police admit 2 June 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jeremy Thorpe, a former leader of the Liberal Party, was acquitted of conspiracy to murder his alleged ex-gay lover in 1979 A probe into a scandal involving former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe will be reopened after police may have wrongly assumed one of the suspects was dead. A 2015 investigation into the alleged attempted murder of his gay lover - Norman Scott - was closed in 2017. Gwent Police assumed Andrew Newton - who shot Mr Scott's dog, and claimed he was paid to kill Mr Scott - had died. But they now say he may still be alive. Mr Scott said he thought police were "continuing the cover up". The revelations have been unearthed in the BBC Four documentary The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal. What was the Jeremy Thorpe scandal? Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA look at the Jeremy Thorpe scandal, the focus of a new BBC drama with Hugh Grant Jeremy Thorpe was the MP for North Devon for 20 years, and leader of the Liberal Party between 1967-76. He died in 2014 In late 1960 or early 1961 he met Norman Scott, who worked for one of Mr Thorpe's friends in Oxfordshire. Mr Scott said the two were lovers, at a time when homosexuality was illegal Mr Scott spent years attempting to reveal the pair's relationship to the public, then claimed Mr Thorpe conspired with colleagues to have him assassinated In 1975, Andrew Newton shot Mr Scott's Great Dane, Rinka, on a rural road in Exmoor, but failed to kill Mr Scott after his gun jammed Newspapers began reporting Mr Scott's claims after he spoke about the relationship in court, meaning they were protected from libel laws Mr Thorpe resigned as leader of the Liberal Party in 1976 over the reports, but denied Mr Scott's allegations. He lost his seat in North Devon in 1979 Mr Thorpe, along with three co-defendants, stood trial. Ex-Liberal MP Peter Bessell, and the failed assassin Mr Newton, gave details of the alleged plot. A jury acquitted all four in 1979 Claims that police altered the evidence of another person being hired to kill Mr Scott before Newton, a small-time air pilot, were unearthed by BBC Panorama journalist Tom Mangold in 2014, the year Mr Thorpe died. Dennis Meighan said he was approached by associates of Mr Thorpe, and Newton, to carry out the murder. This led to Gwent Police reopening the investigation, but after they concluded Newton was dead, the Crown Prosecution Service told Mr Scott no further action would be taken. A Very 'bone-chilling' English Scandal Hugh Grant, politics and a murdered dog Revealed: Letter that silenced Thorpe Mr Scott, 78, said: "I just don't think anyone's tried hard enough to look for him. I really don't. "I thought [Gwent Police] were doing something at last and soon found out that absolutely they weren't, they were continuing the cover up as far as I can see." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNorman Scott: "There is obviously a lot of skulduggery that's gone on" Gwent Police said after revisiting some enquiries, investigators "identified information, which indicates that Mr Newton may still be alive". "As a result, further enquiries will be conducted to trace Mr Newton to assess if he is able to assist the investigation." The programme includes unearthed footage from a Panorama programme from 1979 that was never broadcast for legal reasons, after Mr Thorpe and his three co-defendants were acquitted of conspiracy to murder. The director general at the time kept a master copy of the programme but ordered all other copies to be destroyed. But veteran reporter Tom Mangold kept his copy of the report. Image caption Ben Whishaw (background) and Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal The programme will air after the end of the dramatisation A Very British Scandal, which stars Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott. The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal will be broadcast on Sunday at 22:00 BST. View the full article
  11. Plastic pollution: 'Scourge' of debris on beaches tackled 2 June 2018 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA dedicated team has been formed, based in the south west but covering the entire coast of England The Environment Agency (EA) has started checking more than 500 beaches weekly as part of a government pledge to eradicate avoidable plastics by 2042. EA officers are carrying out the monitoring alongside their water quality sampling. The agency said the checks would "give another level of detail" on the "scourge of plastics" on beaches. A dedicated team has been formed, based in the south west but covering the entire coast of England. In January, a £750,000 investment was announced for the EA to focus on the issue of plastic pollution. Information on the amount and type of plastics found at each location is saved on to a database. Blue Planet effect Bruce Newport is head of the new plastics and sustainability team at the EA. He said the new initiative gave them "another level of detail". "If we find beaches that are heavily contaminated with plastic we will work with community groups, non-government organisations and we will actually work with local companies. Depending what needs to be done we can support or regulate to try and reduce the scourge of plastic which is hitting our beaches causing many many problems," he said. The damage plastics can do to marine wildlife was highlighted on the BBC's Blue Planet earlier this year, provoking a range of measures from the government and community groups. Image caption Environment agency officers are carrying out the monitoring alongside their water quality sampling More than eight million tonnes of plastic enters the world's oceans each year and about 90% of seabirds have eaten it. Mr Newport added: "Having a clean beach not only is good for wildlife, not only is it good for people who come here - it's good for our economy as well." "By being responsible with the use of plastics we can achieve that. And having a plastic free coastline is our ambition." View the full article
  12. Visa payment disruption hits Europe 1 June 2018 Image caption A Sainsbury's store in Vauxhall, London is not taking card payments Card payments are currently failing across the UK and elsewhere in Europe, Visa has said. The extent of the disruption is not yet clear but customers in the UK and Europe have been complaining that payments have been denied. Barclays and Bank of Ireland advised customers to use ATMs to withdraw cash, which appear to still be working. Visa is working to resolve the problem but one payments firm said transactions were now working intermittently. The Payment Systems Regulator told the BBC it understood the problem to be limited to Visa card payments only. Mastercard said it was seeing no problems on its network. Supermarket Tesco said that the problem was not affecting chip and pin payments, but that it was affecting customers using contactless payments. Responding to complaints on social media, HSBC said there were issues with processing Visa payments, which were intermittent, but were "slowly recovering". Sainsbury's also said it was experiencing problems. Jay Curtis, 32, is in Swansea and had two cards declined in B&Q this afternoon. "I had £240 worth of stuff in my trolley. My card just wouldn't go through. I tried and again and then I tried with another card but it still wouldn't go through," Mr Curtis told the BBC. "I didn't have cash on me so I had to drive all the way home." First Bank told customers on Twitter there weren't "any timescales for resolution at the moment". Skip Twitter post by @talktoBOI Report End of Twitter post by @talktoBOI However, Paymentsense, which runs card services for small businesses, said that transactions were now starting to go through. Image Copyright @MancBees @MancBees Report Image Copyright @MancBees @MancBees Report Are you a Visa customer? Have your card payments been affected? You can share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Or upload your pictures/video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions The BBC's Privacy Policy View the full article
  13. US tariffs on steel absurd, says Trade Secretary Liam Fox 31 May 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than 31,000 people are employed in the UK steel industry, and 4,000 work at Tata Steel's plant in Port Talbot, above US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from allies in Europe and North America are "disappointing" and "absurd", the UK trade secretary says. Liam Fox questioned the US decision to 25% tax on steel and a 10% tax on aluminium from the EU, Mexico and Canada. UK Steel said the tariffs will "see damage not only to the UK steel sector, but also the US economy". The EU said it would retaliate with tariffs on products like US bourbon. As a member of the EU, UK producers will be affected by the added cost to American importers, which could lead to a decline in demand for UK steel and aluminium, potentially affecting thousands of jobs. US imposes metal tariffs on key allies Tata demands 'swift' action EU has 'gun held to head' on steel tariffs According to UK Steel - the body which represents steel producers across the country - 7% of steel exports go to the US, worth £360m. The organisation's director Gareth Stace said: "US steel consumers are already reporting price increases and supply chain disruption and with $500m of steel exported from the UK to the US last year, UK steel producers are going to be hit hard." "We will now see damage not only to the UK steel sector, but also the US economy." US President Donald Trump announced plans for the tariff in March, claiming the threat to US steel and aluminium producers was a national security issue. Mr Fox said: "It's very disappointing that the United States has chosen to apply steel and aluminium tariffs... all in the name of national security. "In the case of the United Kingdom, where we send steel to the United States that is vital for their businesses and their defence industry, it is patently absurd." About 31,000 people across the UK work in steel production, with steel mills in the North East, East Midlands, Yorkshire, and Wales. Tata Steel, which employs 8,500 people across the UK, has called for "swift and robust action" in response to the steel tariffs. More than 7,000 Tata workers are employed in Wales, including about 4,000 in Port Talbot - the largest steelworks in the UK. Tata Steel Europe's chief commercial officer Henrik Adam said: "We now call on the EU Commission to take swift and robust action to combat the indirect effects of these tariffs." On Thursday, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the 28 EU member countries would challenge the tariffs and "impose their own balancing import duties on US goods like Florida orange juice, and bourbon whiskey". UK exports of aluminium to the US are tiny, but in March the UK's Aluminium Federation said it feared the 10% tariffs. President Giles Ashmead said: "While the US is not a major export market for UK-produced aluminium, indiscriminate tariffs are a hindrance to free trade, and do little to secure a 'level playing field' for global commerce." View the full article
  14. Crackdown on high-interest lending announced by FCA By Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter 31 May 2018 Image copyright Thinkstock Image caption Rent-to-own customers pay off household appliances over three years The rent-to-own sector faces a cap on prices similar to limits on the cost of payday loans, but the financial regulator will not impose an immediate similar restriction on overdrafts. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has spent nearly two years studying borrowing at high interest rates. It has now outlined a package of plans for rent-to-own, doorstep lending and catalogue shopping. High-cost credit is used by three million people in the UK. Single-parents aged 18 to 34 are three times more likely to have a high-cost loan - such as a payday loan, doorstep loan or pawnbroking loan - than the national average. "The proposals will benefit overdraft and high-cost credit users, rebalancing in the favour of the customer," said FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey. Campaigners had called for a cap on the interest and charges faced by those using high-cost credit, including overdrafts. They said that cap on the cost of payday loans, introduced in 2015, should be a template for the rest of the high-cost credit market. Young and in the red: Personal debt in five charts Millions miss bills as finances bite Some 400,000 people have outstanding debt with rent-to-own firms from which they buy household appliances, paying the money back over three years. After interest, they can end up paying well over double the cost price. The FCA said it had seen cases when people had paid more than £1,500 for essentials like an electric cooker that could be bought on the high street for less than £300. "The FCA believes the harm identified in this market is sufficient in principle to consider a cap on rent-to-own prices. It will now carry out the detailed assessment of the impact that a cap could have on the rent-on-own sector and how it might be structured," the regulator said. Such a cap would not be in place before April 2019. John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury said: "It's often the most vulnerable who get stung by these dodgy deals, and today's new rules will go a long way in helping people to look after their hard-earned money." Rent-to-own - a typical deal Image copyright Getty Images A typical deal for a fridge bought under a rent-to-own agreement means: Price of the fridge: £200 Delivery and installation charge: £55 156 weekly payments at APR of 69.9%: £3.25 Total cost: £507 Source: BrightHouse More than three million people have dipped into an unauthorised overdraft in the course of a year, exceeding their agreed limit. In 2016, firms made an estimated £2.3bn in revenue from overdrafts, with 30% of this from unarranged overdrafts. The charges for those who go into the red without agreement can be high and complex. The FCA is proposing that banks offer more information to customers about when and how they go into the red. It is also considering a ban on fixed fees, which can lead to relatively high charges for a small unarranged overdraft. Part of discussions in the future will be a "potential backstop price cap for overdrafts", but it is not an immediate proposal. Gareth Shaw, of consumer association Which?, said: "Just last week we revealed that unarranged overdraft charges can still be more than seven times more expensive than a payday loan. It is wrong that the regulator continues to delay taking action, leaving consumers affected by this unfair practice trapped in debt. "Last summer, the FCA expressed serious concerns about how unarranged overdrafts work, and now almost a year later it is still refusing to take action." Overdrafts in numbers 3.1m have used an unauthorised overdraft in last 12 months Those aged 35 to 44 are most likely to have some form of overdraft A total of 10% of all 18 to 24-year-olds have exceeded their overdraft limit in the last 12 months Source: FCA, Financial Lives, October 2017 Have you had problems with high-cost credit, including overdrafts? E-mail us at haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk You can also contact us in the following ways: Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions The BBC's Privacy Policy View the full article
  15. Ireland abortion referendum: UK minister hopes for NI law change 26 May 2018 Related TopicsIrish abortion referendum Image copyright Reuters A predicted landslide vote in favour of overturning Ireland's abortion ban gives "hope" to Northern Ireland, UK minister Penny Mordaunt has said. Counting is under way in the Irish referendum with exit polls suggesting voters backed a law change. The women and equalities minister said it was a "historic" day for Ireland and a "hopeful one" for Northern Ireland. Laws there, which only allow abortions in specific circumstances, are much stricter than the rest of the UK. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said Prime Minister Theresa May should push for a similar change in Northern Ireland. If the expected landslide in the Republic is confirmed, Northern Ireland will soon become the only part of Britain and Ireland where terminations are all but outlawed. Irish PM hails abortion vote 'revolution' Irish back abortion reform - exit polls Live coverage: Referendum results Those taking part in Friday's referendum were asked whether they wanted to repeal or retain a part of the constitution known as the Eighth Amendment, which says an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant woman. A vote in favour of repeal paves the way for the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to legislate for change which would see the introduction of a much more liberal regime. After early results suggested a landslide, Ms Mordaunt tweeted that it was a "hopeful" day for Northern Ireland, adding "that hope must be met". Skip Twitter post by @PennyMordaunt Report End of Twitter post by @PennyMordaunt Abortions are only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her physical or mental health. Rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which they can be performed legally. Sir Vince said the UK government should take advantage of the current lack of a devolved administration in Northern Ireland. The Lib Dem leader said: "Since there is, effectively, direct rule from Westminster, the government has responsibility and it can and should take the opportunity to deal with this issue properly." He added: "The position in Northern Ireland is now highly anomalous and I think, probably, action will now have to be taken." The leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, Naomi Long, responded to Ms Mordaunt by saying she could "effect change" in Northern Ireland and should use her "influence with others to ensure this happens". Skip Twitter post by @naomi_long Report End of Twitter post by @naomi_long Labour MP Stella Creasy also responded, tweeting that she hoped Ms Mordaunt "will stand up to colleagues in government stopping reform of our UK abortion laws". The best way to get news on the go Download the BBC News App. View the full article