Energy subsidies to raise household bills by £100 within 5 years
Energy subsidies designed to support low-carbon electricity will raise average household bills by £100 pounds within five years, according to a Guardian
Cornwall Energy, an independent consultancy, said that the cost of the capacity market, renewable obligations and other factors will raise energy subsidies by 124% by 2020-21.
“While the future path of wholesale prices remains uncertain, policy costs are moving only in one direction,” said Jo Butlin, the managing director of Cornwall. “Our research shows a confluence of factors serving to push these costs up notably in the next couple of years, though important drivers that could yet change the outlook remain beyond anyone’s control.”
Conservative backbenchers who oppose green energy subsidies are likely to be angered by Cornwall’s estimates, the Guardian
New cigarette packaging rules come into effect
From today, cigarettes in the UK will be sold in standardised green packaging featuring explicit images showing the harmful effects of smoking.
The change comes after the world’s largest tobacco companies lost a legal challenge against the government’s packaging rules at the high court Thursday, Sky News reported. The directive makes the UK the first country in the European Union to require cigarettes to be sold in plain standardised packages.
The directive requires pictures showing the effects of smoking to cover 65% of the front and back of every pack of cigarettes, along with extra warnings on the top of the pack, Sky News
reported. It also bans packages containing only 10 cigarettes, as the boxes were deemed too small to sport suitable warnings.
Whitehall privatisation scheme has cost £4 million more than it saved
A plan to privatise some of Whitehall’s office functions was supposed to save up to £500 million per year. Instead, it has cost £4 million and has been plagued by problems, the Guardian
Ministers transferred functions like human resources and payroll to the private sector two-and-a-half years ago, saying the change would “radically improve efficiency across departments.”
But an examination by the National Audit Office has found the plan, instead of saving the touted minimum of £128 million per year, has only saved £90 million – £4 million less than it has cost. And auditors said that delays in the plans roll-out mean that costs will only grow. The NAO fount that confidence in the project “is now low.” It also found that numerous delays mean some elements of the system are already out of date, the Guardian
“This is an all-too-familiar story of Tory ministers cutting and privatising, only to find they have wasted money and damaged services,” said Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka.
Asda price cuts fail to stop decline
Asda’s price cuts, enacted in an attempt to turn the struggling supermarket’s fortunes around, aren’t working.
Asda saw like-for-like sales fall by 5.7%, and admitted that cutting prices hadn’t helped stanch the bleeding, according to a Sky News report. The latest figures mark the seventh consecutive quarter of decline for the store. In recent months, Asda has lost its place as the UK’s second-biggest supermarket to Sainsbury’s.
Asda said it saw a 5% decline in the number of shoppers visiting its stores in the last quarter, Sky News
Doctors worry new NHS contract will impact weekday service
Medical leaders say that the settlement of the junior doctors’ dispute won’t help severe personnel shortages plaguing hospitals, according to a Guardian
Senior doctors also warned ministers that with trainee medics working at weekends, hospitals may have too few staff during the week. While five medical royal colleges welcomed the agreement, they also urged health secretary Jeremy Hunt to go further in tackling staffing issues, the Guardian
“Staffing problems are severe within the health service,” said Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. “There’s no increase in the funding envelope and so an already stretched service will be stretched even thinner.”
Naked job-seeker found wedged in chimney
Brad Sapp was sorting cans at his recycling business in the Iowa town of Carroll when he heard a disembodied voice whisper, “Get out of here.” When he told his wife, Carrie, about it later, she teased him for being afraid of ghosts. Perhaps a ghost would have been preferable. At least they usually wear clothes.
The next morning, Carrie Sapp was working at the recycling center when she heard a yell for help from the chimney, according to an ABC News report. “I was playing hide-and-seek with my cousin,” the man in the chimney told her. “Don’t call the cops!”
Carrie Sapp wisely ignored that request and called the police. The fire department was also summoned, and – after hammering a hole in the chimney – managed to free Jordan Kajewski, a 29-year-old, soot-covered naked man.
“This was definitely a first for the Carroll Fire Department,” Fire Chief Greg Schreck said.
Brad Sapp said he knew the chimney nudist; Kajewski been in three times in recent weeks – presumably while clothed – to ask for a job at the recycling business.
Kajewski was charged with trespassing, according to ABC News