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Citizens Advice is closing its final salary pension scheme for current and future workers, affecting 375 staff. The scheme’s deficit has risen from £12.5m to £25m in the past three years and a spokesperson called it “fundamentally unaffordable”. But it strikes me as ironic that the so-called consumer’s ‘champion’ has had to resort to such a move, penalising the very citizens who give their time to help others who may have exactly the same concerns.


Northern Rock has a good chance of remaining independent, with its current board intact, according to the BBC and several newspapers. There is a strong rumour that American banks Citi and Merrill Lynch are putting together a £10bn package of loans to the Rock, repaid at a lower rate than the Bank of England’s emergency fund charged at 6.75%. Whatever the case, the fact that not one of the current Northern Rock board has offered to resign over the debacle comes as no surprise to this website.


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that a “modest” rise in the UK minimum wage is needed next year if British firms are to remain competitive. This currently stands at the dizzy rate of £5.52 per hour, the third highest statutory minimum rate in the world after France and Australia. John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said: “Previous steep rises have loaded extra costs onto employers that face a less certain outlook for next year as interest rates bite and the world economy slows.” Presumably, then, Cridland would like to see firms allowed to pay their workers less than £5.52 an hour.


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