24 April 2014

£50 notes withdrawn, Swap rats for beer, 40% lamb takeaway not lamb…

Time to switch energy companies to be reduced

switch energyThe time it takes for customers to switch energy companies will be cut in half by the end of year, according to a new government initiative.

The Energy and Climate Change secretary plans to increase competition in the energy market by reducing the time it takes to switch provider by half. If delivered, customers will be able to switch in just two and half weeks.

Our take: Having the option to change provider on such short notice is a step in the right direction. We’re always going to get behind saving students money, and if this plan does increase competition between the big six energy providers, we’re all for it.

Refunds for 90s students after loan company blunder

90s loan refundA paper work mistake by the Student Loans Company has lead to nearly 60,000 former students receiving a refund or having money wiped from their debt.

For nearly five years, between 2008 and 2013, a correspondence error failed to disclose arrears correctly to people who had a loan before 1998, which is potential breach of the law. As such, all interest payments and charges made in that time will be refunded to those who received the letters.

Our take: With this only coming to light as a result of the loan book being sold to a private company, it does make us wonder what’s actually going on at the SLC? Did anyone know about this before the company was sold and tried to bury the story? And how many other long running administrative errors are going unchecked there?

40% of lamb takeaways found to contain ‘other meat’

lamb takeawayAccording to a DNA test by the website Which, forty percent of the lamb takeaways tested contained adulterated meat and seven did not actually contain any lamb at all.

The Food Standards Agency is launching a wider investigation into lamb takeaways starting in May.

Our take: Okay, only sixty takeaways is an admittedly small sample size, so maybe we shouldn’t be reading too much into this. However, following on from last year’s horse meat scandal, this is is a very real issue in the UK. Will takeaways and websites like Just Eat or Hungry House feel a backlash like the supermarkets did?

Old £50 note to be withdrawn from circulation

old 50 noteAn old edition of the £50 note, featuring Sir John Houblon, will no longer be legal tender from the 1st of May.

There are approximately 63 million of the Houblon notes currently in circulation (worth an estimated £3.2 billion) which are being removed in favour of the more secure Boulton and Watt £50 note introduced in 2011.

Our take: Barmen and women across the nation are surely thrilled with this news, as they will no longer have to use an ultraviolet pen or hold the note up to the light to check it’s legitimate. If you’re lucky or rich enough to be carrying £50s on you, make sure you get it spent by the 1st of May. Or failing that you can swap it for the new style note at selected banks and building societies until October.

Students in New Zealand killing rats for beer

rats for beerStudents on Campus at the University of Wellington are trading in the bodies of dead rats for beer at the local bar, fittingly titled the Hunters Lounge.

The scheme is being run by the Science Society after the rodents have become a major threat to the other indigenous wildlife.

Our take: You’ve got to admire the efficiency of this plan, rat problems on campuses at UK institutions would probably have to go through five levels of bureaucracy before a private pest control company is brought in to fix the issue.

State of the Machin: On Panini football stickers

panini 2014One of my favourite things about a year with a major football tournament is the sticker collections.

Like any sensible adult man as soon as that album hits the shelves I just can’t resist the buying a pack every time I go to the shop. To keep the cost down, I’m even looking into bulk buying a box online and then rewarding myself with a packet every time I don’t buy a new pack.

However, this seems like a slippery slope that will probably just end up with me buying twice the amount I usually do.

This years major swapsie appears to be Cristiano Ronaldo, who is included as a sticker with the album itself and has also appeared twice from the five packs I’ve already bought.

Shifting that smug face seems like a foolish endeavour, but hopefully that’ll be the last I see of him, unlike the Gerard Pique endemic of the South Africa 2010 collection. I’ve also got Ignizaio Abate (323) for swaps if anyone wants him?

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