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, "10":"NEIL ROUSE / SHUTTERSTOCK News Congratulations to James Grier (left), principal trading standards officer for Hackney Council, who received an AntiCounterfeiting Group (ACG) lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the protection of intellectual property. Grier has helped combat intellectual property crime in Tower Hamlets and Hackney for more than 23 years, and has played an instrumental part in introducing the Real Deal Charter to all Hackney markets. Today, he trains officers, taking them through the process from initial seizure to prosecution. Chris Oldknow, ACG council chairman, presented the award to Grier at the ACG annual general meeting, at the Radisson Blue Hotel, London, in October. Current account and small-business banking sectors face scrutiny An in-depth investigation into both the personal current account, and the small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) retail banking sectors, is to be launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The move comes after a consultation set in motion by the CMA the UKs primary competition and consumer authority in July this year, after concerns about a lack of effective competition in both sectors, and that they do not meet the needsof personal consumers orSMEs. The issues raised include: l Limited transparency for customers especially when making comparisons between banks, particularly for overdraft charges on personal current accounts l Few customers switching accounts or shopping around l Obstacles to entry into the sector, limiting the ability ofsmaller and newer providers to develop their businesses fully l Minimal movement over time of the four largest banks, which provide more than three-quarters of personal and business accounts A statutory deadline of 5 May 2016 has been set for the investigation, with an initial date of referral 6 November this year. The CMA will also undertake a comprehensive review of competition undertakings put in place by the Competition Commission in 2002, following its report into SME banking. The review will assess whether there have been any changes in circumstances since then that require the undertakings to be varied or terminated. This review will be carried out by the same panel appointed to conduct the market investigation, and will run in parallel to that. The panel will be selected shortly, with a timetable for the investigation and review to be published afterwards. Alex Chisholm, CMA chief executive, said: Effective competition in retail banking is critically important for individual bank customers, smalland medium-size businesses and the wider economy. He added: After carefully considering the consultation responses most of which supported a market investigation we remain of theview that there should be a full market investigation into the sector. FCA confirms payday lenders price-cap rules People using payday lenders and other providers of high-cost, short-term credit will see the cost of borrowing fall, and will never have to pay back more than double what they originally borrowed, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed. The FCA published its proposals for a payday loan price cap in July. The price-cap structure and levels remain unchanged after a consultation on the issue. Martin Wheatley, the FCAs chief executive, said: I am confident the new rules strike the right balance for firms and consumers. If the price cap was any lower, we would risk not having a viable market; any higher, and there would not be adequate protection for borrowers. For people who struggle to repay, we believe the new rules will put an end to spiralling payday debts. The FCAs proposals include: 1. Initial cost cap of 0.8 per cent per day lowers the cost for most borrowers. For all high-cost, short-term credit loans, interest and fees must not exceed 0.8 per cent per day of the amount borrowed. 2. Fixed default fees, capped at 15 protects borrowers struggling to repay. If people do not repay their loans on time, default charges must not exceed 15. Interest on unpaid balances and default charges must not exceed the initial rate. 3. Total cost cap of 100 per cent protects borrowers from escalating debts. Customers must never have to pay back more in fees and interest than the amount borrowed. From 2 January 2015, no borrower will ever pay back more than twice what they borrowed, and someone taking out a loan for 30 days and repaying on time will not pay more than 24 in fees and charges per 100 borrowed. The FCA said it consulted widely on the proposed price cap with various stakeholders, including industry and consumer groups, professional bodies, and academics. Avian flu outbreak in East Yorkshire Avian flu has been found at a duckbreeding farm in the UK. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) it is the same H5N8 strain responsible for recent cases in the Netherlands and Germany. A cull of 6,000 birds at the farm in Nafferton, East Yorkshire, is being carried out to stop the infection from spreading. In addition, a two-mile protection zone and a six-mile surveillance zone have been imposed. These restrict the movement of poultry and the release of game birds, and also stop shows and exhibitions where birds might be gathered. Trading standards has a statutory responsibility to ensure compliance Safer celebrates after two years of success The West Yorkshire-based Scams and Fraud Education for Residents (Safer) project is celebrating two years of helping people in Leeds andBradford. Set up in November 2012 by West Yorkshire Trading Standards and funded by the Big Lottery Safer is a community protection and empowerment programme that aims to help older people and professionals to avoid being victims of doorstep crime and scams. It has already assisted 4,300 elderly people, and 1,100 professionals, via educational workshops that carry the message: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The programme has also helped to write off 215,000 of debt, and enabled residents to claim 770,000 of benefits. In celebration, in October, Leeds and Bradford residents who have been helped by Safer attended a doorstepcrime-themed performance by the Feeling Good theatre company, a singalong with flute performance from PCSO Michelle Winn plus afternoon tea. with animal health and welfare legislation, but according to the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO), cuts have made it difficult for officers to prevent the illegal import and export of livestock, which could spread the disease between European countries. (Click here for ACTOs full account of the general animal health and welfare situation across the UK.) Although cuts have also made inspections of livestock by officers less frequent, they may sometimes be well placed to spot cases of highly pathogenic Avian influenza. The disease is spread by direct contact or the exchange of contaminated bodily fluids between birds. According to Defra, The main clinical signs of H5N8 in birds are: l Swollen head l Blue discolouration of neck and throat l Loss of appetite l Respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling or rattling l Diarrhoea l Fewer eggs laid l Increased mortality If trading standards officers suspect that animals may be infected, they should get in touch with Defra. Any outbreak is a serious matter, but Caroline Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has emphasised that the risk to humans is very low and food safety will not be affected. Avian flu is not an airborne disease and most strains, including H5N8, are completely harmless to humans. TS TODAY "