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Revealed: how UK water companies are polluting Britain’s rivers and beaches

Revealed: how UK water companies are polluting Britain’s rivers and beaches

The most persistent and frequent polluters of England’s rivers and beaches are the nation’s 10 biggest water companies, an Observer investigation has revealed.

Pollution incidents, which have included sewage illegally pouring into a harbour for more than a year, and managers destroying records, show no sign of declining, according to data obtained from the Environment Agency (EA) under freedom of information rules. Only a third of the 1,000 incidents led to a fine (of an average of just £10,800); the rest resulted in cautions.

The EA data, obtained by the Request Initiative and analysed by theObserver, showed the most heavily fined company in 2005-2013 was Thames Water, which paid £842,500 for 87 incidents. Read more

Damian Carrington & Sophie Barnes | The Observer | 3rd August 2013

‘Big lie’ behind the bedroom tax: Families trapped with nowhere to move face penalty for having spare room

The Government’s justification for its controversial “bedroom tax” has been debunked by new figures showing that up to 96 per cent of those affected have, in effect, nowhere to move.

The figures published today in The Independent expose the false argument behind ministerial attempts to spin the move as ending the  “spare-room subsidy”, and confirm campaigners’ claims that it merely penalises poor people.

Yet more than 19 out of 20 families  hit by the bedroom tax are trapped in their larger homes because there is nowhere smaller within the local social housing stock to take them. This is shown by figures provided by councils in response to Freedom of Information requests by the Labour Party. Read more

Emily Dugan | The Independent | 5th August 2013

MoD spends £500 million on ‘advisers’ using money diverted from buying equipment in Afghanistan

Defence chiefs have spent  more than £500 million on lawyers and consultants while making thousands of troops redundant.

Most of the money has been siphoned off a budget that should have been used to pay for equipment in Afghanistan.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal that the amount spent by the Ministry of Defence on ‘External Assistance’ – lawyers, management consultants, accountants and IT experts  – has doubled in the past  two years. Read more

Sean Rayment | The Daily Mail | 3rd August 2013

Civic ‘hypocrisy’ on public health

A Sunday Express investigation reveals that multi-billion pound local government pension pots are still being invested in firms such as British American Tobacco, despite the fact that councils are now obliged to help residents quit smoking and reduce their drinking.

There are 101 pension funds managing £146billion on behalf of 4.6 million public sector workers.

More than a third responded to Freedom of Information requests asking for a breakdown of which companies funds were invested in. Read more

Kirsty Buchanan & Mathew |The Express| 4th August 2013

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