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Energy price cap: Spam overload feared under plans to shake up … 0

Energy price cap: Spam overload feared under plans to shake up …

Households could be inundated with unsolicited sales pitches from energy providers after the industry watchdog proposed forcing companies to open up their databases to rival suppliers. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) announced a shake-up of the energy industry to drive down prices in a sector it says is collectively overcharging Britain s households by 1.7bn a year. It proposed a price cap to stop Big Six suppliers, such as British Gas, from charging excessive amounts to the four million households on pre-payment meters.

It also wants to force them to share information on those customers who have been on expensive default standard variable tariffs for three years or more, so that rivals can attempt to lure them away with lower prices. Read more Millions of households could have gas and electricity prices cut Customers on standard variable tariffs, which account for 70 per cent of UK households, could save an average of 300 a year by switching to an alternative supplier. This is because after signing up to a relatively cheap fixed-term deal of one to three years when they first signed to the supplier, they have since been moved on to a higher-rate default standard-rate tariff.

But despite the good intention of the database proposal, financial advisers are concerned that it could mean households are bombarded with offers from rival energy suppliers that could leave them feeling even more confused. There s almost a feeling that if you haven t switched to a new provider within three years you ll be punished with spam, said Martin Lewis, founder of the price comparison website. I m getting tweets from all over the place from people who are worried about this.

The risk is that if everybody shouts at them, people will just put their fingers in their ears, he said. Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at the comparison site, said: Proposals to share data between providers are well intentioned but could lead to consumers being inundated with unsolicited marketing material. This risks further confusion among customers, particularly the most vulnerable, and could also raise data privacy issues.

UK news in pictures 1/30 10 March 2016 Prince Charles, Prince of Wales with Vladimir Jurowski after awarding him Doctor of Music as he attends the Royal College of Music s music awards in London 2/30 9 March 2016 Students march past Oriel College at Oxford University, as they call for the removal of a statue mounted on the college building of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. The statue of 19th century politician Cecil Rhodes on the front of Oriel College, Oxford, is the subject of a call by students in the city to be taken down, as it glorifies British colonialism 3/30 8 March 2016 The sunrise over Bingham, Nottinghamshire, as signs of spring will start to show at the end of this week with climbing temperatures across the UK 4/30 7 March 2016 A lorry of dinosaurs is unloaded at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford, Kent, as the final shipment arrives from Germany to be placed in the park as a permanent display featuring 103 anatomically correct replica dinosaurs opening this Easter 5/30 6 March 2016 The Central Street Cookery School in London hosts free baking classes to celebrate Mother s day. Run in collaboration with Stork and hosted by food blogger Jemma Lloyd, the classes teaches budding star bakers how to make a cake for their mum 6/30 5 March 2016 Police and fans clash outside the ground before the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, in London 7/30 4 March 2016 Children play during a photo call with a Spitfire at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the first Spitfire flight which took place on 5 March 1936.

National Museums Scotland has announced the reopening date for two of the National Museum of Flight s aircraft hangars following their 3.6 million restoration and redevelopment. The Second World War hangars will reopen on Good Friday, 25 March, with displays telling the story of military and civilian aviation history 8/30 3 March 2016 Sir Chris Hoy and Michael Rosen take part in World Book Day at Discover Childrens Story Centre in London 9/30 2 March 2016 A woman walks through colourful smoke bombs, an artwork created by artist Filippo Minelli in Somerset House s courtyard, London, ahead of their new street art exhibition, Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street, which opens to the public tomorrow 10/30 2 March 2016 Conservationist Sarah Pinchin, 41, inspects her teams work on Rubens ceiling painting Apotheosis of James 1st during restoration work at Banqueting House in London, England. The Banqueting House is the only remaining part of the Palace of Whitehall, once the largest Palace in Europe but destroyed by fire in 1698.

Visitors can see the magnificent ceiling painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. It is currently being renovated and will re-open to the public on 1 April 2016 11/30 1 March 2016 Demonstraters (left to right) Roy Bard, 56, Claire Glasman, 55, Ariane Sacco and (name not given) chant outside the Supreme Court where judges are to consider appeals over the bedroom tax in London. Also known as under occupancy or the spare room subsidy, the bedroom rax deducts 14% from the benefit of a tenant if they have an unused bedroom 12/30 29 February 2016 Television presenter Laura Jackson (centre left) and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine (centre right) launch Fairtrade Fortnight 2016, which runs from today until 13 March, by hosting a breakfast on the roof of One New Change in London.

The two-week campaign aims to encourage consumers to share a Fairtrade breakfast with family or friends and wake up to the challenges faced by farmers and workers in developing countries who produce the food we eat for breakfast, but struggle to feed themselves 13/30 29 February 2016 Merlin Entertainment of a 30ft leap year message written in the sand by Lousie Forder, 31, who proposed to her partner Robert Green, 27, in line with the February 29 tradition, at the top of the Blackpool Tower, where she delivered him the message 14/30 28 February 2016 The OUWBC in action during The 2016 Cancer Research UK Boat Race fixture between Oxford University Women s Boat Club and Molesey in London 15/30 27 February 2016 Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the crowds from Trafalgar Square after a Stop Trident march though central London 16/30 26 February 2016 The Duke of Kent stands after laying a wreath at the memorial plaque to British servicemen killed in the first Gulf War in the crypt of St Paul s Cathedral in London, following a service to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict 17/30 25 February 2016 Flying Scotsman officially returns to the East Coast Main Line to launch a season celebrating its return to the track. The iconic locomotive is being showcased alongside Virgin Trains own Flying Scotsman , complete with its brand new interior, at King s Cross station before setting off on its five-hour journey to York 18/30 24 February 2016 Busy Londoners look baffled as their routine commute was disrupted by a sea of people dressed in yellow inflatable suits. The charity HEART UK in partnership with Flora ProActiv has designed the stunt to challenge the issue of elevated cholesterol levels 19/30 23 February 2016 Kevin Haynes, the Horticulture Manager on Taylors Bulbs farm, inspects a field of Tamara daffodils on Taylors Bulbs farm, near Holbeach in eastern England, ahead of Mother s Day 20/30 22 February 2016 Britain s Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, visits the British Army s 1st The Queen s Dragoon Guards regiment at Robertson Barracks in Dereham, East of England 21/30 21 February 2016 London Mayor Boris Johnson delivers a statement to the media regarding his position on the forthcoming EU referendum outside his home in London.

Johnson said he would support a vote for Britain to leave the European Union in a blow for Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a membership referendum in June 22/30 20 February 2016 David Cameron speaks outside 10 Downing Street in London. Mr Cameron has returned to London after securing a deal following two days of talks with European leaders in Brussels regarding Britain s relationship with the EU. He said the deal will give the United Kingdom special status within the EU.

An in/out referendum on EU membership is expected as early as June this year 23/30 19 February 2016 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opens Scotland s first independent safe deposit box service in Glasgow. Based in the city s south side, Glasgow Vaults has been introduced in response to the major banks withdrawing the service that safeguards people s valuable possessions 24/30 18 February 2016 Snowdrops carpet the ground in the beech wood at Welford Park in Berkshire 25/30 17 February 2016 Rescue teams and a Coastguard helicopter are deployed to the scene of an Avalanche at Creag Meagaidh in Fort William,Scotland. The rescuers had been searching for missing climbers Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27 from Bradford, had been climbing on Ben Nevis over the weekend but were reported missing 26/30 16 February 2016 Visitors enjoy the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society s) Early Spring Fair in London.

Growers from across the UK come together for the show at the RHS Horticultural Halls in Westminster to exhibit their seasonal produce 27/30 15 February 2016 Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson during a visit to Stirling Bull Sales in Scotland. The Scottish Conservatives are targeting disenchanted Labour and Lib Dem voters as they step up campaigning for the Holyrood election. Leader Ruth Davidson is to send out a personal letter to 600,000 people, many of whom have never voted Conservative before, to ask them for support on 5 May 28/30 14 February 2016 Farmer Peter Laidlaw feeds his sheep at Craigannet Farm on the snow covered hills of the Carron Valley in Stirling, Scotland, as snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures sweep the country 29/30 13 February 2016 London celebrates Chinese New Year, the celebrations are the largest outside Asia.

Performers celebrate the Year of the Monkey in London 30/30 12 February 2016 Flocks of geese fly at dawn along the coastline of The Wash near Snettisham in east Britain The CMA has three months to iron out its proposals and experts say there could be ways to keep a lid on the marketing. A limit could be placed on how many messages a customer can receive or a rule could mean they can only be contacted through their existing supplier which may, for example, include letters from rivals when sending out bills. A CMA spokesman said the group is aware of concerns about the database and will take measures to deal with them, such as giving people the option to opt out.

The database will be Ofgem-controlled, only licensed suppliers will have access and their continued access will depend on them complying with strictly controlled criteria on how they communicate with customers, he said. This could mean suppliers offering to save you hundreds of pounds a year and we think that it s a worthwhile offer for customers to hear. The CMA report is the result of an 18-month investigation into the industry.

It met with a mixed reception as some welcomed the decision to help the most vulnerable in society through a prepayment meter price cap while others said the cap should also apply to those on standard tariffs. We have found that the six largest suppliers have learned to take many of their existing customer databases for granted, not just over prices, but with service and quality, said Roger Witcomb, head of the investigation. Yet in those parts of the retail markets where competition is working, customers are benefiting to the tune of hundreds of pounds a year by switching, he added.

Ofgem said it would work closely with the CMA on how to implement its proposals.

How long does it take you to get in and out of Norwich for work … 0

How long does it take you to get in and out of Norwich for work …

How long does it take you to get in and out of Norwich for work?

08:58 04 March 2016 Lauren Cope 1 Snow falls in Norwich as traffic makes its way up Cattle Market Street, Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY ARCHANT NORFOLK Do you work in Norwich? We d like to hear from you.

Share link shares Loading… As part of an investigation we hope to run later this month, we re looking to collect journey times from those who live outside of the city but drive in each day to work. Ideally, we re looking for people who live in the greater Norwich area and drive via a main route, including: Newmarket Road off the A11 Cromer Road/Wroxham Road Dereham Road The A140 Trowse bypass A47 But input from those living further afield, and travelling via different routes, is also welcome.

Using the form attached, we d need you to log your journey start and end times heading in and out of the city for 10 working days.

All forms should be completed online, or emailed to [email protected], by Sunday, March 20.

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Reader letters of the week: Pavement parking, Daleks and mental … 0

Reader letters of the week: Pavement parking, Daleks and mental …

Reader letters of the week: Pavement parking, Daleks and mental health 16:21 03 March 2016 Jessica Long 1 Four generations of Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge in London. Here are some of the best reader letters we have seen so far this week, you can join the discussion by commenting below. Share link shares Pavement parking Monday February 29 David Parker, Windsor Park, Dereham.

Re the continuing obstruction of pavements by vehicles. Of course the footways/pavements are for people, they are to provide a refuge for pedestrians from passing traffic. And most have a barrier in the form of a kerb to demonstrate this.

So why the apparent reluctance of Norfolk County Council as the responsible (highway) authority to endeavour to see that they are kept reasonably free of obstruction? NCC has told me that pavements are for pedestrians (and cyclists where appropriate eg a cycleway is in place), that it does not encourage pavement parking and that the civilian wardens only have limited powers. Those powers to take action on pavement parking rest with the police.

So they can be called to deal with an obstruction. So report it simple! But please bear in mind that such an incident cannot be high priority they may well have more important things to attend to.

If this issue is a costly one for NCC to confront, surely the imposition of fines would mean it could be self financing. Some while ago the EDP published a report that the parking department might have to be closed due to lack of funding. Maybe if it was more zealous in delivering parking notices on pavement parking it would help?

Simon Hoare MP has attempted to table a motion for there to be a blanket ban nationwide on pavement parking, but this was delayed for further consideration this year. So perhaps some encouragement to one s MP to support Mr Hoare might be an idea? Governments must be responsible for health, education and welfare Tuesday March 1 John Chapman, Garlic Street, Pulham St Mary.

With each passing day that I read the EDP I am driven increasingly to lament the paradox of a society which produces so many examples of kindness, generosity and common humanity and, at the same time, so many examples of the systematic destruction of that very society. I am struck by the relevance of words written 240 years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men… I fear that our society is falling victim to the total abdication of government from responsibility for those basic and universal principles so eloquently expressed in the American Declaration of Independence.

Is not the provision of appropriate structures for health, welfare, education and justice the very essence of the duty to secure those unalienable rights ? Yet we now see those structures being torn apart in the name of an allegedly unavoidable austerity and, in many cases, handed to the commercial sector. The experience of decades now demonstrates unequivocally that the claims from this sector of improved service, increased efficiency and financial savings tend to be realised in exactly opposite outcomes and, therefore, hardship and suffering for many.

Add to this, then, a finance culture in which the acquisition of extreme wealth is the end that justifies any means to get it, an almost complete lack of personal accountability and government complicity through light touch regulation and PFI. Then add to all this moves to prevent challenge from those who feel wronged by removing legal aid, restricting judicial review, attacking Freedom of Information laws and even closing courts and one begins to see why there is a rising sense of injustice. There is no overnight cure, so what is the point of writing letters like this?

I believe that change can and will come as more of those who, like me, are normally silent are compelled to stand up and say enough is enough . Sadly, while the cancer of party before people continues to pervade politics, change will, in every sense, be painfully slow. As to the rights of the people, the ultimate answer today is the same as it was 240 years ago : . . .whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it . . .

Daleks earlier arrival Wednesday March 2 Ethan lusher (15), Chapel Road School, Chapel Road, Attleborough. I thought your story about Tristram Cary was very good (EDP, February 22) but you got one fact wrong about the Daleks. You said that the Daleks were revealed in early 1964, but really they were revealed on December 21, 1963.

The Daleks (also known as The Mutants and The Dead Planet) was the second serial in Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in seven weekly parts from December 21, 1963, to February 1, 1964. It was the first serial to be entirely set on an alien planet. It was written by Terry Nation and directed by Christopher Barry and Richard Martin.

This story marks the first appearance of the Doctor s greatest extra-terrestrial enemies, the Daleks, and is also the first to feature recurring Skaro people, the Thals. In the serial, the first Doctor (William Hartnell), his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford), and her teachers Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) land in an alien jungle and are captured by the Daleks, a race of mutated creatures who are surviving off the radiation that remains in the atmosphere after a nuclear war they waged with their enemies. I am a big Doctor Who fan and I hope you don t mind me writing to you about this.

Mental health service providers must tackle the helpline issue Thursday March 3 County Cllr Brian Watkins, Chairman, Norfolk Health and Wellbeing Board, County Hall, Norwich. Along with many EDP readers, I am disturbed by the news that the MIND Mental Health support line could close at the end of March due to loss of funding. This service fields over 800 calls per month, and is an invaluable support to so many people with mental health concerns.

Without the helpline many of them would face even greater risk to their wellbeing, so it is important that we do whatever we can to save it. After all, we are only talking about a relatively modest 120k a year to keep the helpline afloat. As chair of the Norfolk Health and Wellbeing Board, it is not for me to suggest which organisation/s should stump up the cash.

I recognise that each of them have their own strategic priorities, as well as obligations to balance their books. However, we cannot just hope that the problem will go away. There are many vulnerable people out there who are extremely fearful about the possible loss of the helpline, and it s important that they are given suitable reassurance.

That s why we have to find a solution to this funding issue as soon as possible. Once again, I repeat, the offer that I made in my earlier press comments on this matter. It is important that all parties with responsibility for discharging mental health services in this area come together to address this issue as a matter of urgency.

We cannot allow this to drag on indefinitely. I note Chloe Smith s interest in this important matter and share her concerns. I repeat that I am more than happy to broker a meeting at County Hall on behalf of the Norfolk Health and Wellbeing Board where all parties could meet on neutral ground to consider funding options carefully in the hope that an agreement can be reached.

My belief is that both sides have a shared duty to find a way forward for this crucial service. Send your letters to The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE. Fax: 01603 623872.

Email: [email protected] You can also have your say in our comments section below.

Keywords: Chloe Smith 2 Norfolk County Council 3 Norfolk County 4 Norwich 5 Share link shares “)); (function() var rcel = document.createElement(“script”); = ‘rc_’ + Math.floor(Math.random() * 1000); rcel.type = ‘text/javascript’; rcel.src = “””&c=”+(new Date()).getTime()+”&width=”+(window.outerWidth )(); /** * If it’s in utility belt, then don’t move with jQuery * * Utility Belt : bottom == “bottom” * Bottom Slot : bottom == “article” * **/ References ^ Jessica Long ( ^ Chloe Smith ( ^ Norfolk County Council ( ^ Norfolk County ( ^ Norwich (