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Women guilty over £21m 'pyramid scheme'

A group of women have pleaded guilty to operating a £21 million "pyramid" scheme which left thousands of investors out of pocket.

The scheme, called Give or Take, urged women in the West Country and Wales to "beg, borrow or steal" £3,000 with the promise that they would receive a payout of £24,000 when they reached the top of their "pyramid."

Mary Nash, 65; Susan Crane, 68 and Hazel Cameron, 54, have all admitted operating and prompting the scheme at Bristol Crown Court and will be sentenced next month.

Three other women, including the scheme's chairman, were each jailed for nine months in 2012 following a trial while a further three received suspended jail terms.

Vehicle tax will be enforced 'from electronic records'

A spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has said that changes to the rules of tax discs will not affect the agency's ability to enforce the law:

There is absolutely no basis to these figures and it is nonsense to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc will lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion.

We have a proven track record in making vehicle tax easy to pay but hard to avoid, with over 99% of all vehicles taxed. Given the systems now in place we take enforcement action direct from our electronic records rather than requiring a tax disc.

– spokesman, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

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'Clear concern' among motorists over tax disc changes

The chief engineer for RAC has said that a survey shows there is "clearly concern among motorists about forthcoming changes to tax disc rules:

There is clearly concern among motorists over the issue of enforcement. Most of the changes make sense and will benefit the motorist, but too many motorists are unaware of the detail.

The big question has to be whether enforcement using only cameras and automatic number plate recognition will be sufficiently effective.

– David Bizley, RAC chief engineer

Poll: 63% of drivers expect rise in number of untaxed cars

An RAC survey of more than 2,000 drivers showed that almost two-thirds of respondents believe changes to the rules on tax discs would prompt more tax evasion.

  • 36% were unaware of the scrapping of the paper disc
  • 47% did not know when the change was due to take effect
  • 63% feared there would be a rise in the number of untaxed cars on the road
  • 44% reckoned the change would actually encourage people to break the law

(Source: RAC)

Tax disc changes 'could cost economy £167m per year'

Next month's ending of the need to display a car tax disc could lead to tax evasion costing the economy £167 million a year, according to the RAC.

Motorists will not need to display tax discs from October Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

It said it feared that the number of tax-dodgers could equal the number who try to avoid paying motor insurance.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "We could be looking at around £167 million of lost revenues to the Treasury, far exceeding the £10 million that will be saved by no longer having to print tax discs and post them to vehicle owners."

From October 1, motorists will no longer need to display a tax disc on their vehicle windscreen. They will still need to pay their vehicle excise duty car tax, with records being monitored electronically.

Apple Watch 'could distract motorists at wheel'

The new Apple Watch Credit: PA Wire

Drivers could put themselves and others at risk by using the Apple Watch while behind the wheel, a road safety charity claims.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists said the watch, which will allow users to make and receive calls and check messages by operating the device on their wrists, could be a major cause of distraction that could impair driving performance.

"Constant alerts will require motorists' regular attention. As opposed to using a legal hands-free piece of equipment, the (Apple) iWatch will require drivers to use two hands to operate the device - impacting speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road," the IAM said.

IAM policy and research director Neil Greig warned that police have the power to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash.

"The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you," he said.

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Customer service table 'should be a wake-up call'

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd has said that its latest annual customer service survey should act as a 'wake-up call" for low-ranking firms.

The Big Six energy companies have now hit rock bottom for customer service and, with record high levels of complaints, it is clear just how far they still have to go to put things right for their customers.

Good companies know the value of customer service, so it's disappointing that some of our biggest firms seem to have a lot to learn about keeping their customers happy.

This survey should be a wake-up call for the companies with the lowest customer scores.

– Richard Lloyd, which?

'Big six' energy firms rate poorly in Which? customer survey

The UK's six largest energy companies are among the worst offendors for poor customer service, according to an annual survey by consumer group Which?

All of the big six - British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, npower, ScottishPower and SSE - languished in the bottom fifth of the ranking of the nation's biggest brands.

npower came bottom of the table with a customer score of just 57 percent, replacing last year's lowest scoring company Ryanair.

Second from the bottom is Scottish Power, with a customer rating of 58%, down from joint 62nd in last year's rankings.

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