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Call to improve internships in London

London has a major problem with unpaid internships- according to The London Assembly Committee. It's calling on the Mayor to make internships more accessible to young people- AND financially viable. One third of young adults in London have been or currently are an intern- but fewer than 40% are paid the minimum wage. The committee believes unpaid internships are bad for young people, and business. It recommends any internship lasting longer than 4 weeks should preferably be paid the London Living Wage.

Committee calling on Boris Johnson Credit: PA

Jenny Jones AM, Chair of the Economy Committee said:

"Internships should be fair and accessible to all, and they deserve to be paid.

The cost of living is much higher in London and unpaid internships are a big problem, especially in sectors like the media, politics and the fashion industry, where London leads the world.

Internships are often not paid at all Credit: PA

The letter makes a number of recommendations to the Mayor, including:

-Promote good quality paid internships in London - any internship lasting longer than four weeks should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, and preferably the London Living Wage.

-Be part of an awareness-raising campaign on the rights of interns and make clear to business the legal requirements and benefits of paying interns.

-Address the lack of data and commission more research to understand the role of internships in London and to target further interventions.

Thousands of older job seekers returning to work

Thousands of older jobseekers have returned to work in the last few years Credit: PA

Official figures released today have shown that over 100,000 job seekers over the age of 50 have found new jobs in the last five years.

The city's jobcentres have particularly been focusing on providing back-to-work support for older workers, but the government says employers can still do more.

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Billion pound boost for London's motorways

The government money will go towards making road improvements across London and the South East Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

Plans to unveil a two billion pound boost to improve roads across London and the South East will be unveiled by the government later today.

The money will go towards expanding junctions on the M25 as well as building a new bypass on the A27.

"We intend to make the building even better" says new owner

"We intend to make the building even better" says new owner Safra Group Credit: John Walton/PA Wire

"The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special – at the best locations within great cities. While only ten years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential. We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants."

– Safra Group

Building had guide price of £650m

The iconic skyscraper, at 30 St Mary Axe, is known as the Gherkin because of its distinctive shape.

According to the Financial Times, the group - headed by billionaire Brazilian businessman Joseph Safra - paid £726m for the 180m high Norman Foster-designed tower.

The building was put up for sale earlier this year with a guide price of £650m.

The Gherkin: the second tallest tower in the City of London Credit: John Walton/PA Archive

The Gherkin is the second tallest tower in the City of London and the sixth tallest in London.

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Oyster card customers losing out to contactless payers

Oyster card customers are paying up to £100 more a week than those using Contactless. The contactless method WAS billed as the same fare- but because of weekly caps using this method, but only daily caps with an Oyster, those using Oystercards are left paying more. The research was done by the London Assembly Labour Group- which has criticised Boris Johnson for what it describes as a 'worrying gap' in prices. It also points out that half a million Londonderes don't have a bank account, let alone a Contactless card.

Contactless payers paying less than Oyster customers per week Credit: PA

The analysis from London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson Val Shawcross AM has shown passengers using Oyster PAYG fares are paying up to £107 a week more than those using Contactless and making the same journeys. Shawcross said the figures throw serious doubt upon the Mayor of London's pledge that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel.

Are Oyster card customers paying more? Credit: PA

A peak-time commuter who hits the daily cap travelling between zones 4 and 7 for example would pay £19.60 a day using Oyster. On Contactless this would only cost £29.40 for a whole week meaning savings of £107.80 over Oyster if they were to hit the daily cap for a whole week. For those only commuting Monday to Friday, the saving on Contactless would still be £68.60.

A zone 1-6 commuter who hits the peak-time daily cap would save £53.40 per week by switching from Oyster to Contactless.

London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM, said:

"Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Oyster would always be the cheapest way to travel but that simply isn't true. There is now a worrying gap between the prices paid by Contactless passengers and those using Oyster.

"What we now know is that many people in London who regularly hit the Oyster daily fare cap are potentially paying far more than those using Contactless despite being told it was the cheapest way to travel.

"When Boris Johnson launched Contactless he could have chosen to add weekly caps to the Oyster Card. Instead he purposely chose to give Contactless card users a better deal despite almost half a million Londoners not having a bank account let alone a Contactless card."

The same fares apply to both contactless and Oyster. Contactless provides the convenience of Monday to Sunday capping, giving customers the same fare as is available to Oyster customers who buy a weekly Travelcard or bus pass.

If a customer uses contactless for a week within zones 4 to 7 they will get their fare capped at £29.40. If a customer buys a weekly Travelcard on their Oyster card for zones 4 to 7 they will also pay the same fare of £29.40.

We are looking at introducing weekly capping on Oyster when the current technology can be updated. This is a complex process as it requires changes not only to the card readers but also to our back office and retailing systems.

– Shashi Verma, Transport for London’s Director of Customer Experience

Greater London is a new hotspot for crash for cash accidents

Accidents deliberately caused in order to claim whiplash compensation are now at the highest level ever according to the UK's largest insurer, Aviva. More than 50% of Aviva's motor injury claims fraud is organised in nature and the insurer now has over 6,500 suspicious injury claims linked to known fraud rings.

Aviva reveals crash for cash hotspots Credit: Aviva

Top 10 Postcodes for Crash for Cash by number of accidents:

  1. Birmingham (B)
  2. Luton (LU)
  3. North London (N)
  4. Manchester (M)
  5. Leeds (LS)
  6. Uxbridge (UB)
  7. Harrow (HA)
  8. North West London (NW)
  9. Bradford (BD)
  10. Slough (IG)

Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud for Aviva's UK and Ireland General Insurance business, said, "Crash for cash is a serious social problem. No other form of insurance fraud puts the public at risk of serious injury. Imagine you're driving the kids to school when the car in front slams on their brakes without warning, leaving you no chance of avoiding a crash. These deliberate accidents are on the increase, putting innocent motorists at risk simply so the driver in front can get cash compensation"

  • Insurance Fraud Bureau says crash for cash costs £392m per year

London Mayor launches new city Living Wage

The Mayor of London will be stepping behind the coffee counter today as part of his launch of a new rate for the London Living Wage.

Boris Johnson will be marking the beginning of Living Wage week at the first coffee shop in the city to commit to paying the increased wage.

Boris Johnson will announce the new living wage rate this morning Credit: PA

The London Living Wage is calculated on an hourly rate based on the combination of the cost of living in the city and 60 percent of the median wage.

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