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HSBC closes Bolton charity's bank account

A Bolton-based Muslim charity has accused a bank of putting lives at risk for shutting down its account.

The Ummah Welfare Trust has distributed 70 million pounds to projects in 20 countries. And it's had a presence in Gaza for the past 10 years.

But the charity has now received a letter from the HSBC to tell them their account is being closed for being beyond the bank's "risk appetite".

Mohammad Ahmad is from the charity.

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Mosque condemns 'disgraceful' HSBC actions

The chairman of Finsbury Park mosque in north London says he is shocked and angered with HSBC after receiving notice that its account with the bank would be closed.

It is shocking, unbelievable. To send us a letter without any notice. We don't understand why they have taken this action and we are not going to be quiet. It is disgraceful.

As a community organisation we are doing a good job between the communities. We have worked hard since we took over from Abu Hamza.

We have changed the mosque from an atmosphere of hostility to a cohesive atmosphere [...]

We don't receive money from abroad, we don't send any money abroad. Our reputation and credibility is on the line now.

– Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park mosque

HSBC: Bank closures not based on race or religion

After several Muslim organisations reported having their accounts closed by HSBC, the bank has strongly denied claims that it has made decisions related to "race or religion".

We do not discuss relationships we may or may not have with a customer, nor confirm whether an individual or business is, or has been a customer.

In general terms, decisions to end a customer relationship are not taken lightly, but are absolutely not based on the race or religion of a customer.

Discrimination against customers on grounds of race or religion is immoral, unacceptable and illegal, and HSBC has comprehensive rules and policies in place to ensure race or religion are never factors in the decisions we make.

– HSBC

Muslim activist angry after HSBC account closure

A prominent Muslim activist has spoken of his anger after he was told that his bank account is to be closed by HSBC.

Anas Altikriti helped secure the release of British peace campaigner Norman Kember in Iraq.
Anas Altikriti helped secure the release of British peace campaigner Norman Kember in Iraq. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

Anas Altikriti, chief executive of the think tank the Cordoba Foundation, said he had met with a "wall of silence" from HSBC over its decision to close his account and those of his wife and two sons aged 16 and 12 years old.

The Cordoba Foundation, along with Finsbury Park Mosque in north London and the Ummah Welfare Trust (UWT) have also been told their accounts are to be closed by the bank.

Mr Altikriti, 45, who was born in Baghdad and came to Britain as a young child, said he opened an account with the Midland Bank - now part of HSBC - as a teenager with just a £10 note nearly 30 years ago.

"I am angered because of the wall of silence and the tone of the letter. It is difficult to take as I regard myself as a law abiding citizen who tries to make things better in conflicts around the world and tries to promote peace and dialogue," he said.

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Firms to face penalties for poor service

Energy distribution companies will face financial penalties if they fail to put in place measures to help vulnerable customers, the energy regulator has said.

"Our annual customer satisfaction survey focuses companies’ attention on this important area and poor performers will face financial penalties," Ofegem said.

It comes alongside plans to make companies invest in maintaining and upgrading the local electricity network.

Ofgem has also brought in stricter targets for firms to make sure new customers such as businesses and housing developments can get connected to the network more quickly.

Read: Energy price controls to save households £12 a year

Energy price controls to save households £12 a year

Households will see an average of £12 a year come off their bill under price control plans for the companies that run Britain's local electricity network.

Energy network companies will have to pay £17bn to upgrade and maintain the network under proposals put forward by industry regulator Ofgem.

Companies will have to spend £17bn to maintain and upgrade the energy network.
Companies will have to spend £17bn to maintain and upgrade the energy network. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ofgem sets price controls for the companies to limit the amount they can collect from customers' bills and incentivise them to improve their services.

The regulator rejected price control plans from five of the six energy distribution companies, saying they did not represent value for money for consumers.

Read: Energy customers to get extra storm compensation

Energy companies to make improvements 'for £12 less'

Energy providers will have to improve their services by "£12 a year less" than they normally would and then pass those savings on to consumers, OfGem have announced.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain OfGem's Maxine Frerk, said the changes should come into force "from next April" and savings "should flow into customer's bills from that point".

Over one third 'think EHIC provides free medical care'

Some 39% of British holidaymakers think their EHIC will provide free medical treatment in any European country for any health condition.

According to Bupa:

  • Some 27% assume the EHIC allows British holidaymakers to pay the same price for medical treatment as the locals in a European country.
  • A further 11% admitted to not always taking out travel insurance when travelling abroad as they find it is too expensive.
  • Almost one in 10 (8%) feel it is not worthwhile or assume it would not pay out if they needed it.
  • Another 7% admitted to having to seek medical treatment that they were not insured for when on holiday abroad.
  • The average cost incurred by those surveyed for medical treatment abroad was £259,698.
  • Amongst Brits most popular holiday destination choices, it was found that the USA, Thailand and Canada were the most expensive countries in which to get sick or injured.
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