7 days on the breadline

7 days on the breadline is a three part series starts tonight (at 9pm) on itv1 and for once it looks like being a series that is not about promoting former "celebs" - but looks at real people, ie. people like you and me.

I know how hard times are for most people, I am hoping the programme will show each real family:

  • walking across their town to pay out £100 for gas and electric, knowing that they won't have enough to last out the month and will have to go back and buy more.
  • the constant letters demanding money, phone calls that occur at meal times saying there are ways to write off their debts, the unlawful cold calls that continue when the customer has asked them to stop (and highlight how the customer has been ignored)
  • look at juggling their food budgets to pay for their council tax
  • highlight how long it takes and the struggle it is to get unenforceable bank charges reversed (and show how damaging this action is on the entire monthly budget of the household)

It is Keith Allen in tonights episode, he is regarded as a speaking his mind, hopefully his "fame" won't have blunted his tongue?

Who would be homeless in this weather?

As I stood on the doorstep tonight, having a customary smoke, I looked around the street (and the road running across the big hill over looking our estate) and felt the icy chill of the dry wind that was whistling around.
As with everything in life, I try to imagine myself in other's positions... tonight I imagined what it would be like, should everything I am lucky enough to have now, family, home, friends, etc, just vanished.

I imagined having nothing but the clothes on my back!

  • Where could I find shelter?
  • How would I manage to eat?
  • Where could I get warm?
  • Would I be able to sleep being outside in the harsh cold wind?

It was quite a sobering process, I came back in after my cigarette, just five minutes wondering, I couldn't think of any answers, the truth is, I don't know what I would do!

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Does Ed Miliband look like an extra from a Nick Park animation film or is it just me?

Christmas crackers are dangerous?

Marks & spencers have their new range of Christmas crackers in the shops, before you rush out and buy them please be advised they come with a clear WARNING!

Under the "Fireworks act" it is now illegal to sell christmas crackers (yes that is christmas crackers!) to anyone under the age of 16 years of age.

  • How many injuries have occured because of M&S christmas crackers?
  • How many customer complaints have they had as regards christmas crackers?
  • Which non job talking shop/quango, decided this would be a good use of the law?

Huge labels all over the packaging, now you need to provide ID to prove you are over 16 years of age before you can buy christmas crackers at Marks & spencers.
Is this applying common sense to the laws of this land?

I think not...

Bereaved savers insulted

The story: A lady's husband died whilst she was pregnant. He had saved a substantial amount in an ISA and over a year later, the bank still haven't paid her!

Disgusting as this is, the house of commons committee has decided to, "Issue new guidelines" - is that all?

Banks have a long track record of fudging customers when refunds or payouts are due, the British Bankers Ass. can blow all the hot air they like about "training issues" and "staff development" the fact remains that the banks know exactly what they are doing and could easily be stopped in their tracks! In England and Wales, each financial company has to have a Consumer credit license - without this they cannot trade as a business.

Those in power should be enforcing the removal of this license whenever a financial company blatently flouts the law of the land.
This would make the company ACT as quickly as possible and help the customer, instead those in charge of the country talk about it, discuss it, review it, but nothing ever gets done and the company is never held to account.

It's time the customer was put first!