Want to shop online? Best have a mobile signal

woman on mobile phoneImage copyright Getty Images

As millions start their Christmas shopping online, there’s a warning that consumers may need to have a mobile phone, and a decent signal, to make sure their transactions go through.

UK banks are starting to introduce a new layer of security, involving passwords sent to your mobile phone.

That could be a problem for hundreds of thousands of householders without a mobile, or no proper signal.

Now banks are being urged to find other ways to check a customer’s identity.

The new rules are part of an EU directive – already adopted by the UK – which is due to come into force by September 2019.

But critics say many people are likely to be inconvenienced.

“Banks are not yet great at looking after people at the margins – because they’re disabled, or because they live with no mobile coverage,” said James Daley, the managing director of Fairer Finance.

“These systems are designed for the 95% – while the remaining 5% are hung out to dry.”

How does the new system work?

If online shoppers spend more than about £27 (€30 under the EU directive) in one transaction, payment providers will be required to ask for an extra form of verification, usually sent as a one-time password by text to your mobile phone.

The same will apply once you have spent £90 in total on a particular card – or if you make five separate payments of £27.

Image copyright Getty Images

Further exemptions are also possible – if a retailer decides that your purchase is low risk, for example.

In addition, if your bank can prove to the regulator that it has a good record on fraud, it can allow exemptions on payments worth up to about £450 (€500).

What happens if I don’t have a mobile phone or phone signal?

This is not yet clear. One bank the BBC spoke to advised customers to find another means of payment, such as PayPal.

UK Finance – the umbrella body for the industry – has told its members that they need to find other ways of verifying their customers’ identities, such as by phoning them on their landline, or by using biometric data.

This could be via a finger-print on the bank’s app, for example.

And, while it is inconvenient and time-consuming, customers can always phone their bank to get a one-off approval for a particular transaction.

What are the banks doing?

Banks are working hard to make things easier for customers. They are also under pressure from retailers, who don’t want anything to interrupt the online buying process.

As one senior executive put it: “there’s a lot of angst” in the industry, as firms try to get things running smoothly by 14 September 2019.

There is also concern that the banks have not yet done enough to communicate the changes to customers.

Image copyright Getty Images

One bank that has started sending passwords to mobiles is First Direct. It advised anyone having difficulties to get in touch with them.

“We do have alternative processes for customers who cannot use this method, and they may be required to call us to authenticate,” a spokesperson said.

Why is the process being introduced?

Part two of the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) – which also introduced the concept of open banking to EU member states – is designed to combat fraud.

The new rules are officially known as “Strong Customer Authentication”.

But banks are having to balance anti-fraud measures with the ease of buying goods online.

“These changes are aimed at further enhancing payment security and reducing fraud,” a spokesperson for UK Finance told the BBC.

“The requirements will include exemptions for low-risk and low-value transactions to help prevent any unnecessary inconvenience for customers.”


‘I got paid less than my colleagues for doing the same work’

Connor McCann

Connor McCann works in a BT call centre in Canterbury but despite doing the same role as his colleagues was paid thousands less a year.

That’s because the 24-year-old was employed by agency Manpower and not BT.

“It didn’t matter how good you are at your job, you’re still being paid less than your colleagues,” he said.

New research finds the 950,000 UK workers employed through an agency, like Mr McCann, earn more than £400 a year less than those employed directly.

The Resolution Foundation figure includes wages as well as other benefits such as unclaimed holiday or sick pay, and deductions for uniforms.

That’s more than the number of people on zero-hours contracts, according to the think-tank.

“I was speaking to the exact same customers and selling the exact same products, so it felt really unfair,” Mr McCann said.

“It meant I struggled to move out of my family home. I struggled with my bills and my social life, too.”

‘Unaware of rights’

Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Agency work has been largely absent from recent discussions about the modern world of work, despite almost a million people being employed via an agency.

“As well as reforming poor regulation, the government should stamp out unlawful practices through tougher, targeted enforcement work.”

The foundation is concerned that many agency staff are unaware of their contract rights, with £500m in unpaid holiday pay and 500,000 eligible for pension auto-enrolment who are not signed up to schemes.

Its research, which is based pay on official ONS data, found that agency staff are more likely to be employed in lower wage roles across a wide range of professions.

Further, when the Resolution Foundation compared the pay of two similar individuals of the same age and background, working in the same kind of business, those employed by an agency received 22p an hour less than those directly employed.

That adds up to £422 over the course of a year.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Connor McCann works for a BT call centre in Canterbury

The think-tank wants contracts – so-called Pay Between Assignment – to be outlawed because they give firms a legal way to avoid equal pay obligations.

It also argues that specialist government taskforces should be set up in hotspots such as Barking and Dagenham, Leicester and North East Lincolnshire, where there is a high proportion of agency work.

‘Vital work’

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which represents the industry, says that agency work is vital to both workers and companies.

“While very short-term temps can be paid differently to long-term employees of a company, the law rightly states that after 12 weeks on the job pay should be the same,” a spokesperson said.

“With many assignments lasting a few days or weeks, it is no surprise that some pay differences exist when comparing these temps with experienced staff who have an ongoing relationship with the business.”

The REC’s latest survey data showed two thirds of employers paid agency workers the same or more than permanent staff.

A spokesperson for Manpower says the company “ensures that it is always compliant with appropriate regulations and best practice and welcomes any move by Government to stamp out malpractice in support of temporary workers.”

There has been a happy ending for Mr McCann at least. The Communications Union worked with Manpower and BT to bring the team of agency workers in-house, which increased his salary from about £15,000 to more than £21,000.

“It’s the difference between going out to get a coffee or getting a taxi home on a night out, or even going to see family back in Dublin,” Mr McCann.

“Moving on to a contract meant I could start putting money aside and put more into a pension and think about my long-term future.”

What are your rights as a worker?

  • Everyone should be paid National Minimum or Living Wage – depending on age
  • All workers are eligible for statutory sick, holiday and maternity or paternity pay
  • Everyone is protected from unlawful deductions from wages and discrimination
  • Everyone is entitled to be enrolled into a pension if they meet the criteria
  • No one should work more than 48 hours a week unless they opt out
  • No one should be charged direct or indirect fees for finding a job
  • No one should be prevented from working elsewhere

What rights do agency workers have?

From day one, agency workers should:

  • Get access to the same facilities such as canteens, crèche or car parks
  • Be made aware of any job vacancies

After 12 weeks, agency workers should:

  • Get the equal pay as a permanent employee
  • Get equal treatment on breaks, holidays and hours


Conmen caught selling fake Northern Soul LPs sentenced

Alan Godfrey, 66, Christopher Price, 68, Robert Pye, 66, and Stephen Russell, 66, leaving courtImage copyright Wales News Service
Image caption (Left to right): Alan Godfrey, 66, Christopher Price, 68, Robert Pye, 66, and Stephen Russell, 66, all admitted trademark offences

Two men have been jailed and two others given suspended sentences for selling tens of thousands of counterfeit records.

Alan Godfrey, 66, Christopher Price, 68, Robert Pye, 66, and Stephen Russell, 66, distributed unlicensed LPs by 1960s Northern Soul artists.

Newport Crown Court heard some albums had spelling mistakes and mismatched labels.

Pye was jailed for 10 months, and Russell for eight months.

Godfrey was given a sentence of nine months and Price one of eight months, but both of these sentences were suspended.

Prosecutors said catching the gang took four years.

The British Phonographic Industry came across the operation after test purchases.

Image copyright Gems
Image caption Unofficial copies were found of original recordings by Marvin Gaye (pictured), as well as Bettye Swann and Art Freeman

Prosecutor Alex Greenwood said: “In many instances identical copies of recordings were found at the addresses of each of the defendants, indicative that they were supplying each other.

“All defendants’ PayPal records reflected thousands of sales of similarly described recordings over many years.”

Analysis of bank accounts in Godfrey’s name showed he made transfers of £101,518 to Pye, and his HSBC account contained credits of £77,957 from PayPal.

Godfrey’s NatWest account also had Amazon credits worth £10,905 and PayPal credits totalling £152,254.

Image copyright British Phonographic Industry
Image caption Some of the records had spelling mistakes
Image copyright British Phonographic Industry

Officers later seized 55,000 records worth an estimated £500,000.

Godfrey, of Bridgend, Russell, of Kidderminster, and Pye, of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to six counts of unauthorised use of a trademark.

Price, also of Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorised making of a copyright work, and three counts of unauthorised use of a trademark.

A Proceeds of Crime hearing will take place next year.


Jersey Bulls get FA approval for Combined Counties League bid

Jersey Bulls’ proposed new kit incorporates the island’s flag on the front

A bid by a Jersey-based football team to join the English football league pyramid has been given a boost.

Jersey Bulls have had their planned home base of Springfield Stadium in St Helier approved by representatives of the FA National League System and the Combined Counties League.

The island side hope to start playing games at the beginning of next season.

They now have to affiliate with the Jersey FA and have Combined Counties League clubs approve their membership.

“We are incredibly grateful for the backing we received from the States of Jersey, the English FA and the Combined Counties League representatives,” said Jersey Bulls director, Russell Le Feuvre.

This is a huge step forward for Jersey Bulls FC and by completing the JFA affiliation, which the English FA and Combined Counties League representatives were keen to see happen quickly, we can begin planning the club’s future.”

The team would be the first Jersey-based club to play in the English football pyramid and follows in the footsteps of Guernsey FC, who were formed in 2011 and also started out in the Combined Counties league.

Jersey has its own 13-team league over two divisions, but had a bid to become an international football nation rejected by Uefa in February.

Jersey Reds: Island government gives Championship side £150,000 to see out season

Jersey Reds are the only professional sports team in the Channel Islands

Championship rugby side Jersey Reds could have been forced to stop playing professionally had the island’s government not given them a £150,000 grant, says chairman Mark Morgan.

The club are one of 13 projects to share £5.3m of States of Jersey contingency funding.

Other projects include drought relief for dairy farmers and support for the arts in the island.

Jersey almost went bust in 2016 and had to sell their ground to survive.

“There was a question mark about whether we’d be able to continue playing professional rugby,” Morgan told BBC Radio Jersey.

The club are currently third in the Championship – a league which has seen a number of clubs have financial problems over recent seasons.

Jersey’s government says the money will “support them through the remaining 2018-19 season”.

Annual deficit of £300,000, but £2m contribution to the economy

Morgan joined the island side’s board soon after their financial problems two years ago when the club sold their ground for £1.5m.

But they have been struggling to make ends meet since being promoted to the professional ranks in 2012.

“It’s taken us a while just to steady the ship,” said Morgan.

“We’ve brought in a whole new board and as we’ve worked to control the financial activities of the club we’ve realised that there’s a financial deficit of around £300,000 per year in the running of the club.

“It costs more to run the club than the money we can make to run it at the moment.”

The island side plays 11 league games and at least three cup matches at St Peter every season, while almost all of the playing and support staff have come to the island to work.

“It’s a recognition from the States as to the contribution we make to the island,” added Morgan.

“When we found that we had this issue, we didn’t simply go and say ‘please give us some money’, we’ve been working with the States.

“We co-funded a consultant to come in and take a look at what the club gives to the island.

“The consultants have come back with a number of in excess of £2m each year directly going into the economy from Jersey Reds activity.

“You can see that for the money we’ve been granted, that’s a nice return on any investment.”

Clive Kemp: Jersey’s last veteran of Dunkirk dies

Clive Kemp
Image caption Clive Kemp left Jersey aged 19 and was sent to France during World War Two with just a few weeks training

Jersey’s last veteran of Dunkirk, Clive Kemp, has died at the age of 98.

Born in Jersey in 1920, Mr Kemp lied about his age to join up when Nazi Germany occupied the Channel Islands in 1940.

He was with the British Expeditionary Force when France was invaded and helped to load casualties on to ships at the Dunkirk evacuation.

The constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, said Mr Kemp always remained “modest” about what he had achieved.

“Although he was quite happy to go into schools and talk about the war and the importance of it, he didn’t make a great deal about it.

“I think he had that in common with the other Normandy veterans.

“It was extraordinary what he achieved in his lifetime and it was privilege to have known him,” he said.

More stories from the Channel Islands

After helping to dig up unexploded bombs in London during The Blitz, Mr Kemp trained as a bridging engineer.

He was one of the first to land on Sword Beach on D-Day on 6 June 1944.

He helped build vital Bailey Bridges across occupied Europe, often under fire, so tanks could get across and press home their attack.

Mr Kemp returned to Jersey after the war and in 2015 campaigned for medals to be presented to the widows and children of veterans.

“Let’s face it, if we hadn’t gone over to France in 1944, Jersey would still be ruled by the Nazis,” he said.

He was one of the founders of the Jersey Normandy Veterans Association and was awarded France’s highest medal, the Legion d’Honneur for his work in setting it up.

Brexit deal good for constituents, May tells MPs

Theresa May steps off her plane at Ezeiza International airport in Buenos Aires, on 29 November 2018Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The prime minister is to defend her deal at the G20 summit in Argentina

Theresa May has urged MPs to think about their constituents, rather than rejecting her deal for leaving the EU.

The PM, who was on her way to the G20 summit in Argentina, said her plan would protect the “jobs and livelihoods and security” of their constituents.

And she accused Labour of advocating leaving without a deal by rejecting her Brexit compromise while not putting forward a “proper alternative”.

Labour argues a better agreement could still be negotiated with Brussels.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned against efforts to “frighten” people into backing what he called “a non-Brexit Brexit”.

‘Division and uncertainty’

Mrs May has been trying to persuade MPs to support the withdrawal deal she has negotiated with the European Union when it is put to a Commons vote on 11 December but it is widely expected that they will reject it.

Speaking to reporters on her flight to Buenos Aires, Mrs May insisted she had not given up hope of winning the vote, but said if MPs failed to back her it would mean “division and uncertainty” for Britain.

“We haven’t had the vote yet. Let’s focus on the deal that we have negotiated with the EU, a deal which is good for the UK and good for their constituents,” she said.

Mrs May said: “I think every MP needs to consider the importance of delivering on the Brexit vote together with the importance of doing that in a way that is good for their constituents.”

The prime minister said people she had met outside Westminster in the last few days had given her an “overwhelming” sense that they wanted MPs to back her deal.

She also rejected the idea of moving to a Norway-style deal with the EU – an idea that has been discussed privately by many MPs – saying such a deal would not end freedom of movement.

No clues over possible ‘Plan B’

By Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editor

However many ways the question was put to Theresa May during a 20 minute press huddle on board the government’s Voyager plane, she was resolutely and determinedly not going to let much slip.

What will she do if she can’t get her vote through? Is there a plan B? Could there be a Norway-style relationship with the EU? Could there be another referendum?

Westminster’s awash with speculation and gossip about what might happen next if her Brexit compromise is killed off by her colleagues.

Read more from Laura

Asked about proposals for a TV debate over Brexit with Jeremy Corbyn, Mrs May said it was not an opportunity to recreate the referendum debate.

“This is a debate about looking ahead to the vote which is taking place on 11 December. I’ve got a plan. I’ve got a deal which delivers for the British people,” she said.

She said Labour wanted a general election, “and that means they are not acting in the national interest, they are putting their narrow party interests first”.

Full and active role

Mrs May is due to join US President Donald Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe as well as European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker at the two-day summit of the G20 group of leading economies.

She is expected to tell world leaders her Brexit deal negotiated with the EU will be good for the global economy.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionSo how does a G20 summit work?

Mrs May will highlight her plans to strike a free trade agreement with the EU.

But she will add: “For the first time in more than four decades, the UK will have an independent trade policy.

“We will play a full and active role on trade on the global stage, working with friends new and old, at a time of unprecedented global inter-connectedness.”

The summit comes after President Trump suggested that the negotiated deal could threaten any future US-UK trade deal.

Mrs May is the first serving UK prime minister to visit the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and the second to travel to the country, after Tony Blair in 2001.

The Falkland Islands – still claimed by Argentina, 36 years after the 1982 war with Britain – is likely to be discussed at a meeting Mrs May has with the country’s president, Mauricio Macri, during the gathering, although the main focus of their talks will trade.

Mrs May said: “I am clear that our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands has not changed. What has changed in recent months is we have seen better relations with Argentina.”

‘Raise our sights’

In the UK, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is to defend Mrs May’s deal, saying that while it will not please everyone, critics “are yet to face up to” the “tough choices” she had to make.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Fox will promote Mrs May’s Brexit deal in his speech

In a speech at the Portbury Royal Docks, near Bristol, Mr Fox, who campaigned for Brexit, will also play down reports suggesting that UK economic growth after Brexit would be slower than if the UK stayed in the EU.

In his Daily Telegraph article, Mr Rees-Mogg says a “crisis in trust” in British institutions has been made worse by Brexit.

Referring to the downbeat economic scenarios issued by the Bank of England on the impact of leaving the EU, he said its governor, Mark Carney “warns constantly about Brexit” and was in danger of ruining its credibility.