Uk Taxpayers ‘ripped Off’ By Rural Broadband Roll-out


Sandbanks in the county of Dorset has been described as the world’s fourth most expensive place to buy real estate, and Lloyds Property Group says it has decided to cash in on growing interest from Russia. “We have just opened up a Moscow desk, in the last four or five weeks. We are doing it on the back of sufficient interest coming out of Moscow,” managing director Tom Doyle told AFP. The firm’s office near Sandbanks, a tiny spit of land sticking out into the English channel known for its huge houses and sandy beaches, also has a Russian desk with a Russian-speaking employee, he said. The realtor has shipped around 10,000 brochures to Moscow where they will be placed in upscale hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, he said, while it also has online portals in Russian to draw in buyers. In recent years wealthy Russians have flooded the property market in and around London, leading it to be dubbed Moscow-on-Thames. “But we are trying to convince the Russians that if they want trophy houses, have them in Sandbanks,” Doyle said. “We are very fortunate here, we have the beaches, we have the two towns of Poole and Bournemouth, we have got two airports, we have the port of Poole, you’ve got a hydrofoil to the Channel Islands. “We don’t need to sell the dream, the dream is already here.” Sandbanks is the most expensive place in the world to buy property after New York, London and Tokyo, according to the Daily Mail newspaper. The average house there costs more than ??500,000 ($800,000, 600,000 euros) but some mansions cost up to ??12 million. Late Beatle John Lennon bought a house there for his aunt Mimi, with whom he grew up, but it has in recent years become home to football managers including Harry Redknapp and to businessmen.

UK Basketball: Towns Jr. excited about Ulis commitment, still recruiting others

One of the pilots indicated in a report to the UKs Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that the pair nodded off after both had only five hours sleep in the previous two nights. Details of last months incident, on August 13, come at a time when UK pilots organisation Balpa is unhappy at proposed European changes to flight-time regulations. A CAA spokesman said: This was a serious incident but an isolated one. I think lessons will be learnt from this. We are circulating this report within the industry. We dont know why the pilots had had so little sleep before this flight. They were taking it in turn to have rest periods, with the one always checking the autopilot and it looks as if both fell asleep at the same time. Details of the incident, logged by the CAA as a mandatory occurrence report, were obtained by a news agency which had asked for incidents of pilot fatigue. The CAA did not say which airline was involved nor where the aircraft, an Airbus A330, was travelling. The report was headed: Flight crew suffering from symptoms of severe fatigue. It went on: Reporter (almost certainly the captain) suggests both members of flight crew had only five hours sleep in two nights due to longer duty periods with insufficient opportunity to sleep. Both crew rested for 20-minute rotations and fell asleep. Balpa said: In the UK we have a strict set of flight safety rules which govern how long and how often a pilot can fly before their performance is impaired. The EU is proposing more permissive flight safety rules which would allow pilots to be flying aircraft whilst dangerously fatigued. These rules were not developed using scientific data and could have a grave impact on the safety of UK aviation. Balpa said the EU proposals were flawed in many areas, with pilots being legally allowed to land an aircraft having been awake for 22 hours, pilots operating longer-haul flights (such as west coast US) with only two crew rather than the current three, and pilots possibly being forced to work up to seven early starts in a row. The CAA said today: We understand that Balpa are not happy with the proposals but we think overall it is a good package and not much different to what we have now. Balpa said last months incident comes as no surprise, adding that it had repeatedly warned the CAA of the risk of both pilots falling asleep, including in a letter to each member of the CAA board last year. Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: British pilots want to make every flight a safe flight and tiredness is the biggest challenge they face.

UK pilots ‘fell asleep mid-air at the same time’

Two pilots flying a UK-operated Airbus A330 fell asleep at the same time, it has emerged. Picture: Pilots of Swiss/Flickr

Everything changes. Your philosophy changes. It means a lot to put on the jersey and represent your country. Then you learn so much from older players, guys who are in the NBA. You learn the tricks of the trade and things you never thought about. It just raises the IQ level of your game and gives you so much experience. He has no doubt playing for the national team helps prepare him for his future career at UK. When I go to Kentucky, I will play for everybody. Not just myself, but the fans who also want to win a national title and have us win every game possible, Towns said. I will go out every night and look for wins for Kentucky, and so will my teammates. Wins will be all that matters. Calipari coached the Dominican team in 2012 while UK assistant Orlando Antigua was the coach this summer. Towns said there were a lot of similarities between the two coaches. For me, the biggest difference from last year to this year was my body had changed a lot. My mentality was just to do my job, compete and produce, Towns said. I got good, quality minutes.

Senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said the awarding of all 26 rural broadband contracts to British Telecom (BT) had left the company in a “quasi-monopolistic position”. The PAC report said the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) mismanaged the project, and BT was exploiting its dominant position by restricting access to cost and roll-out information. “Too many people will not be able to access super-fast broadband because BT will have failed to deliver it to them,” Hodge told BBC Radio 4. “The taxpayer has been ripped off with ??1.2 billion going to the shareholders of BT.” The tender process which began in 2011 drew criticism when just two service providers – BT and Fujitsu – were named as approved bidders, with Fujitsu eventually dropping out. Hodge claimed BT was using its dominant position to keep details of local projects confidential, “preventing other suppliers from developing schemes aimed at reaching the remaining 10 percent of premises” still without broadband. The report said that the remaining 18 contracts, due to be granted by 2017, are also likely to go to BT. Hodge said local authorities are contributing over ??230 million more to the programme than forecast in the department’s business case, while BT is committing over ??200 million less. She said this, combined with the DCMS admitting the programme would be delivered two years later than planned, meant consumers were “getting a raw deal despite the generous public subsidy”. The report said the department accepted contract terms that were “overly generous” to BT but the government argued the tendering process had been fair, while a BT spokeswoman said it was “disturbed” by claims in the report which were “wrong”. She said the company had been “transparent from the start and willing to invest when others have not. “It is therefore mystifying that we are being criticised for accepting onerous terms in exchange for public subsidy – terms which drove others away. The taxpayer is undoubtedly getting value for money.” A DCMS spokesman said: “We disagree with the views expressed by the PAC which are at odds with the findings of the National Audit Office. “They found our approach reduced the cost to the taxpayer and reduced risk.”