Tag Archives: paid

The Likely Lads actor Rodney Bewes dies

Rodney BewesImage copyright Getty Images

Rodney Bewes has died aged 79, his agent has confirmed.

The actor had a career spanning 60 years and is best known for playing Bob Ferris in sitcom The Likely Lads.

His agent issued a statement saying: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning.”

The statement paid tribute to the actor, calling him a “true one off” and a “brilliant story teller”.

“He had a funny anecdote for every occasion. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. We will miss him terribly.”

Bewes was originally from Bingley in Yorkshire but moved to Luton as a child.

He is survived by his four children: Billy, Joe, Tom and Daisy and his two grandchildren Oscar and Eliza.


Caldey Island monk sexual abuse ‘reported to abbot’

Father Thaddeus Kotik
Image caption Father Thaddeus Kotik befriended children on the island

A monk who sexually abused children on Caldey Island in the 1970s and 1980s was reported to the abbot but not to police, according to a letter seen by BBC Wales.

Brother Robert O’Brien acknowledged he knew about the abuse by Father Thaddeus Kotik in 1990 and said he had warned him of the “severe penalties”.

Dyfed-Powys Police said it received reports of the abuse in 2014 and 2016.

They investigated but could not prosecute as Kotik died in 1992.

Six women have been paid compensation in an out-of-court settlement by Caldey Abbey following the sexual abuse claims.

But there are fears there could be more victims and calls have been made for an independent inquiry by the Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group.

It comes as the letter from Brother Robert showed Kotik’s behaviour was known about in the monastery.

“The conduct of Father Thaddeus Kotik was a serious heartache to me and I rebuked him very sharply, urging on him the welfare of these little ones, warning him of the severe penalties this country rightly imposes,” he wrote.

Brother Robert was also aware of the methods Kotik used.

“He likes to ‘spoil’ as much as ‘be spoilt’ so won their friendship with biscuits and sweets. When I began to be anxious I forbade him to go to the (the victim’s) home,” the letter continued.

“I summoned Father Thaddeus and warned him of the wrong he was doing the children. He was very contrite, assured me it had gone no further.

“I tried to keep an eye on his goings and comings. I think he did improve a while.

“I believed that it was touches through their clothes and sadly touches by them on his body but again through his clothes. It is possible though, I hope not, that Fr Thaddeus did abuse… more seriously.

“I feel fairly sure I can prevent any repetition with the young children on the island.”

Jail for man who faked £7m will to cheat charity

Paul CoppolaImage copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption Paul Coppola was jailed for two years for faking the will of his relative Desiderio Coppola

A man who faked a relative’s will to prevent a charity benefitting from a multi-million pound legacy has been jailed.

Paul Coppola, 65, admitted forging the signature of Desiderio Coppola just days before his death in October 2011.

The deceased had wanted his £7m estate to be divided between his family and the balance left to the charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Coppola was jailed for two years at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The court was told that Coppola had known his second cousin, Desiderio Coppola, all his life and that the accused had referred to him as “uncle”.

In July 2010 Desiderio Coppola made a will bequeathing much of his estate to his friends and family, including £100,000 to Paul Coppola.

No mention

It also gave instructions that tenants of business premises that he owned were to be offered the chance to buy them.

Mr Coppola also stated that the residue of his estate was to go to Medecins Sans Frontieres, the charity that provides medical assistance in war torn regions and developing countries.

However, days before his gravely ill relative’s death, the court was told that Paul Coppola presented a new will to the family that made no mention of the charity.

It also made no reference to the business premises and instructed that the remainder of the estate be paid to Coppola, of Waverley Park Terrace, Edinburgh.

Image copyright Scottish Courts
Image caption Coppola was jailed for two years at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Fiscal Ann MacNeill told the court that the day after Desiderio Coppola’s death, the accused contacted his goddaughter, Elvira Fearn, to tell her about the content of the faked document.

The fiscal said: “Although she had no knowledge of the wills or the deceased’s intentions, she was suspicious of the will because she was aware that the deceased hated to pay tax and she did not believe that he would have omitted Medecins Sans Frontieres completely and left the residue to the accused as there would have been a large tax liability to pay.”

She added: “Elvira Fearn was of the opinion that the changes to the will reflected the accused’s allegiances rather than the wishes of the deceased.”

Several days after the death, friends and family held a meeting with Coppola, where he was asked how the new will had come about.

‘Much grief’

The fiscal said: “The accused explained that he found out that the deceased was due to leave the majority of his wealth to charity and that he had persuaded the deceased to change his will.

“He said the deceased had agreed to change the terms of his will.”

In June 2012 confirmation of the will was granted and a total of £1.2m was paid to friends and family who had been bequeathed specific amounts.

By March 2013 Coppola had received a property from the estate in Edinburgh’s Raeburn Place, which he sold for £290,000. He also received a further property in the city‘s Waterloo Place.

Coppola also received more than £270,000 from the estate into his bank account in October 2013.

However, weeks later lawyers went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh and successfully raised an action to have the will set aside.

Coppola chose not to defend the action.

The police were informed and lawyers then took over administration of the estate and began trying to recover money that had been due to the charity.

Coppola later admitted to officers that he had forged the signature of his relative.

Sheriff Frank Crowe told him: “Your actions caused much grief, inconvenience and disappointment to the other legatees and your friends and uncertainty to the tenants of properties which were rented from the deceased.”

The sheriff told Coppola he would have faced a three-year jail sentence if he had been convicted after trial, but it would be reduced in view of his early guilty plea.

Independent inquiry call into monastery abuse

Caldey Abbey

Victims of historic sexual abuse at a monastery on Caldey Island deserve an independent inquiry, a support group has said.

Six women have been paid compensation in an out-of-court settlement following sexual abuse claims in the 1970s and 1980s by a monk at the abbey.

The Children’s Commissioner is to write to the monastery for an assurance that children who visit the island are safe.

The Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group want an investigation.

“It is human nature to protect those around you,” said Jo Kind, the Welsh representative of the group which supports women and men who have been sexually abused by members of the Church.

“In order for that to be open and for all of the facts to be found out, there does need an independent inquiry from somebody who is not part of the institution, who can come in with expertise, ask the right questions and find out what happened.”

Dyfed-Powys Police has confirmed it received reports of historical sexual abuse by a monk on Caldey Island.

Father Thaddeus Kotik, who lived on the Pembrokeshire island for 45 years, abused six children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ms Kind also wants a “full and frank apology” from the abbot and called for a change in the law so reporting of sexual abuse “should be mandatory”.

“That would make it much easier for people to report because victims wouldn’t fear that it would damage their relationship with the institution,” said Ms Kind,

“They would know that they would have to do it.

“There would have been a lot of people who knew about Father Thaddeus, not just on the island but further up in the Cistercian order.

“The people that have been abused in this way deserve and an independent inquiry so the truth of what happened is fully exposed. They need to know who knew what and when.”

‘Outsourced’ workers seek better deal in landmark case

Catering workerImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Outsourced workers are are often low paid staff, such as caterers and security guards

A group of 75 workers, including porters and receptionists, are going to tribunal to gain more rights at work.

As outsourced employees, they are supplied to the University of London by a facilities company, but do not receive the same benefits as those employed directly.

The university does not accept they should be a “joint employer”, which would allow for better entitlements.

The case could affect around 3.3 million outsourced workers in the UK.

Many big organisations pay facilities companies to provide workers who are often low paid, such as cleaners or security guards. This allows them them to control the way people work, determining their pay and conditions, whilst avoiding many of the legal responsibilities of being an employer.

Making ends meet

Henry Chango Lopez is an outsourced worker at the heart of the campaign, which could become a game changing legal challenge for millions of people around the country.

He works as a porter at the university, but is employed by the business services company Cordant, and has two jobs to make ends meet.

“I start my day at 4am,” he said. “I travel from Hertfordshire to Southwark in London to do two hours cleaning work.

“Then I go straight to my main job as a porter at the University of London, where I work from 8am to 3pm.”

Image caption Mr Lopez wants the University of London to accept “joint employer” status

Mr Lopez is part of the group, which also includes security guards and post-room staff, seeking a tribunal ruling that the university is recognised, along with Cordant, as their “joint employer”.

The concept has existed in various forms for decades in the US. It allows outsourced or franchise employees in some circumstances to legally compel client companies or franchisors to enter into collective bargaining agreements. However, it has to be shown that these companies have sufficient “control” over the employees.

If established in the UK, unions could collectively bargain the pay, terms and conditions of outsourced workers with the “joint employer” – the employer that chooses to outsource. That employer may find it difficult to then justify inferior terms and conditions for its outsourced workers.

The workers are being supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.

Its general secretary, Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, said: “For all intents and purposes, the outsourced workers at the University of London work for the university. It is the entity which essentially decides what their pay and terms and conditions are going to be.

“So, unless the workers can negotiate directly with the university, they can’t really negotiate at all over their pay and terms and conditions.”

‘Enormous’ impact

UK law has never recognised the concept of “joint employers” for the purpose of negotiating workers’ terms and conditions.

Specialist employment lawyer Daphne Romney QC said that if it did, “it would be enormous”.

She added: “There would be about 3.3 million outsourced employees whose terms and conditions would improve because they would be on the same terms and conditions as the people they work alongside everyday but who are directly employed.

“And for the employers, of course, there would also be an impact because it would be more expensive to improve those terms and conditions.”

Mr Lopez said his life would “change massively” if the principle was recognised, stopping him having to work two jobs and seeing a big improvement to his pension.

But the university does not agree it is responsible.

In a statement, the University of London told the BBC: “The university does not employ any of these workers and does not accept that the relevant legislation recognises the concept of joint employment.

“We have therefore not agreed to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain‘s request for recognition.”

Tampon tax

Find out how much you’ve spent on the so-called tampon tax – the VAT on sanitary products.

Tampons and towels are currently taxed at 5% in the UK. But they have been subject to five different rates since 1973.

So how much you’ve spent depends on how old you are and when you started your first period.

Try our calculator to see roughly what you’ve spent so far, and how much you might spend in your lifetime.

Your browser does not support this calculator

All figures are in current prices. The lifetime VAT calculation assumes a continued rate of 5%.

Can’t see the calculator? Click here.

How the calculator works

The calculator is based on a number of assumptions:

  • You have 13 periods a year (28-day cycle)
  • You use 22 tampons and/or towels per cycle
  • You will go through, or went through, menopause at age 51
  • Tampons and towels cost 13p per unit

Biological figures are based on information from NHS UK. The unit cost is an average calculated on today’s prices, courtesy of, from three leading UK retailers (who have not reduced their prices by 5% to cover the tampon tax).

We reached your result by calculating how many years you were menstruating for during each of the five VAT rates that have applied to sanitary products since 1973 and how many years you are likely to continue to menstruate, assuming that menopause is at age 51.

All calculations are in whole years, from 1 January of the year you entered.

For simplicity, we have not taken pregnancy into the calculation.

If you were 51 or above in 1973, we have assumed that you will not have paid any VAT as it was first introduced in that year.

The figure of 22 products used per cycle is from the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association and the Women’s Environmental Network.

A brief history of the tampon tax

Value Added Tax is currently charged at the reduced rate of 5% on sanitary products, including panty liners and certain maternity pads. But this hasn’t always been the case.

The UK first introduced VAT in 1973 when it joined the European Economic Community, with a standard rate of 10% – which applied to sanitary products.

In summer 1974, standard VAT was cut to 8%, before rising to 15% in 1979 and 17.5% in 1991.

The Labour government moved sanitary products on to a reduced rate of 5% from January 2001, following a campaign and debates in parliament.

This is currently the lowest rate possible under the EU‘s VAT rules.


In 2015, activist Laura Coryton created a petition calling for the UK government to introduce a zero-rate for the products, which gained more than 320,000 signatures.

That October, the government confirmed it would seek a change in EU law to allow any rate of VAT to be applied to sanitary protection, as part of a review of VAT rates to be undertaken by the European Commission in 2016.

And the then Chancellor George Osborne announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement that the funds raised by VAT on tampons and towels would be donated to women’s health and support charities. This sum was worth £12m in 2016-17.

In July this year, supermarket Tesco cut prices on nearly 100 sanitary products in order to shoulder the 5% VAT cost. Competitors Waitrose and Morrisons followed suit in August and other retailers have pledged to pass on a price cut if VAT becomes zero-rated.

Future of the VAT rate

The European Commission says it is aiming to bring in a zero rate for sanitary products in 2018 and the UK government has already legislated to allow this to happen as soon as rules change.

But for now, tampons and towels will be continue to be charged for VAT at the same rate as solar panels, child car seats and nicotine patches.

Produced by Becca Meier and Christine Jeavans, with additional research by Catherine Bean. Design by Zoe Bartholomew and Sumi Senthinathan. Development by Joe Reed and Evisa Terziu.

Brexit: Electoral Commission reopens probe into Vote Leave

Darren Grimes
Image caption Darren Grimes ran a pro-Brexit campaign for young people

The Electoral Commission has re-opened an investigation into Vote Leave’s EU referendum spending.

The campaign paid £625,000 to clear bills allegedly run up by university student Darren Grimes with a digital agency days ahead of last June’s vote.

A separate group, Veterans for Britain, received £100,000 from Vote Leave.

The campaign denies attempting to get round spending limits – the Electoral Commission initially accepted this but now says it has new information.

British camera operator dies while filming BBC drama

Mark MilsomeImage copyright PrinceStone
Image caption Mark Milsome was working on The Forgiving Earth when the incident occurred

A British camera operator has died while shooting a stunt sequence for a BBC drama in Ghana.

Mark Milsome, whose credits include Saving Private Ryan and Sherlock, was working on upcoming drama The Forgiving Earth when the incident occurred.

The BBC said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the news, calling Milsome “a much respected colleague”.

His agent said he would be “greatly missed” and that an investigation into Saturday’s incident was under way.

“We all need answers to this dreadful tragedy,” said Sarah Prince of PrinceStone.

‘Incredibly talented’

Milsome’s many credits include Game of Thrones, The Theory of Everything and Bond film Quantum of Solace.

His agent said he was “an incredibly talented cameraman… a gentle gentleman [and a] genuinely loved member of the film industry family”.

Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey was among those to remember Milsome on Twitter, calling him “one of the loveliest people [he had] ever met”.

Director Mark Herman, who worked with Milsome on such films as Brassed Off and Little Voice, also paid tribute, saying he was “one of the nicest guys in the business”.

Milsome started out in the 1990s as a clapper loader, working his way up the camera department to focus puller, camera operator and director of photography.

The 54-year-old leaves a wife and daughter, to whom his agent said he was devoted.

Formerly known as Black Earth Rising, The Forgiving Earth is a BBC co-production with subscription service Netflix about the prosecution of international war crimes.

Written by Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed thriller The Honourable Woman, it is provisionally set for transmission in 2018.

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Childcare website glitch leaves families struggling

West familyImage copyright Matthew West
Image caption Matthew and Sarah say government childcare payments for their sons suddenly dried up

“It’s the difference between us being able to get by every month and actually struggling to put food on the table.”

Matthew West says a glitch on a government website means childcare payments for his two sons have dried up and the family are having to use credit cards to make ends meet.

They are among the many affected by continuing problems with the Childcare Service website.

HMRC says families may not realise that their eligibility has changed.

Matthew and his wife Sarah had been receiving funding from HM Revenue and Custom’s tax-free childcare scheme for Gabriel, nearly five, and two-year-old Sam.

Under the scheme, parents pay money into an online account for each child.

For every £8 from parents, the government contributes £2. The money is then paid to a registered childcare provider.

Parents have to re-register their children every three months.

Details ‘lost’

“It worked fine for us until we had to reconfirm our details,” said Mr West.

But after reconfirming their eligibility, the couple suddenly found themselves no longer receiving the payment, they told BBC Radio Four’s Money Box programme.

The government’s contribution stopped for Gabriel, while Sam’s account appeared to be lost.

“We could see it, but HMRC couldn’t, and neither account was topping up.”

The couple, from Essex, repeatedly rang the Childcare Service helpline.

“They said it was a technical fault and there really wasn’t much they could do about it. Sarah was on the phone to them for weeks on end.

“I can imagine some people literally wanting to punch the computer screen because they’re so frustrated with the system. And in terms of talking to them on the phone, largely it’s just been shambolic.”

Software glitches

Raqhi Kakad of Birmingham told Money Box she was facing a similar problem.

She uses the Childcare Service website to access the government’s other subsidy scheme, which offers 30 hours’ free childcare for three and four-year-olds in England.

After she reconfirmed her three-year-old son’s eligibility, she received an email saying her reconfirmation wasn’t valid and the 30 free hours would be withdrawn.

“I was a bit stumped because we still meet the eligibility criteria,” she said.

These issues follow the software glitches that plagued the website over the summer when parents faced problems registering for funding or accessing their accounts.

Last week the government announced it was suspending plans to roll out tax-free childcare funding to older children, so that it could “manage” the number of parents using the service.

HMRC says reconfirmation is not causing problems and that 177,000 people have successfully reconfirmed their eligibility.

The representative suggested that in some cases a family’s eligibility has changed without them realising.

In the past few days, an IT company has been advertising on Facebook for members of the public to be paid £50 to come and test the Childcare Service website.

In the advertisement, We Research said it was “desperate” for parents to come and help.

Image copyright Facebook

HMRC confirmed the advert is genuine but it says it’s normal to have ongoing tests. The Facebook page has since been removed.

Tax expert Jamie Morrison from HW Fisher & Company says the government needs to have more realistic timelines for introducing services online.

“Increasingly more and more people are going to be pushed into dealing with the government digitally.

“The worry is that the systems cannot cope with the number of applicants and then fail. While the government can run all the tests that it wants to, it’s how the system performs live that’s often the problem,” he said.

Food Bank handing out more food than ever before

WINTER is coming, and the team of volunteers who run Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank are bracing themselves for a sharp hike in demand for food parcels.

Rising demand means that by the end of this year, the food bank will have distributed around 12,000 food parcels. The number of handouts has risen significantly over recent years; in 2010 the charity distributed a total of 1,000 food bags, increasing to 7,850 by 2013. In 2014 more than 800 bags were handed out each month, and the total for the year was 10,000. The figure for 2015 was 11,033 bags.

Earlier this year the Telegraph & Argus reported that volunteers had resorted to paying for some food themselves, and were also collecting donations in their own vehicles, at their own expense.

Treasurer Keith Thomson said: “Over the last three years the number of £15 food bags we are making up has risen by about 500 pa.

“This now shows an increase from 1,500 in 2011, 3,500 in 2012, 8,000 in 2013, 10,000 in 2014, 10,500 in 2015, and about 11,000 in 2016, with this year looking to be at least another 500 in excess of this.

“However the number is higher, as we are given all sorts of foods, often fresh, that don’t go in our bags, and are collected by social workers, housing offices, specialist charity staff and the like who visit our depot and help themselves to bread, cakes, vegetables and the like to take to specific families that day.

“All in all these must add up to a further 500 plus bags worth, so the figures we quote are the minimum ones and don’t reflect what exactly goes out for those who are struggling.”

Mr Thomson said the Universal Credit system could cause an even higher rise in demand, with families forced to wait six weeks before they get the money they need, while rent and bills build up.

“This is the background to the sustained demand for food bank support, and if it becomes the normal method of payment of benefits across the board, as is the intention, then we anticipate a real demand in numbers,” said Mr Thomson. “It will always be paid a month in arrears, rather than the current two weeks pattern of being paid up front, it will only be paid into a bank account, which many families may not have, and the rent aspect of benefits will be paid directly to the tenant, and not to the landlord who is currently the recipient in many cases.

“It could mean that families and individuals who have been used to scraping by will be faced with a large sum at the end of the month, a slightly reduced benefit compensated by a month’s rent, and I suspect that managing that over a month may well be a challenge for some time for many desperate folk. It could be that it would be used to pay off debts, particularly to loan sharks, then there will be the problem of not paying the rent, and eviction, or not having enough to eat.

“However it does look as though it might be some time before it becomes the normal payment method in Bradford district, perhaps 2019, and at the moment it only applies to single applicants and new claimants with two or fewer children.

“Whenever it happens it’s not going to be too helpful and we anticipate that we will need to continue supplying food bag support for years to come.”

The food bank supplies food parcels containing around £15 of food to professional carers in social services, housing associations, mental health services, hospitals and up to 100 charities supporting young people, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, and so on.

“We have noticed that the cost of food is rising and supermarkets are stopping production of own-brand cheap cereals, and with other price rises we will struggle over the next year or so,” said Mr Thomson. “Because of this we’re seeking more food supplies and small donations of money, particularly as we’re now considering the need for a van that will take one pallet of food and cut out all the handling we have to do at the moment in our own cars, at our expense. A healthy second-hand van would be very helpful.”

The food bank opened in 2004, as an extension of the Curry Project, which serves hot meals for rough sleepers. While the Curry Project is a drop-in service, the food bank distributes parcels through community leaders and agencies.

Lashman Singh, who set up both projects, said: “The food bank can’t cope without a vehicle. We use our own cars, but loading and unloading is a big task in itself – then we have to pack 1,000 parcels a month. We collect donations from across the district. A van would be a big help.”

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