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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 19, 2007: Farepak: Forgotten Victims

Victims of the Farepak collapse are demanding compensation, better regulation and for key figures in Farepak to be held to account for their actions, according to new research. Some 150,000 savers lost an estimated £50 million when the Christmas hamper scheme collapsed in October 2006.

The research, `Farepak victims speak out', is based on in-depth interviews with Farepak savers and examines the impact on their lives. Wrritten by Dr Basia Spalek and Sam King of the University of Birmingham, the research also finds that many of the savers were low paid women prudently saving for Christmas who have been forced into a cycle of debt as result. The research was commissioned by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London and UNISON Welfare. Key findings include:

  • Feelings of anger, anxiety and depression;
  • Loss of trust in financial institutions;
  • The sense of being kept in the dark about the fate of savings;
  • Being forced into borrowing from relatives or taking out expensive loans.

The research also finds that little warning was given that the savings might be at risk. In such unregulated markets, the authors argue, it is impossible for individuals to be fully knowledgeable consumers. The research suggests a number of ways forward:

  • All the savers should be fully compensated;
  • The results of all investigations into Farepak should be made public;
  • There is a need for enhanced, and mandatory, regulation of savings schemes;
  • Improved information and advice for savers should be made available to enhance their understanding of the possible risks they may face.

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies director Richard Garside said::

'Most Farepak customers have still to receive compensation for the loss of their Christmas savings. Many are asking why, if the government was prepared to underwrite Northern Rock to the tune of billions of pounds, no comprehensive help has been forthcoming. As it is, a significant source of social injustice remains hidden and unaddressed by the government and the financial authorities. Without concerted action other `Farepaks' are inevitable.'

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

`Many thousands of low paid workers, including many UNISON members, lost money and faced a bleak Christmas as a result of the despicable behaviour of the companies involved. UNISON Welfare was able to help our members who lost out, but others were not so fortunate. They were left to pick up the pieces, with little help from anyone but family and friends.

`Companies should not be allowed to get away with this sort of daylight robbery, and their directors should not be allowed to remain immune from the harm they have caused. UNISON supports the demands for compensation and tighter regulation. We also want the Government to publish the Companies Investigations Branch report into the affair and help lift the veil of secrecy.'