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  1. Dairy farmers from across the UK have been "pushed to the brink" by cuts to the price of milk, a farmers' union representative has told a summit. About 2,000 farmers gathered in London to protest at the latest cuts by processors of up to 2p a litre. The NFU's Meurig Raymond said: "Society has to recognise what these dairy farmers have been put through by a market place that doesn't work". The government said it hoped to see a "fair deal". Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said he was close to getting agreement on a revised voluntary code for dairy contracts from milk processors. Mr Paice said the average price of a pint was 49p, of which 16p went to the farmers, and the price cuts were "a massive burden for the vast majority of dairy farmers". There is more here :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18792132
  2. HBOS should repay millions of pounds to depositors in the failed Christmas saving company Farepak, after being found to have played “hardball” in the months leading up to its collapse. A High Court judge warned that the bank, now part of Lloyds Banking Group, risked being seen to have acted “unacceptably” by forcing directors of Farepak to take £10m from customers in a matter of weeks, despite knowing that the company was heading for insolvency. While fully exonerating directors of Farepak, Mr Justice Smith pointed the finger of blame at HBOS for precipitating the collapse of the company with overall losses of up to £35m for 120,000 depositors. Justice Smith said: “I would suggest that HBOS [...] seriously consider whether or not they ought to make a further substantial contribution to the compensation fund. It seems to me that what happened here, whilst apparently legally acceptable, might not be regarded in the public’s eyes as being acceptable.” The judge was speaking after the case brought by the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, to have seven Farepak directors banned collapsed. Mr Cable’s department was roundly criticised for errors in preparing the case. The prosecution, led by the Insolvency Service, had relied on witness statements which were unfairly “slanted against the defendants”, said the judge, listing statements from City figures such as Oliver Hemsley, chief executive of broker Numis and David Farrow, then at ABN Amro, all of which were tainted in some way. Justice Smith said he did not believe the witnesses were dishonest but they had not seen crucial pieces of evidence. The seven former directors of Farepak, including Sir Clive Thompson, former president of the CBI, are now expected to pursue the Department for Business for millions of pounds in costs. Link; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9347400/HBOS-took-Farepak-cash-in-knowledge-company-was-heading-for-the-brink.html
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