The papers: 'Unlawful bankers' and new diesel charges

In the not too distant past, few who didn't work in international banking had heard of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), but now it has become synonymous with financial scandal and the papers are again full of the acronym.

The Guardian explains that the Lloyds Banking Group - the firm that operates Lloyds, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland outlets - has been fined £218m and faces £8m more costs over the way some of its traders "manipulated interest rates in order to cut fees for its emergency lifeline at the height of the financial crisis".

The paper says the revelations "unleashed an angry attack" from Bank of England chief Mark Carney who says "such manipulation is highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct."

Britain's financial watchdog, the FCA - which issued the fines together with a US regulator - said the rate rigging was "at the expense, ultimately, of the UK taxpayer, which was unacceptable".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bank of England head Mark Carney slammed Lloyds' traders in a letter to the bank's chairman

For those who have difficulty following quite how these rate manipulations affected the government bail-out of Lloyds (it involves the difference between the Libor rate and another benchmark called the Repo rate), the Daily Mirror has a useful Q&A which may answer many questions.

The paper asks why five years after the actions were carried out "have the suspects still not been arrested?"

It's a theme taken up by the Daily Mail as well, who headline that there is a "growing clamour to throw crooked bankers in jail".

The paper publishes some of the expletive-littered and misspelt emails between currency traders which were examined by investigators looking into the allegations.

One reads "oh dear.. my poor customers... heeheehee!!"

The paper's opinion column says the exchanges "shine the harshest light on a banking sector out of control - and displaying utter contempt for its customers."

Max Hastings writing in the Mail says "it will not do to scapegoat some little crooks for this. We need to punish the big ones, the ones whose bottoms fill boardroom chairs".

The Independent quotes the Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio as saying "the board and the group's management team have taken vigorous action to prevent this kind of behaviour, through closing or reducing our legacy investment banking activities."

The Financial Times points out that Lloyds is the seventh institution to be fined over rigging Libor and other bank rates. Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland have already faced hefty censure.

The FT says 20 other institutions, including HSBC, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan, are being investigated.


'A fair deal'

New curbs on the rights of migrants to claim benefits are the other main story in Tuesday's papers.

David Cameron will announce that EU benefit claimants can only get jobless benefits for three months, rather than six months - and even then, only after having spent three months in the country, the Daily Telegraph explains.

Writing in the paper, the prime minister says the changes will be part of a change to "put Britain first".

"Achieving that means doing three things: clamping down on abuses of the system; making sure the right people are coming here for the right reasons; and ensuring the British people get a fair deal," he adds.

Mr Cameron mentions a crackdown on bogus students, tougher measures to stop illegal immigrants from gaining driving licences and opening bank accounts and a "deport first, appeal later" approach over foreign criminals appealing to stay in the UK on human rights grounds.

The Telegraph's leader column says the measures unveiled will "not be enough" to fix the immigration "problem".

It says the government is "hampered by EU rules".

"Ministers look unlikely to reach their target of reducing net migration by 'tens of thousands' before the next election," the paper concludes.

"But they certainly deserve much credit for their sustained efforts to get to grips with a problem their predecessors simply ignored."

The Daily Express, which has the sub-headline "handouts slashed at last", also examines the new measures.

The paper says Mr Cameron acknowledges that changes are needed to "turn off the magnetic pull of Britain's benefits system".

It adds the measures are part of the Conservatives' plan to cut net immigration by 100,000 a year.

But it notes that between 2012 and last year, it rose from 177,000 to 212,000.


'Fag packet figures'

As house prices continue to rise far in advance of wage increases there are a welter of stories about the phenomenon in the papers.

The Independent reports research by the charity Shelter which finds that a quarter of working people aged under 34 still live with their parents.

The paper says a "clipped wing" generation has been created, with younger people being unable to lead "fully independent lives" because accommodation has become so unaffordable.

In areas of relative deprivation, such as Knowsley in Merseyside and Canvey Island in Essex, the number of working young people living with their parents is above 40%, it adds.

"The trend has been linked to low self-esteem and a lowering of life expectations among some young people," the paper notes.

The Financial Times devotes most of a page to the housing problem.

The paper says the Coalition government's affordable rents ruling has put 35,000 homes out of the reach of the poorest families.

It says the requirement to price the social housing accommodation at 80% of open housing rates has meant that tenants require more housing benefit to pay for the accommodation, the FT continues.

David Orr, of landlords body the National Housing Federation, tells the paper affordable rent is "laughably ill-named" and says the figures were "cobbled together on the back of a fag packet" after grants to build affordable housing were slashed from £3bn to £450m by the Coalition.

The Times reports a warning from the International Monetary Fund that houses in Britain are overvalued by a third and the economy is too dependent on housing.

Prices have risen "far in excess of other leading economies", the IMF says.

The Guardian has a story on London's "increasingly polarised property market" focusing on "poor doors".

These are separate entrances built into new developments for use of social housing tenants, as opposed to the entrances used by those paying the higher market price for flats.

Developers say they stop those living in cheaper homes from having to pay high service charges for "plush communal areas", the paper explains.

It adds that Labour's David Lammy, who is considering standing for London Mayor in 2016, has called for the "Dickensian" practice to be banned.


'Dirty diesel'

Drive a diesel vehicle? Travel into central London ever? If so, you may want to read the Times's lead story.

The paper reports that the city's mayor Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to impose a £10 charge on diesel vehicles.

The charges which will also apply to petrol cars registered before 2006 will be in addition to the £10 congestion charge.

Only drivers of diesel vehicles which meet the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempt, the Times adds.

The paper explains that the extra charge - which may not be introduced until 2020 - is part of a drive to comply with European clean air legislation.

Mr Johnson is launching an "air quality manifesto" which he hopes will take the city "two-thirds of the way to compliance with EU limits", it adds.

The Times says air pollution causes about 29,000 premature deaths a year in Britain "and the problem has been worsened by the rapid shift to diesel prompted by government tax incentives designed to lower carbon emissions".

Sheffield, Leicester, Bradford, Birmingham, Bristol and 15 other cities are said to be considering a low emission zone, while Oxford may extend the scope of its.

The paper notes that research from Kings College found that a monitoring station in London had found that the city had the highest recorded level of nitrogen dioxide pollution of anywhere in the world.

Mr Johnson has dismissed this research, calling it a vernacular name for a part of the male anatomy.


Rivers of hail

I suppose it was inevitable that the sun rash of hot weather stories would end in a flash flood of reports about storms in the south-east.

The Daily Mirror says "as most of Britain basks in sunshine [the] south coast is hit by lightning storms, hailstones and flash floods".

Image copyright Souvik Das/PA
Image caption South Ruislip in London receives an unexpected waterfront

It illustrates this with pictures of fork lightning in Hove, sunbathers fleeing a downpour in Brighton, a flooded station in Worthing - and carefree sunbathers in Tynemouth in the north-east.

The paper notes that a month's worth of rain - nearly 1.7ins - fell in one hour at Great Dunmow in Suffolk.

Parts of London were also hit, with four people needing to be rescued from cars in Ruislip and Harrow and 21 homes being flooded, one to the depth of one foot.

Morning commuters in Sussex seem to have born the brunt, the Daily Star reports.

Brighton Station tweeted that the freak weather was like "a zombie apocalypse", while another resident of the town said "used to be roads. Now rivers of hail. Never seen anything like it."

The Daily Telegraph warms those in the south-east and East Anglia not to relax as warm temperatures will continue to trigger lightning, hail and flash floods.

There is a "yellow warning" for rain in these parts of England, the paper adds.

It looks like raincoats and shorts will be London fashion for some time.

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