The Money Shot – 3rd February 2012

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

Points of contention

“It wasn’t me!” pleaded Jamaican hitmaker Shaggy over a funky pop reggae beat in his 2001 hit of the same name.

While our ‘Shags’ was making reference to some clandestine and not-strictly-above-board wooing of a member of the opposite sex, a similar denial of guilt was issued by the energy secretary Chris Huhne in regards to a speeding offence in 2003.

According to his estranged wife, Vicky Pryce, he got her to take the hit on some penalty points, allowing him to get off scot-free. But now, he's been formally charged with perverting the course of justice, which is officially a Pretty Big Deal.

As we’re sure you’re aware, picking up speeding points can make your car insurance more expensive, but given that Huhne is believed to have a portfolio of eight properties, including a £1.3m London home, we can’t imagine that would have caused him too much financial bother.

Still, if he found his policy got too pricey, he could have logged on to and perhaps found himself a better deal. While getting accused of passing your points on to a friend, family member or lover might not cost you a place in the cabinet (Huhne resigned just as The Money Shot was getting cobbled together this morning in order to concentrate on clearing his name), it could end up landing you in more serious trouble than in the first place.

Whether or not Chris passed his points on or not is for the courts to decide but if this is the sort of hassle it causes, then just take it on the chin. Or better still, don’t speed at all.

Quote of the week

“Why is high pay called 'compensation'? What on earth are they victims of that they need compensation? It's pay. Even 'remuneration' is daft.”

Paul Lewis, host of BBC Radio 4’s consistently excellent and informative Moneybox, doesn't mince his words on the executive pay issue.

H2-Oh No

Apparently, 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is water. With it being in such abundant supply, you’d be forgiven for raising a quizzical eyebrow to half-mast at why it's getting so bloomin’ expensive.

After all, five million British homes have just been declared ‘at risk’ of flooding - you’d think that there was more than enough to go round. But this week, the water industry watchdog Ofwat (try saying that after two lager tops) said that the average water and sewage bill of a household in England and Wales would rise by an average of £20 a year to £376 from April this year.

Regina Finn, Ofwat’s chief excecutive, was on hand to defend the price rises. She said that the regulator will “make sure” that customers got value for money, which presumably means we’ll all now get fizzy Perrier water coming out of our taps.

With all this gloom and doom on the cards, thank heavens for TV’s scrimping sensei Martin Lewis, who had the following sage of words of advice for folk wanting to save on their water bills by changing their lavatory habits. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down,” urged the Money Saving Expert to his Twitter followers. Just as we were just about to turn down that imminent invitation we’re epxecting to a candlelit supper at Casa Lewis, he clarified: "this is not one I do - too hardcore for me."

Thanks for clearing that one up, Martin.


Fred Goodwin, the ex-boss of RBS was the victim of a rather painful ‘sir-cumcision’ and has had his knighthood removed. Oddly enough, one of the only people who stepped up to defend Fred was tartan enthusiast and former F1 driver Jackie Stewart.

A record 9.45 million self-assessment tax forms were returned on time, according to HMRC.

Nearly half a million of these were filed (and probably furiously filled-in) in on the deadline of January 31st. The ‘big six’ energy companies have been cleared of cooking the books by industry watchdog Ofgem and ‘forensic accountancy’ (sounds more exciting than it probably is) firm BDO.

We might all save about £45 a year on the cost of our car insurance if there was a 6mph minimum speed for whiplash related claims – a persistent pain in the neck for industry.

On News this week

Dave Jenkins donned his safari hat and met five owners of some rather exotic pets. WARNING: Contains unspeakably cute African pygmy hedgehog.

There was talk afoot of mandatory bank accounts for 16 year olds. Simon Culhane, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) said that that the measure will make personal finance matters “practical, personal and highly relevant.” A teenage spokesman allegedly responded by grunting, stomping upstairs and slamming his bedroom door before settling in for a good five hour session on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Being a company based in the pleasant South Wales city of Newport, we’re big fans of all things ‘safe’ at As you can imagine, we were delighted when the results of Euro NCAP ‘Safest in class’ awards landed a few days ago.

And finally…

There was something fishy afoot in rural Northern Ireland this week, as a lorry stuffed to the gills with 20 tonnes of mackerel overturned into a field belonging to 71 year old cattle and sheep farmer Gordon Finn.

"The one really bizarre thing was though, is that there wasn't a smell of fish. I think there was more than enough to feed the 5,000. We could have fed the 5,000 five thousand times over,” said the shocked farmer.

Thankfully, the driver of the lorry which was carrying the Omega 3-rich cargo escaped unscathed and returned to the scene of the accident to help up with the clean-up operation.

Join us next Friday for another scintillating edition of THE MONEY SHOT. If you’ve got nothing better to do between now and then, email the editor with your letters.