Base rate has gone from 0.1% to 1.25% in the space of six months, in a flurry of rate rising that would have been considered unthinkable a year ago. Yet, as the Bank of England delivered another 0.25% raise, voices were raised in some corners to demand why it hadn't gone further. Why not a 0.5% jump or even a 0.75% one, as the Fed had delivered in the US? With inflation running at 9% and expected to head north into double digits, the onus is on the Bank of England to show it has a grip and we aren't heading back to the 1970s. But is rapidly raising rates the right thing to do and how will it affect savers, borrowers and investors? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the case for and against rate rises and what the impact is for the economy and people. Mortgage rates have risen even faster than the base rate, so what can those who need to remortgage do - and will this sink house prices? The team assess the prospects for the property market and offer their tips on what borrowers should do to prepare and protect themselves. Meanwhile, over in the US, it's the stock market that's suffering as rates rise. Why is that, and how bad could this bear market be? And finally, petrol prices keep hitting record highs and we want people to switch to electric cars but the Government has swiped away the £1,500 grant that helps people buy more affordable models. Will that make a difference, or has electric car demand reached a level where ditching a bung to help out is wise?
The Bank of England expects the price inflation peak to be high, but short-lived: however if it feeds into wage inflation it could seriously undermine both national debt servicing and the property market: that's why the Government appears to be adopting a tight fiscal stance and announcing a large reduction in the civil service. Carefully targeted support with the swiftly rising cost of living is urgently needed for those most in need and, if the Government can't or won't respond, it could be enabled through the voluntary sector: with Government acting as catalyst. However this is a role to which they're not currently accustomed.
Background music: 'Everything has a Beginning' by Joel Cummins.
There's no question over Rishi Sunak's commitment to a strategy to encourage people to work; however, faced with a major cost of living crisis for those on the breadline,there's a real need to complement it with a strategy for sharing. If HM Treasury is not inclined to assist, it should at least set out a plan to encourage those who will.
Accompanying music - Bike Sharing to Paradise, by Dan Bodan
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his statement, unabridged and with no additional comment. Major initiatives include a 5p/litre cut in fuel duty for 12 months, simplification and relief for energy saving home improvements, a doubling of household support via local authorities, a £3,000 increase in the National Insurance threshold, and a promise to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p/£ to 19p/£ by the next election; plus reform of training, R&D credits and capital-raising.
On Monday, we take a step towards normality – you can get your hair cut, have a beer outside at the pub and visit a clothes shop. But what about the future of the office? Will we ever go back full-time, or is a hybrid model more likely – and if you're tempted by a shed office, what should you look out for? On this week's podcast, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost discuss the future of work and the pros and cons of WFH life, including the 'shoffice.' Elsewhere, should you claim home working tax relief and how much could you get for doing so? And what can you do if you want to change career, whether that is a huge leap or a 'bridging' one. Plus, are workers heading for a horrible shock when it comes to retirement and what can be done to navigate it?
Financial scams are on the rise. The coronavirus lockdowns have seen a fresh burst of investment cons with fraudsters impersonating legitimate companies to steal tens of thousands of pounds. Unwitting savers are being lured into fake savings and investments, such as fixed term bonds or share schemes, and transferring large sums to fall victim to clone fraud. What’s behind this burst of crime and how can people protect themselves? On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert discuss the rising tide of fraud, how to stay safe and what more can be done to combat it. Also, on the show, the pair look into the cases of the mortgage prisoners, trapped paying high rates ever since the financial crisis while others have seen their monthly payments slashed. The Deliveroo float is also on the agenda – why did the shares slump as it hit the stock market? And finally, campervans are in hot demand, making this a good time for VW to be launching its new mini Caddy California: with sleeping space for two and an optional tent that turns into a home on wheels for all the family. Would you want one?
The headlines are telling you the property market is running hot, that the stamp duty holiday extension is stoking the fires, and buyers are ignoring the economic slump to pile in. There’s just one problem: your home is on the market and you aren’t even getting any offers. Perhaps you are in a property coldspot. As property watchers will tell you, the house price index-driven view of a national housing market is something of an illusion. In reality, there are lots of different local property markets and they don’t all blow hot and cold at the same time. At the moment, while some areas are running hot, others are cold – and it’s not as simple as city vs village, or urban vs rural. Even within London, there are some areas with high demand and others just a few miles away where it is tough to sell. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Adrian Lowery and Simon Lambert look at how to take the temperature of your local property market and how that can help you buy or sell. They discuss what next for house prices – and whether they can possible keep rising at such a robust pace from here, or if we could see more stability and an end to Britain’s casino property market. Also on this week’s show: how to invest in companies that will help improve the environment, the FCA’s warning on thrill-seeking young investors and the best Isa investments of all time. And finally, the electric car grant has been cut and will be axed for all cars costing more than £35,000. Is this foolish as we try to wean the nation off petrol and diesel, or a wise move to stop subsidising those already wealthy enough to buy an expensive brand new motor?
What’s the point in an Isa? This is a regular grumble as savings rates are now so low that earning 1 per cent would be a big deal. But wouldn’t you rather have all of a small amount instead of a small amount minus tax? And if you are investing, an Isa makes a lot of sense – embracing your gains and dividends in a nice tax-free wrapper. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert talk Isas: from the classics, cash and stocks and shares, to the upstarts the lifetime and junior strands. The team discuss why an Isa is worth having, even a cash one when the personal savings allowance exists and rates are rubbish. And Simon gives his quick guide to investing easily in an Isa, with a whistle-stop tour through the ‘why, how and what’ that could help you grow your wealth long-term. The team also discuss whether a lifetime Isa is worth having and whether a junior Isa or a slice of your own is the best place to save for children. And finally, if you’d like to both turn a profit and make your money do some good, what about ethical investing? Is the ESG label (environmental, social and governance) just a marketing ruse and how ethical are these funds? We run through the spectrum of investments that try to be ethical and give some ideas on what might fit the bill.
Is the economy primed to bounce back? That might sound like a strange question when you’ve just had the news that UK GDP fell by 2.9 per cent in one month, but January’s lockdown slump was nowhere near as deep as expected. It seems that despite a tough lockdown being imposed, shops and big chunks of the economy being shut and schools being closed, the UK has adapted to restrictions better than thought when it comes to doing business. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Jayna Rana and Simon Lambert discuss the prospects for recovery and also the businesses that have pivoted and started-up over the lockdown year. While economies have suffered, stock markets have rebounded strongly – and in the case of the US and its growth star stocks, repeatedly surpassed previous record highs. That’s been good news for UK investors backing the growth story, particularly the legions of savers with money in the giant Scottish Mortgage investment trust. But a growth stock wobble in the US has sent Scottish Mortgage sliding – with the trust down 27 per cent at one point on its January peak – followed by a rapid bounce back to erase some of those losses. Should investors be worried or is it a buying opportunity – and what is the one key investing lesson that Simon says this highlights? Also on this week’s show, the mortgage that lets you fix for life – bringing potentially a 40-year fixed rate until 2061. And finally, would you buy your local pub to rescue it from the threat of closure? If the answer’s ‘yes’ then there’s some good news: Rishi Sunak wants to help you.
The Budget this week was notable for two things: Firstly, The Chancellor decided to delay settling the coronavirus bill to another day and, secondly, the true scale of the women's underpaid state pension scandal was laid bare at £3billion. The collossal short-changing of married women on their state pensions was uncovered by This is Money columnist Steve Webb and journalist Tanya Jefferies just over a year ago. Their investigations, campaigning and tenacity has paid off and now women affected should get what they are owed - to the tune of an astonishing £3billion, according to Budget documents. Tanya joins Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert to explain the issue on this week's podcast, as the team also trawl through the Budget to explain what it means for people. One day Britain might have to try to balance the books and pay the bill for the coronavirus rescue, but that day didn't arrive with the Budget. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak openly indulged in some stealth taxation by freezing personal allowances and income tax thresholds in the future and said corporation tax would rise, but kept the cash flowing to aid economic recovery. Furlough was extended, there will be an encore at the stamp duty holiday party, the business investment of Eat Out to Help Out was launched, and a new 5% deposit mortgage scheme has been launched (without being called Help-to-anything, so that's something at least). The self-employed also got some more help, with new entrepreneurs getting assistance, but bizarrely those who previously earned more than £50,000 as sole traders and paid lots of tax are still left out in the cold. The tax burden is set to rise but this was no austerity Budget and Britain's debt and deficit are scarily big. So will Rishi's third Budget in a year be what Britain's economy needs to achieve escape velocity as lockdown eases (and hopefully never comes back)?
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