Nobody can escape the Brexit bedlam that has been playing out before our eyes, especially in the last week. In between backstops, trade deals, Norway, contempt of parliament, no-confidence, withdrawing withdrawal votes… what is really going on? Editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost discuss Brexit in the latest This is Money podcast. Are we going to leave? Should we really have a second referendum and can you do anything to Brexit-proof your cash? We talk it all through in our Brexit special. Outside the Brexit bubble, we look into those DNA self-testing kits being plugged by a number of firms as the perfect Christmas gift – could you get more than you bargained for? Simon reveals the best and worst performing funds of 2018 so far, in Top of the Pops fashion and Lee runs down the clever apps from challengers looking to encourage the savings habit.
In this week's podcast, we were joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy, Kristian Niemietz, the author of a recent paper which ventures into the realm of fiction to examine the fundamental flaws of socialism. Kristian and Editorial Manager Madeline Grant discuss the popular meme that socialism is a great idea in theory, but only fails due to bad implementation, or corrupt officials - as advocated by trendy millennial socialists today. Kristian debunks this idea, but explores how it has been extremely influential in art, culture and fiction over the last century. We look at why it has proven so compelling, and whether free marketeers need to do more to make the moral and philosophical case for capitalism - as well as arguing on raw economic grounds.
In this episode of Live from Lord North Street, Kate Andrews, Associate Director of the IEA was joined by Zoe Strimpel, a Sunday Telegraph columnist and historian of gender and relationships, and Madeline Grant, Editorial Manager at the IEA, to analyse the role of market forces in shaping our dating habits and personal relationships. Zoe and Madeline look at the early history of dating, and how economic, as well as cultural, trends have determined popular conceptions of romance. They also examine how the digital age - and the arrival of apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble - have changed the landscape (for better and for worse). Does our data-and-algorithm centric approach help bring people together and make for happier relationships? Or have we instead removed the romance and humanity from the dating world? And what does the future hold for dating, in this new environment?
It might not be on the top of your to-do list when you have a child, but investing and saving for them to build a tidy nest egg for when they reach adulthood is best done sooner rather than later. In the latest This is Money podcast, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor (and new parent) Lee Boyce alongside host Georgie Frost look at the best ways to save for your children. We discuss investment options, Junior Isas, a pension and other ways, and why 'the hardest step is the first, but it is also the most powerful'. Lee has a target of a £50,000 pot to build up for his new daughter ahead of her 18th birthday in 2036 – and discusses how he plans to achieve this, with a little help from Einstein's eighth wonder of the world, compounding. Elsewhere, we talk about how invest for your own retirement and Fidelity's 'Power of Seven' matrix, as it looks like the pensions dashboard is finally moving ahead.
We talk about the collapse of online estate agent Emoov and the future of the industry with the Bank of England's latest Brexit predictions suggesting property values could fall 30 per cent in the worst case scenario. Finally, we reveal the latest British Gas rip off and whether could we have found the answer to expensive boiler replacements.
Have we reached peak nanny state – or as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss recently put it – peak banny state? Politicians seem to be sneaking in nanny state legislation through the back door, often in the face of hostile public opinion. Labour brought in a draconian smoking ban in 2007 despite its 2005 manifesto explicitly exempting drinking establishments that did not serve food. David Cameron made no mention of plain packaging in his 2010 manifesto and the sugar tax did not feature in his 2015 manifesto.
These politicians violate John Stuart Mill’s famous principle that people should be free to do whatever they like, provided they harm no one but themselves. How did we get here? Joining me to discuss the banny state are the IEA’s Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA and the author of Killjoys, a critique of the health paternalism that has been adopted by governments around the world, and Rebecca Lowe, Director of the IEA’s initiative, FREER, which works to promote a freer economy and a freer society.
Inheritance tax is a conundrum. Just 5 per cent of estates currently incur it but it’s been voted Britain’s most unfair major tax. Even with the number of people hit by it expected to double, it seems we just don’t like the concept. It’s no wonder then that the Chancellor commissioned a report into it from the Office of Tax Simplification, but no one forecast that to be as damning about the system as it was. It’s complicated, more than ten times as many bereaved families have to fill in forms as pay it, and it turns out the very rich pay proportionally less than those directly below them. Does that make inheritance tax ripe for a change and how could it be adjusted? Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss that on this week’s podcast. Also, on the show they discuss why tenants are still waiting for a fees ban, whether the latest move to curb private parking tickets goes far enough and the least reliable cars you can buy second hand. And finally, we’ve all heard the one about how airlines might use your browsing history to hike flight costs, but have you heard about error fares that can get you somewhere for a fraction of the normal price? And more to the point are both these true. We bust five flight booking myths.
A year ago bitcoin could do no wrong – now it has slumped to 79 per cent below its peak. So what went wrong for the much vaunted cryptocurrency? The mania of a year ago gave way to a bust after Christmas and apart from a few short-lived rallies bitcoin has been mainly on the slide since. That’s not to say it has no use - the cryptocurrency and underlying technology are fascinating - but just because something has some value does not mean it can’t end up in a bubble. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Myron Jobson look at what went wrong for bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies and what we can learn from the boom and bust. Also on this week’s show, they look at some more durable investments, companies that have paid a rising dividend for a decade or longer – and how some have seen big rises in their share price. And finally, Simon talks us through the 2,100 road trip he took with his family to test out VW’s California campervan – and whether swapping your family car for a van that’s ready for adventure could ever be a smart move?
The high street, once a popular choice for shoppers, has faced many changes in recent years. The increase of online shopping is a clear indicator, as 1 in 3 of us will exclusively use the internet to shop this Christmas. Annette Picardo, Managing Director in the UK for Etsy, explains how people are moving towards a more mindful and conscious way of shopping. New independent research finds that people feel happier when supporting their local community and local businesses.
This is Money has relentlessly campaigned to fight online fraud – and in a major victory, Britain's biggest banks are now trialling a new system to trace stolen money. Is the end nigh for scammers? Editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost talk about bank fraud and our long-running campaign to help protect our readers from the growing crime. We also talk through new rules to come in early next year that will spell out exactly what banks have to do to help prevent customers falling victim of bank transfer scams and why we launched our Beat the Scammers section in 2016. Elsewhere, if you are in the market for a credit card, one of the more eye catching is Virgin Money's offering which could get you a trip to New York with its new bumper sign-up offer – but what's the catch?
We also talk about the property market and how estate agents – especially across London and the South East - have come under pressure since the Brexit vote, which has triggered a considerable slowdown. This has seen Foxtons announcing branch closures this week. And rather than the gloom and doom predictions of a potential house price crash, Simon asks: are house prices preparing to go on something of a run?
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.