Put on your party hats, it's Isa season! After years in the doldrums could we have a proper Isa battle on our hands in 2019? Santander and Coventry Building Society have launched two best-buy easy-access tax-free deals, and that appears to have put some wind in the sails of This is Money assistant editor Lee Boyce. Editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost – along with Lee – talk all things Isa´s: whether they are worth it, the options and importantly, are the new top rates a potential catalyst for more competition? Elsewhere, we take a look at new fintech firm Dozens, offering a five per cent return spotted after a recent London Transport advertising blitz.
There is a victory for This is Money readers, as Virgin Money refunds credit card customers stung by charges after unwittingly setting minimum payments rather than paying the full balance when changing card. Simon runs the rule over a 95% interest-only mortgage launched by Newbury Building Society.
The Green New Deal has rocketed to the top of the agenda in the US. It’s an ambitious plan, spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to decarbonise the US economy and eliminate economic insecurity at the same time. But in fact the Green New Deal has some of its origins at the New Economics Foundation. So what’s the story behind the development of the idea? And how would a Green New Deal actually work, both in the UK and across the pond? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by: Ann Pettifor, director of Prime Economics and one of the co-authors of the Green New Deal report published by NEF in 2008; Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the New Economics Foundation; and Waleed Shahid, communications director of the Justice Democrats, who also worked on the campaign to elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Ann Pettifor, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Waleed Shahid
In this week’s episode of the IEA’s podcast, the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews sat down with Francis Boulle, who recently took part in the BBC Two’s ‘Mastermind’, braving the black chair to win the coveted Mastermind trophy. What made this particular episode of Mastermind special was Francis’s choice of specialist subject for the interrogation-style question and answer session. Francis chose Friedrich Hayek as his specialist subject, one of the most important liberal thinkers of all time. Kate asked Francis to take him through his journey of becoming interested in Hayek’s work, why he decided to pick him as his specialist subject, if Francis believes Hayek is relevant in 2019 and how his body of work can help us navigate through our current political and economic woes – especially given that amongst young people socialism is now in vogue.
National Savings and Investments has launched Ernie 5.0 – its fifth generation machine that draws the Premium Bond numbers. It now takes just 12 minutes for numbers to be generated by the Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment compared to 10 days back in the early 1970s. This week, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost answer the question – what would you do if you gained a windfall, big or small, either from the Premium Bonds or by other means? What does it mean to win big and what are the first things you need to think about if you’re lucky enough to come into some cash? We also discuss a 57-year-old reader who was the latest star in our regular Money Pit Stop series, who wants to make sure his own investment portfolio can withstand downturns and provide him with a good income at retirement.
Historically, economics as a discipline has been dominated by men – and despite increases in the proportion of female lecturers and professors in recent years, women remain under-represented. In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Matt Dickson and Franz Buscha talk to Sarah Smith, Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol and head of the Royal Economics Society’s Women’s Committee. They discuss the need to change girls’ perceptions of what economists actually do, and to encourage more young women to take economics at A-level and at University. Sarah explains how within academia there remain barriers to career progression for women and that raising awareness of this amongst the male-dominated hierarchies is an important step in helping to level the playing field. The discussion closes thinking about what economics can learn from other disciplines that have made greater strides towards gender equality.
Two years ago, nurses and doctors warned that the annual NHS winter crisis was now ‘the new normal’. In the cold weather, hospitals were overwhelmed by patients that they did not have the space to treat. But we’ve had a milder winter this year. Is the same true for the health service? The prime minister announced a new 10 year plan for the NHS in England, promising ‘world class’ care. But critics say nothing much has changed – and that the NHS will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis. This week, we’re taking the NHS’ temperature with nurse and campaigner Danielle Tiplady, lead organiser of Just Treatment Diarmaid McDonald, and NEF senior researcher Daniel Button.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Danielle Tiplady, Diarmaid McDonald, Daniel Button
Oxfam reported that in the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires around the world has nearly doubled. It’s fair to say, the economy isn’t working for everyone. Every week on this podcast we look at a different economic problem and how to solve it, but what if economics itself – the way we teach it, talk about it and think about it – is the real problem? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by three people working to democratise economics and change how it’s taught across the country: co-director of Rethinking Economics Maeve Cohen, Chief Exec of Economy Joe Earle, and Polly Trenow from the Women’s Budget Group.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Maeve Cohen, Joe Earle, Polly Trenow
A will may be considered the expression of someone’s last wishes, but more of them are being challenged. High property prices and increasingly complicated families are being blamed for the rise in disputes, but would you challenge someone’s will? In this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost dive into why inheritance rows are more commonplace and how difficult it is to try to overturn a will. Also this week, alongside some money-saving tips for millennials a heated debate kicks off about buying flat whites vs saving for homes at a time when house prices are sky high compared to ages. Simon reveals his lessons from holding Lloyds shares all the way up, all the way down and then all the time that they have bumped along since the financial crisis. And we dig into the case of a car park prang that led to countless phone calls from ambulance chasers – and how this manages to happen.
Public ownership is back on the agenda. Opinion polls show high levels of support for taking all kinds of things back into public hands, from the railways to water to energy, and the Labour party is committed to a vast expansion of public ownership. But if privatisation has failed, what kind of public ownership should replace it? As the critics of nationalisation are quick to say, British Rail wasn’t that great. What should be done differently this time? If these services were nationalised, would the state even know how to run them? And are there other ways of putting them back in public hands? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It campaign, Hilary Wainwright, co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and fellow of the Transnational Institute, and Sahil Dutta, lecturer in political economy at Goldsmiths University.