This week, This is Money launched another campaign - and we have the private car parking sharks and the DVLA in our sights. We talk about the horrific cases of drivers being fined and penalised we have received from readers and listeners so far, ask how the DVLA is able to sell our details on without permission and what can be done about the menace – along with what we want changed. Elsewhere, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost talk about Dave and Marcus. The latter is the Goldman Sachs backed offshoot offering savers 1.5 per cent interest – and has seen 50,000 people sign-up.
The former is Dave Fishwick, who has gone on a crowdfunding drive this week to try and raise up to £7million to help get his Burnley Savings and Loans venture a banking licence.
We also discuss Isas. We reveal why they are so good, why they should be part of most people's financial planning and how to become an Isa millionaire.
On our podcast this week, Digital Manager Darren Grimes discussed the relationship between capitalism and Christianity with our Senior Academic Fellow Philip Booth and Father Marcus Walker, Rector of St Bartholomew’s Church in London. Following recent, seemingly anti-capitalist, interventions by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, they assessed the extent to which the Church of England can still be considered the “Conservative Party at Prayer”. They also examined the treatment of markets, free exchange and private property in scripture. Finally, they hypothesised that the decline of religion in our society has coincided with the growth of the State, and a growing sense that the government, not private institutions or families, should take responsibility for societal ills.
The reports of buy-to-let’s death have been greatly exaggerated. That is the view of one of the few professional residential property fund managers in the UK. Alan Collett, who runs the Hearthstone fund, believes for the astute investor there is still money to be made from Britain’s homes. You could answer, ‘well, he would say that’, but for those interested in the property market, his reasons are worth listening to. In this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Sarah Davidson and Georgie Frost dig into the current state of buy-to-let and whether those without an entire property fund at their disposal can still turn a healthy profit if they think long-term.
Also on this week’s show, they discuss where the most homes have been built over the past decade, why Goldman Sachs’ new bank Marcus has got everyone talking thanks to an eye-catching savings rate and whether insurers really do spy on you – including if you’re burgled while Instagramming your holiday.
And finally, the new 68 registration plate was launched this month and that should have meant a surge in car sales, except as was suggested by one dealer we may already have reached peak new car and that has combined with diesel worries to sink sales.
The good news is that means bargains for car buyers, with as much as £10,000 off some models. We reveal which ones.
The idea of the “Entrepreneurial State” or the “state as investor” has taken off in recent years – following the release of an influential book by economist Mariana Mazzucato. This view that state investment weighs very heavily in economic growth, now forms the basis of contemporary public policy. Our government’s Industrial Strategy effectively proposes that the state should play a key role in “rebalancing the economy”. Joining us today, the IEA’s Head of Research Dr Jamie Whyte and James Price, Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance put this totemic idea under the spotlight. They weigh up how much growth can actually be attributed to state-led investment as is often claimed. Interviewed by Editorial Manager Madeline Grant, they question a number of common assumptions about state-led investment and provision of services – and ask whether contemporary attempts to ‘rebalance the economy’ differ from the old-school industrial strategy of the 1970s – or are merely re-packaging the same bad ideas?
As banks went kaput a decade ago, the safety of our savings was thrust into the limelight. Most had never considered that cash in the bank was at risk and knew little about the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. When Icesave blew up a year after the Northern Rock collapse things changed dramatically. We should all be up to speed now, but how safe are your savings? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Tanya Jefferies and Georgie Frost we look at savings protection but also how you could end up losing money by sticking with cash. Ironically, worries about banks a decade ago triggered a flight to safety and more people stashing money in savings accounts rather than investing. But had people invested as Lehman Brothers collapsed they would have more than doubled their money by now.
Taking the risk as the world appeared to be falling apart would have been the right move. Yet, at that point the stock market was already down 20% and fell by that again before it hit the bottom, so how many would have been brave enough? Also on this week’s show, we discuss how easy it might be to hit the £1million pension lifetime allowance sand whether your car might fail its next MOT.
The New Labour government introduced a national minimum wage (NMW) in 1999. At first this was opposed by the Conservative party, but they have since joined a growing political consensus. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) are tasked with recommending NMW rates that 'help as many low-paid workers as possible without any significant adverse impact on employment or the economy’. The LPC’s apparent success in achieving this, may be one reason for growing political census, so it is perhaps worrying that a National Living Wage (NLW) is being set without these considerations. Len Shackleton, Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham and Editorial and Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, sets out these issues and more in a recent IEA paper on Restructuring Minimum Wages. Prof. Shackleton argues that the system has become overly complex and recommendations made by the Taylor Review will only add to this complexity. In this interview we consider his proposals and what the future may hold for UK minimum wages.
Mike Indian, political commentator and author of The Groucho Tendency blog, discusses with Simon Rose the outcome of the EU summit in Salzburg where leaders of the 27 other member states discussed Brexit. With the head of the European Council Donald Tusk saying that May’s Chequers plan would not work, what does that mean for the Prime Minister and her plan. Is a no-deal Brexit now more likely. Mike also highlights the leaked Tory dossier about who might replace May, which gives pitchy comments on the chances of the possible candidates. Ahead of the Labour Party conference, he looks at Labour’s democracy review and the possibility of the party endorsing a call for a second Brexit referendum.
Adam talks to Destiny Onisile and Jessica Tonwe, two millennials, about their attitudes to saving money to coincide with British Savings Week. They discuss how ignorance and confusion lead to a reluctance to save and how student debt create poor financial habits that can make debt attractive and saving something they believe is for older generations. They also explore if there’s anything that would encourage young people to save or learn about finance.
Ahead of the European Council summit in the Austrian City of Salzburg on the 20th of September, we ask what’s next for Brexit. Can the Government stick its beleaguered Chequers proposal? Could the UK take the Norway option whilst negotiating a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement? To discuss these issues the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes was joined by Stephen Booth of the Open Europe think tank. Stephen argues that Chequers is the only game in town because it’s the only deal that meets the EU’s tests, and because the Government simply does not have the numbers or political capital to move any further away from the EU through a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. Also joining Darren is Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel at the IEA’s Trade Unit. Victoria argues that the EU’s demand for backstop could lock the UK into the EU’s orbit in perpetuity. For Victoria, the prospect of a our future trading agreement being determined by parliamentary politics is why Brexiteers are so worried about Chequers. There’s a feeling that if we don’t seize the momentum, the pro-Remain majority within Parliament will win the day and the opportunities of an independent trade policy and regulatory autonomy will be lost. The pair give their analysis on what’s next, how we got here and how all roads lead to Ireland.
It’s inevitable that stock markets will fall sooner or later. In this edition of The Big Call, Ed Bowsher asks whether ETFs will contribute to that fall. Ed speaks to Helen Thomas of the Blondemoney website, who thinks that ETFs may well contribute to a correction and Adam Laird of Lyxor who disagrees.