Happy Christmas and welcome to the last This is Money podcast of 2018. Today, we cover the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. For the ghost of Christmas past, we look at what has gone wrong for high street retailers and if that is spilling over to online firms. Ghost of Christmas present& or presents, we give five reasons why you should think twice about giving gift cards this festive period. And for the ghost of Christmas future, how you can give friends and family a gift that will last through 2019 - avoiding the loyalty penalty. As part of our campaign, we reveal the companies stiffing customers and what you can do to combat the problem. Elsewhere, assistant editor Lee Boyce takes the reigns for the infamous This is Money Christmas taste test with editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost tucking into mince pies, crisps and more, then having to guess whether it is from a posh supermarket, or budget one. And like post-Brexit Britain, there are no Brussel(s) in sight. Georgie also throws a bonus fiendish Christmas quiz into the mix how many can you get right? Thanks for listening in 2018 - we hope you enjoy the podcast as much as we do making it. See you next year!
Highlights from four of this year’s interviews consider the theme of 'discrimination and disadvantage’. We have some 'Christmas Cheer’, as the interviews show how far we have come to improve the situation of women, people from ethnic minority groups, LGBT communities and young people from poorer backgrounds. However, the first interview with Dr Jo Blanden, shows how hard it is to make further improvements to the early years experiences of young people. In the second interview with Prof. Emma Parry, we see how research investigating generational differences risks stereotyping different age groups. Prof. Lisa Webley sets out the various waves of policy that have attempted to improve the situation of women and other groups facing discrimination, and continuing challenges faced by the Law profession, where improvements have been glacial in recent years. Finally, in the interview with Vicky Pryce, we see where this debate can lead - if things are not getting better with current approaches, Vicky argues that for women we need to consider the 'nuclear option' of quotas. These are the challenges for our New Year!
One underexplored aspect of the global economy in recent decades has been an explosion in the creation, issuing and enforcement of regulations. But is this emerging regulatory state necessary in the modern age, both to protect consumers and adapt to the changing needs of contemporary trade - or is this weight of regulation excessive and harmful to competition? Some even argue that such rules - often issued by unelected officials and removed from the electorate - represent a threat to democracy itself? Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has revived interest in these issues, since the UK may soon be extricating itself from a weight of historic regulatory rules dating back to the Maastricht Treaty. Yet increasing regulation is actually part of a global trend, with the US, China, and to a lesser extent, Japan also defining the trade landscape through their different regimes. Today, the IEA's Head of Education Dr Steve Davies makes the case that the regulatory state, and its push for harmonisation, is damaging competition. Back in 1970s Europe, he argues, you could determine good regulations from the bad by monitoring each country’s individual rules and regulations and learning from best practice. On our podcast today, Steve and the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews discuss these topics and more.
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?