The Chancellor’s coronavirus rescue plan for the British economy has been bold and big, but one important part of the workforce feels somewhat hard done by. A chunk of the self-employed have been excluded from Rishi Sunak’s support in a way that employees have not. More than 9million employees are having 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month paid by the taxpayer under the furlough scheme, with no limits barring high earners from help. In contrast, anyone who is self-employed and has made more than £50,000 in recent years gets no help whatsoever. Those hit by the £50,000 cap are not the limited company directors who can pay themselves in dividends, they are sole traders paying national insurance and income tax in full on their earnings. At a time when the government is throwing hundreds of billions of pounds at the coronavirus crash to support people and boost the chances of recovery, is it fair to exclude this group of the self-employed? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Tanya Jefferies look at how this has happened and whether there is any hope left for those affected that things might change. Tanya also updates listeners on her ground-breaking investigations into widows underpaid state pension, which have seen her win tens of thousands of pounds back for those who got less than they should have. Simon reveals the best and worst performing funds of the year so far and tries to tackle the question of whether the US stock market can just keep on trucking. And finally, recent podcasts have featured how Britain has gone mad for hot tubs in lockdown but there is a new hot property in town – the awfully-named ‘shoffice’.
In an unpredicted turn of events, the coronavirus lockdown has been good for some when it comes to their bank balances. People collectively tucked away £30billion in savings accounts in March and April, around three times as much as the two months previous - with this credited to surplus cash and moving money to safety. A large slab of that went into easy-access accounts despite plunging rates. Meanwhile, we cleared a record amount of personal debt, according to Bank of England figures. The ONS says households are spending £183 less a week, but while some might be lucky to salt that away, many wouldn't come anywhere near it. Lockdown saving is not a universal picture. Many are facing up to lost income or losing their jobs entirely. In this podcast, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost take a look at the figures. Much of the money stashed away at big banks pays 0.1 per cent or less, meaning collectively, billions of lost interest – where are rates heading? National Savings and Investments currently has a few best buy accounts, how long can it prop up the market and are we turning our backs on stocks and shares Isas? Meanwhile, the IMF says the crisis will wipe £10trillion off the global economy: what's happened to the V-shaped recovery? With pubs and shops slowly reopening, will Britons head back and spend their cash to help the economy? Simon talks about investing like Warren Buffett and what opportunities are out the post-lockdown world. With the heatwave that has smothered Britain this week, we take a look at how much it costs to run items that are designed to cool us down, and those trendy garden gadgets.
Banks and building societies have been slashing their mortgage ranges for those with smaller deposits. The number of mortgages available for those with a 10 per cent deposit has plummeted by 90 per cent compared since the start of March. This week, Nationwide announced it won’t lend on deposits smaller than 15 per cent, while TSB says even that’s not quite enough. What’s going on and is this triggering a mortgage credit crunch?
On this week’s podcast we look at how the mortgage squeeze compares to what happened after the financial crisis, how this will affect those who want to buy and those who need to remortgage. Will the crunch last and send house prices down? Or has Britain’s property market got the kind of Terminator characteristics that will see it claw its way back up from coronavirus? Also, this week, as inflation nosedives we look at how savers can now beat the cost of living – are they really better off?
And finally, while the nation is supposedly feeling the punch from the economic effects of coronavirus, there are some strange spending patterns going on... ...This is Money has uncovered a hot tub sales boom in lockdown, but why?
Stock markets crashing tend to put savers off investing in shares, but there has been a sizeable rise in new investors in Britain during lockdown, reports suggest. That came as savings rates plummeted (again) and people decided to go hunting for a bargain amid the stock market turmoil in March and April. But who are these novice investors and what do you need to think about to get started? On this week's podcast This is Money editor Simon Lambert tells host Georgie Frost what first timers need to know about building an investment portfolio - and gives some tips on easy ways to get started and why British isn't always best for investors. Managers can invest in their own fund or investment trust, but how do you find out if they do - and whether they're buying or selling, and does it matter? Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs backed Marcus Bank has pulled its best buy easy-access savings account – assistant editor Lee Boyce reveals why and how we are set to see rates tumble even further. Should you gamble on taking a European summer holiday in July, August or September and if you are tempted, what do you need to know? Euro 2020 should have been starting today, but at least for sport-starved fans Premier League football returns next week. However, you'll need a major tournament-style wallchart if you plan on catching the action, with Amazon Prime, BBC, BT Sport and Sky Sports all having games on – how do you watch for the cheapest price? And finally, property sales in England have started to edge up but apparently million-pound-plus homes in the country are leading the way. Are buyers really swapping Millionaire's Row for Millionaire's Lane?
Since lockdown began in March, there has been a huge uptick in cycling and walking, as people got out and about while staying at home. But while before coronavirus we were all told public transport was a good thing, now with restrictions easing and Britain slowly going back to work, Britons have been told to actively avoid it. Does that mean the inevitable return of the car, or with the Government promising billions to create a new era for cycling and walking, is there a brighter and greener future for mobility. Could one of the keys be electric bicycles and scooters? Editor Simon Lambert reveals all to host Georgie Frost and assistant editor Lee Boyce after giving a GoCycle GX folding electric bike a trial. How good are the batteries, how long do they take to charge, how much do they cost, what schemes are available to purchase them and what is the point of them? Meanwhile, the car industry has been rocked by Covid-19, with job losses aplenty and sales grinding to a halt. Registrations sank 89 per cent to the record-lowest May since 1952, but despite that, sales of electric vehicles were up 22 per cent – and the Tesla Model 3 was the best seller. Could it be time to head to a showroom to haggle a bargain, will there be yet another scrappage scheme and why has Fiat launched a pay-as-you-go model of ownership? This weekend could also be a good time to fill up, with petrol prices set to head higher after weeks of lower motoring costs: many Britons have been able to find unleaded for under £1 a litre. And finally, with more people using their cars to make deliveries, are they properly insured?
It's nearly June, the sun is shining, and right about now people would usually be eagerly anticipating summer breaks they’ve booked, or planning where to go away. Meanwhile, the sunny weather over the past few months would usually have led to thoughts (and lots of features) on a staycation summer. But this isn’t any given year. Coronavirus and the lockdown means we are advised not to travel abroad, don't know when we will be able to, and might have to take an extra two weeks off to quarantine when we get back. That should means it’s Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk, Wales, or a week in Skegness on our minds, instead of France or Spain. Overnight trips are still barred though, the domestic holiday industry is unsure when it will be back up-and-running, and some locals are reportedly not too keen on visitors. So, will we get a holiday this summer and how can you protect yourself when booking and paying? On this podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost talk holidays: where to go, when you might be allowed to, and the all-important financial side involving booking, cancellations and refunds. There is also the thorny question of how travel will look in the future and whether the holiday industry will bounce back while people still have long waits and fights for refunds on cancelled trips fresh in their mind? And finally, what about opting for van life instead? Volkswagen revealed this week that quotes for its California campervans have soared in lockdown – and Simon fill us in on what it’s like to go away on a 2,000 mile road trip in one, having done so the summer before last. He’s also got an idea, involving buying a campervan and renting it out, so that it pays for itself and turns a profit. Classic man maths or solid money-maker, you decide?
The threat of negative interest rates is looming large for savers. This week, a government bond auction saw UK gilts sold at a negative rate for the first time, while Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey refused to rule out the base rate flipping below zero. But could you end up with a negative rate on your savings account? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost look at the weird world of negative rates – an upside down where investors effectively pay to lend the government money, banks are charged interest for depositing funds with the Bank of England, and you’d end up being stung rather than rewarded for saving. Not that there’s much reward for saving in many places right now: a This is Money investigation this week revealed that 235 savings accounts now pay 0.01 per cent interest. That is 10p per year on £1,000 saved and some may prefer not to be insulted in that way and have their bank or building society join the six accounts where absolutely zero is paid. The best accounts pay just over 1 per cent and while that’s not much, at least savers are getting a real return on their money, with inflation at 0.8 per cent. But another warning has been sounded and it’s that the end game of through-the-looking-glass monetary policy could be inflation soaring. The team look at what the argument is and whether it stacks up. The base rate is at 0.1 per cent (and could go negative) and bond yields are on the floor, because of the economic destruction of the coronavirus crisis. The furlough scheme is one of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s flagship efforts to combat this, but another This is Money investigation this week revealed companies that have taken advantage of the taxpayer’s offer to pay 80 per cent of their staff’s wages are now threatening to make them redundant anyway. And finally, on a lighter note, if you’re feeling brave then you might decide now is the time to buy a home, while house prices and confidence have taken a knock, but is the estate agent allowed to tell you what others have offered?
A This is Money investigation has revealed a string of women who have been underpaid their state pension, but are they just the tip of an iceberg? On this week’s podcast, our pensions agony uncle Steve Webb and pension and investing editor Tanya Jefferies tell the stories of the women paid thousands less in state pension over the years than they should have been - and discuss their probe into the matter. Steve estimates that there could be tens of thousands of women who have been underpaid state pension. This is Money has called for a full review, but the Department of Work and Pensions is reluctant to act other than on a case-by-case basis. Should more be done?
Also, on this week’s podcast Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss the reopening of the property market, who might be brave enough to buy and sell now, and what the forecasts are for sales and house prices. Estate agents Knight Frank predict a 7 per cent drop, while the Bank of England says property prices may fall 16 per cent, but agents claim that lockdown has created pent-up demand. And, as the furlough scheme is extended, we look at the implications of 7.5million people having 80 per cent of their wages picked up by the state and how Britain weans itself off that.
The latest Santander 123 account rate cut, trying to turn a profit on mortgage holidays, how we pay for the coronavirus crisis and furlough scheme and the crash in car sales all feature on this week’s This is Money podcast. Once upon a time, Santander’s 123 could lay claim to being the king of the current accounts. As banks battled to customers to switch, Santander’s cashback and 3% interest-packing deal was one of the main challengers for the crown. The shine came off slightly when that interest rate was chopped to 1.5% in 2016, but now the 123 account has been doubly dented with a rate cut to 0.6% announced on the very same day the rate was already being cut to 1%. In all but name it’s now the Santander 1, 2, 0.6 account and that doesn’t quite have the same attraction. But when letters are coming through the post telling you that your savings account has been chopped to 0.01%, perhaps it is still worth bagging a current account paying 0.6%. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost look at why Santander has chopped again, if the deal is still worth taking regardless, and whether the great current account switching push has fizzled out. Next up on the podcast is mortgage holidays. Figures show almost 2 million people have taken up the option of a break from their mortgage payments, but some who don’t need to take one have been wondering if it might be a financially savvy move to do so anyway. Could you save or invest the skipped payments and make money in the long run? And even if that is possible, is it ethical? Plus with 6.3 million people furloughed, can we really expect the mortgage holidays to end in June – and how does the nation pay for the colossal coronavirus rescue package? And finally, Britain’s best-selling car in April was Tesla’s Model 3 but astonishingly it wasn’t the most sold vehicle. That accolade went to a van, the Mercedes Sprinter, but will the motor industry be changed by all this?
It’s been called the Fomo rally, as shares picked themselves up off the floor after a diabolical March and bear markets turned bullish. The FTSE 100 closed a notch below 5,000 on 23 March, the day it was announced Britain was going into lockdown, but somehow managed to bounce 23 per cent to the middle of this week before slipping back. In the US, April was even more astonishing – the S&P 500 had its best month since 1987. So, what’s going on? Is this the stock market signalling the start of a coronavirus recovery, or have investors merely been piling in driven by Fomo – the fear of missing out. The big US tech names’ star turn has helped drive confidence and in the UK it has been the big names hit hard that have rebounded over the past four weeks, including housebuilders, Next, Cineworld, ITV and the FTSE 100’s top riser is cruise ship firm Carnival – up 63 per cent as brave investors buy in. But are investors getting ahead of themselves and simply all chasing in the same direction like kids with a football? On this week’s podcast, we look at the rally, what’s driving it – beyond Fomo – and the history of false dawns in stock market crashes, known as the dreaded dead cat bounce. Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost also discuss how Britain gets back to business and how the plans might shape up for getting us back into factories, offices, shops, pubs, restaurants and everywhere else. Plus, would you dare book a holiday now? If so, the podcast duo discuss what you need to consider. And finally, the clock has have passed by quickly for a generation of cars that some of us grew up with and the Metro, Fiat Panda and early Vauxhall Astra are now 40 years old, tax exempt, and theoretically classic cars… but are they?