In recent times, private parking firms have come under scrutiny from motoring organisations, the Government… and This is Money. Many motorists will have received a dreaded charge in the post and in some cases, unjustifiably so. If that’s you, it’s time to fight back. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce take a look at whether private parking firms are playing fair. It comes as Lee received a third private parking charge in the post in four years, and for the third time appealed and had it magically cancelled. He explains his case and questions how he was issued the charge despite paying the correct amount and displaying the paid-for ticket in the windscreen. Also, is it fair to remove parking machines and replace them with apps? Halifax has been embroiled in a Twitter storm this week when it comes to pronouns and its bank branches – but what about the move to reduce new build deposits from 10% to 5%? Is it good news for first-time buyers? The energy price cap is set to surge to around £3,000 in October. Is it wise to try and find a fix with your supplier? Also, Simon explains why five FTSE-100 firms have seen their share price fall more than 40% since the start of the year, including Ocado and Royal Mail. And lastly, This is Money business doctor Dave Fishwick answers the question on many small business owner’s lips: how do I pass on price increases without annoying the loyal customer base?
A mortgage stress test designed to stop borrowers overstretching themselves will be scrapped, it was revealed this week. The mortgage industry has long bemoaned this supposedly unrealistic test that makes lenders check if borrowers can afford their repayments at a level higher than the fix or tracker deal they may be taking, their lender's standard variable rate plus 3%. Yet, isn't a bit of an odd time to finally get rid of this, just as interest rates are finally rising and the base rate has jumped from 0.1% to 1.25% in six months? What's more, it's forecast by some to keep rising and go as high as 3% by the end of the year: meaning almost that entire 3% rise which the stress test uses. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce discuss why the Bank of England is doing this and whether it is the right move, or could lead to risky lending and even higher house prices? Also, the team discuss inflation and how to (at least) try to do something to combat it with your savings - and also, why investors are finding it so hard to buy the dip and be greedy when others are fearful in the inflation storm. The renewed fervour for offering bumper deals on current accounts also goes under the microscope, but is a bung to join, an interest rate on your balance, or the ability to categorise your spending the best readon to switch? And finally, you live in an end of terrace house, someone wants to build next door using your wall and making your home a mid-terrace: surely that couldn't be allowed? Or would it? Listen to the end to find out.
Base rate has gone from 0.1% to 1.25% in the space of six months, in a flurry of rate rising that would have been considered unthinkable a year ago. Yet, as the Bank of England delivered another 0.25% raise, voices were raised in some corners to demand why it hadn't gone further. Why not a 0.5% jump or even a 0.75% one, as the Fed had delivered in the US? With inflation running at 9% and expected to head north into double digits, the onus is on the Bank of England to show it has a grip and we aren't heading back to the 1970s. But is rapidly raising rates the right thing to do and how will it affect savers, borrowers and investors? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the case for and against rate rises and what the impact is for the economy and people. Mortgage rates have risen even faster than the base rate, so what can those who need to remortgage do - and will this sink house prices? The team assess the prospects for the property market and offer their tips on what borrowers should do to prepare and protect themselves. Meanwhile, over in the US, it's the stock market that's suffering as rates rise. Why is that, and how bad could this bear market be? And finally, petrol prices keep hitting record highs and we want people to switch to electric cars but the Government has swiped away the £1,500 grant that helps people buy more affordable models. Will that make a difference, or has electric car demand reached a level where ditching a bung to help out is wise?
Women have already been hit by a huge state pension blunder in recent years, but now it seems the DWP is messing up again. After This is Money's Steve Webb and Tanya Jefferies exposed a £1 billion women's state pension scandal, which emerged from a reader question sent in to his column, you'd think the Government would be keeping on top of payments. But it has turned out that more women appear to being told they aren't due the right amount, or in one case that we reported on this week, anything at all. Tanya joins Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert to talk through the problems. Plus, are we saving enough for retirement? Steve sounded a warning this week that auto-enrolment was lulling people into a false sense of security and said that employers need to do more. The team discuss what you can do to make sure you are putting enough into your pension and why the self-employed need to pay particular attention. Also, the investment themes that could run for years and make you a profit, and is it time for investors to weigh up buying back into Scottish Mortgage after its 40% slump this year? And finally — petrol prices are rocketing, so is it time for a VAT cut to ease the double whammy of tax?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back on holiday... Britain descended into holiday chaos this week, as airlines cancelled hundreds of flights, airports struggled to cope and even Eurostar ended up with a day of disruption. For those who suffered at the hands of airline chaos, it was a harsh and unfair experience - with many of those travellers taking their first post-Covid trip abroad and others heading off for what were meant to be celebratory family events. Both airlines and airports let their passengers down - after all, they knew how many would be travelling, as they'd all booked tickets - and then got involved in a finger-pointing blame game with the Government. Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert discuss where the blame lies for the disruption, what people's rights are if their flights are cancelled and what we can all do to protect ourselves if we hope to go away over the summer. Also, the team talk about why some of the best mortgages are currently being offered by lesser-known building societies and how long you'd have to wait for an electric car's lower running costs to pay off. And finally, from travel chaos to energy firm blunders: how did Bulb swing from telling someone they were owed almost £2,000 and refunding them their cash when they moved, to declaring six months later that the customer now owed Bulb almost £2,000? Helen talks through a recent Crane on the Case, where Bulb seemingly decided Ofgem's one-year back billing rule didn't apply to it.
Sudden Wealth Syndrome. It's a thing apparently and something that many of us probably wouldn't mind suffering from. That's the term used to describe those who suddenly - and perhaps unexpectedly - come into a very large sum of money. And doing so brings plenty of benefits but also its own problems. Over the past week, we have heard about the couple who won £184million on the Euromillions, but what are the challenges they will face and how do you deal with that sum of money. We spoke to a number of experts about this and on this episode Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert discuss that they said - and why apparently going public is the right thing to do. The team also conjure up dreams of how they might use so much money, from the long-term, to the first thing they would do. Also on the agenda are the boost to the Premium Bonds prize fund and rate and whether this makes them a good option for savers and why buying a fixer-upper could end up costing you far more than a house that's already 'done'. And finally, just when you thought it was safe to go back on holiday ... the car hire crunch has got even worse. How bad is it and why?
Inflation continues to surge, the Bank of England says there is little it can do to stall it but is raising rates any way, and at the same time is warning of a potential recession looming. It seems safe to say this isn’t the Covid recovery year that many people were hoping for: the longed-for bout of calm and optimism has turned out to be a cost of living crisis instead. So, with inflation now at 9% and set to rise further and central banks swiftly changing their tune on low interest rates, is a recession inevitable? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert take a look at what is driving inflation, whether there is anything the Bank of England can do, if it should have acted sooner and whether we can hope for a nice surprise with inflationary pressure subsiding quicker than expected. The new proposal for a four times a year energy price cap change rather than one every six months is also on the agenda, along with the sting in the tail that some say means energy firms will be much less likely to offer cheap fixes once prices start falling. But in one part of the energy market prices are falling already. The cost of gas in Britain has plummeted recently: Simon explains how that has happened and why we can’t take advantage to lower our energy bills now. And finally, Crane on the Case continues to rack up consumer victory after consumer victory. Helen fills us in on her latest cases and what readers are flocking for help on.
The pandemic house price boom caught almost everyone by surprise and has continued to run for longer that most expected, but is it now about to end. Rising interest rates and the cost of living crunch are putting a serious squeeze on how much buyers can borrow - and that means they can't keep paying ever higher prices for homes. Meanwhile, stories are emerging of banks and building societies getting cold feet on some of the offers that ambitious buyers have had accepted and the lenders are down-valuing properties. What's a down-valuation? When the bank or building society says, 'we're sorry, but that property isn't worth what you have agreed to pay'. Combine that with the best mortgage rates having more than doubled and you might finally have the recipe for the property market running out of steam. Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert discuss whether house prices can defy gravity once more. Also — should you sign up to a savings platform to manage your cash in one place and hopefully get a boost on rates? Plus, what should investors do as a slow motion crash hits stock markets and sends the price of many shares and popular funds and trusts sinking? And finally, fed up of being told to cancel your subscriptions to save money? We look at ways to keep your favourite shows and music, but cut back on costs.
More than 40 years after Margaret Thatcher introduced Right to Buy, the current Prime Minister is considering plans to revamp the scheme. Could it unleash a home buying revolution and help give a much needed boost to the Government, or is it a bad idea rehashing an old scheme? This week, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost discuss the plans, how it could work and why it may be unleashed in the near future. Would it be unfair to private renters? With ever increasing property prices, would people be able to purchase them? And what are the current Right to Buy rules? It's safe to say that green bonds, launched by National Savings and Investments last year, have been a damp squib. Rates on them are low, and a three-year fix is a relatively niche product. Just how far have they missed the mark and could the rate head higher again to make them more attractive? On the other hand, Premium Bonds continue to be an incredibly popular way to save. The two jackpot winners this month had huge sums held in them – is that the only chance you have of winning a £1million, maxing out the holdings? There are calls to claim your pension credit – nearly one million people are missing out on extra cash and 'the door to more,' by not taking advantage. Could you, or someone you know, benefit? The Bank of England celebrates 25 years of independence – we ask whether New Labour's gamble of making it independent has paid off, just as it hikes base rate to a 13-year high of 1%. Meanwhile, Lee reveals details of a new This is Money columnist signing – businessman Dave Fishwick is ready to take your business and careers questions – find out how you can contact him.
Is there any point trying to save when inflation is so high? Interest rates are rising and savers can now get a far better return than a year ago, but compare those rates to inflation and they are losing even more money. So why bother? That's the question that Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert tackle in this podcast. From what the best rates are and where you can get them, to why you should avoid what Simon calls your bank or building society's 'insult account' – with a special mention for Nationwide - and how to turn a savings habit into an investing one that should hopefully get you a better return, the podcast team talk all things saving. Also on the agenda: where are the best places to start investing a small amount, and why that has got so much easier in recent years? Simon shares a bit of behind the scenes knowledge on investing platforms and why they are pushing so hard for new investors – and gives some tips on getting started the easy way. But not everyone will be feeling like they have money to stash away right now: the cost of living crisis is seeing people cut back, the ONS, revealed this week – and that's before most bills spiked. Where are they cutting back and is there anything we can do to help them? (Bonkers two-year MOT ideas excluded). And finally - just when you thought printing at home couldn't get any worse, printer firms came up with a way to make it better… and then made it worse.
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