British Gas have revealed this week that more than four million households face a 5.5 per cent bill increase from the end of May thanks to changes to its standard variable tariff. Hot on its heels, EDF Energy announced it will be hiking the cost of energy bills by 1.4 per cent for 1.3 million customers. In this week’s podcast, Rachel Rickard Straus and Lee Boyce say it is time for people to fight back and switch.
On the energy theme, we talk about our campaign to stop power firms using bullying tactics in order to force households into getting a smart meter – and why it is better to wait until the end of the year. We take a look at some of the methods to make your home more energy efficient, including insulation and wood burning stoves.
Good news. Chances are you just got a tax cut. Well an income tax cut at least, problem is your council tax is likely to be rising and if you are an investor the Government is after more of your dividends, or if you’re a landlord it wants your rental income.
So who are the winners and losers of the new tax year that rolled round on 6 April? And what are the candidates for dumbest bits of Britain’s tax code. In this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Rachel Rickard Straus and George Frost take a look at who is getting the biggest tax cut and who is being hit.
Building up a pension was once relatively simple, for each year you worked for a company it promised to pay you some money in retirement. The death of the final salary scheme put paid to that and now most people must invest into a pension instead - with their work helping out. But while it is tempting to put off a pension and think you have more pressing financial matters to deal with, that's a mistake.
The earlier you start and the more you pay in, the greater your chance of having a richer retirement. On this week's podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost talk pensions.
“My property is my pension”. That was the popular saying when buy-to-let was all the rage and every other person you met fancied their chances as a minor property mogul. But life has got much tougher for landlords, with a series of tax grabs and tougher mortgage rules hitting. So does buy-to-let still stack up as a way to build your wealth? It certainly requires a lot of money upfront, even more now than ever before, and while the taxman will take a big chunk of your buy-to-let investment pot in stamp duty, he’ll give you money back if you invest in a pension instead. Simon Lambert, Sarah Davidson and Georgie Frost take a look at Buy-to-Let and the property market in this week’s podcast, and at how it compares to investing in your ISA or a pension. They also look at investing in property without buying it directly yourself, whether houses are too expensive now for good profits in years to come, or if there are some areas where an investment still makes sense. Also - whether interest rates will definitely rise in May, and what’s behind the tough times on the High Street. And finally - ever wondered whether you could stick a hypercar on finance? We explain how much that costs.
It’s not long before the door slams shut on your chance to use this year’s Isa allowance. It’s always best not to leave Isa saving or investing until the last month of the tax year, but many of us will do so. So, here is our special Isa podcast – with a comfortable three weeks to spare before the 5 April tax year end. In it, Simon Lambert, Rachel Rickard Straus and Georgie Frost dive into everything you need to know about Isas, from cash, to stocks and shares, and Innovative to Lifetime.
It also looks at why investing is the best way to get inflation-beating returns over the long term, how savers can eke some precious extra interest from accounts, and why an Isa is worth having.
We have a housing crisis. That’s the message, loud and clear, and it was reiterated by the Prime Minister this week. What’s the answer? Build more homes. Or is it? Because once you start digging into the subject, this housing crisis is a pretty ill-defined problem - and it’s not clear that a lack of homes is causing the problem of too high house prices.
Many people suspect that actually it’s too much cheap money that made homes so expensive.
On this week’s podcast episode, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost get stuck into the housing crisis. They look at what the problem is meant to be, what made homes so expensive, what the plans are to solve the issue, and whether building more homes will make house prices cheaper.
Toys R Us and Maplin were sunk this week, investors are nervously watching Carpetright and Mothercare, and restaurants from Jamie Oliver’s, to Byron, and now Prezzo are closing their doors. This week’s shop closures could see more than 5,000 jobs lost. It looks like a slow motion crash on the High Street. But at the same time the economy is doing okay, and sales in the housing market are reasonably buoyant, so why the trouble?
In this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Rachel Rickard Straus take a look at Britain’s high street woes and whether it is company debt, consumer confidence, overexpansion gone wrong, or a failure to keep up with the times that is sinking well-known names.
Just how does the mythical and bizarre world of credit ratings really work? How can you improve your score and what does the figure even mean?
On this week's podcast, personal finance editor Rachel Rickard Straus and consumer affairs editor Lee Boyce join presenter Georgie Frost to discuss this and how one unknown fraud marker on a Cifas file left a reader with a 'do not employ' status when looking for job.
Whisper it: but there could be a cash Isa season this year. For years, banks and building societies scrambled to offer attractive rates – and 2018 could see the tax-free accounts finally en vogue once more.
Interest rates are going to rise in May, if you believe economists, but will things get better or worse for you if they do? Rising rates are often painted as bad news but for many a world in which they go up will look more enjoyable. What would be even more pleasurable is being paid more, so is Britain really finally about to break out of its low wage growth trap and get a pay rise?
On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Rachel Rickard Straus discuss why we don’t get paid enough, what we can do about it and how to look on the bright side of rising interest rates. Contrasting news on the struggles of first-time buyers, at the same time as they are at their highest level for a decade, is also on the agenda.
Buy, sell, or hold? When stock markets take a tumble, it's decision time. Investors got a shock this week, when the prolonged period without a stock market correction – dubbed the Big Calm – came to an abrupt end. In the UK, shares fell but not by as much, although some with more high-octane portfolios will be nursing bigger losses.
So, is this just a healthy correction, or is it the start of something bigger? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Alex Sebastian and Georgie Frost look at why shares fell, what investors should do when markets correct, and whether there is any way to dodge a crash.
We look at when that next rate rise is likely, and why the Bank has changed its tune. There's also a warning on debt from former Bank boss Mervyn King.