October 2010

Third Of The Nation Don’t Have Enough Savings To Last A Week

One in three people in the UK don’t have enough savings to last a week, according to the findings of a new survey that was published last week.

Research by HSBC claims that a third of the nation has less than £249 - equivalent of five days' average take-home pay - with 19 per cent having no money saved at all.

As a debt charity, we regularly receive calls from people who are faced with an unexpected change in circumstances and don’t have enough money saved to tide them through their financial difficulties.

Government Announces Big Change To Benefits System

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has outlined a number of changes to the benefits system to tackle the growing UK public borrowing deficit. The measures that are likely to grab the headlines are that child benefit is to be scrapped for families where at least one parent pays the higher rate of tax and families on benefits will not be allowed to claim more than the average working family earns.

Mortgage Support Cut To Hit Elderly Hardest

The Government has revealed the rate of mortgage interest support is to be cut from 6.08% to 3.63% as part of a package of measurs to reduce the public deficit. The interest payments, which are paid to 227,000 low-income families, will drop by £80 on average to £120. The concession was due to end on 31st December 2010 but the new Government decided to bring it forward. The Government said the 40% reduction in mortgage support will save taxpayers £200 a year.

National Minimum Wage Increases By 13 pence

The government has announced that the national minimum wage has increased from £5.80 per hour to 5.93 per hour, with 21 year olds benefiting from the higher tariff for the first time. Younger workers have also benefited with the hourly rate for 16 and 17 year olds increasing from £3.57 to £3.64. 18 – 20 years olds will now receive £4.92, up from £4.83. A national minimum wage of £2.50 is also being introduced for apprentices for the first time.

Homeowners Begin To Rebuild Lost Equity

The Bank of England has release figures suggesting homeowners are repaying their mortgages at the fastest rate since the first quarter of last year, with £6.2bn in capital repayments being made in the second quarter of 2010. The increase follows a recent survey from Santander, which suggested consumers had stopped saving in favour of repaying their debts. However, this latest data indicates that savers may have simply swapped investment in their bank account for their property.

Banks Expecting Mortgage Lending To Remain Constrained

Banks expect mortgage lending to remain unchanged and continue at recent low levels according to a Bank of England survey. However, the BOE’s Credit Conditions Survey revealed the amount of secured credit available to householders has risen in the last three months, as had lending to businesses. This loosening of the purse strings will come as welcome news to potential purchasers, who have been increasingly put off by strict lending criteria.

Savers Prioritise Debts Amid Employment Anxiety

The latest figures from the Markit UK Household Finance Index have revealed an increasing trend towards repayment of consumer debt. The research found with uncertain times ahead and public sector cuts imminent that consumers have realised the importance of reducing their debt. Public Sector workers are said to be the least optimistic about the future ahead of next month’s government spending review.

Industry Expert Says Consumer Spending Will Rescue The Economy

Charles Bean, the Bank Of England Deputy Governor has admitted that interest rates are being kept low to discourage savers and get people to start spending in order to kick-start economy. However, the Deputy Governor will face a tough task to reverse the recent trend which has seen consumers prioritising debt repayment over extending their borrowing.

Debt Management Companies Disguise As Charities

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned 129 debt management firms that they must to change the way they operate or face losing their license. The report highlighted the a number of problem areas including misleading advertising claims, poor visibility around the fees they were being levied and ‘recycling’ customers by way of multiple debt solutions to increase fees. The 11 month review revealed three quarters of firms within the sector charged fees at the start of their process, which would inevitably lead to the situation deteriorating further.