October 2012

Almost five million workers do not earn enough for “basic standard of living”, says KPMG report

Just one in five workers in the UK (4.82 million) earns enough for what is considered to be a decent standard of living.  This conclusion comes from new research carried out for accountancy firm KPMG. 

The research looked at the Living Wage, a voluntary rate which is calculated to give workers a basic standard of living.  It is currently £7.20 and hour (£8.30 in London); the national minimum wage is set at £6.19.   

New insolvency analysis from Office of National Statistics

Figures on personal insolvency have been analysed by the Office of National Statistics to produce an “insolvency map” for the whole of England and Wales.

Produced principally for those responsible for regional and local economic policy, the picture nevertheless paints a picture of what personal insolvency looked like across England and Wales in 2011.

The analysis shows, for example, that seaside towns are at higher levels of individual insolvency, while London has the lowest levels. 

Facing up to the family budget

It’s half-term for many of us – when Christmas shopping will start in earnest.  So what better week to think about that source of so many family rows – money.

Many family upsets are rooted in the fact that parents and children don’t talk about money together.  How many of us sit down and talk to our children about how much life actually costs?  How many families get together and work out how much they can afford to spend during the holidays and at Christmas? 

Self-employed businesspeople claim they will “never” retire

While discussions about the rising retirement age continue, some 40 per cent of self-employed business men and women say they have no intention of retiring. 

In a survey conducted by Prudential, small business owners said they invest in their company first – and almost half of those questioned had no private pension arrangement in place.

New legal advice funding in Scotland aims to reduce the number of homes being lost through debt

New funding from the Scottish Government and the Money Advice Service is set to provide legal advice for people at court who are facing the risk of losing their home.

Special projects in all regions of Scotland are to be funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, which has received £4.8million from the Scottish Government and £2.2million from the Money Advice Service.

OFT raids offices of payday lenders

Figures from the Office of Fair Trading obtained by law firm Pinsent Masons show that a total of 68 payday lenders’ offices were searched in the first five months of this year.  Just one similar visit was made in 2011.

According to the law firm the raids, which were carried out using formal powers of entry set out in the Consumer Credit Act, will have allowed officials to check a wide range of business operations.  These could have included checks on phone calls, loan applications and how decisions about loans were made. 

Lobbying for Financial Education

The case for financial education is being made at this month’s party conferences, with the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) lobbying for young people to be taught money management in all schools - a cause strongly supported by Debt Advice Foundation.

Doing the payday loans sums – how debt can double in three months or triple in five

Borrowers are being warned that short-term, high interest lenders do not have to give examples on their websites of exactly what happens if debts are not paid by the agreed date.

By law, they must show an annual percentage rate (APR) for all loans, and explain what happens if you cannot pay in full when repayment is due.  However, they don’t have to set out any examples – which would demonstrate just how quickly fees and interest rates rack up.

New rules on pensions and investment advice being bent before they come into force, according to the FSA

New rules designed to make it clear to consumers how much they are paying for pensions and investments advice are being swerved before they are even in force.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) says that although the ban on payment of commission on pensions and investments does not start until the end of 2012, financial advisers and product providers have already found ways to get around it.