March 2013

“Drunk in charge of a keyboard” – survey reveals risks of online shopping under the influence

The UK has taken to online retail like no other nation in the world.  And now a survey suggests that one in four shoppers has clicked on “buy” while drunk – with two out of five later regretting the purchase.

 People questioned for the survey admitted that online shopping was putting them at a higher risk of getting into debt. 

Private renting, debt and homelessness

The loss of a private rented home has become the biggest cause of homelessness, according to new figures from Shelter.

More than 20 per cent of families and individuals accepted onto council homeless registers had applied because they had lost rented homes. This figure is up from 14% two years ago. 

Overall, the number of people accepted as homeless by councils is up 10 per cent since 2011.  Almost two thirds (64 per cent) were accepted because they were families with children. 

The Budget - what effect will it have on debt levels?

Amidst the welter of early commentary on the Budget, two views have shed some light on how debt levels are likely to be affected by the new announcements. 

The Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Julia Unwin, said that the Budget had "failed the anti-poverty test", with little to help struggling families.

Meanwhile, the website MoneySavingExpert.com set out the first details of the "help to buy" scheme announced by the Chancellor, commenting on its likely effect on house prices - along with some of the risks.

Spending cutbacks leave a £136 billion hole in the economy, says Which?

UK households have cut back on their annual spending by an average of more than £3,000 year since 2007, according to a new analysis from Which?.  

Some £1,750 every year was saved on non-essentials, while the rest has been shaved from food, housing and energy.  Which? calculates that the cutback on non-essentials has effectively removed  £136billion from the economy.

“They didn’t teach us to manage our money” – parents and schools blamed for financial problems

More than half of 25-34 year olds believe they were not taught to be financially responsible by their parents, according to Axa's Big Money Index, which tracks consumer intentions and trends.

And more than a third of all respondents said the lack of financial education in schools was to blame for people struggling to manage their money.  Personal disorganisation was the root cause of financial problems, according to 43 per cent of the survey.

Facts and stats on payday loans

The Office of Fair Trading's report on payday loans included figures that provoked several sharp intakes of breath.

Debt Advice Foundation and others had been shouting for a very long time about the scandalous fees and interest rates that come into play when a pay day loan is rolled over.  But for the first time the OFT demonstrated that 50 per cent of payday lenders' revenue came from the 28 per cent of loans that were rolled over.

OFT attacks “widespread irresponsible lending” among payday lenders

The Office of Fair Trading has given payday lenders three months to “change their business practices” or risk losing their licence.  It also plans to refer the payday industry to the Competition Commission.

In its much anticipated report, the OFT said it had found evidence of“widespread irresponsible lending”, “failure to comply with the standards required of them” and “deep-rooted problems in how lenders compete with each other”.

Which? shines a light on the tricks that trap you in credit

Consumer champions Which? are calling for the new financial regulators to be tough on mainstream lenders who shower high fees and higher interest rates on people who get into difficulty with loans.

From 1 April, the new Financial Conduct Authority will be responsible for “requiring firms to put the well-being of their customers at the heart of how they run their business, promoting effective competition and ensuring that markets operate with integrity”.