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Inflation on the up – but no need to panic - 21st March 2017

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that price inflation in the UK is on the rise.   

 At 2.3% the rate to the end of February, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), is 0.5% higher than in the year to the end of January. The news is not a great surprise – the fall in the value of the pound following the vote to leave the EU in the referendum last June is pushing up import prices and this gets reflected in the cost of living indices in the UK.

Unemployment rate now as low as in 1975 – but there’s no upward pressure on earnings inflation - 16th March 2017

The latest unemployment and earnings data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) portray an interesting picture of the labour market in the UK. At 4.7% of the workforce unemployment is now as low as it was in summer 1975 – the year of the first referendum on membership of the European Economic Community (the precursor to the European Union).

Gin and cycle helmets make a comeback to the basket used to measure inflation - 14th March 2017

Every year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revises the contents of the so-called ‘basket of goods’ used to measure price inflation in the UK. The changes, reflecting shifting consumer preferences, are essential to ensure that the resultant measures of inflation provide a true barometer of how changing prices are affecting the average household. The annual changes made by the ONS are therefore a good guide to changing tastes when it comes to eating and drinking and changing habits when it comes to social and sporting activities.

Spring budget statements end with a whimper rather than a bang - 8th March 2017

TS Eliot’s poem ‘The Hollow Men’ ends with the line that the world would end 'not with a bang but a whimper’. The same phrase could be applied to the last spring budget statement presented today by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

This last spring budget saw only 28 measures announced compared with 77 last year. Virtually all the main announcements had been trailed before today and there were no great surprises. Even the Chancellor joked that two of his headline statements had been made public in the last few days by the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Timing the market? ‘Pound cost averaging’ can make life easier - 26th February 2017

One overworked cliché about decisions to buy or sell shares and other securities is ‘get your timing right’.

Sound advice. However the history of good investment decisions that were all about good timing, as opposed to simply good luck, is pretty thin.

Many women are missing out on workplace pension schemes - 22nd February 2017

Worrying news that many female workers are missing out from being auto-enrolled onto workplace pension schemes has come from Citizens Advice.

The issue is that many women have a number of part-time jobs and do not earn the minimum annual income of at least £10,000 from one employer that would trigger their auto-enrolment onto a workplace pension schemes. This means that they miss out on the employers’ contributions towards their pension that such workplace schemes require.

New study highlights an old truth – poverty is about relative income and relative living standards - 16th February 2017

A study published this week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that a third of the UK population is living on inadequate income. In effect this implies that this large group of people are living in relative poverty – a startling observation about the state of UK society in the 2010s.

Young men are now earning less than the previous generation - 9th February 2017

Data published by the Resolution Foundation has found that the long-established trend for each generation to earn more than previous ones has come to an end. Men in their 20s are, on average, now earning less than those born between 1966 and 1980 did when they were in their 20s. The cumulative pay shortfall between the current and that past generation for the 10 years of earnings up to the age of 30, adjusted for price inflation, amounts to £12,500.

The upward pressure on car insurance premiums has multiple causes - 3rd February 2017

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has announced that car insurance premiums hit a record high in the last three months of 2016. The average premium for a fully comprehensive policy was £462, beating the previous record high of £443 in spring 2012.

There are several reasons for the increase in premiums:

  • The growing complexity of cars, with their increasingly sophisticated electronics, has pushed up repair costs with the average repair bill rising to £1678. This amounts to a 32% increase over the past three years.

Does higher price inflation spell the end to a mini-boom in living standards? - 29th January 2017

Recent months have seen a rise in price inflation in the UK fuelled largely by the impact of a weaker pound on the cost of imports. The fall in the pound’s value, triggered by the referendum vote to leave the EU last June, has been good news to exporters but bad news for households who have seen food and petrol prices rise.

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