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An alternative to payday: Are credit unions the answer? - 14th November 2016

Why is it that despite bad publicity, payday lending is growing, while many people still haven’t heard of credit unions? The growth of payday lending over the last decade, and other forms of credit, is largely in response to income insecurity[1]. Credit is often used as a safety net when incomes do not cover all outgoing expenses. This is true of people both in and out of work.

Tackling the big issue of poor financial capability: Free online personal finance education - 8th November 2016

In a week when an MAS survey revealed that 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings it is timely to ask what is being done to tackle the national crisis of poor financial capability and its translation into the inadequate management of household finances.

How much should we be worried about the UK’s £1.5 trillion personal debt burden? - 7th November 2016

The latest figures show that the total personal debt in this country has now reached £1.5 trillion. This huge figure certainly gives cause for thought particularly in the light of expectations that interest rates will start to rise in the coming years to combat the expected further rise in price inflation.

But whilst there are good reasons for be concerned about personal debt in this country there are also reasons to take a considered view of household indebtedness.

Households braced for higher price inflation - 3rd November 2016

The vote to leave the European Union (EU) in June triggered a sharp fall in Sterling’s value against foreign currencies. Potentially good news for exporters who have found their products more price competitive in overseas markets. Good news too for UK listed companies whose earnings are largely generated in non-Sterling currencies. By contrast the slump in Sterling’s value is bad news for households since the rising cost of imported goods is set to push inflation up quite sharply in the next year.

For once, good news for low income earners as pay rises quickly - 26th October 2016

The latest income data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) present some good news for the low paid in the UK – their gross earnings in the year to April this year rose at the fastest rate for any income group. The 6.2% average increase for the low paid is largely the result of the increase to the National Minimum Wage. Coupled with the above-inflation increases to the personal allowance for income tax in recent years, the growth in net earnings for the low paid has also been significant and has resulted in a decrease in income inequality in the UK.

The Government does a U-turn on a secondary annuity market - 23rd October 2016

A key element of the package of pension reforms unveiled in 2015 by the former Chancellor, George Osborne, was the proposal to open up a secondary market for the sale of annuities. Now the Government has decided that this objective, aimed at giving consumers more options for a better income stream in retirement, has been abandoned.

The review of the State Pension Age gets underway – will some personalisation be introduced? - 13th October 2016

The first of the new reviews of the State Pension Age (SPA) is getting underway, led by John Cridland, formerly of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The new arrangements require a report to be presented to the government every five years with this first review scheduled for delivery in 2017.

The Chancellor changes tack on Lloyds share sale whilst plans to return RBS to the private sector remain firmly on hold. - 7th October 2016

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the planned public sale of the government’s remaining 9 per cent shareholding in Lloyds Bank has been abandoned. The government will, instead, sell its remaining stake in the bank in tranches of private sales to City institutions and pension funds.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008 the bail-out of Lloyds required government funds of £20 billion. Some £17 billion has already been recouped by earlier sales of the government’s shares in the bank.

Tackling the big issue of poor financial capability: Free online personal finance education - 2nd October 2016

In a week when an MAS survey revealed that 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings it is timely to ask what is being done to tackle the national crisis of poor financial capability and its translation into the inadequate management of household finances.

Consumers are not protected against bank transfer scams – so what can the public do? - 25th September 2016

One of the fastest growing forms of crime in the UK is online fraud with criminals extracting millions from the public via a range of telephone- and internet-based scams. Whilst the public is increasingly aware of the risk of losing money in this way most people are not cognisant of their lack of entitlement to receive compensation. The reality is that for losses arising from such scams, where money is sent to a bogus account, consumers have no right of redress from their own bank.

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