Personal insolvencies fall

According to the BBC, fewer people were declared insolvent in England & Wales in the first 3 months of the year, although experts predict a rise later in the year with job losses expected to increase and austerity measures continuing to take effect.

There were 30,162 personal insolvencies in the first quarter, down 1.7% on the previous 3 months and the fourth consecutive quarterly fall.

There has been a sharp fall in the number of people choosing the traditional route of bankruptcy and the number of people choosing individual voluntary arrangements has fallen too.  However, the new style of insolvency for those with relatively low debts – known as a Debt Relief Order – grew in number.

Separate figures released in April showed that personal insolvencies also fell in Scotland.

Read more at bbc.co.uk

Spending habits change as cuts continue

A survey from R3*, the trade body for Insolvency Professionals, has suggested that:

  • more than 80% of people have changed their spending habits in the past 12 months
  • 51% are buying fewer non-essentials such as clothes and DVDs
  • 47% of respondents say they now shop around before purchasing goods
  • 22% admit to buying non-essential goods from supermarkets rather than specialist retail chains

*Source – Credit Action May 2011 edition

Couples spending nearly £4,500 less on weddings

The average British couple will spend £16,569 on their own wedding, according to research by Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank*.  This is £4,331 less than last year’s average.

Couples are finding innovative ways of cutting costs with 30% saying they would trim their wedding guest list and not invite aunts and uncles.  10% would ask their groom and groomsmen to wear their own suits, while 8% of brides even said they would be prepared to buy their dress on eBay.

 

*Source – Credit Action May 2011 edition

What banking reform could mean for us

If proposals from the Independent Commission on Banking are accepted, there could be interesting changes for customers.  Money.co.uk has highlighted the main points of interest including:

  • Retail banking should be kept separate from riskier investment banking
  • For every £100 that retail banks lend, they should set aside £10 as a safety buffer
  • It should be easier for customers to switch accounts
  • Portable account numbers should be introduced so that you don’t need to change direct debits and standing orders when you switch
  • A 7 day transfer period should be enforced to speed things up when you move your banking from one current account provider to another
  • Eligibility for financial products should be made more flexible

The Government will decide if these changes can be implemented at the end of the consultation process which is due to finish in September.

Are you looking after the grandchildren?

If so, a study from Aviva* has found that around half of all UK grandparents – 7 million people nationwide – now look after their grandchildren and help around the house while mum and dad are at work.

On average, each grandparent will care for two children for around 13 hours a week, with 99.5% doing so without pay.

Given that childminding costs currently stand at almost £2,400 per annum, Aviva calculates that this represents a collective saving of £33 billion of ‘free money’ every year.

 

*Source – Credit Action April 2011 edition

What if mortgage interest rates go up?

Could you afford your monthly mortgage repayments if interest rates go up?  According to research by moneysupermarket.com*, 42% of homeowners are worried about the effect an interest rate rise will have on their mortgage payments.

In addition, an alarming 17% of people surveyed said that they will be unable to afford their mortgage repayments when interest rates do rise.

 

* Source – Credit Action April 2011 edition