Household bills rise at twice the rate of inflation

Household bills have risen at nearly double the rate of inflation over the last decade, eroding people’s disposable incomes and reducing their standards of living, according to new research from Santander.

Santander found that the cost of household bills rose by 71% between 2001 and 2011, with gas and electricity bills doubling in price.

Meanwhile, growth in people’s wages has lagged both inflation and the rise in household bills, meaning consumers have gradually had less money to spend each year.

 

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Maternity misery as the cost of motherhood pushes more than a quarter of new mums into the red

According to a new survey by uSwitch.com, nearly three in ten mums (28%) end up in the red because of maternity leave, racking up an average of almost £2,500 of debt.  The financial burden of maternity leave forces 10% to borrow from their nearest and dearest but 14% resort to credit cards, loans and overdrafts.  In fact, one in four new mums feel financially prepared.

Read the press release at uSwitch.com

Long term care costs to hit £38bn by 2025

A new report by LV= shows as life expectancy in the UK increases, the number of people that will need to make use of formal long-term care services will increase by 1.1 million, an increase of 37%

A number of factors are contributing to the rising cost of long-term care:

  • Women are working later in life when they traditionally would have provided care
  • Families are increasingly living further apart, lessening the option of care within the family
  • Rapid increasing elderly population putting pressure on the infrastructure of care services and driving up cost

Nearly one in five adults believe they will have to fund the cost of their own long-term care in the future and when asked, nearly a quarter said they would use their property either through equity release, remortgaging or selling their home.  Just under a fifth said they would use savings or their pension income.

 

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

A Quarter of Households Billed Wrongly by Energy Companies

According to recent research by uSwitch.com, 25% of households have been billed incorrectly by their energy company within the last two years.  The industry’s track record has meant that for the 6th year running, consumers have voted energy suppliers as one of the biggest culprits for getting bills wrong.

The research found:

  • More than a third of households have unexpectedly owed money to their energy supplier following a discrepancy between an estimated bill and a ‘real’ bill
  • The average amount owed following a billing discrepancy is now £152 (that’s £5 more than last year)
  • Billing inaccuracies take just under 2 months on average to resolve
  • Energy suppliers have consistently been the worst billers since 2007 – only the Inland Revenue is a bigger culprit for getting bills wrong

 

Source: uSwitch.com press release 12 April 2012

 

Barclays unveils mini, stick-on credit card

Barclaycard are the latest company to join the battle to launch a digital wallet with a mini, stick-on credit card.  They hope UK customers will attach the extra card to their mobile phones and use them at ‘contactless’ terminals for everyday purchases.  It allows cardholders to spend up to £15 at certain stores without entering their PIN number.

Read more at bbc.co.uk