Budgeting – the art of monitoring and controlling your spending – can be difficult and impractical at times. But now there is a solution. On Monday 19th November, Credit Action and Moneybasics are launching the Moneybasics Spendometer – a free mobile phone budgeting tool that allows you to:
The application will be available to download from this website on Monday 19 th November 2007.
The Financial week that was...
Monday 12th November
Business confidence falls – Business bosses are not as optimistic about the future prospects of their firms as they were at the start of August. However, only 15% of bosses said that the recent financial problems had hit sales.
Tuesday 13th November
More evidence of housing slowdown – Aside from London, all regions in England and Wales experienced modest falls in property prices during October according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics). In Scotland prices are still rising slightly but Northern Ireland is now also experiencing a cooling housing market.
Streetcred savers need to claim – Former customers of Streetcred, a credit union that went under last month, are being urged by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to file a claim. At present, the FSCS has received only 542 compensation claims out of a former customer base of 3,215. All money that was saved in Streetcred will be repaid in full as all savings at the credit union fell below the £35,000 that the FSCS covers 100%. Anyone who has not yet received an application form and held savings in Streetcred should contact the FSCS as soon as they can. FSCS Tel: 020 7892 7300 FSCS Website: www.fscs.org.uk
Average Christmas spending forecast to be £706 per person – Deloitte, an accountancy and business analysis firm, expect Christmas spending this year to be 7% higher than last year. 66% of consumers are predicted to research or buy goods online –almost a 30% growth rate on last year! Deloitte stated that confidence in the labour market and robust market sentiment mean that the concerns about the financial markets and consumer confidence are not showing a knock effect in customers Christmas spending plans.
First-time buyers can’t get on property ladder – It’s a new week but it’s the same old story – first-time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult buy property according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The proportion of buyers’ monthly income that is used to pay interest payments on a mortgage is at its highest level since 1991: 20.4%.
Wednesday 14th November
Bank of England lowers 2008 economic growth forecast – The Bank of England, the central bank that sets the UK base interest rate, expects the economy to grow by a meagre 2.2% in 2008 according to its quarterly Inflation Report. The report warns of coming inflationary pressures and a housing market slowdown; these led to the lowering of the economic growth forecast. It states that the financial markets which has been robust throughout 2007, may stutter in 2008, affecting the global economy. Many analysts have suggested that the quarterly Inflation Report indicates that we can expect a cut in interest rates around the start of 2008.
Thrusday 15th November
Slight fall in retail sales – The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that retail sales – the number of goods sold by retailers – fell marginally by 0.1% in October after a 0.3% rise in September. Retail sales are watched closely by market analysts as they are usually held to be a good indicator of wider economic performance and consumer confidence.
These figures add to the body of evidence that suggests that the Bank of England should cut the base interest rate sooner rather than later. However, with inflation in the UK now at 2.1% - above the 2% target that the Bank of England aim to keep inflation below – and with energy and food prices on a seemingly unstoppable rise, the Bank of England is left in a difficult position. If they cut interest rates, this will likely bring inflationary pressure. If they keep interest rates at 5.75%, this will not help the cooling housing market, or the financial markets that have been hit by the credit crunch.
In the current unpredictable economic landscape it is even more important than it is usually to put money aside for a “rainy day”. But should things get a little tricky look at the When Things Go Wrong section of Moneybasics for information on debt, bankruptcy, divorce, bereavement, among other topics for a little bit of help with what you can do.
Help with European purchase problems – If you have had a problem when making a purchase of a good or service from a company based in Europe, a new body has been formed to help deal with your complaints: The UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC). It has a particular focus on disputes relating to online sales, auctions and holidays.
Prepared for Moneybasics by Jason Taylor, Advocacy Officer.