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Money digest: today’s need-to-know financial news

20 April 2016

8:55 AM

20 April 2016

8:55 AM

Do you eat lunch at your desk or work into the night? The Telegraph reports that all those skipped lunch breaks and late evenings in the office accumulate over time – adding up to 39 days worth of unpaid work a year, on average. Britons clock up almost eight working weeks worth of overtime each year without being paid for this extra work, according to

The finance comparison site calculated that the average British employee works for free for 6.6 hours every week, rising to 7.4 hours in London, or 43 days of unpaid labour per year. The capital is surpassed only by East Anglia, home of Cambridge and Norwich, where residents clock up 8.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week, or 48 days per year.

Meanwhile, George Osborne has warned that companies which cut staff perks to compensate for the higher cost of the new minimum wage should be mindful of the risk to their brand. ‘It’s not the spirit of the law. Companies should be much more careful about their reputation,’ he told ITV yesterday. The £7.20 hourly rate for workers aged 25 and over came into effect earlier this month. Many firms have cut overtime pay rates or benefits such as free lunches to fund the rise in basic pay rates.

According to the Daily Mail, savers starting to build a nest-egg should turn their backs on the simple cash ISA. For years, the hard-and-fast rule was that ISAs were the place to start because of their tax-free interest. But now that theory has been turned on its head, the paper says. Rates have been pared to such low levels that ISAs are a ‘dud choice’ for first-time savers. The final nail in the coffin is that you can now earn up to £1,000 a year in an ordinary savings account and pay no tax.

On the theme of savings, says that loyalty savings products are often marketed as exclusive deals that are only available to the select few who hold the right products, but these deals don’t necessarily offer the best rates on the market. The website analysed products that are only available to customers who hold existing accounts with the provider and found that they would be better off shopping around.

Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: ‘Loyalty accounts are a great way for providers to keep hold of their existing customers. They offer exclusive deals with better rates than their regular products, which make savers think that they are getting a good deal. However, these products are only worthwhile if they can’t be beaten elsewhere. In reality these so-called loyalty deals are not a great option as they often don’t pay as much as other accounts on the open market. For example, the difference in rate between the best two-year fixed deal and the best loyalty account version stands at a significant 0.90 per cent. This means that a saver investing £5,000 in the loyalty deal would be £45 a year worse off in terms of savings interest than if they had invested in the open market account.’

One of the country’s oldest and largest landlords has called an end to the boom in high-end commercial and residential property in the UK, saying that it is planning for a correction in prices in ‘the near future’. The Times reports that Grosvenor Group, which manages £6.7 billion of property assets across the world for the Duke of Westminster, Britain’s richest man, said it was ‘only a matter of time’ before the market turns after years of double-digit growth. Britain’s record low interest rates have made investing in commercial and residential property a more attractive option for investors across the world.

Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, has warned that the City of London could lose its position as the world’s leading financial centre in the event of Brexit, Speaking to the House of Lords economic affairs committee, Carney said that the City of London’s strength would ‘unlikely be enhanced’ by a withdrawal from the European Union. He added that Brexit would make ‘it less likely that London would retain its position’.

The Governor said that the strength of the British financial centre had been ‘reinforced by the UK’s membership of the EU and ease of access to the euro area that it is afforded’. However, the Canadian admitted that the City’s strength is ‘not solely based on that’.


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