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Energy, pensions, property and savings

1 September 2016

10:13 AM

1 September 2016

10:13 AM

The gap between the best and worst performing energy firms is the widest ever, according to Citizens Advice.

Small energy firm Extra Energy attracted 80 times more complaints than the best performing supplier SSE between April and June. Extra Energy received 1,791 complaints per 100,000 customers, which was worse than its record low of 1,682 complaints in the previous quarter. SSE improved its ratio to just over 22 complaints, the charity found.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘The latest league table shows some suppliers are getting much better at sorting out their customers’ problems, but it’s disappointing to see others getting worse at dealing with complaints.’

The second and third worst suppliers on the list, Co-Operative Energy and Scottish Power, also received more complaints than in the previous three-month period.

Pensions

British firms’ pension deficits spiralled by another £100 billion in the last month alone as record low interest rates sent liabilities through the roof, The Telegraph reports.

UK Plc’s total deficit now stands at £710 billion, the biggest level ever, according to PwC’s Skyval Index.

Defined benefit pension schemes – those which guarantee an income linked to savers’ final salaries – face a bigger deficit when interest rates fall as they struggle to earn strong, low-risk returns.

Property


London’s traditional elite, such as lawyers, architects and academics, are being pushed out of their enclaves in Mayfair, Chelsea and Hampstead by an influx of global super rich investors, causing a chain reaction of gentrification across the capital, according to research by the London School of Economics.

The Guardian reports that an influx of extremely wealthy overseas buyers is leading the old elite to sell up and move from London’s most exclusive postcodes and buy in areas they previously considered undesirable, said Dr Luna Glucksberg, of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute.

Savings

The average easy access account on offer to the British saver now pays less than half a per cent after 354 rate cuts ‘devastated’ the market in August, research reveals.

Thisismoney reports that the Bank of England’s recent decision to cut the base rate to 0.25 per cent has ‘fuelled the fire of rate cuts across the savings market’, according to financial website Moneyfacts.co.uk, and sent savings rates to new record lows.

Financial planning

New research by the Money Advice Service has identified that while more than two thirds of young adults say they have financial goals, most don’t have a plan to reach them. This lack of financial planning could mean that many young adults may fall short of achieving their aspirations.

Analysis carried out for the Money Advice Service by University of Edinburgh Business School, identifies three main groups of young adults. There are ‘Planners’ who have financial goals and a plan to reach them; ‘Dreamers’ who tend to have financial goals but no plans to reach them; and ‘Drifters’ have neither goals nor plans. The report finds that when young adults do make a plan, this is usually for short term ‘Save to spend’ goals.

Meanwhile, millions of young adults are damaging their chances of getting a mortgage by messing up their credit rating before they turn 25, according to research from Amigo.

Two thirds of 18 to 24-year-olds who know their credit score currently sit in the ‘very poor’ category of 0-560 points outlined by credit reference agency Experian.

The poor credit epidemic could have a knock-on effect on the amount of mid-20s who are able to get on the property ladder, as lenders will reject mortgage applications from those with unsatisfactory credit reports.

Common reasons for poor credit among those in their mid-20s are late and missed bill payments, unauthorised overdrafts and credit card rejections.

Salaries

The gross income of the highest earning households has grown by 2.3 per cent since July 2015, nearly eight times more than the lowest-earning households, according to Thisismoney.

Last month, the wealthiest 20 per cent of UK families earned an average of £1,890 per week, which is around ten times more than the lowest earning 20 per cent, who took home £180.

Across the country, average weekly household disposable incomes climbed to £202 last month, up £10 on the same point a year ago, Asda’s Income Tracker data reveals.


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