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Debt, fuel costs, wealth and pensions

5 January 2017

10:54 AM

5 January 2017

10:54 AM

Debt charities have urged the Government to tackle the UK’s debt crisis after official figures revealed that household debt has soared to its highest level in eight years.

The BBC reports on Bank of England statistics which show that personal debt grew 10.8 per cent in the year to 30 November to £192.2 billion.

Step Change wants ministers to implement a scheme that gives problem debtors 12 months’ breathing space to get back on track.

Fuel

There’s more gloomy news on fuel prices. BBC online reports that the cost of petrol and diesel has increased to its highest since July 2015.

According to analysis from the RAC, the average cost of unleaded petrol hit 117.23p at the end of the month, with diesel reaching 119.63p. The wholesale price of both fuels has risen significantly, following the production cuts announced by Opec.

Wealth

The Guardian reports on a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which has found that ‘today’s young people were likely to inherit more wealth than their predecessors but the benefits would be skewed to those who were already well off’.

 

The paper says that ‘Britain’s wealth gap will be passed down the generations as well-off older people bequeath property to their already thriving offspring. The study concluded that inequality was likely to increase and social mobility hindered as pensioners bequeathed the wealth they had accumulated as a result of rising home ownership and property-price inflation.’

Pensions

According to the Daily Mail, a record number of businesses are attempting to offload their expensive gold-plated pension schemes to insurance companies to save money.

The paper states that ‘the pension transfer market is gearing up for £30 billion of liabilities to change hands this year, says research by adviser Willis Towers Watson. Many schemes face multi-billion pound funding gaps, leaving firms desperate to pass responsibility for them to someone else.’

Car sales

New figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that 2.69 million cars were registered last year, 2 per cent higher than in 2015. That’s a record high.

The industry body said 2016’s growth was due to ‘very strong’ consumer confidence, low-interest finance deals and the launch of several new models. Nevertheless, the organisation predicts that 2017 is unlikely to repeat this success.

Financial education

Nearly two thirds of UK families claim that not all family members over the age where a financial education has begun know what the monthly spending budget is, according to a survey undertaken for the family spending account Soldo.

Exposing a gap between good intentions and practical execution the survey, conducted independently by OnePoll, also asked at what age parents start a financial education for their children, which resulted in an average age of nine-years-old.

Finally…

As freezing temperatures grip the UK, millions of drivers are putting themselves and others at risk by being ill-prepared for hazardous driving conditions. That’s according to research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.

Despite the Department for Transport reporting more than 2,170 accidents in winter conditions in 2015, one in six – nearly 7.5 million motorists – don’t adapt their driving style in treacherous driving conditions. More than one in five motorists ignore guidance in the highway code and fail to increase the distance between their car and the vehicle in front, while a quarter don’t always reduce their speed on icy roads.

As well as driving perilously, many are also failing to properly prepare for driving in adverse conditions. Three in ten drivers don’t completely clear their car’s windscreen before setting off, leaving potential blind spots, and over half disregard the passenger side windows altogether.

Motorists are also in danger of invalidating their insurance policy even before they take to the road. One in four drivers admit to leaving the engine running with keys in the ignition – meaning they’re unlikely to be covered if their car is stolen. A further one in ten use hot water to clear their windscreen which can weaken the cold glass and cause it to break.


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