As interest rates languish at the lowest level in living memory, there is little hope for savers looking on in disappointment at their bank statements. The average savings account now pays a dismal 0.61%, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk, and the firm recorded just 12 rate rises in February – and 235 cuts. For the many people trying to build on their deposits, there are other options available – some of which are potentially more rewarding alternatives, but carry with them risks alongside the possibility of better returns than the banks. Bonds Traditionally, bonds have been the next step up from cash, although 10-year UK government bonds now yield a miserly 1.41%. You can get a higher return from corporate bonds, which essentially are IOUs issued by companies to raise funds. Most investors will buy a fund of corporate bonds in order to spread the risk in case one company goes bust. Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, says fixed interest is … [Read more...] about Where to put your cash while savings rates are rock-bottom
Rbi rate cuts
As any saver will tell you, these are bleak times. And it could be set to get worse next year. Last month, the prospect of another drop in interest rates increased when two members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which decides on the official rate, called for an immediate cut. It is now expected by sections of the financial markets that the rate will drop by 0.25% next year, even though it has been at rock-bottom levels for the last decade. So what should anyone who wants to make some money from their savings to do? Stay with cash Rates on the high street vary hugely – on a balance of £10,000, the amount of interest that it is possible to earn goes from £10 to £145. The lesson? Shop around, don’t be limited by the mainstream banks, and be sure to look at those providers that may be less familiar. HSBC’s easy-access Flexible Saver will garner just 0.15% while Goldman Sachs’ online savings account will bring in 1.45%. … [Read more...] about With rates still at rock bottom, is there anything savers can do to get back up?
An independent Scotland would face decades of higher taxes and deeper spending cuts than the rest of the UK because of its heavy reliance on dwindling North Sea oil, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has predicted. The economics thinktank warned that Scotland would face a "significant" and "very difficult" task in trying to cut its debts and absorb the impact of lower oil revenues if voters backed independence next September. Even using the most optimistic forecasts of oil revenues from the Scottish government and the Office of Budget Responsibility, declining oil production would leave it facing income tax rises of at least 9% or a 28% rate of VAT – higher than that of Greece – or enduring billions of pounds of spending cuts for the next 40 years. As a result, Scotland would have to very quickly start cutting spending or raising taxes to put the economy on a sustainable footing and confront the challenge of paying off its share of the UK's debt, something the Scottish … [Read more...] about Independent Scotland would face choice of tax rises or deep cuts, says IFS
The “alarming” and “unprecedented” rate of climate change is “sending a powerful message to world leaders”, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned. Releasing its Status of the Global Climate report, the WMO – a United Nations body – detailed the string of climate and weather records that were broken in 2015, including global temperature records, exceptional rainfall, devastating droughts, unusual cyclone activity and intense heatwaves. “The year 2015 will stand out in the historical record of the global climate in many ways,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas in the report. “The future is happening now,” he said in a statement released alongside the report. “The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emission is unprecedented in modern records.” Global surface temperatures in 2015 shattered all previous records by a wide margin, … [Read more...] about Global warming taking place at an ‘alarming rate’, UN climate body warns
Plans to slash the fees paid by banks to cash machine operators have been scaled back after they prompted fears of ATM “deserts” appearing in parts of the UK. The U-turn came less than a month after Link, the UK’s largest cash machine network, began a phased reduction in “interchange” fees, with cuts of 5% a year planned until 2021. The cuts would have saved banks millions of pounds in charges, but after an outcry from campaigners and concerns from regulators, they were partially abandoned. A third reduction in fees, due in January 2020, has been cancelled, while the fourth, scheduled for January 2021, has been put under review. However, the next planned cut in June 2019 will still go ahead. Link’s chief executive, John Howells, said: “Link is committed to maintaining the UK’s extensive coverage of free-to-use cash machines for many years to come. “However, many consumers are turning to alternatives to cash more quickly than … [Read more...] about Fears of UK cashpoint ‘deserts’ lead to scaling back of ATM fee cuts