By Noor Nanji & Angela Henshall Published 17 hours ago comments Comments Share close Share page Copy link About sharing People are going back to cash to keep tighter control on their spending as living costs soar, according to new research by the Post Office. Post offices handled £801m in personal cash withdrawals in July, the most since records began five years ago. That's up more than 20% from a year earlier. Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Cash Action Group, said it showed people are "literally counting the pennies" as they grapple with rising prices. "It's absolutely because of the cost of living crisis," said Ms Ceeney, who chaired the government's independent Access to Cash review. "People will be taking out cash and physically putting it into pots, saying 'this is what I have for bills, this is what I have for food, and this is what's left'." … [Read more...] about Cost of living: People turning back to cash as prices rise
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Published 20 July comments Comments Share close Share page Copy link About sharing Prices are rising faster than they have done for 40 years. The increase in the cost of living is putting a squeeze on people's finances, as incomes fail to keep up. What is inflation? Inflation is the increase in the price of something over time. For example, if a bottle of milk costs £1 and that rises by 5p compared with a year earlier, then milk inflation is 5%. Every month a figure is released, estimating how much prices are rising overall - it's currently at 9.4% . Why are prices rising so fast? Many things are contributing to the high rate of inflation, including: Energy bills , which have risen rapidly because of high oil and gas prices. They're expected to increase sharply again from October Petrol and diesel prices , partly because the war … [Read more...] about What is the UK inflation rate and why is the cost of living rising?
Published 2 minutes ago Share close Share page Copy link About sharing Fire services across the west are battling to get a number of fires under control as temperatures soar. Avon Fire said crews are currently responding to an incident on Hall Lane, Horton near Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire. They said a combine harvester and surrounding field are "well alight". Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Avon Fire Services have also tackled blazes over the weekend with thousands of square meters of farm land destroyed. It is understood burning crops have caught light during harvesting. Analysis by BBC West forecaster Ian Fergusson Given the exceptionally dry conditions experienced throughout this summer so-far, the risk of wildfires has been significantly elevated and this week sees the threat rise even higher. There's no chance of rain until possibly Sunday, … [Read more...] about Wildfire warnings as another blaze starts in the West
If the longest recession since the financial crisis and deepest fall in living standards since the 1960s were not bad enough, Britain is also facing economic humiliation on the international stage – if you believe Government critics. Keir Starmer last month accused former chancellor Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of leaving the UK with an “appalling joint economic legacy of the highest inflation and the lowest growth in the G7”. The G7 comparison paints Britain’s painful 9.4pc annual price rise in June as a remarkable outlier, but that does not depict the full picture. Firstly, much of the G7 is in a very similar position: US inflation is at 9.1pc and Germany at 8.2pc. Secondly, the UK is suffering less inflation than the average EU nation – price rises averaged 9.6pc in June across the bloc. Figures on the continent range from 6.1pc in Malta – high by historic standards but unusually low today – to a scorching 22pc in Estonia, according to data from … [Read more...] about Why Europe is suffering a worse inflation crisis than Britain
After lockdown raided the savings of hairdresser and gym instructor Lucie Wilby, a lengthy wait for a hip replacement dealt another blow to her family’s finances. “We’re in a lot of debt because of it and that’s a combination of Covid and obviously surgery [and] waiting times,” the 53-year-old mother from Cornwall says. “If I hadn’t had to wait six months, we’d be nowhere near this issue.” Like many of the 6.6 million people on an NHS waiting list, work had become painful and eventually impossible for Wilby as the backlog in treatment forces people to cut their hours or stop employment altogether. “By the time of the operation, I was barely walking and I’m self employed,” she says. “It took about three years to get diagnosed. That’s one of the major problems – it’s not just the waiting time for the operation once you’re on the list, it’s the waiting time for diagnosis.” While tax cuts and even trans issues may have stolen the limelight in the Tory leadership race, the … [Read more...] about Britain really isn’t working – and the collapsing NHS is to blame
An anonymous campaign urging people not to pay their energy bills this winter is gathering pace - but is it safe to do so? Plans by Don't Pay UK have been called "highly irresponsible" by the government, and charities have warned against rushing to cancel your direct debit. However, Britain is facing the biggest cost of living crisis in decades, and Citizens Advice said it supported more people who had been unable to top up their prepayment energy meter in June than it had in January 2022. Cost of living latest: Former PM warns of 'financial timebomb' So for many, the inability to pay their energy bills is more than just strike action, but a reality of the biggest squeeze on household spending in 60 years. Advertisement What happens if you don't - or can't - pay your energy bills? If you don't agree to a repayment plan, they may try and force you to have a prepayment meter installed. This means you would have to pay for your energy upfront, … [Read more...] about Cost of living: Can I be evicted and will it affect my credit score? What happens if you can’t pay your energy bills
Almost half of European Union land is currently under a drought warning or more severe "alert" level, hampering agriculture, energy production and water supply, the European Commission has confirmed. From France in the west and Romania in the east, to western Germany and southern Greece, a "wide and persistent" lack of rain, combined with heatwaves, makes for an alarmingly long list of countries where drought is getting worse. New data from the European Drought Observatory (EDO) shows some 45% of the bloc's territory under "warning" conditions, the second of three drought categories, during the 10 days leading to 20 July. Meanwhile, 15% of land has moved into the most severe "alert" state, meaning not only is land drying out after low rain, but plants and crops are impaired too. The figures show little improvement from the previous 10-day period, which saw 46% of land at "warning" level with dried out soil, and 13% in "alert" territory. Advertisement … [Read more...] about ‘Very critical situation’: Almost half of EU countries suffering from drought