A round-up of the main news stories this week. [Transcript provided below]
Consumer Reliance on Credit Card Debt is Falling
Credit cards are being paid off a faster rate, says the Bank of England, as consumers show signs of being more responsible with their plastic. Net lending figures showed that £147 million was paid back in July, the highest monthly repayment in six years. Consumer credit levels have fallen by over 11% in the last two years, as people continue to steer away from unsecured debt.
TUC Humilates Government Over Tax Avoidance
The Trade Union Congress published a spoof magazine this week, designed to humiliate the government into closing the loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying tax. The provocatively titled ‘Kerching: A Celebrity Guide to Tax Dodging’ shows how individuals and companies can avoid tax through offshore trusts and non-domicile arrangements. Its list of recommendations include a ‘general anti-avoidance principle’ that would allow a clampdown on all such practices. However, the pamphlet was keen to distinguish these manipulative practices from legally approved measures, such as saving into tax-free ISAs.
Government Announces More Support for First-Time Buyers
The Government has announced plans to help over 16,000 first-time buyers get onto the property ladder. The NewBuy scheme, which encourages lenders to provide mortgages at a low deposit, is to receive a £280 million extension, which it is hoped will help to rejuvenate the stagnant housing market. House prices fell between July and August, says the Halifax Building Society, and there is said to be little sign of an improvement in the months ahead.
Santander Reverses Decision on Business Bank Accounts
And finally: thousands of angry Santander customers have won the day after the bank decided not to impose charges on business bank accounts. The bank had planned to upgrade free business banking customers to accounts costing from £7.50 per month, but it was immediately accused of going back on a guarantee of “free banking forever”. Santander claims that it made the decision based on feedback from customers who preferred the idea of paying a monthly fee for more options, but it has now conceded that it will remain an option rather than a necessity for its 230,000 small business customers.
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