A round-up of the main news stories this week. [Transcript provided below]
Recession Less Severe than Expected
A revision to UK growth figures suggests that the recession is not as bad as first feared. The Office of National Statistics has revised its estimate of second quarter contraction to 0.4%, after initially stating that the economy had shrunk by 0.7% from the first quarter. The revision owes largely to more optimistic figures from the construction sector, which has been the main downwards drag on the economy.
Young Generation Saving More Despite Recession
Consumers are managing to save more despite the on-going economic difficulties. Figures from the state-run National Savings & Investments show that consumers saved an average of £90 per month into a savings account during the last quarter. Surprisingly, the younger generation are managing to save more, with 25-34 year olds saving well above the average.
Santander 123 Credit Card Now Includes 3% Cashback on Rail Travel
Santander has added a new feature to its 123 credit card to include 3% cashback on train fares. The cashback offer applies to National Rail and Transport for London, and includes London bus and tube travel. The card currently offers 1% cashback on supermarket shopping, 2% at department stores, and 3% on petrol. The move is likely to be welcomed by rail commuters, especially with fares set to rise by at least 6% in the New Year.
Banks Forced to Switch Current Accounts in 7 Days
New regulations will force banks to switch customers’ current accounts within seven days. The new rules, which come into effect from September 2013, are designed to make the switching process much easier for consumers and boost competition in the market for current accounts. Around 9% of those who transferred last year found the process error-ridden or overcomplicated. Both the government and regulators are keen that people should be able to swap their bank accounts conveniently.
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