UK Household Bills rise by 40 Per Cent Since 2007

Bills for British homes have soared by over 40 per cent in the last five years according to Bacs Family Finance Tracker; the company that manages direct debit payments in the United Kingdom.

The company conducted research that looked at the financial affairs of over 4,000 British households. Their results suggest that annual bills on average are in excess over £12,000 per year between essential bills and some lifestyle expenses.

Essential bills were on average £5,834 per year in 2007 and the average now is £8,202 which is a jump of well over £2,000 per year extra for households to find. This is in a time when rages haven’t been rising in line with inflation due to the recession.

The average annual cost of lifestyle services such as mobile telephone bills, gym or fitness memberships and loan repayments has also risen from £3,380 to £4,146 over the same period. Continue reading

Virgin Media Unlimited TV Ad Banned

virgin mediaVirgin Media has had its’ knuckles wrapped by the Advertising Standard Agency about the company’s unlimited broadband adverts.

The ASA received several complaints, including complaints from the public, BskyB and BT, who teamed up against Virgin to get the complaint upheld. Their complaint was that customers could not in fact have unlimited access to films, music and television content because of a traffic management policy implemented by Virgin Media that limits customer’s broadband speed  by half if they use too much bandwidth.

Broadband providers are permitted to say that their services are unlimited even if the slow down user speeds as long as it is clearly stated in the company’s advertising, if it isn’t it can be construed as misleading. Continue reading

British Bankers’ Association In Talks Over PPI Deadline

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) is in talks with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) about setting a deadline for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) claims. The banks are hoping that they will be able to set in stone a date at which the PPI scandal, which has been dragging them down for the last few years now, can finally be put to rest.

It’s entirely a self-interested move, as the banks are having to pay out billions in compensation to customers that they deliberately mis-sold PPI to. Millions of people around the UK who took out loans, mortgages or other financial products were sold into PPI contracts, or had those contracts added to their costs without their knowledge, even though the insurance was totally useless to them. Continue reading

PPI text message spammers face £250,000 fine

2 men who are believed to have been responsible for sending unsolicited text messages about PPI claims have been told that they could face fines of up to £250,000. The 2 men cannot be identified as they have been afforded 28 days to provide a reason why they should not be fined under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Acts. If the case is successfully brought against the pair, it could set a path for the end of nuisance spammy text messages in the UK. If the 2 men fail to successfully justify their actions they will be named and shamed as well as prosecuted.

The court case is the first of its kind and part of a larger crackdown by watchdogs on nuisance marketing texts and pre-recording messages to ransom UK landline and mobile phone users. Continue reading

Homeless Families Living in Bed & Breakfasts Up by Half

The number of homeless families being housed in bed and breakfast accommodation has risen by nearly 50 per cent in the last year.

Research by the National Housing Federation has revealed that between January and March 2012 there were 3,960 homeless families staying in bed and breakfasts compared to just 2,750 during the same period last year.

The rise in homeless families being housed in B&BS is largely attributed to the lack of available council, or housing association temporary or long term accommodation. Altogether around 26,000 homeless families live in bed and breakfasts as a temporary housing solution. Continue reading

Energy Suppliers Urge Home Owners to Get Free Insulation.

Department of Energy and Climate ChangeThe main 6 British energy companies are preparing to make a final push in an attempt to meet their energy efficiency targets. They are doing this by urging people who own their homes to get free loft and cavity wall insulation worth £350 before the government backed scheme ends at the end of 2012.

The energy companies have to meet their carbon emissions reduction targets (Cert) which have been set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in a bid to make UK homes more energy efficient.

The companies have to of provided a target number of installations of the insulation by the end of the year. Most of the companies are believed to have reached their targets or be close to doing so. Continue reading