Money latest: Most expensive street in London revealed; easy ways you can improve your credit score - and one that takes minutes (2024)

Main news
  • UK inflation predicted to ease to 3.1% on Wednesday
  • Eyes on Bank of England and interest rates as wages grow by 6%
  • Most expensive street in London revealed
  • Tesco reveals new Clubcard logo after Lidl battle
Essential reads
  • Spotlight on unpaid carers:'I feel isolated, lonely and guilty': Daughter caring for mother with motor neurone disease alone
  • Basically...How to improve your credit score
  • How to earn thousands letting film and music stars shoot in your home
  • Money Problem:My boss ruined end of maternity leave with ultimatum - what are my rights?

Ask a question or make a comment


UK inflation predicted to ease to 3.1%

New inflation data will be released at 7am on Wednesday - and it's expected to come in at 3.1%, a sizeable drop from the previous rate of 3.4%.

Although forecasts have been mostly wrong for more than a year, in recent months they've not been too far off.

A survey of economists by the Reuters news agency produced the 3.1% forecast for March - remember, the figures we get tomorrow are for last month, not for April.

It would mark another fall in inflation after prices growth peaked at 11.1% in October 2022.

Inflation was at 3.4% in February and 4% in January.

As inflation continues to fall, all eyes are on decision-makers at the Bank of England as they weigh when to lower borrowing costs - the interest rate - for the first time in four years.

Remember, a fall in inflation means the rate by which prices are rising is slowing down, rather than a drop in prices.

We'll be covering the announcement tomorrow at 7am here in the Money blog - bookmark this page and come back for the figures, reaction and analysis.

What could be behind the potential drop?

Economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics think March's rate will be lower than those polled by Reuters - at 3% flat.

The Pantheon experts suggest the big drivers behind the easing will be the cost of goods and food.

They predict food prices will have fallen 0.2% (seasonally adjusted) from February, bringing year-on-year food inflation down to 3.6% from 5%.

They also predict a decline in non-food prices by 0.5% from February, compared to a 0.7% rise in March 2023.

The good news on that front could be offset by rising costs associated with the motor industry, the experts warn.

Used-car trade values likely increased by 0.2% on the month before, the economists have calculated, while prices at the pump rose an estimated 1.9%.

What does this mean for interest rates?

This is the question on everybody's minds.

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee sets the base rate - and the panel will next meet to discuss it on 9 May.

The committee's job is to bring inflation down to 2% and it has vowed to achieve that goal by altering interest rates.

The rate has been at a 16-year high of 5.25% since last year, and markets don't expect a cut until June or August, bringing down the base rate of 5.25 per cent by 0.25 percentage points.

TLDR: Interest rates are likely to hold at 5.25% for May and later into the summer.


UK growth forecasts cut by IMF

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire, business reporter

The UK economy is going to grow less than expected this year - with the International Monetary Fund warning the country will remain the second-worst performer in the G7.

Newly revised forecasts indicate the UK's gross domestic product will expand by just 0.5% in 2024 - a slight downgrade from previous estimates in January - compared with global growth of 3.2%.

However, UK GDP is tipped to increase by 1.5% in 2025 - making it the third-best performer among G7 nations - as households recover following a prolonged cost of living crisis.

According to the IMF, inflation in the British economy will remain at about 2.5% for the rest of this year but fall towards the Bank of England's target of 2% next year.

When looked at per head - with output split across the UK's population - GDP flatlines, with no growth at all for 2024 and 1.1% in 2025.

This metric gives a better sense of living standards and how the economy feels for individuals by adjusting for the UK's growing population with record legal immigration flows.

Read more on this story here...


Tesco unveils new Clubcard logo after losing to Lidl

Tesco has subtly started introducing its new Clubcard logo after being ordered to change it by the High Court.

Users of the supermarket's app may notice the traditional yellow circle on a blue square has been replaced by a blue square alongside a yellow rectangle.

The store has been given until 21 May to change every Clubcard logo after it was found to have infringed on Lidl's trademark.

At the time of the High Court ruling, Tesco said it was "disappointed" by the decision and reassured customers it would not affect its pricing.

A spokesman said today: "As we start to roll out our new Clubcard Prices logo, we're laser focused on the fantastic offers for our Clubcard customers with around 8,000 deals every week on everything from washing powder and store cupboard staples to clothing and homeware."


X planning to start charging new users to post

X is considering charging new users a fee to post, like and reply on the platform.

The social media site's owner Elon Musk said introducing the "small fee" was the "only way" to stop fake or bot accounts.

It comes after the Tesla and Space X boss launched a pilot scheme in New Zealand and the Philippines last year, which required new users to pay a one dollar a year subscription to access key features.

Mr Musk's comment suggest the trial could be introduced more widely.

"Unfortunately, a small fee for new user write access is the only way to curb the relentless onslaught of bots," he said.

"Current AI (and troll farms) can pass 'are you a bot' with ease.

"The onslaught of fake accounts also uses up the available namespace, so many good handles are taken as a result."

In a reply to a user who questioned the billionaire's approach, he said the fee could only be in place for the first three months after a user joins the platform.

Since Mr Musk took over the site formerly known as Twitter, he has already introduced subscription options - including X Premium, which enables users to pay to be verified - to open up new income streams.

Mr Musk has previously suggested that all users could eventually have to pay to use X.


Shared ownership: 'We can't afford it. It makes a mockery of being in social housing'

By Joely Santa Cruz and Daniel Dunford, data journalists

Josie Dom, 53, was thrilled when she moved into her new home in October.

She bought 30% of it through the shared ownership scheme as an affordable route to home ownership, even if it was only partial ownership.

The idea is to help people who would not be able to buy a home outright get on to the housing ladder earlier by buying a share of a property and paying subsidised rent on the rest - often to a non-profit housing association.

Without it, she says there was no way for her and her two children to stay in Colchester, where they love living and attend school and college.

But her enthusiasm started waning when after just six months, the housing association increased the building's service charges by 138%, from £85 to £202 per month.

While she had anticipated small annual rises, this unexpectedly large jump was unaffordable.

"Obviously the idea of shared ownership is to help people like me that wouldn't otherwise be able to afford their own home," said Ms Dom.

"Then suddenly, again, we can't afford it. It makes a mockery of being shared ownership and having social housing."

Watch our report from data correspondent Tom Cheshire:

The expanded scheme now makes up half of affordable homes funding.

Sky News has been approached by dozens of other shared owners facing soaring costs and other issues, including difficulty selling.

With rising mortgage costs, this relatively cheaper option appears to be increasingly appealing to buyers.

Rightmove, the UK's largest online property website, told Sky News shared ownership properties are taking 56 days to sell versus 65 days for all other properties on average, as of March 2024.

And interest has increased over time - they said demand is up 37% from a year ago for shared ownership properties.

You can read the full story here...


Viral TikTok bag pushes up Uniqlo profits

It was the banana bag that took over the internet, but now a company has actually seen it make a difference to its financial report.

The bag, which if you haven't seen, you can see below, has boosted Uniqlo's profits in its full year results.

The retailer saw pre-tax profits for its UK and European arms surge by £66m to almost £160m for the year to 31 August.

Uniqlo said a "significant increase among the younger customer base who have embraced items like the mini-round shoulder bag, bra-tops and pleated trousers that went viral during the summer" were the cause of the rise.

The £14.90 bag was described by Vogue as one of the hottest product of the year in 2023, and has reportedly become Uniqlo's best-selling bag in history.

It surged in popularity after a TikTok used showed how much room was in the deceptively small bag.

Videos posted with the #uniqlobag have been viewed more than 167.2m time on the social media platform.


VAT exemption argument is 'deeply dumb', says tax expert - here's why

We've reported today on a call by radiographers to make bras - deemed a basic necessity - to be made exempt from VAT.

You can read that story here:

Now, the closest thing the tax world has to a celebrity has joined the conversation, dismissing VAT exemptions as a "rubbish way" to help people who can't afford a product.

"There is well established evidence, from statistical analyses of hundreds of VAT changes, that VAT cuts on a single product aren't passed on to consumers," Dan Neidle, the tax lawyer credited by many with bringing down the former Tory chair Nadhim Zahawi over his tax affairs, said on X.

He gave the abolishment of VAT on tampons as an example, saying "not much" happened after the cut.

Even if a VAT cut on bras was passed on, he said, it would be those who spend more on bras who would benefit most.

"VAT cuts are a rubbish way to help people who can't afford a product. If they worked, they'd be inefficient," he said.

"But they don't work. This would end up being a hand-out to Prada."



A deeper dig into this morning's jobs figures - and one big cause for concern

At 7am this morning, the Office for National Statistics released its latest data on wage growth, showing wages excluding bonuses grew by 6% in the three months to the end of February.

The figure is important as it is used by the Bank of England to help decide when to cut interest rates.

Ourbusiness presenter Ian King says the figure is also significant for markets to consider.

"It matters because the Bank of England has said very, very clearly on a number of occasions it needs to see earnings growth moderating before it can start to think about cutting interest rates," he explains.

"I think with earnings growth at 6%, that is appreciably ahead of what the Bank of England would want to see."

The ONS data also showed unemployment in February rose to 4.2% from 3.9%, and the number of vacancies in January to March was 916,000, a fall of 13,000 on the previous three months.

King says: "It really talks to a two-tiered labour market because people with skills, people whose skills are sought after, they clearly have power right now to bid up their wages.

"Whereas the inactivity rate, which is the number of people who aren't looking for work but who are of working age, has ticked up to 22.2%, and that is really rather a cause for concern."


Apple loses title of world's biggest phone seller

Apple is no longer the number one mobile phone seller on the planet.

The American firm has slipped into second place behind Samsung, which previous held the crown for 12 years until the end of 2023.

Data from research firm IDC puts the Korean tech giant back in pole position, with a market share of around 21%, followed by its California-based rival on just over 17%.

Global smartphone shipments increased by 8% to 289.4 million units in January to March, according to IDC.

Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first quarter, down from the 55.4 million in the period last year.

This is the biggest drop in iPhone sales since COVID-19 lockdowns caused supply chain chaos in 2022.

The drop in Apple sales has been partly blamed on a fall in sales in China, as it is squeezed out by local brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi, as well as facing roadblocks from the Communist government in Beijing.

Xiaomi, China's top smartphone maker, took the third position with a market share of 14.1% during the first quarter.

Money latest: Most expensive street in London revealed; easy ways you can improve your credit score - and one that takes minutes (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 5616

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.