The UK cities where thousands have problem debts

There are some locations in the UK where debt problems are much more intense than others. New research from the Money Advice Service has identified a number of UK locations where debt problems are particularly severe and where those who live there are statistically more likely to be in trouble with debt. The number of people with debt problems is growing Over the past six months the number of people in the UK with debt problems has increased to 8.3 million. Although that figure is still lower than the number of those struggling with debt in 2003, it’s 100k higher than six months ago. These new figures also mean that more than 10% of the UK population is currently overwhelmed by financial problems. However, the issues that we have with debt don’t tend to be spread evenly across the country. As you might expect, those living in wealthier areas such as Surrey and Buckinghamshire don’t tend to have the same issues with income and debt. The Money Advice Service research shows that it


Central Heating is going on – our tips for home energy efficiency

Maybe you’re a summer person; maybe you really dislike the cold and grey of a British winter. Whatever your favourite season happens to be, for all of us at this time of year there’s more than a little anxiety thanks to the rising cost of energy. As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop it’s time to turn the central heating on – and that means bigger bills. When you combine the need to use more energy with the recent (and predicted) price rises, that can throw any budget into disarray. However, it doesn’t have to be as bad this year, as there are lots of ways to make sure that your home is more energy efficient – so that it costs you less to run. Washing your clothes It’s no myth that washing clothes at a lower temperature will save you cash – and it’s better for the environment too. Dropping the temperature of your wash from 40 degrees to 30 degrees can save you around a third on the cost of the wash. Investing in insulation Poorly insulated homes leak heat

Gambling – What’s the Problem?

Problem gambling is, more often than not, something we associate with other people. It might happen only to the desperate; perhaps it’s just an issue for someone who already has an addictive personality. Most of us feel that we’re unlikely to have a problem with gambling. However, the reality is that it’s a growing phenomenon that is becoming increasingly costly – last year punters lost £13 billion via gambling habits. Gambling addicts come from every walk of life It’s not just those who are desperate for cash who might risk it all on a gamble. Premier League footballer John Hartson is perhaps one of the most high profile people who has admitted to having a gambling habit. Despite the huge income that being a Premier League footballer generates, he still turned to gambling and his finances suffered enormously as a result. Hartson is now clean and free of the habit that cost him so much but is just one example of the many people in the UK who become trapped by this habit. Ho

What you need to know about Aldi’s and Lidl’s UK supermarkets

Up until the 1990s, the UK had a pretty well established pecking order of supermarkets. From Waitrose and M&S at the top, to Asda at the more budget end, everyone pretty much shopped within their expected buying demographic. And then Aldi and Lidl arrived and changed everything. Where did they come from? Aldi and Lidl are German brands that landed in the UK retail market in the early 90s. Initially, they were designed to cater purely for those looking for cheap deals and low cost food and household items. However, today between them these two German giants now have a 12% share of the UK grocery market, which is spread across many different demographics. Lidl has plans to open another 60 shops in the UK across the next year and both are likely to remain a force to be reckoned with. Which means that even if you might not have thought about shopping there before you could now be one of hundreds of shoppers considering it. How to shop at Aldi and Lidl if you’ve never been there before L

How is the move to smart energy meters going to help you?

Energy efficiency presents a big challenge, for the UK and countries all over the world. After the EU asked member governments to look at ways to improve energy efficiency, the UK government decided on an ambitious plan to install smart energy meters in every UK home by 2020. That’s more than 26 million households across England, Wales and Scotland with only two and a half years to go. Although, predictably, the government scheme has run into a few issues and deadlines have had to be extended, on the whole most agree the scheme is a positive move. But what are the benefits of smart meters, why are we getting them and what are the issues that have held the roll out back so far? Smart vs. dumb energy meters Smart meters are primarily being used to give consumers more control over energy usage. A smart meter in your home will show you exactly how much energy is costing you – and how much of it you get through. This should make it cheaper as you’ll be able to get a better idea of ho

The big business of charitable giving and how your donations are spent

Charity begins at home and in the UK we’re keen givers to great causes. According to statistics from the UK branch of the National Philanthropic Trust 61% of people donated to charity last year. Online giving increased in 2016 by more than 7% compared to the year before, with a fairly equal split in charitable causes between medical research, animal welfare and children or young people’s charities. How big is the UK charity sector? At the end of 2016, data from the Charity Register indicated that there were around 167,100 charities in England and Wales. In 2015 – 2016 the UK voluntary sector as a whole received £7.6 billion in legacies, gifts and donations. So, in many ways, charities have become big business in the UK. Inevitably that has led to a few situations where money kindly donated has not made it to the right places. The founder of a breast cancer charity the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline – for example, employed her daughter using charitable cash, and in

Update on the leaseshold property scandal

The world of leasehold property has been a hot topic this year. For the first time many people have begun to question the logic behind paying for a property over which someone else still retains a measure of control. This has come into sharp focus with the leasehold scandal, which illustrated just how costly it can be for homeowners to buy a property that is ‘leased.’ Now, though, there is some light at the end of the tunnel with potential government intervention in this rather shady part of the property world. The problem with leasehold Most properties in the UK are available either ‘freehold’ or ‘leasehold.’ A freehold property purchase transfers entire ownership to the buyer, now and forever, as long as any mortgage payments are kept up. A leasehold property is sold on the basis of a long lease – for example 150 years – and when that lease expires ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder. Most flats in the UK are sold on the basis of leasehold and ma