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Weekly News Bulletin - 04/04/2022


Why investing in Innovative Finance ISAs could be hugely rewarding

The Innovative Finance ISA, or IFISA, is the least well-known and arguably least successful Isa product on the market. Latest government statistics show that there were only 34,000 such products opened in the 2019-20 financial year, a drop on both of the previous two years since their launch. Customer caution is perhaps unsurprising, given that even the government’s own financial regulator says that IFISAs are ‘high-risk’, and has put measures in place to stop many ordinary investors putting too much of their Isa allowances into them. However, with inflation at 6.2%, and many of us searching for ways to get a higher return on our money, it can’t be denied that those Ifisas still available offer a higher rate than ordinary savings accounts, which can be attractive to some. Metro

Thousands of families can receive help with Easter childcare costs

Working parents could get up to £2,000 a year to pay for regulated childcare, including holiday clubs and out-of-school activities in the Easter holidays. Tax-Free Childcare provides thousands of eligible working families with up to £500 every three months (or £1,000 if their child is disabled) towards the cost of holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other approved childcare schemes. For every £8 deposited into a Tax-Free Childcare online account, families will receive an additional £2 in government top-up, and it is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. HMRC Press Release


How your family could save £1,800 on household bills with just a few simple tweaks to mortgage and fuel payments

Increases to heating bills, council tax, groceries, mobile, broadband, water and other costs are expected to leave the average household £1,000 worse off per year, according to think tank Resolution Foundation. Readers such as Carrie and David Green are bracing themselves for an increase of £2,667 in their bills this year. Sun Savers expert Leah Milner said: “I’ve found a total of £1,709 in savings for the Green family. First they should look at their impending mortgage increase. “Most lenders will allow you to secure a new rate between three and six months before your current deal ends." The Greens are already careful about how much energy they use and have a smart meter to keep track. But they could make savings by timing their showers to four minutes, cutting out one load of laundry per week, washing clothes at 30C and cooking with microwave and hob where possible instead of the oven. This could save them £147. The couple said meal-planning is difficult because of David’s shift work, but batch-cooking and freezing dinners should get around that and could save them £720. Carrie is already signed up to money-saving website Topcashback.co.uk, but often forgets to use it. On average she could save £300 a year. The Sun

From energy costs to TV bills: what has gone up in price today?

It’s been dubbed “bleak Friday” by some: pre-announced price rises for many household bills are to take effect on 1 April, adding to the misery for consumers who are already paying more for goods and food than this time last year. From energy costs to TV bills: what has gone up in price today? Energy bills – up 54%, £693 a year, on average. Council tax – up 3.5%, £67 a year, on average. Water bills – up 1.7%, £7, a year. Broadband, phones and TV – about £42 a year. Vehicle excise duty – about £10 a year. Pint of beer – up 5%, 20p, each. Lateral flow tests – from £1 each. Council tax rebate – £150 to households. Minimum wage – up 6.6%, about £1,000 a year. The Guardian

Money saving tips: How to cut spending as energy bills rise

We asked four experts for their top tips on what people can do to protect their finances and soften the blow of rising bills. 1. Know what you're spending and on what - look in-depth at your spending to find out exactly where your money is going, says Bola Sol, author of How to Save It. "Start by assessing if there is room for negotiation in any of your fixed expenses," she says. "Is there a better and cheaper provider?" 2. Cut back on takeaway coffees - Small cuts in lots of places can be a less painful way to improve your finances. 3. Claim everything you're entitled to - You can use the Citizens Advice benefits calculator to work out if here's any help you could be claiming. 4. Don't ignore debt. Ask for help if you're struggling. BBC News


Pension savers could get free 100% savings boost - act before tax year end

Pension savers could get free 100% savings boost - act before tax year end. There are various ways to save for retirement, but workplace pensions are often popular. This is because when eligible individuals save into a workplace pension, their employer is also legally required to contribute. People must be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension if they: - Are classed as a ‘worker’. - Are aged between 22 and state pension age. - Earn at least £10,000 per year. - Usually work in the UK. Those who are members of a workplace pension could get an upfront savings boost, it is worth noting. Consequently, experts have urged Britons to take action as soon as possible. Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, said: “If you’re a member of a workplace pension scheme you’re also entitled to an employer match on at least your first three percent of qualifying contributions. “This is effectively a 100 percent bonus on the money you save for retirement." Daily Express


Covid spending fuelled faster growth in UK economy in late 2021, ONS says

Upward revision in annual GDP growth, despite Omicron denting output over Christmas. The UK economy was only 0.1% below pre-pandemic levels after growing faster than previously thought at the end of 2021 because of a rush of coronavirus test-and-trace activities, the latest official data has shown. UK economic output grew by 1.3% from October to December, compared with an initial estimate of 1%, despite the Omicron variant denting output over Christmas, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday. Revisions to estimated growth in 2021 and 2020 mean the economy is now thought to have ended 2021 0.1% shy of its pre-Covid-19 level, compared with a previous estimate of 0.4%. The Guardian


UK house prices grow at fastest rate for 17 years

UK house prices grew in March at the fastest rate since 2004, continuing the ascent to new record levels – with the price of an average home now a fifth higher than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Prices rose by 14.3% in the year to March, the strongest pace of increase since November 2004, when the UK experienced a housing boom that preceded the financial crisis, according to Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society. The price of an average UK home hit £265,312, more than £33,000 higher than March 2021. Price rises were evident across the country, with prices in Wales increasing by 15% over the year. House price growth accelerated in every region of England and Scotland. The Guardian

UK's top property hotspots revealed

The town of Shirley in Solihull has been named the biggest property hotspot in February with increased competition pushing asking prices by more than 10% according to new figures. The average asking price in Shirley jumped more than 10% to £352,791 in February. Hotspots are areas where more new properties are coming onto the market for sale than the same period last year. Jesmond, a suburb of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, is second on the list of hotspots (+141%) and Chorlton Cum Hardy in Greater Manchester is third (+138%). Yahoo Finance

All the facts and figures presented are accurate at the time of posting.

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