Hello and welcome to this week's Daily Express Money newsletter.
Universal Credit has kept millions afloat throughout 2020 as the pandemic raged on. The government focused on this state benefit in its efforts to fight back the economic impact of coronavirus, with Rishi Sunak increasing their payments by around £20 a week from April 2020. Many charities and organisations called for this increase to be made permanent and Boris Johnson was asked for this directly in Parliament but the Prime Minister refused to budge, with full details on this provided in the first story below.
Other state benefits have also been called into question over the last week or so. State pensions in the UK are dependent on how much National Insurance has been built up throughout a working life but even if the highest amount is awarded, new analysis has deemed it not “sufficient” enough for retirement. On this, guidance has been issued on how savers can prepare for their later years.
Savings advice may become crucial in the coming weeks and months as reportedly, the Bank of England has asked lenders and retail financial firms if they’re prepared for negative interest rates. This could be foreshadowing a negative base rate announcement from the central bank, with an official announcement scheduled in for November 5.
Martin Lewis, being as on the ball as ever, has already laid out plans for how savers can protect their savings pots in the event of negative rates being introduced. Given that new research from Hargreaves Lansdown revealed savers are losing out on £7billion a year by sticking with poor savings accounts, heeding the advice of the Money Saving Expert below may be more crucial than ever.
While savers have been struggling with interest rates for a while now, every now and again banks and building societies launch new products to entice struggling consumers. Recently, TSB launched a financial incentive for their Spend and Saver customers and Cambridge Building Society unveiled an account offering an unprecedented three percent interest rate. Eligibility for both of these offers are detailed in the stories below.
Finally, with coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, it looks like many workers will have to continue to work from home through the winter months. Indeed, new figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed 19 percent of businesses are planning to use increased home working as a permanent business model in the future. While this will have many pros and cons for various workers, our final story reveals how people stuck at home may be able to claim tax relief from the government.