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17 Jan 2019
£20 note new design
The Bank of England has unveiled the design of the new £20 note, featuring a self portrait by artist JMW Turner from 1799. The Bank describes it as their most secure note, the current £20 banknote is the most forged. The new note enters circulation on 20th February 2020. The £20 note is the most common circulating banknote in Britain.
Anew version of the £50 note will be launched by the end of 2021.
Date of Budget announced
The first budget after leaving the EU has been announced by the Chancellor as 6th November. However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the full Budget will be delayed and 6th November would be a simple economic statement.
Vodafone customers hit with expensive charges due to technical error
Vodafone has apologised after an error meant customers using the mobile network abroad faced expensive roaming bills. UK consumers are currently able to use the minutes, texts and data included on their mobile phone tariffs when travelling in the EU at no extra charge. Vodafone said the issue was caused by a technical error.
Half of all debit card payments now contactless
Contactless payments (including cards loaded onto smartphones) accounted for half of all debit card transactions in July. According to banking trade body UK Finance, this is the first time the 50% level has been reached.
Crackdown on car financing
The Financial Conduct Authority is consulting to ban a way that some car dealers and brokers make commission on the interest rate they charge customers who take out a loan to buy a car. The higher the interest rate, the higher the commission. The FCA is also proposing changes in the way customers are told about the commission they are paying to make sure they receive all relevant information. The FCA will consult on the proposals until 15 January 2020 and publish final rules later in the year.
Companies no longer backing Facebook’s digital currency plans
Visa and Mastercard have announced they are no longer interested in Facebook’s Libra digital currency project. Several other large companies have stepped aside too. Concerns have been raised around privacy issues regarding a social networking company controlling a currency and also about money laundering.
Increase in probate fees abolished
The government has abolished plans to increase probate fees next year, originally introduced by Theresa May. Instead ministers have ordered a wider review of court fees.
Social Care proposals
The Queen’s Speech included plans by the government to bring forward new laws to fix the social care crisis. In the short term, ministers announced that the government will put in an extra £1 billion next year to fund care. In addition, they want town halls to be able to put up their council tax bills by 2 per cent a year to raise a further £500million. The rise would be on top of the 3 per cent town halls are already allowed to put council tax up. As a result a band D bill could rise by £87 next year. The government will consult on these proposals.
New law to seize jets if air firms fail
The Queen’s Speech included a new law to allow the government to seize control of collapsed airlines and use their planes to get customers back home.
Royal Mail postal strike
Royal Mail staff have voted for action over job security and terms and conditions of employment. The strikes could take place in late November and December.
NatWest trialling a biometric credit card
NatWest is trialling a credit card using your fingerprint instead of a PIN for payments of up to £100. The trial involves 150 customers over the next three months.