CMA investigation finds homeowners misled by developers about leasehold properties
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been leading an investigation into the leasehold property market and has found evidence of buyers being treated unfairly and charged unreasonable fees by housing developers. The investigation is continuing, but the CMA has said it would take action against firms, and call for a change in the law to ban the sale of new leasehold houses and for refunds to be paid.
New watchdog to ban rogue builders
Currently, homeowners who buy new-build properties have no independent way to challenge developers over bad service or poor workmanship. However, a new body will be set up which will have the power to ban rogue developers from building new houses, and award compensation to those stuck in new-builds of poor quality. Homebuilders will have to sign up to the ombudsman register. The new service will be free to consumers. However, the government has not announced when it will be introduced or details of how it will be funded.
Childcare costs increasing
A report by Children’s Charity Coram has found parents are paying 5% more on childcare for under-twos than a year ago, and 4% more for two-year-olds. Their annual survey is based on data from 175 local authorities gathered between November 2019 and January 2020. Childcare now costs on average more than £130 per week for a part-time nursery place for a child under two. The report also found that childcare prices and availability vary depending on where people live.
The average weekly price for families using an after school club five days a week was £60.99.
British Gas prepayment minimum amount
From early March, British Gas is setting £1 as the minimum amount prepayment meter customers can top up by. The company had set the minimum amount to £5 in January.
Tesco opens its first cashless store
Tesco has opened its first cashless store in London. Customers can pay using contactless cards and Apple Pay at self-service tills.
HSBC to shut more branches
HSBC is to close 27 more branches this year to reduce costs. The closures will begin in July.