The number of smart meters being installed in homes fell in the last three months of 2019 meaning firms have little chance of meeting the Government’s 2020 deadline.
Natwest is trialling a free smartphone app to help customers budget. It is called Mimo (money in, money out) & has been designed to manage – day to day spending, budgeting, bills, financial to do list, subscriptions and insurance/utilities (with the aim to help customers switch providers by showing the best deals). The app will only available initially to 1000 customers, but it is expected to be rolled out more widely later in the year.
OFNS – Property prices and earnings
According to the ONS the average property price is £231,000, while the typical worker earns £29,600. The average property in London is £474,000 and in the SE £327,000.
Gambling chiefs face inquiry over launch of new games
BetFred and PaddyPower have removed two roulette style games that let customers stake up to £500 every few minutes. These games were introduced on the same day the limits came in for fixed betting terminals. The Gambling Commission has announced an inquiry into those responsible for introducing the Virtual Cycling and Pickn36 games. They told the gambling companies to take them down as they undermined the changes. (BetFred responded that their game was removed as it was only for a trial period and they were assessing customer feedback!)
Tax officials are bullying debt callers into paying more upfront than they need to. Under a deliberately misleading policy HMRC call handlers refuse to mention the minimum amount acceptable to set up instalment plans for outstanding tax bills. Instead they let the caller suggest sums that might be more than they can afford. The tactics are understood to have been introduced last month and are displayed on call centre screens. The hints and tips on maximising payments include challenging the customers’ offer even if the initial offer meets HMRC expectations.