New report by Citizens Advice shows benefit claimants struggling to meet essential costs
New data from national Citizens Advice reveals that almost one in two (49%) benefits claimants have struggled to pay for essentials, while 40% have lost sleep due to money worries. Two in five (39%) of people who claim have less than £100 at the end of each month, after paying for essential bills. Citizens Advice has added its voice to the call for urgent solutions from the government. This includes:
Proposed changes to shared ownership scheme
The government has announced plans to change its shared ownership scheme to encourage first time buyers onto the property ladder. Shared ownership home buyers are required to buy back the government-owned part of their home in chunks of 10%. The government is proposing to reduce the buy-back increments to 1% chunks. It was also announced Help to Buy homeowners will be able to take out mortgages of up to 35 years, rather than 25 years meaning they can reduce their monthly repayments by spreading their borrowing over a longer period.
Supermarkets still offering ‘misleading’ special offers
Supermarkets continue to offer misleading special offers and discounts despite rules to prevent this, according to Which? These included multi-buys that cost more despite the alleged offer, and special offers in which goods are sold at the special price most of the year. Which? analysed prices from May 2018 to June 2019 for 459 products across seven of the UK’s biggest supermarkets: Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. A similar Which? investigation in 2015 resulted in the government rolling out new guidance to ensure retailers’ pricing practices complied with consumer law.
Online banking “Strong Customer Authentication” rules
Under new security regulations being introduced over an 18 month period from September 14, banks will no longer allow customers to log in online using only a password and memorable information. All customers will be sent a code “secure key” to their handheld card reader or mobile phone to enable them to login in. Some banks are already starting to introduce the “secure key” login method.