Piggybank News

February 11, 2013

Over a million more face losing their home

Shelter have recently published the results of a YouGov survey conducted on their behalf.

They found that 1.4 million people in Britain are falling behind with their rent or mortgage payments. This represents an increase of 44% over the past year, to 7.8 million people.

Other worrying findings by the researchers were that:

  • almost a million people used a payday loan to help pay their rent or mortgage this year
  • 2.8 million people used an unauthorised overdraft to help pay their rent or mortgage (with 10% of these doing so every month).

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said “Payday loans may seem like a quick fix, but the huge interest charges mean things can quickly spiral out of control. It’s vital that anyone who’s having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage gets advice now.”

Full results –  http://yougov.co.uk/news/2012/01/17/roof-over-your-head/

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August 10, 2012

Grab your FREE home insulation while you still can!

For some time now MK council and central government have been supporting a scheme to offer cheap loft and cavity wall insulation to landlords and home owners.  However, we have just been advised that they have a small left over sum of money which they need to use up before the scheme ends on 31st August.  This means that for a very short time ALL home owners/tenants/landlords can get their insulation checked and, if appropriate, redone to current recommended standards completely free of charge.  Please note that this offer is not just for the unwaged or disabled – anyone can apply!

If you would like to take advantage of this then please contact Steve Jones, A & M Insulations area manager, on 07593 926783.  The offer ends on 31st August so you need to book your inspection ASAP.  After this date the new “Green Deal” will take over and any costs will be added to your household bills.

(Please note that we have no affiliation to A&M Insulations, nor do we receive any commission from the company.) 

July 10, 2012

Tax relief from using your home as an office.

Many landlords and small businesses run from a home office but fail to claim business expenses for things like phone and broadband, energy bills, council tax, repairs and maintenance.  They may be worried about triggering a capital gains tax bill when they move house or that they will be asked to seek planning consent for using a domestic premises for commercial purposes.

However, HM Revenue & Customs guidance suggests that this is a perfectly valid expense to claim provided the rules are followed.  Claims of under £200 should not attract any questions at all but for claims above this level you may be asked to provide supporting evidence such as bills and receipts.

Rather than claiming for a specific room set aside for business we have been advised that it is best to work out the average number of hours each week that several rooms are used for business – maybe three hours a day for the spare bedroom as an office and a couple of hours for business meetings in the living room.  Work out what proportion of the week this is and what proportion of your property size is involved.  This will give you a percentage of your bills which can reasonably be claimed as business related expenditure. Put the total into your tax return as ‘Other expenses’ and deduct the amount from profits to cut the tax paid.

(Piggy says “Never forget to check your tax return with a properly qualified person to ensure that you are claiming any reliefs you are entitled to correctly.”)

March 20, 2012

Business Energy Price Cuts announced

The Utility Warehouse Discount Club recently cut energy prices for residential customers. They have now announced that they will shortly be reducing electricity prices for Business Club members by up to 6.7%.

The new tariffs come into effect on 1 April 2012. The tariff guide can be downloaded here.

Businesses wishing to subscribe to the new lower tariff should contact us.

January 13, 2012

Petition prompts energy price reduction.

I received this notification from consumer action group “38 Degrees” this morning.  I think it is an important message so I have copied in its entirety below.

“Over 85,000 of us have signed the petition telling gas and electricity companies to cut their prices – in just 4 days!

And it’s starting to work. Numbers on the petition are sky-rocketing and it’s making the news – have a look at this report covering the petition on Channel 4 news: http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/display/playlistref/110112/clipid/110112_EDF_11

In just 4 days, three of the biggest gas and electricity companies have folded under the pressure. EDF Energy, British Gas and Scottish and Southern have all said they’ll cut their gas or electricity prices by around 5%.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start and proves that if enough of us get involved we can win. Three big companies – E.ON, npower and Scottish Power – are still holding out, and those that have dropped prices haven’t gone far enough. The bigger the petition, the bigger the message we send that we’ve had enough of being ripped off.

Can you forward this email to your friends now to ask them to add their names and help send the petition rocketing past 100,000?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/stop-the-energy-rip-off

Can you also spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, if you use them? You can tell your friends about the petition easily by clicking the quick links below:

Share on Facebook: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/energy-ripoff-facebook

Share on Twitter: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/energy-ripoff-twitter

When 38 Degrees members have come together before in huge numbers, we’ve won some amazing victories. Last year, half a million of us worked together to force the government to reverse their plans to sell off England’s precious woodlands.

Let’s turn up the heat on the gas and electricity companies now by forwarding this email and asking everyone we know to add their voice: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/stop-the-energy-rip-off

January 10, 2012

Making your money work for you

Making Your Money Work for You
With interest rates at an all time low, financial institutions have been cutting the rates they pay to savers. Check the rates your savings are earning – you may be surprised by how quickly the attractive interest rates used to tempt new investors are reduced.  If you have a significant amount of savings then you may need to consider alternative investment options, such as property, in order to maximise your returns.

Similarly, look at the costs of financial products you buy – insurances, your mortgage etc. It is easy to just let things roll over at the annual renewal but there may well be savings to be made.  Even if you are happy with your current supplier it is worth checking out other deals, as you can use this comparison to ask for an improved quotation.

Check that your utilities are being supplied in the most cost-effective way.  In general terms you will save money by having both gas and electric with the same company and paying by monthly direct debit will also reduce charges.  There are also a number of bundled deals available which can help you make savings on energy as well as broadband and telephone bills.

(Piggy says “The most expensive way to buy your energy is via a card or key meter – typically the charges for these are up to twice as much as for a credit account.  If you have one of these meters then your supplier should be able to change it for you free of charge provided that you do not have any arrears.”)

(more…)

November 30, 2011

The best Feed in Tariff in the UK?

What is a Feed-In Tariff?

Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) are a way for people to save money — or make money — by generating their own electricity at home, using technology like solar panels or wind turbines.

Under the FIT scheme, the customer is paid:

  • For the electricity they generate and use
  • For the electricity they generate but do not use. They sell — or ‘export’ — this electricity to the national grid.

You generate electricity. Your electricity supplier pays you for each unit of electricity you generate and you can use it to power your home. You stay connected to the national grid so that you can buy electricity from your energy supplier in the normal way when you need more power.

Why are the Utility Warehouse claiming that their new Feed-In Tariff is the best?

Quite simply, they will pay their customers more for their electricity than anyone else. Normally FIT customers are paid a set amount determined by the government for each unit of electricity they generate.  UWDC have taken the extraordinary step of announcing that they will pay an extra 2p per unit of electricity on top of the standard rate. That should add up to about £45 a year for an average household — and it’s guaranteed for three years!   You can’t find this deal on their website yet so contact us direct at NSP Resources  if you want to know more.

November 9, 2011

Are you or your tenants living in fear of the bills?

If not, then you should be thankful,  because according to the latest research, one in four of the British population does live in fear of bills! A quarter of UK adults admit to getting stressed before opening their bills according to a study from a price comparison website.  A shocking 1 in 5 also confessed to delaying opening as well as paying bills, because they are too afraid to face them.

54% of people said the biggest fear factor was that the cost of bills keeps increasing at rates which are not matched by their salary and one third admit to having more money going out of their current accounts every month than they have coming in.

If this any of this describes your situation then it is obviously time to regroup and see if making some simple changes can help reduce your outgoings.  If you are a landlord and this situation could apply to any of your tenants then it is only a matter of time before the rent payments become an issue.  Offering some straightforward advice and assistance now could help avoid a crisis later.

Here are a few suggestions from the helpful Piggy at Piggybank News… (more…)

October 11, 2011

Is it time to fix your gas bill?

Despite Britain’s economy slowly beginning to improve, households across the country are still feeling the pinch. Energy bills remain a major concern for many and any rise in the cost of electricity and gas will want to be avoided – particularly if the UK experiences a cold winter like the last one.

However, over the last few months wholesale energy prices have “zoomed up” and the rising costs are being passed on to the consumer unless they switch to a fixed price tariff sooner rather than later.  By switching to a cheap fixed rate deal now many consumers feel that their energy bills will be less of a concern during the long winter months.

While prices are all important when choosing an energy provider, so too is customer satisfaction. According to a Which? Energy customer satisfaction survey published in February only 12% of consumers feel that their supplier is open and honest about the costs that make up their bills.  Smaller, less well known suppliers out performed the larger companies by a fair margin, especially on issues such as clarity of billing,  with the top listed provider being once again the Utility Warehouse Discount Club.

Which? Chief Executive Peter Vicary-Smith said that energy providers “have to do more than cut their prices” to win over customers.

However, with winter only months away, price remains the primary concern for those responsible for paying energy bills. Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: “Much like fixed rate mortgages, a capped tariff gives price surety. … So if you can get a cheap cap, without paying a premium, the only downside risk is that you may have to pay an exit penalty if you find something cheaper. This is a small price to pay for stability for those whose finances are precarious.”

The Utility Warehouse Discount Club have responded to the challenging market by launching two extremely competitive energy deals.

  • Both new and existing Customers of UWDC are being offered the chance to fix their energy prices until 31 August 2013. (if customers take other services from the company this can be extended until 31 August 2014.)  Unlike most fixed price tariffs there is no early termination fee and if a customer moves house – they can take their Fixed Price Tariff with them!
  • If you are unconvinced of the benefits of fixing your tariff and want to avoid the small premium that this incurs then UWDC is also offering new customers a 10% discount on the energy you have used at the end of the first year.

To find out if one of these tariffs could save you money please contact Nikki and request a free energy quotation.

January 27, 2010

Energy debt increases

Filed under: Domestic Utilities — nspresources @ 5:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Figures released last Thursday from Ofgem show a sharp increase in the level of customers in energy debt in the third quarter of 2009, compared to the second quarter:

  • 13% increase in the number of electricity customers entering into new debt repayment arrangements
  • 21% increase in the number of gas customers entering into new debt repayment arrangements

Energy bills are still higher for most people than they were at the beginning of 2008 even after suppliers cut their prices last year. The bitter winter weather is only likley to worsen this situation as we all have to use more energy to stay warm.  The numbers of people having to enter into a debt arrangement with thier supplier is likely to increase.

Piggy’s  steps to avoid energy debt

  • If you pay by cheque move to Direct Debit and spread the cost of energy across the year
  • Consider an online tariff
  • Switch to a cheaper deal and if you have gas and electric with different suppliers then move them to a single supplier – most companies have discounts or special deals that apply.
  • Reduce your energy usage
  • If you are on a card or key meter consider having it changed to a credit meter – sounds crazy when we are talking about avoiding debt but the price you are paying for your energy will be significantly more if you are on this type of meter.
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