My pick of last week’s news is the two insolvency stories. The Accountant in Bankruptcy’s Shame: Bankruptcy Application Fees shows how £90 and £200 fees are causing hardship in Scotland. The Insolvency Service would find a worse situation if it bothered to look at the £90 and £680 fees it charges. And Fake or Fortune? The astounding saga of James Stunt just for fun.
Tweet of the week
Oh wow. The Tory candidate for Broxtowe says that people driven to food banks should just get a pay day loan. A party with genuine contempt for victims of their own policies. pic.twitter.com/vxIxHy82fn
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) December 7, 2019
UK household debts see big increase BBC: “However, even excluding [student debt] we’re carrying £87bn in loans, credit cards, hire purchase agreements, overdrafts and arrears.”
- Living life as a mortgage prisoner Times (paywall): Strict checks introduced by lenders after the financial crisis mean that 140,000 people cannot remortgage on to a lower rate.
- Older borrowers are steered away from cheaper mortgages and into expensive equity release, ex-city regulator warns Mail: A whopping two out of three older borrowers who approach their lender or adviser for a mortgage end up taking a more expensive equity release deal.
- The Accountant in Bankruptcy’s Shame: Bankruptcy Application Fees Advice Scotland blog: the cost of application fees is not just one borne by the bankruptcy applicant, their family and friends or charities, but also by the free advice sector who have to undertake the work of assisting clients to make applications to charities for bankruptcy fees.
- Fake or Fortune? The astounding saga of James Stunt Gateway Gallery blog: The unfortunate situation when you are made bankrupt by your divorce solicitor, most of your assets are subject to a Proceeds of Crime order so can’t be sold and your art collection, which isn’t part of the Order and has been on show in a stately home owned by Prince Charles, turns out to be fakes. It could happen to any of us.
Ministers must do more to tackle cheap credit offers Times (paywall): like lemmings we enter, moved by mysterious forces to buy the cashmere snood, the low-fat frier, the set of Scandi-style egg cups.
First Direct and M&S Bank follow HSBC in hiking overdraft fees from March MSE: “HSBC itself followed Nationwide’s switch to 40% interest, which took place in November. This may just be the new rate for arranged overdrafts.”
Solent Credit Union: ‘Bad debts’ led to £500k collapse BBC: The administrators said the credit union exposed itself to increasing bad debt by stepping up lending in 2014. It changed its loans policy in 2016 “to reduce the number of high-risk loans made”.
Debt warning as banks target the gig economy Mail: In a new battleground, RBS, HSBC, TSB, Nationwide and smaller rivals including Tandem are working on plans to cash in on the rise of agency workers, freelancers and food delivery drivers.
Benefits & other news
Benefit-rent gap for poorest tenants widens to £113 a month Guardian: Although ministers said last month the overall benefit freeze will end in April, it has emerged that housing benefit was not included in the announcement and a decision on this has been delayed for whoever forms the next government.
‘They wouldn’t take no for an answer’: pressure mounts to ban door-to-door energy salesmen Telegraph (paywall): Some residents said they believed that door-to-door energy salesmen were from Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert when they were in fact from a company with a similar name