Nearly half (48%) of UK adults say they are using less motor fuel than a year ago, and 45% report using less than a month ago, as forecourt prices continue to soar, according to an Aviva survey1.
The price of motor fuel has increased by 32.8% over the past 12 months2, and with the cost of filling an average family car now more than £1003, drivers have revealed the actions they are taking to reduce their fuel bills.
A survey by the insurer asked people what steps, if any, they were taking to reduce their fuel usage, finding only 16% of respondents are taking no action.
|Are you or anyone in your household doing any of the following to reduce the amount of fuel used when driving?||Percentage of UK adults|
|Using your vehicle for essential journeys only||44%|
|Walking instead of driving||39%|
|Putting less fuel in your car||26%|
|Driving at a lower speed||22%|
|Accelerating / braking more gradually||18%|
|Using public transport instead of your own vehicle||16%|
|I / we are not doing anything to use less motor fuel||16%|
|Working from home more often to avoid spending money on commuting||13%|
|Using a bicycle instead of driving||10%|
|Car-sharing with other people||8%|
|Swapping a petrol or diesel vehicle for a hybrid or electric vehicle||6%|
|Reducing the number of vehicles for your household||6%|
Nearly half (44%) say they are using their vehicles for essential journeys only, while 39% say they are walking on occasion rather than driving.
Others reveal how they are using public transport instead of their own vehicle (16%), while 10% say they are riding a bicycle and 8% report car-sharing with others.
Some (13%) say they have been working from home more often to avoid spending money on commuting.
The research also gives an insight into how motorists are trying to save money when they do need to use their vehicles, with just over a quarter (26%) saying they are putting less fuel in their tank at the pumps.
Nearly a quarter (22%) say they are driving at lower speeds and 18% report accelerating and braking more gradually to save fuel.
Matthew Washer, Head of Connected Motor at Aviva, says: “The survey results give a fascinating insight into how people are changing their driving behaviour.
“They also correspond with our own driving data relating to Aviva customers, which reveals a visible improvement in smooth driving between March and May 2022, compared to the same period in 2021 and 2020.
“As fuel prices reach an all-time high, drivers can take some comfort from the fact that by driving more smoothly and attentively, they will not only be saving fuel and money, but helping to make the roads safer and reducing their impact on the environment.”
To help you save money on driving, Aviva has put together some tips:
E-bike owners are being warned to be on their guard as insurance claims for cycles and accessories climb.
Aviva data reveals UK theft claims for e-bikes rose by 37% in 2021, compared to the previous year.
The growing popularity of e-bikes is also reflected in the insurer’s figures. Theft claims have rocketed in recent years, rising by nine times (or 815%) between 2016 and 2021.
The average value of e-bike claims has also grown substantially during this period. Aviva reports that a claim for an e-bike was typically less than £1,500 in 2016 but is now around £2,000.
The insurer warns that cycle accessories are also being targeted through domestic burglaries. These can add up to several hundreds of pounds, as the table below reveals.
|Cycle accessory||Approximate typical claim cost|
|Inner tube||£5 each|
|Bags and panniers||From £20|
Claims for cycles and accessories are fairly consistent throughout the year, although Aviva data suggests there may be a small uplift during summer months.
Consider your cycle cover
Aviva also urges bike owners to check their insurance policies, to make sure they are suitable for their needs. Home insurance policies usually cover pedal cycles and e-bikes when in the home, although this may not extend to taking the bike out and about.
Many insurers offer a pedal cycle add-on to contents insurance which covers cycles when they are not at the home address, but there are often requirements that the bike should be secured when it is not being ridden. There are also stand-alone products available, such as Ripe Cycleplan which provides specialist cycle protection.
A previous Aviva study of cycling habits revealed the most popular places for storing bikes when not in use as follows:
|Storage place||Proportion of cyclists who store bike here|
|Inside my house / flat||32%|
|Outside in the garden||20%|
|Public bike storage / rack||18%|
NB: Respondents were able to select more than one storage place.
Kelly Whittington, Property Claims Director, Aviva says: “Pedal cycles – and e-bikes in particular – can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so people should consider their cover carefully. Home contents insurance often covers bikes and e-bikes while in the home, but there may be a single item limit for possessions stolen or damaged. More expensive models may need to be listed separately to ensure they are fully covered. Similarly there may be a limit for items stored in sheds and outbuildings – often around £2,500.
“Some home insurance providers also offer a cycle add-on option to cover bikes away from the home, while stand-alone special policies are available. However, thefts may only be covered if the bike is in the customer’s control or locked or secured in accordance with the policy terms, so it’s always best to check with the insurer if in any doubt.”
Aviva has the following advice for people to protect their cycles and themselves:
The good news keeps on coming for cash savers with stiff competition in the market pushing rates on an almost daily basis.
It’s likely that the positive news on rates will continue with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) expected to increase base rate again when it next meets on 16th June.
Whether you’re looking for a home for your rainy day savings or to lock your cash away in a fixed rate bond to achieve a better return, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Amongst the most competitive players in the savings market of late are United Trust Bank, Zopa, Investec, Ford Money, Hodge Bank and Cynergy Bank – with the top deals listed below.
If your money is sitting in a high street bank account earning close to zero now is the time to move your cash to an account that pays a best buy rate and puts extra in your pocket – it only takes a few minutes to open a new savings account online – so why not do it this week?
Rates are changing every day at the moment, but here are some of the best deals:
Easy Access Savings
1.30% Zopa (Smart Saver)
Fixed Rate Bonds
2.57% Cynergy Bank (1 Year)
2.40% Investec (1 Year)
2.88% Cynergy Bank (2 Years)
2.78% Hodge Bank (2 Years)
2.90% Cynergy Bank (3 Years)
2.82% Hodge Bank (3 Years)
2.75% blme (4 Years)
2.86% Hodge Bank (5 Years)
Deposits with the above providers are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the UK’s deposit protection scheme
Just in time for summer, American Express is once again showing its support for local, small businesses across the UK with the return of the Shop Small Offer this June.
From 20 – 26 June 2022, American Express Cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £15 or more at participating small businesses across the UK. This can be used up to 5 times, once per participating small business location, meaning that Cardmembers can earn up to £25 back in statement credits.
Cardmembers must enrol for the Shop Small Offer from 13 June, 2022 (enrolment available to the final day of the Offer on 26 June), through the American Express® App or their Online Account. They can search for participating businesses via the Shop Small Map.
American Express has a long history of championing the high street, and its Shop Small campaign, which launched in the UK 10 years ago, aims to support small businesses across the country by encouraging people to shop frequently at their local businesses.
Dan Edelman, Vice President at American Express, said: “After the challenges of the past two years it’s important that we continue to support the small businesses that contribute so much to our local high streets and communities. That’s why we’re encouraging our Cardmembers to show their appreciation by shopping locally with the return of our Shop Small Offer. First launched 10 years ago, Shop Small helps independent businesses attract customers through their doors and is just one of the ways American Express champions small businesses all year round.”
Terms, locations and payment restrictions apply. For full terms and conditions please visit the Shop Small Hub. Offer excludes Corporate and Pre-Paid Cards.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis still rearing its ugly head, keeping energy bills as low as possible is on everyone’s mind. Amidst this pressing need to cut back and be more energy-conscious, research from the Home Builders Federation found that a new house is 59% cheaper to heat than its older equivalents, resulting in cost savings of £395 over 12 months.
As well as opting for a new build, there are some easy, actionable ways in which homeowners can take matters into their own hands, making small switches and subtle changes to their lifestyle and daily habits to bring down energy consumption and costs. Mark Kershaw, Group Head of Sustainability at award-winning housebuilder Crest Nicholson, shares his tips on how homeowners can feel more in control of their household finances, whilst also leading a lower carbon lifestyle.
1. Monitor your consumption – As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Installing a smart meter with an in-home energy display is a great way to give homeowners the much-needed control and oversight of their energy consumption in real time. Consumers can track their energy expenditure and adjust behaviours as needed, empowering them to make savings as a result. This transparency also means there should be no surprises when you get your energy bill through; you can say goodbye to often-inaccurate estimates in favour of accurate billing.
2. Wash on lower temperatures, and only do full loads – The majority of the energy consumed by a washing machine is used to heat the water. Opting for lower temperatures when washing your clothes (such as 30°C or lower) and choosing ‘eco’ settings for your dishwasher can therefore reduce bills and is better for the environment. Making sure your cycles are full helps further limit unnecessary water and electricity use. If you can’t avoid a half empty load, use a half load setting if available on your machine.
3. Increase the productivity of your appliances – There are several quick fixes when it comes to increasing the productivity of appliances, thereby ensuring they don’t have to work harder and/or longer to get the job done. For example, make sure you regularly clean your washing machine and dishwasher filters and do maintenance cycles to enable them to work their best. Elsewhere, bleeding your radiators, defrosting your freezer regularly, and checking refrigerator doors are properly sealed will help to enhance the respective devices’ efficacy so they don’t use unnecessary energy. This will ultimately lower their running costs, too.
4. Make the most of the outdoors – As we move into the summer months, it’s the perfect opportunity to cut back on tumble dryer costs by hanging your washing outside. You can easily get through three washing loads on a warm summer’s day. Even when the weather isn’t conducive to drying, opting to hang your clothes on a drying rack indoors can also reduce energy bills.
5. Control your thermostat – Heating and hot water account for a significant proportion of a home’s energy bills and make up the highest proportion of UK households’ carbon emissions. Needless to say, lowering the temperature of the heating in your home can save you money. Whilst the prospect of a cold home is not an appealing one, even a one-degree difference can save you money. You could try reducing the temperature by 1°C at a time to ensure you feel comfortable. The World Health Organisation notes that for the general population, 18°C is a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature. Crest Nicholson’s new house types have been meticulously designed to improve the home’s thermal efficiency and ability to retain heat, reducing the energy required to keep a home warm.
6. Manage water in the bathroom – There are plenty of opportunities to reduce the water used in the bathroom. This is particularly important with large parts of England under water stress. You can prevent drips (according to water.org.uk a dripping tap can waste more than 5,000 litres per year!), turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, invest in an efficient shower head, reduce the temperature of your shower, and choose dual flush toilets. Using less hot water will also reduce your energy consumption and associated bills.
7. Be shrewd in the kitchen – The kitchen is another source of unnecessary waste – but there are many small habits you can rethink. For example, an electric kettle consumes a lot of energy – only fill it with the amount of water you need to make your brew. Other simple actions include putting lids on pans to retain heat, batch cooking to bring down your overall cooking time, defrosting your food naturally and paying attention to how long it takes to pre-heat your oven – it may not be as long as you think!
8. Make the most of your energy efficient appliances – One of the benefits of buying a new home is that it comes with newer appliances that have much better efficiency ratings compared to their predecessors. All Crest Nicholson homes are fitted with energy efficient appliances as well as LED lightbulbs that have longer lifespans than halogens, leading to long term cost savings for homeowners.
9. Switch off lights and turn appliances off at the plug – Perhaps one of the most obvious actions is to turn appliances off at the wall wherever possible and switching lights off when you’re not using them. Electricity used by devices that are on standby mode is termed ‘Phantom load’ and while likely only consuming small amounts of energy, it can add up with the growing number of appliances in our homes.
To find out more information about the new build homes on offer at Crest Nicholson, please visit: https://www.crestnicholson.com/
Self-employed individuals are twice as likely to be rejected for a mortgage, according to a new Exploring Adverse Credit report from The Mortgage Lender (TML).
Nearly a quarter (23%) of self-employed individuals have had their mortgage application denied in the past compared to just 12% of employed workers.
Self-employed applicants are often treated with stricter affordability assessments to those who are employed, mainly because they are considered to have a more irregular or complex incomes and are therefore viewed as riskier to lenders. This can make it trickier to get through the mortgage process, with the survey finding that of those who have ever tried to get a mortgage, 19% of self-employed applicants have had mixed results of whether their application was accepted or denied, compared to only 11% of employed individuals who said the same.
This is a problem that requires a solution. There are around 4.2 million self-employed people in the UK, and although that number is smaller today than it was at the start of the pandemic, in the pre-Covid world the number of people choosing to work for themselves had been steadily rising since the early 2000s. While some self-employed people can also be high earning, income is still deemed complex, which can make it challenging for this group to access finance to either buy or re-mortgage a property.
But even taking steps to make themselves a more appealing mortgage applicant, such as a strong credit score, self-employed individuals are more easily deterred from getting a mortgage or do not see the benefits of accessing loans due to their employment status. In fact, less than two in five (38%) agreed that the strength of their credit score allowed them to access better loans and interest rates, compared to nearly half (48%) of employed people who said the same.
With a growing number of people becoming self-employed, lenders must adapt and be open to offering mortgages to those with more complex incomes.
Peter Beaumont, CEO at The Mortgage Lender said: “There are around 4.2million self-employed people in the UK, and it is typical for that number to grow when coming out of a recession, or in this case a pandemic also. While it may offer those workers more freedom, the major drawback of self-employment is the perception of income inconsistency, and consequently a greater challenge when it comes to borrowing large sums of money.
“Fortunately, there are steps the self-employed can take to make themselves more attractive to lenders, like increasing their credit score, or saving for a bigger deposit to bring down their loan-to-value ratio.
“At the same time, however, the onus must fall on lenders to be more open to working with these enterprising individuals. We are proud to offer a competitively priced product range that caters to those with complex incomes.”
Nearly a quarter of UK adults (24%) are using their savings to cover the rising cost of living – equating to 12.7 million people across the UK.
New research from UK credit provider Vanquis reveals most Brits (82%) are worried about rising prices, and more than half (53%) are cutting back on essentials as a result. A similar amount of people (51%) expects their household financial situation to worsen in the next 12 months.
The top five cost concerns are:
This week, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation reaches its highest rate in 40 years, Vanquis are launching a free cost of living calculator. The calculator helps people understand how rising prices could impact their finances and signposts useful advice to save money on bills.
The research also reveals that women are more concerned than men (88% v 75%) about rising costs. As such, they are more likely to cut back on essentials (61% v 45%) and more women than men expect their financial situation to get worse over the next year (56% vs 47%).
In general, four in 10 people (43%) don’t know how the rising costs will impact them, this increases to over half (53%) of younger adults, highlighting that this group may need additional support.
Six in 10 adults (60%) say they would find support with the rising cost of living useful, however more than half (55%) don’t know where to find it.
Fiona Anderson, Managing Director of Cards at Vanquis comments: “The cost-of-living crisis is a huge concern for many people and this week’s inflation announcement shows how prices are continuing to rise.
“Though saving on everyday spending is not the answer to the crisis overall, our calculator aims to give people a clearer picture of how the increases may impact them and share ideas to help save money.”
The Vanquis cost of living calculator is free to use and available here
The latest hike in petrol costs is set to cost the average UK driver an extra £700 a year – more than 60 percent of their spare income.
This is according to used car buying service, ChooseMyCar.com, who have used data on their most popular cars to calculate the costs of filling up tanks today, compared to a year ago. What they found was that based on an average mileage of 13,000 miles a year, the extra cost of filling up tanks is upwards of £25 per tank. Spread across the course of a whole year, that’s of a minimum of £525. Even in a “reasonable” car, such as a Nissan Qashqai, the extra cost is nearly £700. A full comparison of their top 10 most popular cars can be found here.
According to the recent Worldwide Wage Report, that’s more than 60 percent of your average Brit’s spare income.This is particularly concerning in the light of a study that ChooseMyCar.com commissioned earlier this month. This study shows that half of 18-34 year olds have had to borrow money to pay for fuel, either from friends and family – or banks.
Other worrying statistics from that study showed:
Founder of ChooseMyCar.com, Nick Zapolski, said that many people are going to struggle to accommodate any further rise.
“The AA and the RAC have both confirmed that last Sunday saw the highest fuel prices ever recorded, with further increases expected over the coming days and weeks
“The cost of living is already so high, but fuel prices are absolutely staggering. It’s going to force some people to stop using their vehicles, which sadly isn’t practical for many.
“We already know that more than 50 percent of people are using “Hypermiling” techniques in order to be more economical. But despite their best efforts, our recent studies show that the impact on Brit drivers of fuel costs is already severe. How much more can people afford to pay?
“While prices continue to rise, all we can recommend is that people follow tips to drive economically.”
Analysis of the latest CACI market data by Paragon Bank shows that £418 billion of savers’ money continues to languish in savings accounts paying less than 0.1%.
CACI’s database1, which captures savings data from more than 30 leading providers, showed that four out of five (80%) of non-ISA instant access accounts pay less than 0.1% in February, despite the Bank of England Base Rate increase during that month.
The CACI data also showed that nearly a third (31%) of savings accounts have a balance of less than £100, suggesting people have little to fall back on during a period of high inflationary pressure.
February’s data confirmed that despite these cost pressures, the nation’s overall savings balance increased during the month to £988 billion, up from £986 billion the previous month.
Non-ISA instant access balances led the jump, increasing month-on-month by £3 billion to £615.4 billion. This type of product accounts for nearly two thirds (62%) of all savings balances. The average savings balance is £12,511.
Instant access ISAs remain the second most common account at 18.6% of all balances, or £183.4 billion.
Derek Sprawling, Paragon Bank Savings Director, said:
“It is remarkable that £400 billion of savers’ money is sitting in accounts paying up to 0.1% and it demonstrates how the high street banks rely on consumer apathy. In this inflationary environment, I would urge savers to make their money work as hard as possible for them and to seek better rates of return for their finances. Unfortunately, for too many people convenience trumps rate, but that needs to change.”