Cost of living latest: Tesco delivery changes kick in on Tuesday; positive updates on UK housing market; Britons turning away from Ben & Jerry's and Magnum (2023)

Key points
  • Housebuilders post encouraging updates on UK housing market
  • Mortgage deal availability soars
  • Tesco delivery changes to kick in from Tuesday
  • Ben and Jerry's and Magnum losing market share to supermarket alternatives
  • Sainsbury's reveals cost of 'keeping prices low' - but do their claims stand up?
  • Your dilemmas: My boss is refusing me paternity leave - what are my rights?
  • Budgeting Mum: Do food subscriptions save you money?| Tips for buying travel insurance
  • Money-saving hacks: Weddings| Cheaper flights| For parents


Fresh rail strikes set for day of Eurovision

The RMT union has confirmed fresh rail strikes will take place on 13 May - the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool.

The latest comes after union leaders rejected a pay offer from the Rail Delivery Group.

Next month's strike - the latest in a long-standing pay dispute - will involve staff from 14 rail operators.

In March, the RMT said union members at Network Rail had voted to accept a revised pay offer - amounting to a pay rise of up to 14.4% for the lowest paid and 9.2% for the highest paid.

However, the union said today that "following further discussions between the union and the RDG, the employer issued a clarification on the offer RMT has been considering".

The Rail Delivery Group is allegedly now saying it would "only implement the first-year payment of 5% if the union terminated its industrial mandate".

This would mean no further strike action could take place.

The offer was formally rejected earlier today.


What new gambling laws are being proposed?

The government's long-awaited gambling white paper has been published.

But what exactly would these laws mean for people?

In the clip below, ourpolitical correspondent Liz Batesexplains...


Where to get debt support

If debts are piling up at this difficult time, it is important to seek help from reliable sources.

The government urges people to avoid taking money from loan sharks, who will charge extortionate interest rates and are unauthorised to lend.

Instead, take a look at our list of debt support providers.

Citizens Advice has lots of useful links to help organise, prioritise and manage your debt.

StepChangecan provide advice on what help is right for you.

Breathing Space is a scheme that temporarily freezes most interest and charges on debts as well as pauses most enforcement action.

Your local council may offer support through the Household Support Fund or grants specific to the area.

You should also find out if you are entitled to any government benefits, and always speak to the company to which you owe money. Some, such as energy providers, may offer a more manageable payment plan.


How much does average scam cost you, what ages are most vulnerable, and why do people in London lose more?

The average amount Britons lose to online scams is £1,169 each - with 7% claiming to have lost more than £7,500 to scammers.

Nationally, 11% of UK adults – 5.8 million people - admitted they had fallen for an internet scam and had money stolen at some point in their lives, the DNS Research Federation found.

This means more than £6.8bn has been stolen from personal accounts - seven times the required budget to end homelessness in the UK (according to Crisis UK).

Older people are most vulnerable to losing large sums to scammers. People aged over 55 that had been victims of internet crime claimed to have lost an average of £2,151 to scammers via their computer or phone.

This compared to an average loss of £1,270 for 36-54 year-olds and £851 for people aged under 35.

London was the place where people were most likely to lose large sums. The average loss in the capital was £1,665 per person, compared to £891 for people in the North and £400 for those living in Scotland.


Carlsberg has hiked prices

Carlsberg hiked prices over the first quarter of the year to offset "significantly" higher costs.

The company, which also brews Tuborg and Brooklyn beer, said it was "uncertain" how recent increases would affect the amount of its beer bought by customers.

It came as Carlsberg told investors revenues grew by 8% to 16.4 billion Danish krone (£1.95bn) over the three months to March.


'Being disabled costs me £13,000 a year' - the price tag of disability

The cost of living with a disability is now an extra £975 a month, according to one leading charity.

Scope has published its latest "disability price tag" research that found disabled households need to spend an extra £12,000 a year to achieve the same standard of living as none disabled adults.

And the extra cost of disability, on average, equals 63% of a disabled households' income - leaving little room to afford a decent standard of living.

This is due to the higher cost of buying specialist equipment (including wheelchairs and hoists), a higher everyday use of energy, and paying over the odds for taxis due to a lack of accessible public transport.

Disability activist and Scope ambassador Shani Dhanda said being disabled costs her an extra £13,00 a year - meaning she effectively works 54 days a year for free.

"Last year my already high energy bills went up by £1,284," she said.

"The price tag that comes with disability should shame us all, and it’s clear that we need action. We all want to live our lives to the full, contribute to society and get on in life. Extra costs make that increasingly difficult."


How much it costs to learn to drive

The cost of learning to drive now stands at almost £1,600, according to new research.

Learner driver insurance brand Veygo found learner drivers need an average of 45 hours of professional instruction to pass their tests.

At £35 a lesson, this means they would pay around £1,575. With the average household earning £32,000 in 2022, the cost is a significant chunk of an average household's budget.

Veygo said: "I’d recommend that learner drivers prepare as much as they can before their tests, even if they have a limited budget. One way to do this is to support your professional lessons with practice in a private vehicle.

"Having access to a family member or friend's car – with full learner insurance – is, therefore, a huge bonus for learners, making it quicker and much more affordable to learn to drive."


Are you neglecting your car?

It seems car maintenance is another thing people are neglecting due to a squeeze on our monthly incomes.

LV= General Insurance found a "worrying" trend of motorists avoiding replacing and servicing early signs of wear and tear on their vehicle - with potentially dangerous consequences.

According to LV='s breakdown provider, Britannia Rescue, the number of call-outs where vehicles did not have an MOT was 78% higher in January 2023 compared with March 2022.

LV= said common issues which are not being promptly fixed include worn tyres, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) not being calibrated correctly or checked, warning lights on dashboards, chipped or cracked windscreens and wear to brake pads.

Tips for keepingvehicles safe and roadworthy:

  • Sort a windscreen chip out early. This can cost around £50, compared with replacing the full windscreen if not looked at, which can cost as much £1,500;
  • Have your steering checked if you feel the car pulling to one side – this can cause uneven tyre wear and mean that tyres have to be replaced unnecessarily quickly;
  • Get cars serviced regularly in accordance with manufacturer specifications in order to catch any maintenance issues early;
  • Have your car inspected by a professional if you hear any unusual sounds, such as knocking;
  • Headlights and brake lights not working can lead to a fine and three points on your licence, so get these replaced as soon as it happens.


Savings deals of the week - from Moneyfacts

Moneyfacts' Rachel Springall has picked and analysed some of the best savings deals on offer this week...

Al Rayan Bank – 18 Month Fixed Term Deposit

"Now paying an expected profit rate of 4.72% gross, the deal may well appeal to savers who are comfortable with locking away their cash to secure a competitive return over the shorter-term."

Key product details:

  • Minimum opening amount: £5,000

Castle Trust Bank – Fixed Rate e-Cash ISA

"The deal can be opened with a minimum of £1,000 and it accepts transfers in from both cash and stocks and shares ISAs. This deal permits early access on account closure, subject to a 90-day loss of interest penalty."

Key product details:

  • Rate: 4.25% gross / 4.25% AER payable on maturity
  • Notice / term: One year
  • Minimum opening amount: £1,000

Shawbrook Bank – 2 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA Bond Issue 70

"Savers looking to utilise their ISA allowance and desire a guaranteed return on their cash may find this a competitive choice. The account allows transfers in from both cash and stocks and shares ISAs, and earlier access is permitted subject to a loss of interest penalty. Those savers looking to supplement their income will also find the account offers a monthly interest option."

Key product details:

  • Rate: 4.31% gross / 4.31% AER payable on anniversary / monthly interest option of 4.23% gross / 4.31% AER also available
  • Notice / term: Two years
  • Minimum opening amount: £1,000

Skipton Building Society – 60 Day Notice Cash ISA Issue 1

"Paying 3.40%, the deal may appeal to those who are happy to give notice to access their funds for a competitive rate over the shorter term. Savers will be able to make cash or stocks and shares ISA transfers into this account upon opening or they can invest with as little as £1."

Key product details:

  • Notice / term: 60 days

StreamBank – 90 Day Notice Account – Issue 1

"The 90 Day Notice account pays 3.78% gross and may appeal to savers who have £1,000 to invest upfront. As the interest is paid monthly, this option could suit those looking to supplement their income, but should they wish to access their cash they must be content to provide 90 days’ notice to do so."


Tesco raising minimum delivery spend next week - how do other supermarkets compare?

Tesco will increase its minimum spend for delivery for the first time in almost eight years on Tuesday.

If customers don't put enough groceries in their basket to reach the £50 mark, they will be charged £5.

Tesco will now offer the most expensive minimum spend of all the major supermarkets, but they say this will not impact the "vast majority" of customers.

"To ensure we can continue to serve our online customers as effectively as possible, from May 2 we are making some changes to our minimum basket threshold, the first change we are making in nearly eight years," said a Tesco spokesperson.

"For the vast majority of our customers, there will be no change to the way they shop."

Which? found Co-op had the lowest minimum spend (£15), followed by Morrisons and Sainsbury's (£25), then Waitrose, Ocado and Iceland (£40).

But just because a minimum spend is lower doesn't mean shoppers are getting better value for money.

The savings on basket size should be compared with the cost of the items in it, and Which? says Tesco is the fourth cheapest supermarket in the UK - without taking into account clubcard deals (see table in 9.24am post).

As expected, Aldi and Lidl topped the table for a 41-item shop, costing approximately £72 at both stores.

They are followed by Sainsbury's (£80.27), Tesco (£81.58), Asda (£81.88), Morrisons (£83.63), Ocado (£88.03), and Waitrose (£92.55).

This means that while, for example, Waitrose will deliver a £40 shop, customers may receive less per pound on average than Tesco.

So whether customers should consider alternatives to Tesco delivery depends on what sized shop they intend to do.


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