Money Talks: savings rates, annuities, and nuisance calls

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Times are tough for savers. The government’s Funding for Lending scheme seems to have boosted the mortgage market, but at the expense of competitive interest rates. Although the Bank of England has just announced that base rate is to stay at 0.5%, the rates paid on savings are tumbling.

We’ve rounded up some of the best savings rates – and a few of them don’t look too bad. Act fast though, as no one wants to be at the top of the best-buy tables these days.

If I said things were better for pension incomes I’d be lying. Pensioners may have breathed a sigh of relief this morning when the Office for National Statistics announced it would not be changing the way the inflation is calculated – some had warned that changes to RPI would amount to a “stealth tax” on the retired. However, annuity rates are in freefall, registering the biggest decline in 14 years in 2012. Lisa Bachelor has the whole sorry story.

Give us some good news, I hear you cry. Well Ofcom is at last planning to crack down on nuisance phone calls. It says it will look at how to trace companies that make calls and hide their identity, and write to businesses reminding them of the rules on silent and abandoned calls.

Also on the site this week

• Anna Tims looks at homes around the country you can buy for £300,000.

• Mark King finds out how to get a job inventing crisps.

• We also explain why you shouldn’t panic if you haven’t opted out of child benefit.

Daft deal

Perhaps WH Smith is trying to help those who have resolved to give up chocolate by ramping up the cost if you want to buy more than one box of Quality Street. This special offer was spotted at Chester station by Mark Rayfield.

Real deals

• Get six months free broadband from BT. Click here to find out more.

• If your tax return is too complicated to grapple with yourself, software from Keytime can help. Click here for more details. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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