Cost of living - latest: Interest rate decision could cost you £61 a month; major Clubcard changes next week (2023)

Key points
  • 'Storm clouds gathered' for UK housing market
  • Interest rate decision could cost homeowners £61 extra per month
  • UK will have one of highest inflation rates in developed world this year
  • Major Clubcard changes from next week
  • May's cheapest and most expensive supermarket revealed
  • Mortgage rates climb 0.4% in a week
  • Your dilemmas:I am coeliac and can't afford food - what do I do?
  • Budgeting Mum: Electric cars |Saving for your children | Do food subscriptions save you money?| Holiday spending money


Bleach prices rocket by as much as 90%

The cost of cleaning your kitchen and bathroom is increasing.

Bleach prices have shot up by as much as 90% across four supermarkets, research by the Grocer shows.

Two litres of Asda's Just Essentials Thin Bleach rose by 90% between 17 April and 3 May.

In Morrisons, a similarly sized own-brand Savers Thin Bleach increased by almost 43% between 3 and 24 April.

Branded products have followed suit, with 750ml of Domestos Citrus Bleach rising almost 30% from 11 April to 22 April in Tesco.

Tesco told the Grocer a range of prices were available for bleach while Domestos said the brand always tries to absorb as much increased input costs as possible.


Savings deals of the week

It's Thursday, and that James Hyde has published his savings deals of the week...

SmartSave – One year fixed bond

"The account pays 5.26% on maturity and requires a minimum £10,000 initial investment. Further additions can be made for a fortnight following the account opening, so careful planning is wise."

Minimum opening amount: £10,000

OakNorth Bank – 30 month fixed term savings account

"Paying 5.28% gross, it sits high in our charts among bonds of less than three years. A minimum investment of just £1 may appeal to investors, although they should also note no early withdrawals are possible. Further additions are permitted for two weeks from the account opening."

Minimum opening amount: £1

Beehive Money – five year goal bond issue five

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"Now paying 5.10%, the product sits as one of our best buys when compared with others of a similar term. Although earlier access is not permitted, investors may be pleased to note that further additions can be made for 14 days from the account opening or while the issue remains open, whichever period is longer."

Minimum opening amount: £500

UBL UK – Cash ISA fixed one year

"Paying 4.56%... further additions are not permitted, and earlier access is only permitted on account closure and subject to a loss of interest penalty, which should be considered."

Minimum opening amount: £2,000

Sainsbury’s Bank – Defined access saver issue 44

"Now paying 3.76% from £1,000... [but] this account pays a lower rate of 1% if four or more withdrawals are made, which investors may wish to consider."

Minimum opening amount: £1


Are fixed energy tariffs worth it as the price cap falls?

Energy suppliers have begun to offer fixed deals again, but only to existing customers.

Money Saving Expert forecasts more will be introduced to the market soon, but with the energy cap set to push bills down by 17% from July, customers should be careful about taking up the offers.

From 1 July, Ofgem is expected to reduce the energy price cap from £2,500 to £2,074, which will effect almost everyone's bills. In October, the cap should drop again to £1,976, before rising to £2,045 in January - according to current forecasts.

But at the same time, homeowners won't benefit from £66-per-month government support, which ended in April.

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert, said a fixed rate more than 17% lower than current prices (remember, the price is coming down 17% in July) could be "a decent deal".

"If it's the same or a little more, it may still be worth considering for the sake of price certainty," he told the website.

There are no open-market fixed deals, according to MSE, but the comparison site provided a list of offers that existing customers can consider:

  • So Energy, £2,035 per year, £150 dual-fuel exit fee
  • British Gas, 2,044, £200 dual-fuel exit fee
  • E.on Next, £2,050, £150 dual-fuel exit fee
  • Ovo Energy, £2,220, £150 dual-fuel exit fee


From facial recognition to dummy products to AI: How shops are responding to shoplifting

Last week we reported how shoe shop Office told its stores to cease a practice of only allowing customers to try on one shoe at a time.

They told Sky News this was not a company policy.

Other shops have taken even more radical approaches to an apparent rise in shoplifting during the cost of living crisis...

Facial recognition

In April, Sports Direct's parent company defended its use of facial recognition technology, which checks faces against a watch-list.

Frasers Group rolled out biometric cameras across 27 of its stores the month before, according to the Mail Online.

Compulsory receipt scanning

Sainsbury's introduced security barriers throughout this year which force shoppers to scan receipts before being allowed to leave some stores.

Fewer steaks and less coffee on display

Co-op and Marks & Spencer's have limited the number of high-value items on their shelves in some stores to deter shoplifters, with people tweeting pictures of less coffee on display at the former and steaks at the latter.

AI technology

A Nisa convenience store in London has used AI camera technology that flags customers putting items in their pockets or unusual browsing patterns, according to the Retail Gazette.

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Middleton family's party company can't afford to pay £2.6m in debts

A party supplier which made Kate Middleton's parents into millionaires can't afford to pay almost £2.6m in debts following its collapse.

Party Pieces Holdings, where the Princess of Wales used to work, fell into administration last month.

Administration filings show that while assets worth almost £198,000 will be returned to some creditors, there is a £2.59m shortfall owed to Royal Mail, Google and Solihull Moors Football Club, among others.

The company, which was bought by entrepreneur James Sinclair, blamed the pandemic and cost of living crisis for its failure.

Carole and Michael Middleton founded Party Pieces in 1987, selling children's party decorations ranging from balloons to fancy dress.


How much extra homeowners could pay if rates rise again

Homeowners could be forced to fork out as much as £732 more a year if the Bank of England raises interest rates by 0.25 percentage points this month.

In May, the Bank hiked the Base rate by 0.25 percentage points to 4.5% and if this pattern continues on 22 June, mortgage payers could feel the pinch.

But the increase would be felt more by some regions of England than others, according to comparison service TotallyMoney.

Based on their calculations, here are the average additional monthly costs by area:

  • London - £61
  • East of England - £39
  • East Midlands - £26
  • North West -£23
  • Yorkshire and the Humber - £22
  • North East - £17

Personal finance expert Andrew Hagger, who compiled the data, said: "Consumers will be frustrated that rate hikes haven't petered out by now, and worrying that their already battered finances will be squeezed further."

The figures are based on various assumptions - including the borrower is on a 75% loan-to-value variable rate mortgage - so the actual impact of a rate rise will vary from person to person.

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The most expensive dog and cat breeds to insure

As living costs continue to rise, owners are struggling to keep up with pet insurance payments. Almost a fifth of owners are slipping into debt in order to take care of their pet, according to research from Pets4Homes.

However, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found the average pet insurance premium in the UK is now £271, down from £279 in 2019. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure your pet is covered for things like vet fees, overseas travel cover, cattery and kennel fees, and dental costs.

Around 97% of all animals that were insured in 2021 were cats or dogs, according to Some breeds are more expensive to insure than others – for example, pedigree pets are considered to be a greater risk as they have a higher value and can suffer from illnesses and injuries directly associated with their breed.

Using figures, here are the most expensive breeds to insure, with an average price of what you could expect to pay in 2022.

Most expensive dogs to insure:

  1. Cane corso - £695
  2. Leonberger - £677
  3. St Bernard - £587
  4. German spitz (klein) - £564
  5. Great Dane cross - £517
  6. Miniature bull terrier - £492
  7. English cocker spaniel cross - £490
  8. German pointer - £478
  9. Dogue de Bordeaux - £466
  10. Old tyme bulldog cross - £463

Most expensive cats to insure:

  1. Ragamuffin cross - £977
  2. Nebelung - £494
  3. Don sphynx - £403
  4. Chinchilla Persian cross - £390
  5. Tabby cross - £249
  6. Chinchilla Persian - £239
  7. Abyssinian - £277
  8. Longhair ginger - £216
  9. Persian cross - £206
  10. Silver-spotted tabby cross - £206


Good news for Bank of England, bad news for some job seekers in labour market data

The UK jobs market had more candidates going for fewer jobs last month, with wages increasing more slowly than before, according to a closely watched survey.

(Video) Being a Savvy Customer during the Cost of Living Crisis

May had the highest number of jobseekers in two and a half years as more people were made redundant and hiring slowed, a survey of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.

At the same time the number of jobs for candidates to fill fell for the third month in a row.

Wages still increased, just at a slower pace than before as thecost of living.

Read the full story from our business team...


What are financial pros and cons of electric cars - and how can you save money on their running?

Beth, AKA @budgetingmum, is back with another video for Sky News offering money saving advice.

This week her focus is on electric cars - how much they cost relative to petrol or diesel vehicles both initially and through their lifespan.

Beth also offers tips on how you can run them more cheaply. As always, this home-produced video is well worth a watch...


UK banks to reimburse fraud victims under new rules

Banks will have to reimburse fraud victims who have been tricked into sending money to scammers under rules to come into force next year.

This has now been confirmed by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR).

Most victims of authorised push payment (APP) fraud will be reimbursed within five business days and there will also be additional protections for vulnerable customers, the regulator said.

Many banks are currently signed up to a voluntary reimbursement code but there are concerns over how this functions.

Both sending and receiving firms in the UK will share the costs of reimbursing victims 50:50, PSR has confirmed.

The new requirement will not apply to civil disputes, payments which take place across other payment systems or international payments. However, the regulator said it is considering whether the new reimbursement requirement, or comparable protections, should apply to other payment systems.

Payment service providers within the scope of the new policy will include high street banks and building societies as well as smaller payment firms.

APP scams happen when someone is tricked into making a payment, often due to criminals posing as a legitimate organisation such as a bank, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or the police. Scammers may also pretend to be selling goods or services that do not exist.

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