Wednesday 24th April 2024

Must-know money: Dodging recession, greener homes and train prices

The cost-of-living crisis isn’t going anywhere soon, so it’s as important as ever to take better control of your finances. 

Here are some of our favourite stories this week to help you get your head around your money.

UK dodges recession, but economy remains smaller than pre-pandemic levels

Jack Barnett reports for City AM as the UK dodges recession, but predictions are  for the UK economy to remain around pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2024. The UK economy is set to shrink 0.3% in 2023, according to British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) forecasts.

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BCC economists have scaled up their GDP forecasts massively from a 1.3% contraction this year. However, they cautioned that avoiding the recession is nothing to brag about, as Britain is the only economy in the G7 that is still below its pre-covid size.

UK growth is predicted to stay below 1% until 2025. Overall investment in the UK is predicted to contract more than 1%. With lower household spending and demand, businesses are likely to reduce staff, pushing the unemployment rate to a peak of nearly 5%.

The country is likely to tread through a long period of stagnation that will leave the economy smaller than before the Covid-19 crisis this year.

Homeowners looking to make their homes greener

Frans Ivens writes for This is Money as two thirds of homeowners look to modify their homes with energy efficient improvements, according to a study from Butterfield Mortgages.

The study found over half (54%) respondents are worried with their energy efficiency levels and would consider carrying out maintenance for their homes. To make their homes greener, some owners have already installed LED bulbs (66%), invested in double or triple glazing (57%), added loft or wall insulation (55%) or used a smart meter (46%).

Butterfield’s research found that only 40% homeowners are aware of their property’s current energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings.

17% said that they had considered remortgaging to fund energy-efficient upgrades, in an aim to bring their energy bills down, and improve their EPC ratings.

While the costs of such energy-efficient improvements are high, This is Money looks at other popular home improvement methods to compare their pricing and effectiveness.

Train ticket prices go up by 5.9%

Tom Espiner reports for the BBC as regulated rail fares in England and Wales rise by up to 5.9%.

The Government says that it did not want to add further pressure on households. Thus, while the rise is higher than the 4.8% hike last year, it is far below the rate of inflation.

The 5.9% rise is a “fair balance” between passengers and taxpayers, who help pay for trains, according to the Government. Train operators said that holding fares below inflation is ”‘understandable” as fares need to be set at an appropriate level for the rail industry and its customers.

An annual season ticket from Brighton to London Terminals has gone up from £5,304 to £5,616 (5.9%) whereas Huddersfield to Manchester is up from £2,908 to £3,076 (5.8%).

However, passengers complain that after months of poor services and strikes, they are not getting value for their money. The Office of Rail and Road said that train reliability was getting worse, with 4.5% of all planned trains between October to December 2022 were cancelled – the highest since records began in 2014.

Photo Credits: Unsplash

Richa Ved

Richa is a young Indian graduate from Warwick Business School, aspiring to find her niche in the media industry. She has a passion for writing and a keen interest in financial affairs. If you don’t find her working, she’s probably having a pizza (her favourite!) and a pint of beer somewhere.

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