At last, some good news from the FSA that will help savers
If your bank goes bust, deposits will be ring-fenced
Sunday 26 July 2009
For a change there was good news this week from the much-criticised Financial Services Authority. The City watchdog announced a shake-up to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to ensure faster and fairer payouts to savers who lose money when banks go bust.
The scheme protects up to £50,000 per person per institution if a bank, building society or credit union collapses. But at present, if you have a loan or mortgage with the institution, it will be set off against your savings.
So if you have a loan of, say, £20,000, and £50,000 in savings in the same institution, you would only be compensated to the value of £30,000. That, to my mind, is a complete nonsense. In these times when people have been keen to ensure a safe home for their cash, it forces them, in effect, to keep their savings in a different financial home than the rest of their finances.
So I applaud the news that people's deposits are to be ring-fenced. It means we will be able to choose financial deals on the basis of the best we can find, rather than have the added complication of excluding certain banks or building societies.
At the same time, the FSA has promised that compensation will be paid within seven days, or within 20 at the most. In fact, the 20-day limit has been forced on it by the EU Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive, but targeting a seven-day turnaround for compensation is laudable. It should put an end to the worry of suddenly being without your cash for an extended period.
The bad news is the new rules won't come into force until 2011, which means savers have to remain extra-vigilant about compromising their cash for another 18 months.
But there was some immediate good news for people with savings in different building societies which have since merged, such as anyone with cash in the Cheshire or the Derbyshire as well as Nationwide, which took them over. The FSCS has extended the rule which allows accounts in different societies to stay protected to December 2010. Existing rules would have forced savers to act by September, so that's an extra 15 months to find new, safe homes for savings.
Elsewhere this week came news that a £2.48bn government scheme aimed at helping poverty-hit pensioners and hard-up families pay heating and lighting bills is failing. The Public Accounts Committee reported that the Warm Front scheme has helped only a third of the three million judged to be living in fuel poverty. It's supposed to help vulnerable folk pay for the installation of energy-saving measures such as insulation and double-glazing. As Alessia Horwich reports on page 96, such measures can help cut hundreds of pounds off annual fuel bills.
The problem is that the scheme was targeted at those who received non-means-tested benefits, such as income support, housing benefit and pension credit. But many people classed as being in fuel poverty – that is, they spend more than 10 per cent of their income on bills – do not receive the benefits, or do not claim them.
The energy and climate change minister, David Kidney, has promised to review the scheme and make improvements, which is clearly important. But it raises the issue, once again, of benefits and the fact that many pensioners turn their back on them.
The charity Age Concern and Help the Aged warns that one in three pensioners fails to claim benefits and allowances. Some are embarrassed or too proud to claim, while others are unaware of their entitlement.
So, if you know of anyone who may be missing out, offer to show them www.tinyurl.com/lsabcj – a Direct gov site listing all the benefits and how to claim for them.
The Ministry of Justice is getting tough on dodgy claims management firms which offer to "buy" debt and then get it written off through a loophole in the law. This month, GloVista Red and Ezee Claims have had their authorisations suspended, while Claimwise Legal Services and Momentum Network have received cancelled authorisations and will no longer be able to conduct business.
The more of these unscrupulous companies forced out of business the better. In order to get their fat fees they prey on people's debt worries and confusion about their rights.
Carl Wright of Cartel Client Review warns: "Consumers must be wary of firms which make misleading claims of buying up debt.
"If cases go to court it will be the consumer who ends up in the dock, not the company."
- 1 Should Apple buy Greece?
- 2 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 3 Drummer Lee Rigby's family reject 'extremist' groups using Woolwich murder for political gain
- 4 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 5 Fox News anchor asks 'what's to prevent' three people from marrying after same-sex marriage legalised
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
iJobs Money & Business
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...
Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...
Competitive (Freelance) : Guru Careers: An Investment Writer / Stock Picker is...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.