A hard lesson in credit management and survival

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The Independent Online
Jean Eaglesham, head of money policy at the Consumers' Association: 'I've had three holidays and I'm still paying for the first one, so this year has been a practical exercise in credit management. Generally, it's not been good news for consumers.

'Most banks are still giving too many customers a raw deal. Commission is still driving too many sales of investments. The Government looks set to deregulate credit, at least in part, so nowhere in personal finance is free from problems.

'For next year, I would like to see banks start to provide reasonable levels of service, victims of pensions mis-selling get full compensation and more advisers switch from commissions to fees.'

Godfrey Jillings, chief executive of Fimbra, the financial advisers' regulator: 'Since I'm a regulator, my financial affairs are always in apple-pie order. I'm not sure that's true, actually. But I did manage to go on holiday four times this year and pay for all of them.

'Financial advisers have survived in a difficult year, with some doing very well. I believe that they have generally given good advice and this has been to the benefit of their clients.

'I look to 1994 with confidence, as I believe there will be further evidence of steady recovery in the economy. As for investor protection, the satisfactory formation of a new regulator, the Personal Investment Authority, will be an important step.'

John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB general workers' union: 'Where our members are concerned, the year has been as miserable as one would expect, with average pay increases around 1 to 3 per cent and people in the public sector at the bottom of the range. This compares with 8 to 15 per cent for their managers, who tell their staff they have got to tighten their belts.

'As for me, my younger daughter got married in May, so it has been downhill from there. It has made a dent in our pockets, but the Co-op Bank has been very helpful.

'Any money I have is in the Halifax. It has been moved into a Tessa but you won't find many union general secretaries saying they are millionaires.'

David Gower, broadcaster and former England and Hampshire cricketer: 'In the 'green shoots' year of 1993, I have had a reasonable time, financially. I could bemoan the lack of Test match income through the summer, but then, so could a large number of county cricketers. In the present economic climate, perhaps we should all be grateful to be in employment.

'The arrival of our daughter, Alexandra, in September has made me glad that we have invested some of our money wisely over the years. From November, my income from playing cricket disappeared. I am looking forward to the challenge of making my living from bringing the sport to new audiences through TV and newspapers.'

Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover: 'For people who are unemployed and on low wages, it has been a horrible year. In north Derbyshire, all the pits have shut. There must be 50 per cent unemployment in many mining villages. And now the Government is cutting people's benefits.

'MPs, on the other hand, have done very well. I voted against the latest pay increase for them. If you are on 30 grand a year, you can't say you need any more. I was a miner on low pay when I came here and when it comes to working hard, this job is no comparison.

'I donate a lot of my money to labour movement causes, always have done. During the miners' strike in 1984 I gave all my wages to the miners.'

It was a year when:

The FT-SE 100 stock market index rose by more than 500 points to 3,350, an increase of 17 per cent.

The mortgage interest rate of the Halifax, the UK's biggest lender, fell from 8.55 to 7.99 per cent - cutting the monthly interest payment on a pounds 60,000 loan by pounds 25, to pounds 349.

Gross interest on a Halifax instant access account was cut from 5.2 to 4.05 per cent, meaning pounds 58 less over a year for a saver with a pounds 5,000 investment.

The average house price climbed roughly pounds 4,500 to about pounds 67,000.

Wages increased on average by pounds 144, to an average weekly wage of pounds 316.

Inflation fell from 1.7 to 1.4 per cent.

Unemployment fell marginally from just under 3 million to 2.8 million.

It was a year when:

The FT-SE 100 stock market index rose by more than 500 points to 3,350, an increase of 17 per cent.

The mortgage interest rate of the Halifax, the UK's biggest lender, fell from 8.55 to 7.99 per cent - cutting the monthly interest payment on a pounds 60,000 loan by pounds 25, to pounds 349.

Gross interest on a Halifax instant access account was cut from 5.2 to 4.05 per cent, meaning pounds 58 less over a year for a saver with a pounds 5,000 investment.

The average house price climbed roughly pounds 4,500 to about pounds 67,000.

Wages increased on average by pounds 144, to an average weekly wage of pounds 316.

Inflation fell from 1.7 to 1.4 per cent.

Unemployment fell marginally from just under 3 million to 2.8 million.

(Photographs omitted)

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