- RMT railway workers and Aslef drivers on strike - check which services are affected
- The dispute over the payment of the train goes "in reverse" after months of talks fail
- He fears petrol will hit 155p again soon
- Jason Farrell Special Report:"I've spent all my savings and now I can't retire"
- Live reports fromJess Scharf
Why your car insurance is increasing
The average price paid for auto insurance rose 8% in the fourth quarter of last year, according to an industry association.
The Association of British Insurers said its survey of companies is the only one that looks at the price consumers actually pay for their cover, rather than the price they are offered.
It found that the average premium paid for private motor vehicles was £470, up 8% in the quarter and up 7% compared to the same period in 2021.
The insurers themselves blamed rising costs for the increases, citing the following factors:
- Energy inflation that adds €71.75 to each repair
- Average paint and material costs have increased by almost 16%
- Average paint repair cost has increased by 20%
- An estimated 40% of all work is now affected in some way by partial delays
- The cost of replacement vehicles for workshops increases by about 30%
The services sector had its weakest start to the year since 2021
Business activity in the services sector was weaker in early 2023 than in the past two years.
The S&P Global/CIPS UK PMI survey for services showed a reading of 48.7 in January compared to 49.9 in December.
Any value below 50 is considered a drop.
The January figure marked the fourth straight monthly drop.
Tight household budgets affecting consumer spending and a cautious budget stance by corporate clients were cited as the main reasons for the decline in activity.
Tim Moore, chief economics officer at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: "Data for January signaled the weakest service sector performance in two years, as cuts in business and consumer spending led to a fourth decline. consecutive month in production levels.
"The latest survey shows the UK economy is at risk of recession as labor shortages, strike action and higher interest rates take their toll on economic activity."
Rail strikes could last until 2026, union leader warns
A union boss warns that the train drivers' strikes could continue for another three years.
Members of the Aslef train conductors and the Railway, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) withdrew today in a long-running dispute over wages and working conditions.
This has left large parts of the country without services, as operators such as Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Northern and Southern do not operate trains.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told LBC radio that train conductors had not received a pay increase in four years.
Asked how much longer union members can financially sustain the strike, he said: “I think we're in this for the long haul. How long is a piece of cord?
"If we don't get a raise for four years, will it be five, will it be six, will it be seven?
"Would it be stupid to stop this now and start over in the future because you'd lose the momentum you've gained?"
He told LBC that Aslef had made no progress in negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, during six months of strike action.
Asked about the prospect of a deal at the upcoming talks on February 7, he said: "We want a solution. My people don't want to lose money, they don't want to be left out."
Pickets "hold their ground" across the country
Some photos from pickets across the country showing dozens of railway workers standing out in the cold.
Striking members of the Aslef union were seen wrapped in scarves and coats, holding placards and banners.
"Cut profits, not jobs or services," read one sign.
Is the end of the railway strikes near?
As the rail network faces another day of disruption, many will wonder if there is any chance the strikes will end anytime soon.
Talks between the unions, the railway companies and the government have been going on for months; no solution found yet.
However, Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), told Sky News he was "hopeful" the latest offer to the Rail, Shipping and Transport Union (RMT) could end the strikes.
Today's strikers include machinists from RMT, along with those from the Aslef union.
Last month they were offered a salary deal worth 5%, or at least £1,750, whichever is higher, for 2022 and 4% for 2023.
For anyone making £30,000 or less, the deal is worth more than 10% for two years.
Wage and job security proposals depend on cost savings and changes in contract terms and labor practices.
Asked if Rail Delivery Group was closer to a deal with RMT than Aslef, Montgomery said: “We certainly feel closer to a deal.
“RMT is currently consulting with its members at this time. What we expect from RMT is to put this offer before the members in a referendum and let them decide if this offer is acceptable as the best and final.
"I am sure that the offer we made will stop the strikes."
Shell profits are 'grotesque' and taxes on windfalls must be extended, says Labor Party leader
The shadow Immigration secretary has called for a windfall tax extension for energy giants after Shell reported a record £32bn profit in the past year.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Stephen Kinnock said the "grotesque profits" of oil and gas companies are in stark contrast to striking workers who "just want their fair share".
Kinnock was unable to say what wage deal Labor would offer unions to prevent strikes.
He was questioned about how high the opposition wanted to tax energy companies, with a 75% tax on profits.
Kinnock called for an end to "certain loopholes" that allow companies to offset tax costs when they invest in oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.
For all the breaking political news, check out our other live blog below...
Water bills will go up from April, but here are some ways to keep costs down
The average annual water bill in England and Wales will rise by around £31 a year to £448 from April, industry body Water UK has warned.
While there are differences between companies, customers pay on average around £1.23 a day, an increase of 8 pence a day on last year's charges, he said.
However, prices vary depending on where you live, with bills exceeding £500 a year in some areas.
Mark Sait, CEO and founder of SaveMoneyCutCarbon, said the highest water costs are in the Southwest.
However, it is important to note that water bills are still lower in real terms than a decade ago.
Stuart Colville, Policy Director at Water UK, said:
“We know that any increase is undesirable, especially at this time. That's why companies are also freeing up an additional £200m to help those who may be struggling.
"Anyone concerned should contact their water company or go to Supportontap.org for advice, and it's a reminder that water companies will never interrupt anyone or force them to use a prepaid meter."
How can you keep costs down?
Helpful in light of this news,spare parts experthas created some tips on how to reduce your water bill.
- Switch to a free water meter- Some could save hundreds by switching to a free water meter instead of paying a flat bill. This is usually true when there are more bedrooms than people or the same number in your house.
- Check your address again- Make sure your usage is correct and you are not overpaying if you are already using a meter
- Request an audited bill of charges- This calculates a price based on details like the number of people living in your household, but it varies from company to company
- Check if you are entitled to a wastewater payment- If your house is not connected to the public sewerage system, you do not have to pay sewerage fees
- use less water- It may be worth investing in some water saving devices or seeing if you can get some for free
The dispute over the payment of the train goes "in reverse" after months of talks fail
One of the reasons the drivers are on strike today is a pay dispute: they have asked for a pay increase in line with inflation of 10%, but have not yet been offered one.
They were offered an 8% pay rise for two years, increasing their average salary from almost £60,000 a year to almost £65,000, but the Aslef union turned it down.
The assistant secretary-general said the dispute was now "regressing" after months of talks that failed to make any progress.
“I don't know whether to blame the incompetence of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group,” said Simon Weller.
“We would have a hard time recommending a 4% wage increase last year and 4% this year if there were no conditions, but we are being urged to abandon collective bargaining and effectively accept the strike ban.
"Obviously it should be rejected, it should fail."
Weller said attitudes among Aslef members were "hardened" but believed the DfT and the train operators were to blame squarely.
He claimed the latest offer would also add a "significant" number of contract hours to a train conductor.
Rail Delivery Group said: "We hoped that the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move the talks forward rather than staging more unnecessary strikes. We can only apologize for the inconvenience.
"To minimize the impact of Aslef's action, we advise passengers to inquire before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart."
Ofgem asks British Gas to suspend the forced installation of prepaid meters
Energy regulator Ofgem has confirmed that it has asked British Gas to suspend the forced installation of prepaid meters.
The inquiry was understood by Sky News to be directed at all utilities yesterday after it was revealed that debt collectors working for British Gas had broken into the homes of vulnerable customers.
In a statement released today, Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said: "We have ordered immediate action to protect British Gas customers.
“We call on British Gas to halt forced installations until its board of directors shows us that it is in full compliance with legal and regulatory obligations.
“We require that you provide us with all documents related to your contract with Arvato Financial Solutions.”
It added that British Gas was expected to cooperate fully and openly, including submitting its preliminary internal report by February 13.
"We need the facts about how Arvato's bonus system, which installs meters, worked, whether it was built into the contract, and whether it resulted in vulnerable people being targeted," he said.
"We want to determine if it was due to individual teams or a more systemic issue across the organization."
He fears petrol will hit 155p again soon
After three straight months of declines, the average price of petrol bottomed out at 148.35 pence at the end of January but is recovering, RAC data shows.
Unleaded petrol was up to 3.5p lower than at the beginning of the month and 148.89p at the end of January, down 3p from the beginning (151.85p).
The last time drivers refueled at that price was in mid-February last year, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent fuel prices up.
This means that petrol costs an average of £81.89 to fill up, down from £1.63 per month.
The average diesel price fell 4 pence from 174.37 pence to 170.37 pence, a price last seen in March 2022.
This means that a typical tank of diesel will cost £93.70, £2.20 less than at the beginning of January.
The cheapest place to get fuel?
Refueling at any of the big four supermarkets was around 3p a liter cheaper for both fuels, with the average price of petrol at their stores in January at 145.71p (down 2.25p) and diesel to 167.49 pence (down 2.79 pence).
Asda has the lowest prices on average, with a liter costing 144.61 pence unleaded and 166.09 pence for diesel.
Why are people worried now?
Despite the declines, the RAC said there was more cause for concern than celebration now that gasoline prices have already started to rise.
Although prices fell in January, wholesale prices for petrol also rose 2p and diesel 3p.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams stated:
“While unleaded gasoline has been overpriced for months, as the largest retailers refuse to lower their prices to match the lower wholesale price, diesel remains overpriced even after accounting for the slight wholesale rebound. .
“As always, the fate of the pump drivers depends to a large extent on what happens to the price of oil. But now that a barrel is consistently trading well above $80 and analysts are forecasting a rise to $90 on rising demand, there is a very real risk that gasoline prices will rally to an average of 155 pence. too fast".