The average two-year fixed rate mortgage is now 6.07%, MoneyFacts says, amid a warning that repossessions on a significant scale are becoming inevitable.
That’s all from our economy/cost of living blog for today – we’ll be back tomorrow morning. If you’re just catching up, this is what you’ve missed:
Scotland’s health secretary said he will make a “significantly improved” pay offer to NHS workers when he next meets with trade unions.
Humza Yousaf said he will do everything in his power to prevent industrial action after the 5% pay increase offered by the Scottish government was rejected.
Unison began balloting more than 50,000 health workers on strike action on Monday, recommending that members vote for walkouts, while the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland opened its ballot last month.
The Royal College of Nursing will begin balloting its members in Scotland on Thursday, while Unite is also due to ask its members if they are prepared to take strike action.
Mr Yousaf said he will be talking to trade unions and hopes that strike action can be avoided.
Hundreds of offshore workers are to stage a series of strikes after voting in favour of taking industrial action over pay.
The Unite union said more than 300 offshore drilling and contract maintenance workers employed by Archer, Maersk, Transocean and Odfjell backed strike action by 95% in protest at a 5% pay offer.
A series of 48-hour stoppages will be held every second week from 20 October, while further stoppages will take place on 3 to 4 and 17 to 18 November, and on 1 to 2 and 15 to 16 of December.
Unite warned that the action could escalate to an all-out strike.
Its members have also supported action short of a strike which could include an overtime ban.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s offshore drillers and contractors are ready to take their employers head on.
“The offer on the table is a substantial real-terms pay cut. It comes from the very same companies who are driving the cost-of-living crisis.
“The oil and gas industry is swimming in record operator profits, which is being fuelled by the consistently high price of oil and gas. Our offshore members have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
The pound wiped out its gains from earlier in the day, falling in value against the US dollar following the prime minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference.
Sterling dipped by 1.4% to 1.1312 dollars shortly after Liz Truss told the conference that the government was making “difficult but necessary” choices to stimulate economic growth.
The pound had hit a three-week high against the dollar in early session trading, taking it to around 1.147 dollars.
It followed a short-lived rebound on Tuesday after reports that the chancellor could be bringing forward the highly anticipated fiscal plan and official economic forecast.
But concerns that the government has taken on too much debt while ploughing ahead with sweeping tax cuts has continued to spook investors since the unveiling of last week’s mini-budget.
Concerns over how that deficit will be funded have prompted the costs of government borrowing, known as gilt yields, to rise by nearly 4% following the speech.
A leading baby bank charity has revealed the extent of the cost of living crisis they are facing this winter.
Baby Basics UK, which was founded in Sheffield, has told Sky News there are over 50 children in the city waiting for a proper bed or cot.
Demand for their help has jumped by almost a third while donations have slowed down.
“We have got babies sleeping long term in travel cots,” charity chief executive Cat Ross said.
“We have got two-year-olds sleeping in pushchairs, we have got babies co-sleeping with parents which isn’t the ideal situation for mother or baby.
“It is really heartbreaking that for the first time we are having to make the decisions as to who gets the beds that we have.
“The knock-on for families is that kids aren’t sleeping, you have got four-year-olds sleeping on a sofa that are now in school – how are they going to get through the school day?”
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BT workers and Openreach engineers will stage a fresh strike on Thursday in a long-running dispute over pay.
And there could be disruption to emergency services, with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) warning its members working as 999 call handlers will also walk out.
The union said the strikes are in opposition to BT Group’s imposition of an “incredibly low” flat-rate pay rise of £1,500, which it described as a “dramatic real-terms pay cut” because of soaring inflation.
The CWU said that in previous strikes it was agreed that the 999 call handlers would be exempt, but these workers will now be joining their colleagues.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “999 operators are using food banks, they’re worried about the cost of living and are being stretched to the limit.
“Goodwill won’t pay the bills, and vital services are now being hampered because of corporate greed.”
Thousands of teenagers in the UK could be missing out on an average of £2,100 in unclaimed cash.
HMRC is now reminding those eligible to claim their matured Child Trust Fund savings.
Child Trust Funds are long-term savings accounts set up for every child born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.
To encourage future saving and start the account, the government provided an initial deposit of at least £250. Parents could then deposit their own amounts, up to £9,000 a year.
These accounts then mature when the child turns 18.
An estimated 6.3 million accounts were set up throughout the duration of the scheme, containing about £9bn.
Those who have yet to access their Child Trust Fund are estimated to have on average £2,100 waiting for them.
If teenagers or their parents and guardians already know who their Child Trust Fund provider is, they can contact them directly. This might be a bank, building society, or other savings provider.
Alternatively, they can visit GOV.UK and complete an online form to find out where their Child Trust Fund is held.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s second permanent secretary and deputy chief executive, said:
“Teenagers could have a pot of money waiting for them worth thousands of pounds and not even realise it. We want to help you access your savings and the money you’re entitled to.”
In 2011 the scheme was closed and replaced with Junior Individual Savings Accounts.
There has been a “significant” increase in energy scams as the cost of living crisis takes hold, Trading Standards has warned.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued its “starkest warning yet” about a rise in scams such as fraudulent energy rebate text messages, rogue doorstep sellers and loan sharks preying on the vulnerable.
These include texts or emails that ask the recipient to click on a link that takes them to an “official” booking platform, which harvests personal data.
The CTSI said it also expected scammers to target households in the coming weeks regarding the £150 disability cost of living payment.
Households do not need to apply for the rebate as suppliers are automatically applying it to bills for six months from October.
CTSI lead officer for scams and doorstep crime, Katherine Hart, said: “With the rise of costs in fuel bills and the cost-of-living concerns during the upcoming winter months, I urge the public to be on its guard because these types of emails and texts are attempts to scam.
“Sadly, we have noticed an increase in people whose savings have been compromised.”
Consumers can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 for advice or Action Fraud to report scams.
Consumers should report concerning texts to 7726 and emails to email@example.com and delete the message.
The new prime minister has signalled she could scrap the planned ban on junk food multi-buy deals, declaring she is “not interested in how many two-for-one offers you buy at the supermarket”.
Ms Truss’s comments come a day after Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg railed against rules preventing supermarkets from promoting unhealthy foods near tills and urged shoppers to move chocolate oranges to the checkout as a “passive protest”.
Her comments during her Tory conference speech signal a move away from increased regulation planned as part of the government’s anti-obesity strategy after it previously confirmed that it was delaying the ban until October next year in response to consumers facing cost-of-living pressures.
Ms Truss said: “I believe that you know best how to spend your own money, to get on in life and realise your own ambitions. My friends, that is what Conservatism is about.”
Long before the economic crisis of the last fortnight, a survey in April from The Food Foundation charity revealed nearly 2.5 million people had said they’d not eaten for a whole day because they couldn’t afford or get access to food. Those numbers will now be much, much higher.
Speaking to the Sky News Daily podcast, the foundation’s executive director Anna Taylor told Niall Paterson that a weekly basic basket of food for an adult had now risen in Tesco from £43.50 in April to £50.
She said she was concerned that the price rises will mean more people across the UK find themselves skipping meals.
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