Helen Nugent

Energy hikes, tax bills and a surge in pub revenues thanks to Euro 2016

Energy hikes, tax bills and a surge in pub revenues thanks to Euro 2016
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A levy could be added to bills to ensure that consumers do not lose out if their energy supplier goes bust under proposals put forward by Ofgem.

With more than 40 firms now offering gas and electricity deals, the energy watchdog has warned of the danger of one becoming insolvent. At present anyone who is in credit with their energy supplier could lose out.

The watchdog wants the cost of a safety net to be paid for by customers, which would have 'a small impact on bills'. Ofgem's senior partner for consumers and competition, Rachel Fletcher, said: 'We are proposing a safety net to protect customers' credit balances in the unlikely event of a supplier failure.'

Taxing times

Employees are paying an average £1.25 an hour in direct and indirect tax with the daily contribution to the Government amounting to more than £30, new analysis from MetLife shows. But only 69p an hour of the average worker’s tax bill is due to direct deductions from earnings including income tax and National Insurance with the rest mounting up from  charges including VAT on spending, council tax and duty on a range of daily essentials.

Indirect taxes cost the average person nearly £5,000 a year – or 56p an hour – while income tax and National Insurance cost around £6,000. The average direct and indirect tax bill adds up to more than £11,000 – the equivalent of 40 per cent of average earnings, the analysis of Government data shows.

The daily tax bill peaks at £35 – nearly £1.50 an hour – for employees aged 40 to 49 while those aged between 18 and 21 only need to pay £6.47 a day or just 27p an hour. Employees aged 60-plus see their tax bill drop to around £23 a day.

Euro 2016

UK pubs recorded an estimated 26 per cent surge in revenues over the opening weekend of Euro 2016, compared to an average weekend in June, as all three of the qualifying Home Nations took to the field. The estimated figures are based on sales data from an anonymised sample of 500 UK pubs, all of which use a cloud-based point-of-sale solution from Norwich-based tech start-up, Epos Now.

Wales, whose team had not appeared at a major football tournament since 1958, saw the biggest increases, with pub sales up a whopping 41 per cent on the 2015 average for a Saturday in June. There was a ramp up in drink sales across the afternoon and then a big surge in after-match celebration drinking.

English pubs saw a smaller 23 per cent surge in takings on Saturday compared to the overall average for Saturdays in June 2015 – perhaps at least in part due to the more disappointing result achieved by their team. Finally, in spite of the national side losing to Poland, pubs in Northern Ireland saw a significant 29 per cent increase in sales versus the average June Sunday last year.

Jacyn Heavens, founder of Epos Now, said: 'Given that average takings for a summer weekend are typically high anyway, these increases underline the huge level of interest in Euro 2016 across the UK and highlight the tremendous power of live football as a revenue driver for pubs.'

One drink too many

The average guest drinks 14.82 units of alcohol during a day spent celebrating a wedding - exceeding the consumption recommendation for a week in just 24 hours. Thisismoney reports that one in ten wedding-goers then drives home the next day, despite believing they could be over the limit, putting lives at risk on the road and endangering their licence.

The new research from insurer Direct Line pointed out that the wedding season in the month of June is the second most likely time a driver will be breathalysed, accounting for 14 per cent of all road-side alcohol tests last year. The 14.82 units figure was judged to be the average consumption after Direct Line looked at the drinks consumed at wedding parties at 100 venues around the country.

Shop around

New research from Gocompare.com has revealed that 21 million UK consumers haven’t switched providers for everyday financial services and utilities in the last 12 months.

While car insurance remains the most switched product, with just over 1 in 5 consumers switching their provider in the last year, 36 per cent have never switched their car insurer. Those, along with millions of other loyal customers, are potentially missing out on billions of pounds of savings every year.

The survey also revealed that women are less likely to switch than men. Just under half of women surveyed hadn’t switched any of the top financial and utility products in the last 12 months compared with 39 per cent of men.

Splashing the cash

Britain’s over 50s are splashing their extra income once they’ve paid off their mortgages on holidays, home improvements and gifts for their children, while less than one in four are using the money to top up their retirement savings, new research from Saga Investment Services has found.

The investment and financial planning service surveyed homeowners who have paid off their mortgage in full to discover what they have subsequently done with the money in the run up to retirement. Over 50s who own their home outright reported an average monthly income increase of £322. Asked how they used the money once their mortgage had been repaid, half put some of the money into a savings account, while 45 per cent paid out for home improvements. Some 40 per cent spent the money on holidays, while 27 per cent bought a new car.

The survey also uncovered the gap between paying off a mortgage and retirement. The average retirement age for those surveyed was 62, and this group paid off their mortgage at an average age of 55 – a seven-year period of mortgage-free income.

Credit check

Nearly seven million UK adults in the Near Prime sector have never checked their credit score, according to findings from the first research into the Near Prime market, Understanding the Near Prime Market: The Consumer Perspective.

The Near Prime market comprises millions of UK adults who find it difficult to obtain a credit card from traditional lenders due to having a thin credit history, an adverse credit history and/or other constraints such as a low income or an inconsistent address history.

 According to the report, over a quarter of all Near Prime consumers are unaware that a poor credit rating can exclude them from accessing credit, while well over a third believe that missing one payment means it is impossible to ever improve their credit score.

The report also finds that a significant proportion of Near Prime consumers are unaware of the adverse effects of a negative credit history, with three quarters not realising that a poor credit rating could lead to having to pay more for items such as a mobile phone tariff, broadband services and energy bills.


The Guardian reports that job opportunities in the retail sector are expected to fall to their lowest level for five years as shop owners claw back the costs of the Government’s new living wage. About a third of employers in the retail sector intend to restrict the number of new jobs as higher pay packets for the lowest-paid staff eat into profit levels and cut dividend payouts.

A survey of 2,100 employers by the recruitment firm Manpower found that retailers were the most likely to claw back the costs of the living wage, which came into effect in April, as they consider advertising new jobs over the next three months. James Hick, a spokesman for Manpower, said the national living wage, which pays £7.20 an hour to 25-year-olds and over, has prompted retailers to register the biggest fall in optimism about their hiring intentions since 2011.


Sir Philip Green is scheduled to appear before MPs on Wednesday for one of the most eagerly anticipated parliamentary hearings since they were first televised in 2002. The billionaire is under mounting pressure to explain his role in the demise of BHS, with MPs from all the major parties calling for Green to be stripped of his knighthood.