Helen Nugent

Private medical insurance, housing, savings and energy costs

As fears over the state of the NHS continue to hit the headlines, new data shows that the number of people buying private medical insurance has increased significantly for the first time since the financial crisis. Figures compiled by LaingBuisson, a healthcare consultancy, and reported in The Guardian, reveal that ‘after falling steeply between 2008 and 2011 and then staying flat, demand for private medical insurance cover in Britain rose by 2.1 per cent in 2015 with just over 4 million people insured’. Housing ThisisMoney reports on Rightmove’s latest index which shows that house prices soared by more than 6 per cent in some parts of the country in 2016.

Rightmove’s latest index highlights that buy-to-let investors flooded the market in the early part of 2016 in an effort to beat the April stamp duty deadline. However, that pressure has tailed off, providing first-time-buyers with more choice and negotiating power.

Incomes

The world’s eight richest individuals are sitting on as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world, according to Oxfam.

The BBC reports on the charity’s figures, which critics have queried. Oxfam said they came from improved data, and the gap between rich and poor was ‘far greater than feared’. The charity’s report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Co-op Bank The Times reports that Co-op Bank has agreed to pump millions into the pension scheme of the Britannia Building Society. Following the disastrous merger of the Co-op and the building society back in 2009, the pension scheme became the responsibility of the Co-op Bank. Now the lender will funnel £50 million into the scheme over the next seven years. In addition, it will place a £137 million portfolio of top-rated mortgages or debt into a custodian account with another bank as security for the scheme. Savings

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