Lynne Bateson

No, I Don’t Want To Sponsor You

The Metropolitan policeman who spent a week crawling the London Marathon wearing a gorilla costume captured my imagination and my admiration. When he crossed the finish line and beat his chest, I silently cheered. Tom Harrison, who goes by ‘Mr Gorilla’, swapped between crawling on his hands and knees and on his hands and feet

Giving money to beggars does more harm than good

I still feel bad about the beggar I ignored years ago. Fear of being mugged while fumbling for money has often kept me walking past beggars. But on that occasion I felt safe since I was with friends. Wimpishly, I took my cue from them. Later we compared notes – we’d all felt a strong

Should we compare pay slips? The inequality of earnings

The most open of folk, who spill saucy secrets about themselves, clam up when asked how much they earn. Revealing your salary, especially to colleagues, is taboo. Conventional wisdom says that knowing fellow workers’ salaries sows discord. I know first-hand how explosive it can be to learn what people you work with get paid. I’d

We need to examine our attitude to charity shop donations

A well-heeled colleague once admired the Max Mara jacket I wore to work. Was it, she asked, from the latest collection? ‘No,’ I said. ‘Oxfam.’ She blurted out that she donated her casts-off to Oxfam. ‘Next time, cut out the middleman and give them to me,’ I replied. Charity shops help me to afford the

Safe as houses? The real cost of a home burglary

My heart aches for the one in eight people so traumatised by a burglary that they move house, for they risk further emotional and financial pain. New research from Churchill Insurance paints a terrible picture of the aftermath of burglaries. People feel violated and vulnerable in a place they should feel most safe. Many can’t

When it comes to debt, Charles Dickens offers good financial advice

I always feel sorry for Marley’s ghost in Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’ He wore a heavy chain he had unknowingly forged in life. Unlike Scrooge, Marley had not received ghostly visitors to warn him of his future burden. Marley’s chain was made up of ‘cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in

Insurers need to shape up and treat their customers properly

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift’s romance is hot news in China, where online stores have been offering ‘break-up insurance’. People, especially Hiddleston’s adoring female fans, have been paying up to 400 yuan, about £41, to predict how long the relationship will last. They hoped to double or even triple their cash. Now Chinese authorities have ordered

How to close the gender pay gap

Nearly half a century after Ford Dagenham women sewing machinists struck for equal pay, a new survey shows women are still being penalised in the workplace – for having children. Equal pay for equal work is enshrined in law thanks to the bravery of those strikers, yet a cavernous gender pay gap remains. But now

Budget blues: who will be the biggest losers?

A song is buzzing around my head. ‘It’s the same the whole world over: It’s the poor what gets the blame. It’s the rich what gets the pleasure; Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?’ It was triggered by grim new research from the think tank Resolution Foundation claiming that 85 per cent of benefits from promised