BEN WILKINSON: After two relentless years, Britain needs a break 1

BEN WILKINSON: After two relentless years, Britain needs a break

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Britain needs a break: This year will be a rough ride for millions… Government has a duty to help, says BEN WILKINSON


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The fate of the Government this year could well be determined purely by how much money we have left in our pockets.

Make no mistake, 2022 is going to be a rough ride for millions of households up and down the country.

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Middle and low-income families who have struggled through the pandemic are about to be clobbered by tax hikes and soaring utility bills.

Pressure: Middle and low-income families who have struggled through the pandemic are now about to be clobbered with tax hikes and soaring bills

Pressure: Middle and low-income families who have struggled through the pandemic are now about to be clobbered with tax hikes and soaring bills

We face a toxic mix of a new National Insurance levy, higher council tax, huge energy bills and increased mortgage payments.

Inflation is also predicted to hit 6 per cent. Food prices are rising, rail fares are going up — the list goes on. We are being asked to pay more at a time when our income doesn’t go as far.

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Tory MP Craig Mackinlay warned the Prime Minister this week: ‘Elections are won and lost in people’s wallets and purses.’

It is no surprise that Labour, advocating tax cuts, is now soaring ahead in the polls. It was nearly a year ago that Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that a series of tax bands and allowances would be frozen for five years.

The move was a stealth tax raid which will boost the Treasury every year, as wages rise to keep up with inflation and more of our money becomes taxable.

Then, in early September, Boris Johnson announced a new 1.25 per cent health and social care levy.

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Yet, since then, energy prices have rocketed and inflation has gone through the roof.

The tax raids were going to be hard for many of us to swallow, but they are now looking increasingly difficult to justify.

After two relentless years, Britain needs a break. The Prime Minister and Chancellor must do something to alleviate the ballooning burden many households are feeling.

Whether it’s a reduction of green taxes on electricity or a boost to winter fuel payments, we need some form of relief to help us through what will otherwise be another miserable — for some, impossible — year.

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Without intervention, many of us will have to rein in our spending, causing the UK’s economic engine to slow. This is perhaps the last thing that we want as we try to get out of a financial crisis.

In the meantime, there are things you can do to mitigate the impact. Little savings here and there will quickly add up.

Investing is also a smart way to protect your money long-term. Our guide to taking that first step on the stock market will help you get started.

If you have savings that you don’t need on hand for at least five years, why not try it? Start small and ride out the rough and smooth until you feel comfortable putting more in.

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Investing is usually profitable in the long run. Now, however, with inflation soaring and interest rates paid on savings still pitifully low, you are guaranteed to lose out if you don’t give it a go.

Bungling banks

Santander accidentally sent £130 million to its customers on Christmas Day, and is now frantically trying to get it all back.

The error came just days after Monzo and Nationwide customers had problems sending and spending their money ahead of the big day. 

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One woman’s Christmas dinner order was cancelled because the money did not go through.

It looks as if IT glitches and outages will continue to cause banking problems in 2022 and beyond. 

Digital banking has made our lives easier in so many respects. However, these latest chaotic computer problems just go to show that we still cannot rely on it.

I, for one, will be ensuring I have cash available for emergencies, and access to money with another bank in case digital disaster strikes.

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