Weekend personal finance news roundup: Saturday 25th April 2020
In our weekend personal finance news roundup, the five money stories you need to know from the past seven days.
In this edition – falling price inflation, car insurance refunds, debt support measures, retail sales crash, and an assessment of PPI mis-selling.
Slowing price inflation
Average price inflation fell to 1.5% in the year to March, down from 1.7% a month earlier. Slowing inflation was largely due to lower prices for clothing and fuel, before the lockdown started.
Economists forecast that price inflation could fall as low as 0.5% this year, as the size of the economy shrinks.
The latest official price inflation figures were based on data collected on 17th March, days before the lockdown started.
Car insurance refunds
Car insurer Admiral is refunding customers £25, as their cars and vans sit idle during the pandemic.
Car and van insurance customers automatically received the payment this week, with the insurer calling it a ‘thank you’ to its customers for staying at home.
The refund also reflects a lower level of claims for the insurer. Other insurers have been urged to follow Admiral’s lead and refund customers.
Debt support measures
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be introducing the package of measures outlined last week to support consumer credit customers facing payment difficulties due to coronavirus.
The targeted temporary measures being implemented are a 3-month payment freeze for motor finance, buy-now pay-later (BNPL), rent-to-own (RTO) and pawnbroking agreements.
For high-cost short term credit (including payday loans) payments will be frozen for one month with no additional interest to be charged.
Retail sales crash
Retail sales in the UK fell by 5.1% in March, a record monthly fall.
According to official figures, it was the sharpest fall in retail sales since records began in 1996.
Despite falling retail sales, food, alcohol and online shopping rose, but clothing sales fell by 34%. As a proportion of total shopping, online shopping reached a new record high of 22%.
PPI mis-selling assessment
Payment protection insurance (PPI) was mis-sold to nine in 10 people who lodged a complaint about their policy, in the run-up to a claims deadline.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority, around 64 million PPI policies were sold between 1990 and 2010, turning into the biggest ever mis-selling scandal.
A claims deadline introduced last summer prompted a last-minute surge in complaints, although some campaigners believe the right to claim PPI mis-selling compensation came too early.