- Inflation update expected on Wednesday at 7am - experts predict
- The IMF dramatically improves the outlook for the UK economy
- The national debt is significantly higher than expected
- UK house prices hit record highs in May - Rightmove
- Your dilemmas:My employer reduced my working hours during maternity leave - is this allowed?
- Mother Budget:Save for your children|Saving money with meal plans?|Holiday Expense Allowance|The best broadband deals
Inflation update expected on Wednesday at 7am - experts predict
Economists polled by Reuters expect annual inflation to fall to 8.2 percent in April from the current 10.1 percent.
Electricity and natural gas prices rose by 40.5% and 66.8%, respectively, in April 2022, according to data from Pantheon Macroeconomics. By comparison, they were flat last month, which will weigh on ONS figures published on Wednesday.
However, it is fair to point out that analysts' forecasts have been understated over the past two months as inflation has unexpectedly remained in double digits.
What is inflation?
Inflation is the rate at which prices rise.
Currently, the figure is 10.1%, largely due to global factors such as the war in Ukraine, which has led Russia to cut gas supplies, leading to higher energy prices. The conflict has also caused tons of Ukrainian grain to get stuck in ports, contributing to higher food costs.
For obvious reasons, governments want to keep inflation low - the target is 2% and Rishi Sunak has promised to get it closer to 5% this year.
But just because inflation is falling doesn't mean prices are falling. Anything above zero means prices are going up – that would be necessaryfonInflation causes prices to fall, and few people expect this to happen.
The Bank of England admits it made mistakes in forecasting UK inflation
Bank of England policymakers were criticized during a meeting of the Finance Committee for failing to predict a sustained rise in inflation.
Conservative MP John Barron accused the bank of a "woeful dereliction of duty" by failing to bring inflation close to its 2% target, which he said was causing "real pain" for households and businesses.
Huw Pill, the bank's chief economist, acknowledged that their economic forecasting models were wrong.
He said: "We know our inflation forecasts were too low."
"We're trying to understand why we made those mistakes, interpret those mistakes in behavioral terms, and provide an assessment of how things will go."
This comes as the bank revised down its inflation expectations earlier this month after it said food price inflation was more persistent than expected.
It was previously expected that UK consumer price index (CPI) inflation could fall to 1% by the middle of next year, but is now forecast to rise to around 3.4%.
The bank's governor, Andrew Bailey, responded to criticism that the bank had lost public confidence in its financial models and interest rate decisions.
He said: “I think there are some very important lessons from how we conduct monetary policy in the face of very large shocks. Because the shocks we were exposed to were unprecedented."
"I think there are important lessons for how we do politics in this world -- a world of very great uncertainty."
"The IMF keeps getting things wrong..."
Following the IMF forecast we told you about recently, we have a video in which Data and Economics editor Ed Conway asks the agency's CEO how important it is that they keep getting it wrong.
See what he said...
The national debt is significantly higher than expected
The state borrowed almost £12 billion more last month than in April last year, according to official figures, as it spent billions more in interest on energy schemes, higher social benefits.
Monthly lending rose to £25.6bn in April.from £21.5bn in Marchand £13.7bn in April 2022, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
This means that the public sector, with the exception of public banks, spent more in taxes and other revenues than it collected and absorbed the deficit.
Read the full story...
IMF dramatically improves outlook for UK economy - but says more cost of living problems to come
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today that Britain will not fall into another recession this year, nor will it have the weakest economic growth of the group of seven leading industrialized nations.
The Fund announced a dramatic improvement in its outlook for the UK, which was previously forecast for the UKthey face the worst year 2023 of all the G7 countries, said the UK would actually grow by 0.4% this year.
While that remains weak, it is still stronger than the 0.7% drop previously forecast and stronger than the "near zero" growth the IMF had forecast for Germany.
Read Ed Conway's full story here...
More than £450m for school refurbishment still 'not nearly enough'
More than £450m being spent on upgrading hundreds of school buildings across the country is the "bare minimum" and "not enough" to deliver the upgrades needed, education leaders have said.
The Department for Education (DfE) said 859 academies, sixth form colleges and voluntary schools will receive a share of £456m to help refurbish and repair buildings.
And while this will help provide pupils with safe, warm and energy-efficient classrooms, the general secretary of the Association of Headmasters of Schools and Colleges said it would not cover repair costs.
"This is money provided through an annual competition program to meet significant needs in terms of the condition of schools and college buildings, and is certainly not an example of government generosity," Geoff Barton said.
"It is the bare minimum and falls well short of covering the cost of clean-up work to repair or replace all defective items on school premises in England - which amounted to £11.4 billion at the last count."
The government said it had already invested more than £15bn in building upgrades since 2015.
The cheapest train tickets are no longer available at the stations - report
The cheapest train tickets are no longer available at station offices and passengers are forced to book online or use ticket machines to get the best prices, he said.Daily Telegraph.
Buying tickets in advance, even as little as 10 minutes before the train departs, can be up to a third cheaper than the standard fare.
But railway bosses have started banning their office workers from selling, the news agency reports.
In July 2017, regulations preventing on-site pre-sale of tickets were lifted.
This comes as rail passengers have been disrupted for a year by strikes and the dispute between operators, the Union of Rail, Shipping and Transport Workers and Aslef is still ongoing.
Money Saving Hacks: How to Entertain Your Kids on a Budget
For many kids across the country, college vacation is next week, but it can be a stressful time for families trying to keep them entertained without breaking the bank.
We've put together a list of fun things to do with your kids for free over the holidays (and even if you don't have kids, most of them will still be fun).
Many museums are free and offer good learning opportunities for children.
Some charge admission, but some days are free. So it's worth checking before you travel.
The excellent website "Money Saving Expert" has put together some useful information on thisFree museums here.
Good child-friendly options in London include the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, which have many interactive exhibits, including a children's play area and garden.
If your child loves trains, a great option is the National Railway Museum in York, where visitors can pretend to drive locomotives.
Some museums host activity sessions or days where children can make crafts. So be careful.
If you have bikes, go exploring.
There are many free cycling apps to help you plan your route, such as CycleStreets and Map My Ride.
Disused railway lines across the country offer excellent off-road cycling routes.
Examples include the Camel Trail in Cornwall, the Bristol to Bath Railway Path in Somerset and the Cinder Track in North Yorkshire.
Some adventure playgrounds offer free entry - such as Markeaton Park Play Center in Derbyshire, Heartlands in Cornwall and Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground in London, which features a wooden pirate ship.
Cheap movie tickets
Children's tickets are just £2.50 when accompanied by an adult in the 'Films for Juniors' offer at Cineworld.
Advance tickets for adults and children are available from Vue for selected morning screenings for just £2.49.
Ideas for staying at home
If you prefer to stay at home, why not try building a fort or den with your kids?
You could also try learning a new skill together by watching and practicing YouTube tutorials - this oneMagic tricksis a good example.
Make it more interesting by putting on a show for other family members at the end of the week to give your little one something to look forward to.
Train travelers may miss out on free WiFi
Wi-Fi could be removed from trains to help the Department for Transport cut costs.
Free in-flight Wi-Fi is not a priority for passengers, the department claims, citing research by passenger regulator Transport Focus.
According to the DfT, passengers prefer "cheap fares, reliability, punctuality and personal safety".
Most train services offer free WiFi so passengers can use their phones, laptops and tablets without using up their data allowance.
A spokeswoman for the DfT said rail was "currently not financially viable and it is unfair to continue to foot the bill for the taxpayer, so reform of all aspects of rail is imperative".
In order to continue providing WiFi on many trains, the equipment installed in 2015 will have to be replaced or upgraded, he added.
Railroad historian Christian Wolmar first mentioned the review of WLAN access in his "Calling All Stations" podcast.
Energy bills are announced on Thursday - and they should be positive news
The energy price cap is due to be updated on Thursday – be aware that:
1/ The standard bill is currently capped at £2,500 under the Energy Price Guarantee – but this ends in June.
2/ Since the EPG has been up and running it has bypassed the price cap - which has been (relatively) good news for households as the currently unnecessary price cap is currently £3,280.
3/ Fortunately, due to falling wholesale costs, the price cap will drop just in time for the end of the EPG.
4/ Reputable research specialist Cornwall Insight predicts the new cap will be £2,053 - which will reduce the typical bill by around £450 a year from early July.
5/ Thursday's decision sets the cap from July to September - then another review will take place.
6/ Despite the drop, we will still pay £1,000 more than before the pandemic.
It's also not really an account cap
The price cap puts a cap on how much suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity they use. It also sets a maximum daily base price (the amount you pay to connect your home to the grid).
The total value does not represent a limit on your total bill, but simply reflects "typical" usage. So if you use more energy, you pay more. If you use less, you pay less.
The price cap affects customers in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, suppliers can adjust prices at any time subject to approval from the utility regulator.