Cost of living - latest: Britons warned they won't save money this winter; people in credit advised to call energy provider (2023)

Key points
  • New energy price cap set at £2,074 from July
  • What should you do now?
  • Jeremy Hunt doesn't rule out further energy support
  • Bill payers warned they won't save money this winter
  • Interest rate forecasts rise significantly in recent days | Ed Conway explains why and what it means
  • Who's making money from rising food prices?
  • Your dilemmas:I am paying my dad's mortgage, how do I get added on formally?
  • Budgeting Mum: Saving for your children | Do food subscriptions save you money?| Holiday spending money| Best broadband deals
  • Live reporting by Jess Sharp and Katie Williams

17:45:01

How will the new energy price cap affect electric car owners?

As we've been reporting, a reduction to the energy price cap has been announced today and will come into force from 1 July.

It will mean the average household in England, Wales and Scotland, will see bills fall by £426.

So what will it mean for electric car owners, who arguably use a lot more electricity.

Well the £1,206 reduction from £3,280 to £2,074 will be positive news for drivers of electric vehicles, as it means anyone on a standard domestic energy tariff will pay less than £20 to fully charge a typical family sized car from home.

Those on EV-specific electricity tariffs who benefit from cheap off-peak rates will continue to enjoy even better value.

However, for those travelling beyond the range of their vehicle and rely on rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, the cost is much higher, RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said.

A 20% VAT is applied to these charge points - which is 15% more than the VAT applied to domestic electricity.

It's important to remember the energy price cap does not set the maximum a household will pay for their energy but limits the amount providers can charge them per unit of gas or electricity, so those who use more energy will pay more.

17:15:01

Octopus Energy set to bring back Saving Sessions scheme this winter

Smart meter customers with Octopus Energy are set to make savings by cutting back on their electricity use again this winter.

The company is planning to bring back its Saving Sessions scheme which saw households switch lightbulbs for candles during the 2022-23 winter to save money on their energy bills.

The initiative rewarded customers for every unit of energy saved during peak periods.

Octopus said the scheme shifted 1.86GWh (gigawatt hours) of energy demand across 13 sessions - the equivalent of stopping two million washing machine runs.

Nearly 700,000 smart meter customers took part, with £5.3m paid to participants over the duration of the scheme.

Over £170,000 worth of these earnings were donated by customers to Octopus' hardship fund for struggling families, it said.

The news comes after regulator Ofgem announced a drop in the energy price cap on household bills from July.

Greg Jackson, Octopus founder, said the move guarantees falling global energy costs will be passed on to consumers.

"However, costs are still twice as high as they were pre-crisis," he added.

"We'll do all we can to help customers through this crisis, and hope that the government will also continue to help those who need it most."

16:45:01

Summer 'travel chaos' warning as Edinburgh Airport workers back strike action in pay row

Passengers could face a summer of "travel chaos" after Edinburgh Airport workers voted to take strike action in a dispute over pay, a union has warned.

Uniteballoted around 275 workers, including members employed in security, terminal operations and search areas.

It said 85% backed industrial action on a 75% turnout, and is now calling on airport bosses to tender an improved offer to "avert travel chaos" during the summer.

Read more from our Scotland reporter Jenness Mitchell here...

16:00:01

Workers at soft drink plant to strike over pay

Hundreds of workers at a soft drinks plant are to strike in a dispute over pay.

Unite members at the Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) site in Wakefield will walk out for a series of strikes from 8 June.

The workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over a pay offer which the union said was worth an average of 6%.

There would be 14 days of strike action, comprising three 48-hour strikes and two 96-hour strikes, spaced over a two-week period.

"Coca Cola Europacific Partners is making profits in the billions but it's delivering a pay cut to the very workers who are making them," Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.

15:30:01

How the new energy price cap will affect our bills

The squeeze on energy prices will ease from July when we're expected to see a difference in what we pay to keep our homes running, business correspondent Paul Kelso says.

Wholesale energy prices began rising at the end of 2021, with the increase exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

High energy costs made fuel poverty a "mainstream experience" and "pushed millions of families into stretched budgets", Kelso says, despite the government mitigating the impact with its energy support scheme during the winter.

But what will happen in July?

The cost to suppliers of buying energy has fallen to its lowest level since 2021, Kelso explains, but this reduction won't be felt by customers until the summer as companies buy up their supplies in advance.

And though prices have stabilised, bills are still more than double where they were two years ago, he adds.

Watch Kelso's full explainer on what today's energy price cap announcement means for our bills here...

15:00:01

Heathrow security guards stage fresh strike over pay

Security guards at Heathrow Airport have launched a three-day strike today in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unite have already held 15 days of industrial action, including over the busy Easter period.

Heathrow said it had contingency plans in place to keep the airport open and operating as usual, adding that passengers could expect to have a "smooth" half-term getaway.

"Passengers should not be concerned about strike action by Unite over the half-term getaway," Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

"These strikes are completely unnecessary. When I speak to colleagues the overwhelming message is that they just want to vote on our pay offer, but Unite won't let them."

Unite said Heathrow security officers were paid less than workers at other major airports in London and the South East.

14:30:01

Fuel prices have fallen this month - here's how much it will cost you at the pump

Fuel prices have fallen again after dipping below 145p last week for the first time in 18 months.

The average price of a litre of unleaded is now 143.35p, down from 146.89p last month, according to the RAC Fuel Watch.

This means a typical 55-litre family car will now cost £78.84 to fill up.

Diesel sits at 154.31p per litre, down from 161.06p in April, meaning the same sized car will set you back £84.87 for a full tank.

While the prices have been consistently falling, RAC spokesman Rod Dennis says petrol costs "might bottom out over the next few weeks".

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers are planning to cut oil output to around 1.16 million barrels per day, which Mr Dennis says we could see petrol prices "head up slightly".

For diesel, he says it remains "massively overpriced" across the country, despite wholesale prices being cheaper than unleaded.

The wholesale prices of the two fuels had been virtually identical in previous months, but petrol has been creeping up to at least 5p more per litre.

14:26:55

Smaller lenders pull mortgage deals over interest rate concerns

A jump in UK borrowing costs over the last 48 hours has forced smaller British mortgage lenders to temporarily withdraw deals and reprice offers for new customers.

UK gilts have risen sharply yesterday and today (to their highest level since after the disastrous mini-budget last year) after inflation figures showed price rises are not easing as quickly as hoped - leading to forecasts that interest rates will have to rise again.

Central banks raise rates so people have less money to spend, and save more, which tends to curb inflation.

As Ed Conway explained in our 6.43am post, the Bank rate could now peak at 5.5% this year - last week the expectation had been 4.75%.

Now, Reuters reports that at least seven small lenders have pulled products or announced a repricing this week.

These lenders are mostly focused on the buy-to-let market - and none of them are major high street banks.

14:00:01

Car production increases for third month in a row

Car production has increased for the third month in a row as shortages of supplies continued to ease, new figures show.

A total of 66,527 cars were made in April, an increase of almost 6,000 on the same month last year, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Exports drove production, rising 14.7% to 54,820 vehicles, with more than four out of five cars built in this country heading overseas.

The European Union remained the most important global market, taking 58% of all exports, followed by the US, China and Australia.

Hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) represented more than a third of all production.

13:37:31

Savings deals of the week

Moneyfactscompare.co.uk expert Rachel Springall has published her savings deals of the week.

Chip – Instant Access powered by ClearBank

"Chip has increased the rate on its Instant Access powered by ClearBank product to 3.75% this week, improving its position in the market. Savers searching for a competitive rate on a flexible savings account may find this deal attractive as it allows unlimited withdrawals. Savers should be aware that they need to hold a Chip subscription (for which both free and paid options are available)."

Minimum opening amount: £1

Investec Bank plc – 1-Year Fixed Rate Saver

"Now paying 5.00%, the deal has improved its position within its sector against its peers and may be an attractive choice for savers looking to lock their money away for a year for a guaranteed return."

Minimum opening amount: £5,000

UBL UK – 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA

"Now paying 4.35% on maturity, savers may find this an attractive choice if they have yet to use their ISA allowance, but they must be comfortable with their initial investment as further additions are not permitted."

Minimum opening amount: £2,000

Gatehouse Bank – Easy Access Cash ISA

"Savers who want flexibility with their ISA cash may find the latest rate rise by Gatehouse Bank appealing. The deal now pays an expected profit rate of 3.55% and improves its position within the top rate tables in its sector. The account offers a monthly expected profit option, which may appeal to savers looking to supplement their income."

Minimum opening amount: £1

NatWest – 2 Year Fixed Rate ISA Issue 323

"This week, NatWest has increased the rate on its 2-Year Fixed Rate ISA, which now pays 4.50%. The deal takes a more prominent position within its sector against its peers and may well attract savers who plan to use their tax-free ISA allowance. Savers who are happy to lock their cash away until 2025 can make further additions until a certain date, which may appeal to those who may have extra cash to invest or transfers in."

Minimum opening amount: £1,000

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