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As Cheap As Chips!

Written by John J Bloomfield
Amble, Northumberland
Amble, Northumberland

At the weekend my wife and I drove up to Amble on the Northumberland coast for an impromptu trip out. While at the seaside we indulged in the customary fish and chips prompted by the sea air and the smell wafting at us from a seaside cafe.

Bizarrely this got me thinking about inflation! Inflation and its effect on the real value of money is something that I talk about with clients all the time, whether it's trying to protect savings languishing in deposit accounts with interest rates below the current rate of inflation or talking about index linking life insurance or pension payments it does come up quite a lot. It's often difficult to really get people thinking about the effect.

Why then did chips make me think about inflation, well I'll tell you a story that will give away my age. When I was at senior school in Gateshead my Mam, used to give me £1 for lunch that would break down as 50p for a chip butty, 25p for a can of pop and usually 25p for a cream cake or ice lolly. That was 18/19 years ago, now ignoring the lack of nutritional value for a moment and thinking about the prices, a bag of chips with a bun was going for £2 in the chip shop, probably a little more than most being on the coast but still a four times increase in less than 20 years. Oh I bought a can of pop too and that was £1.

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No Interest For Savers

Written by John J Bloomfield

The recent announcement by the Bank of England that they will not be raising interest rates until we see a significant fall in the unemployment figures has been broadly welcomed by British business' who feel for the most part that this will give them the confidence to plan their business moves for the next couple of years in an effort to take advantage of the expected cheap credit and get the economy moving again.

This is little comfort to those who are seeing the value of their savings accounts being eroded by inflation which has been hovering around 2.5-3.0% per year for quite some time now. (You can check the current rate via a handy tool on the BBC website - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10612209) When the rate of inflation is higher than savings interest rate you are receiving the buying power of your money held on deposit is actually falling year on year. Shopping around for the best savings accounts will help a little but in the current environment offers that look too good to be true usually have a catch such as maximum deposit amounts etc.

The question is what can savers actually do to increase the return on their money, to my mind they have two realistic options;

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