Money blog: Traitors winner Harry Clark reveals what he's spent his £95,000 winnings on so far (2024)

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  • Strong wage growth shrinks hope of interest rate cut
  • The rise of Michelin starred 'fast food'
  • Traitors winner reveals what he's spent his prize money on so far
  • Gen Z would rather deliver parcels than work in restaurants, Michel Roux Jr claims
Essential reads
  • What is PIP - and what could government changes mean?
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The Traitors winner reveals what he's spent his prize money on so far

The Traitors' winner Harry Clark has revealed he's only spent some of his prize money so far, and it's gone towards clearing his relative's debts.

The 23-year-old won £95,150 after successfully convincing his fellow contestants that he was a faithful in the second season of the show.

Speaking on the TV BAFTAs red carpet, the former British Army engineer said his dad has stopped him from spending the cash and has been looking after him.

"He's got his head screwed on. He's been making sure I can get my first place," he told reporters.

"I've just given my family some dosh, just to pay off their debts and stuff like that, so they don't have to worry anymore.

"That's all I've wanted to do in my life."


Police 'not interested' in handling shoplifting, says M&S chairman

Police are no longer interested in dealing with shoplifting and retailers are being forced to spend "a lot of money" on protecting themselves, the chairman of M&S has claimed.

Archie Norman said stores have resorted to installing new camera systems and employing store detectives to try to keep crime rates down.

"We get very little help from the police," he toldLBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"I think we have to accept that the police are not interested in this sort of crime any more. Whether we like it or not, that's the way it has gone."

Shoplifting is at the highest levels since records began in 2003, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It has risen by 37% since last year.

Mr Norman said thefts had surged since the pandemic, and the rising cost of living crisis was also causing problems.

"When people are hard up, or particularly when there's a growth in other forms of crime, particularly drugs-related crime, then one way of financing it is to go and steal from shops… it's understandable given what we've been through in the last couple of years, we've seen more of that," he added.

A change to the law in 2014 now means shoplifting goods worth less than £200 is only a summary offence.

This may have prompted police to pay less attention to it, and it has been on the rise since.

Home Office data also show the number of shoplifting charges has fallen in recent years.

Taking further action wasn't considered to be "in the public interest" in most cases.

Sky News has contacted the Home Office for comment.


Chance of interest rate cut? 50/50

By James Sillars, business news reporter

The prospects for a Bank of England interest rate cut are almost 50/50.

That's according to the latest financial market expectations in reaction to this morning's employment figures.

They showed the pace of wage growth remaining stubbornly high - overshooting the expectations of economists.

Strong wage growth is not what the Bank wants to see, as it fears a surge in consumer spending power driving a new wave of inflation.

There is a further set of wage data before the Bank's next rate-setting meeting on 20 June.

That may not help those seeking a cut in borrowing costs, however, as it will reflect the impact of April's big rise in the National Living Wage.

Away from the interest rate cut speculation, the FTSE 100 has opened flat for a second day.

Currys is among stocks doing well on the wider stock market.

The electricals retailer saw its shares trading almost 8% higher in early deals after it raised its annual profit outlook.

Those of Greggs, however, were down almost 1% despite a leap in sales.

The bakery to fast food chain said its performance was in line with expectations and, as such, it had no impact on its forecasts for the full year.


Strong wage growth shrinks hope of interest rate cut

Wages grew by 6% in the three months to March, excluding bonuses, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is slightly above economists' expectations - bad news for the Bank of England, which wants to see wage growth fall to help ease inflation as it weighs when to cut 16-year-high interest rates.

The Bank is watching wages closely as it looks to bring inflation back to its 2% target, and cooling earnings growth is seen as being key to paving the way for it to begin cutting rates.

In real terms - taking Consumer Prices Index inflation into account - pay rose 2.4% across the period.

In March alone, that figure was 3% - the highest level of growth since July 2021, when it hit 3.9%.

"Earnings growth in cash terms remains high, with the recent falls in the rate now levelling off while, with inflation falling, real pay growth remains at its highest level in well over two years," said ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown.

Meanwhile, unemployment ticked up to 4.3% from January to March, compared to 4.2% in the previous three months, December to February.

The number of job vacancies remains about pre-pandemic levels, but has been declining for 22 consecutive months, said Ms McKeown.

"With unemployment also increasing, the number of unemployed people per vacancy has continued to rise, approaching levels seen before the onset of COVID-19."


The rise of Michelin starred 'fast food'

By Jimmy Rice, Money editor

Michelin starred restaurants are supposed to be the antithesis of fast food, a place to enjoy ingredients that have been laboured on for days over several hours.

But with hospitality struggling like never before due to staff shortages, inflation and changing consumer habits, it seems even those at the top end of the food chain are having to adapt.

An increasing number of the country's most celebrated restaurants are now promising you a tasting menu in less than an hour.

One-starred Pavyllon is located in the Four Seasons on Hyde Park, the kind of place you might have seen bustling with pinstriped business lunchers in another decade. But these days it's attracting customers with its "Lunch in 55" menu for £55.50 - four courses for half the price of its regular offering.

Head chef Benjamin Ferra Y Castell says the industry is having to adapt.

"Living costs have increased so, understandably, in general people will spend less," he tells the Money blog. "It's important to have a more affordable option at lunch." He says the amount of competition at this end of the market in London means you have to get creative.

"It's noticeable that more restaurants across London are offering affordable lunch menus, including Michelin starred establishments and across Mayfair."

Castell says half the people now coming in for lunch are choosing the in-and-out option.

"Four courses served in less than an hour fits in with busy schedules and offers convenience and versatility," he says.

In the past couple of weeks, the flagship restaurant of Great British Menu winner Adam Handling launched its own speedy lunch.

Frog by Adam Handling usually charges £195 for a full tasting menu but its new lunch offering has been priced at £100, with a mailing list promotion assuring people they can be out within an hour (though they can stay longer if they wish).

"People aren't indulging at lunch like they used to and we just had to adapt," Handling told the Money blog. "We understand that things aren't going to go back to the way they were, at least not for a while.

"Inflation has hit everyone hard and people don't have the luxury of spending time to sit and eat three to four-hour lunches."

UKHospitality data shows 40% of Britain's restaurants are barely breaking even - but Handling is optimistic that better times are ahead.

"We're not expecting it [cheaper, speedy lunches] to be a long-lasting trend," he says. "We won't be keeping it forever but, for now, we understand things are difficult at the moment and so, as we always do, we're adapting to our guests needs."


What is PIP - and what could government changes mean?

By Jake Levison, news reporter

Basically, PIP (personal independence payment) is a tax-free payment given to people to help with the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability.

There are two parts to it:

  • A daily living part - for those who have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • A mobility part - for people who have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around

It's possible to meet the criteria for one part or both parts, and payments vary for each.

Who is eligible?

People aged 16 to 64 can get PIP regardless of whether they work if they expect their difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started.

Anyone told they may have 12 months or less to live can also apply and may get PIP more quickly.

Those with both physical disability and cognitive or mental health conditions like anxiety can meet the criteria for both types of PIP.

There is no list of medical conditions that qualify you for PIP. Instead, you're assessed on the level of help you need with specific activities.

For the daily living part, you might need help with things like:

  • Preparing food
  • Eating and drinking
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Washing and bathing
  • Using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading
  • Socialising and being around other people
  • Talking, listening and understanding.

For the mobility payments, it's things like:

  • Working out a route and following it
  • Physically moving around
  • Leaving your home

How does the government make its decisions?

The Department for Work and Pensions carries out an assessment to work out the level of help a person should receive.

A person's needs are judged through a points system, wherein the more severe the impact in a particular area and the more help required, the more points a person gets and the more money they receive.

The answers are assessed by health professionals, who then provide a report for DWP case managers with recommendations on what to give the applicant, if anything.

Applicants can provide assessors with additional medical evidence as part of a claim, but it's not a requirement, as a person's self-assessment about the impact their condition is prioritised when making a decision.

What does the government want to change?

It is looking at changing PIP in a number of ways, potentially affecting those who are eligible for it and the type of help those who are granted it will get. Below we summarise the key points in the consultation:

Different assessment model

The government is looking at introducing an assessment model based entirely or partly on the diagnosis given to an individual.

It says it is considering whether "evidence of a clinical diagnosis made by a healthcare professional could provide a more objective assessment of need" than a self-assessment.

Eligibility reform

This is an alternative to changing the assessment model.

The government says it may keep the current assessment, but change the questions so that they are less repetitive and to "ensure they are working as intended".

The government is also considering looking at changing the length someone needs to have been suffering for due to their disability before they become eligible for PIP, because "we know many people who have short-term illnesses can make a full recovery".

It has not specified the length of time this would change to. As it stands, people have to show that the negative effects of their condition have been present for three months before applying and that they are likely to last for another nine months after PIP is first given to them.

Changes to payments

In the current system, PIP claimants are given monthly cash payments which they can use as they see fit, whether that be things like aids and mobility devices, covering increased energy costs due to special equipment or paying higher premiums due to their condition.

The government says claimants often use the money for common household costs or some "view their PIP award as compensation for being disabled rather than as an award for extra costs".

With this in mind, the government is considering the following alternatives to cash transfer:

  • Catalogue/shop scheme - where there would be an approved list of items from which disabled people could choose items at reduced or no cost
  • Voucher scheme - where disabled people could receive vouchers to contribute towards specific costs
  • Receipt-based system - where claimants buy approved aid, appliances or services for themselves and then provide proof of purchase to claim a contribution from the government
  • One-off grants - a contribution to specific, significant costs such as for home adaptations or expensive equipment.

Why does the government say it wants to change PIP?

It says PIP caseloads and costs are "spiralling" as there are now 2.6 million people of working age claiming it.

There are 33,000 new awards for PIP each month, which it says is more than double the rate before the pandemic.

In its proposal, the government adds: "This is expected to cost the taxpayer £28bn a year by 2028/29 - a 110% increase in spending since 2019.

"This is in part fuelled by the rise in people receiving PIP for mental-health conditions such as mixed anxiety and depressive disorders, with monthly awards doubling from 2,200 to 5,300 a month since 2019."

It says its main three priorities through making changes are:

  • Providing the right support to the people who need it most
  • Targeting our resources most effectively
  • Supporting disabled people and those with long-term health conditions to live independently and reach their full potential.

Announcing the consultation on 29 April, Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, told the Commons: "This government's priority is to make sure that our welfare system is fair and compassionate. Fair on the taxpayer, by ensuring that people of working age who can work, do work, and fair on those who are in most need of the state's help."

What do critics say?

Some believe the proposed changes are going to target people with mental health problems and stop them getting PIP, and they have not been encouraged by the fact the government has not specified which conditions would be eligible for PIP under reforms.

Mr Stride suggested to the Times that people with "milder mental health conditions" would no longer receive financial support, adding talking therapies, social care packages and respite care could be used as alternatives.

James Taylor, the executive director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, called for an end to the "reckless assault" on disabled people and to fix the "real underlying issues".

"It's hard to have any faith that this consultation is about anything other than cutting the benefits bill, no matter the impact," Mr Taylor said.

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) branded the consultation "cynical and cruel".

Speaking on behalf of DBC, Ceri Smith head of policy at the MS Society, said: "If the government truly wants a 'stronger, healthier and fairer society', they should start by addressing NHS waiting lists and fixing social care. Instead, this approach will punish disabled people and push even more into poverty."

How can you have your say?

You can view the consultation, which is open until 23 July,here.

Once you have read it, you can respond onlinevia the government's formor by emailing consultation.modernisingsupport@DWP.GOV.UK

Read other entries in our Basically... series:


'Serious questions' for lenders over surge in ultra-long mortgages

Young homebuyers are being forced to gamble with their retirement prospects by taking on ultra-long mortgages, according to a former pensions minister.

Sir Steve Webb described data - supplied by the Financial Conduct Authority to the Bank of England - as "shocking".

It suggests that more than one million new mortgages have been issued over the past three years with end dates beyond the state pension age.

The ex-Liberal Democrat MP, who is now a partner at the consultancy firm LCP, voiced fears that borrowers could be forced to raid their pension savings to clear their mortgage in a worst-case scenario.

Sir Steve saw the potential for harm in any case, as longer-term mortgages deprive people of a period running up to retirement when they could be mortgage-free and boosting their pension.

What does the data say?

  • 42% of new mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2023 - or 91,394 - had terms going beyond the state pension age;
  • In the final quarter of last year, people aged 30 to 39 accounted for 30,943 new mortgages lasting beyond state pension age;
  • People aged 40 to 49 accounted for 32,305;
  • Under-30s made up 3,676 of these mortgages;
  • People aged 50 to 59 accounted for 18,854, and there were 661 who were over 70.

Mortgage rates have been rising since the end of 2021 when the Bank of England began action to tackle rising inflation.

Taking home loans with longer maturity dates tends to be more attractive when interest rates are high, as monthly repayments are lower.

You can read more on this story below...


Waitrose given the King's seal of approval - but prepare for prices to rise

Waitrose has become the only supermarket to receive a royal warrant from the King.

The recognition means the company has regularly provided the royal household with products for at least five years.

It also means it can use the King's coat of arms on packaging, as part of advertising or on any stationary it creates.

Waitrose was first granted a royal warrant in 1928 for supplying King George V with groceries and cleaning materials.

"We are honoured and proud that His Majesty has granted us his warrant," James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, said.

"It means the world to all of us, and our farmers and suppliers. There couldn’t be a more powerful symbol of our commitment to service and quality, and our determination to have the highest environmental and animal welfare standards."

Waitrose was previously granted a royal warrant by the late Queen in 2002 and the King when he was Prince of Wales in 2010.

The Queen has also granted her first royal warrants, picking seven companies, including luxury department store Fortnum & Mason and the florist that supplied her coronation flowers, Shane Connolly & Company.

The royal nod could be bad news for customers, however, with a brand finance expert telling Sky News that having a royal warrant allows firms to charge a price premium.

David Haigh said his company's research estimated this to be "between 10% and 25%".

A royal warrant says a company or a product is luxurious, high quality and sustainable, he explained.

He estimates the scheme is "worth billions to UK companies and… therefore it's a very high value to the UK economy".

"And one of the reasons for that is that a lot of foreign tourists and buyers have a preference for royal warrant holder products. We found that 100% of Chinese buyers would pay in excess of 10% for a royal warrant holder product."

Read more on the Queen's choices here:


Gordon Ramsay's restaurants triple losses to £3.4m

Gordon Ramsay's restaurants tripled losses to £3.4m last year, as the chef warned businesses in the industry were facing a "challenging" climate.

The chef's group spent millions opening five new restaurants in 2023, including a Lucky Cat in Manchester, a Bread Street Kitchen in Battersea Power Station and a Street Pizza in Edinburgh.

Sales at his wide-ranging establishments rose, however, by 21% to £95.6m in the year to August, according to The Telegraph.

"It's been a really hard-fought year, but at the same time an exciting year, and in tough times it amazes me how strong and vibrant our industry is," Ramsay told the news outlet.

"It's challenging out there and businesses are battling to stay afloat, rising costs, rent and food costs, multiple strikes. It's a battle"

He was optimistic, however, saying there hasn't been "so much passion and vibrancy" in the industry since he opened his first restaurant in 1998.

"We've still got something wonderful to celebrate, and I truly believe the industry has never been so exciting."


Just 30% of young people drink beer - as industry boss warns breweries fighting for survival

Once the UK's favourite alcoholic beverage, beer's popularity seems to be fading among the younger drinking generation...

In fact, only 30% of people aged 18 to 24 ever drink it, according to a study commissioned by the Society of Independent Brewers.

Instead, younger drinkers say they prefer drinking spirits, wine and cider.

Pub visits appear to be suffering as well, with almost a quarter of the 2,000 people surveyed saying they have never visited their local.

SIBA's 2024 Craft Beer Report paints a more positive picture for small and independent brewers, however, with more than 55% of beer consumers saying they now drink "local craft beer".

It also found average beer production volumes among independent breweries has risen by 14% since last year - a return to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 4 years.

"Demand for local, independently brewed beer in the UK is strong, with independent brewers reporting production volumes up by 14%, meaning they have returned to 2019 volumes again," Andy Slee, SIBA's chief executive, said.

But, he said, it's time for "cautious optimism" only, with the industry still plagued with a number of issues.

"The short-term issue for small independent breweries isn't demand; it's profitability, rising costs and financial pressures such as lingering COVID debt," he said.

"Far too many breweries are simply trying to survive rather than thrive, so while there are many positives signs highlighted in the report, for now it's cautious optimism."

Earlier this year, our Money reporter Emily Mee explored whether the UK's big night out culture was dying out.

Nightlife experts warned we're losing one club every two days at the moment - and if we stay on this trajectory, we will have none left by 2030.

You can read more about her findings here...

Money blog: Traitors winner Harry Clark reveals what he's spent his £95,000 winnings on so far (2024)
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