Money latest: PG Tips enlists Top Boy star for £12m ad to revive fortunes - but poll suggests Britons much prefer rival (2024)

Top news
  • Free childcare applications about to open for new age band
  • Downsizing your home could unlock more than £400,000
  • Iconic tea brand enlists Top Boy star for £12m ad to revive fortunes - but poll suggests Britons prefer rival
  • Train strikes begin - everything you need to know
Essential reads
  • When will interest rates be cut?
  • What is the Bank of England, why isn't it called the Bank of UK, and how much is in its vaults?
  • Cheap Eats:Chef at Tom Kerridge pub picks Buckinghamshire spot
  • 'We should charge more': Chef justifies £320 menu as he teams up with Uber Eats for 'cheap' delivery
  • Money Problem:We discovered £600 management fee after buying flat - what can we do?
  • 10 biggest mistakes people make in job interviews

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New savings account offers market-leading rate - a sign rates are being 'pushed in the right direction'

A new savings account is offering customers a rate of 5.2% AER - making it a market leader.

Raisin UK has partnered with Al Rayan Bank to offer the one-year Fixed-Term Deposit account.

Those who deposit £1,000 can expect to have £1,052.00 in their account by the end of the year.

The minimum deposit is £1,000, while the maximum is £85,000.

Customers will not be able to withdraw from the account for the year.

It is operated under Shariah principles, meaning interest cannot be earned but some of the profit the bank earns will be returned to you - meaning you can grow your savings without earning interest.

Anna Bowes, co-founder of Savings Champion, tells the Money blog...

"It's good to see that although the markets are expecting the base rate to fall in the near future, the anticipated date for this keeps being pushed back, and this seems to have stimulated a little bit of competition among some savings providers – in particular fixed-term bonds - pushing rates upwards.

"This latest increase from Al Rayan Bank, available both directly and via the Raisin UK cash platform, is exactly what we like to see, and hopefully it will create a little more competition from other providers - pushing rates further in the right direction."

Anna points out this rate can be beaten with shorter fixes but in that instance "you'll need to find another home for your money on maturity, so fixing for a bit longer could actually realise more of a return in the end".


Prague considering ban on 'silly costumes' as part of clampdown on stag and hen dos

A district council in Prague is looking at banning "silly costumes" worn by stag and hen party groups.

Officials from the Prague 1 area, which is largely a UNESCO World Heritage site, have said the ban is aimed at clamping down on noisy and drunken tourists.

The area has long struggled with tourism focused solely on nightlife activities, including bar crawls.

Local news outlet Prague Morning said the proposal was made by councillor Bronislava Sitar Baborakova, who argued the costumes exceeded acceptable social norms and were negatively impacting residents.

However, another councillor said the proposed ban on "silly costumes" seemed "excessive".

Prague 1 has previously implemented a nighttime ban on non-delivery vehicles in part of the area, although the measure was swiftly cancelled after criticism.


Markets update: Boohoo revenue drops 17% - and there's good news for drivers

The struggles of fast fashion retailer Boohoo continue with news this morning that revenue dropped 17% in its financial year compared with a year earlier.

The company, which also owns the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands, had pre-tax profits of £58.6m in the year up to February.

That's down from £63.3m the year before as online retailers struggle with the comedown from COVID-19 pandemic era highs.

Boohoo has faced increased competition from the likes of Chinese rival Shein and had more returns. Its share price is down 4.3% following the announcement and a fall of 20% since late December.

Meanwhile, oil prices are now at their lowest since mid-March with a barrel of Brent crude oil - which is the pricing benchmark - costing $82.22, down from highs of $91 a barrel at one point last month.

For one pound you can buy $1.2476 and €1.1613.


PG Tips enlists stars in big-budget ad after falling behind competitors - but poll shows Britons prefer rival

PG Tips has launched a high-budget advertising campaign after falling behind Yorkshire Tea, Twinings and Tetley.

It's the tea maker's first campaign in eight years - and there isn't a chimp (or knitted chimp) in sight.

The ad is titled "Rock Solid" - it cost £12m, stars Top Boy actor Ashley Walters, has a soundtrack by Ezra Collective and is directed by Oscar-winning Steve McQueen.

Those behind the ad, which you can watch in the embedded tweet below, say it is an attempt to appeal to a new generation.

Karen Owen, global senior marketing executive at Lipton Teas and Infusions, which owns the brand, said: "We separated the tea business from Unilever just under two years ago. PG Tips hasn't really been invested in for many, many years. So, we said no, this is the nation's tea. It is the nation's favourite tea."

In the 70-second clip, Walters can be seen coaching himself "out of the doldrums" over a cup of PG Tips.

On the concept, Ms Owen continued: "When you look at Gen Z culture, there's a real fear of burnout. They are not interested in coffee because that's burnout culture; it's pushing the problem down the road. They are much more about recovery and reconnecting with their self."

PG Tips lost £2.8m last year - and our social media polls suggest it's well behind Yorkshire Tea in terms of popularity.

This is how our LinkedIn followers have been voting in our ongoing poll...

And it's a similar story on Instagram...

Previous PG Tips adverts starred comedians Peter Sellers, Bob Monkhouse, and Johnny Vegas.

This one is the brainchild of indie agency Calling, which is making a name for itself by modernising heritage brands.

It appears to be the first in a series.

"We don't know quite what's going to happen next but what we do know is it's going to be about progress. And Steve, when I was with him last week, he's said, 'So, what are we going to do next?'" Ms Owen said.

The brand has invested £40m in new machinery, training and blends at its Trafford Park site in Manchester as it attempts to turn around its fortunes.

Here's what some of our LinkedIn followers and Money readers have been saying:

None of the above. Your poll is flawed. Other brands are available.

Ray K

None of these... Tick tock organic rooibos tea 🍵

Fay Still

If you ain't drinking Punjana you are missing out.

Stuart Elder

Sainsbury's red label is by far the best tasting tea and has been for decades… and is almost half the price of Yorkshire tea!


Tetley one cup all the way , hate strong tea 🤮

Mark Osborne

Unpopular opinion but Yorkshire tea is 🤮🤮

Jo Humphrey

I ONLY drink tea, ONLY ever pg tips :)

Jason Prout

Have to admit I buy Yorkshire Tea by Taylor's of Harrogate (as I live in Bristol, the Hard Water blend if I can) or Twinings Breakfast or Strong. PG Tips and Tetley always seem to wishy washy to me.


Why do you not mention Waitrose Gold Blend tea? By far the best!

Carol Waugh


Chef at Tom Kerridge pub picks his Cheap Eats

Every Wednesday we ask a Michelin chef to pick their favourite Cheap Eats where they live and at home.This week we speak toTom De Keyser, head chef at Tom Kerridge's two-starred The Hand and Flowers, Marlow.

What is your favourite place for a meal for two for up to £40 in Buckinghamshire?

The Cedar Marlow is a local gem, it's a fantastic coffee shop and spot for a lovely lunch. I always have the pastrami bagel which is brilliant, my wife loves the chicken shawarma salad, and my young daughter has a fluffy bowl of scrambled eggs. You can happily feed the three of us with a couple of delicious coffees for less than £40.

When I moved to Marlow it was the first place I went for coffee before starting at The Hand and Flowers, I remember the staff being so welcoming and friendly with lots of smiles. It's a gorgeous family-run place with Ralph and Aldo making sure that everyone is looked after, the food is super fresh and the atmosphere is great.

For the nights spent at home – your favourite, low-effort meal to whip up quickly?

My go-to meal for something quick and tasty is quite often pasta and red pesto with grated cheese and fresh herbs with an Italian side salad.

How did you get into cheffing?

In my last year of university, my beer money ran out and I began working in a restaurant, before joining The Hand and Flowers in 2012, the year it became the first in the world to be awarded two Michelin stars.

Read the recommendations of other top chefs around the UK here...


Free childcare applications about to open for new age band

From Sunday, eligible working parents of children from nine-months-old in England will be able to register for access to up to 15 free hours of government-funded childcare per week.

This will then be granted from September.

Check if you're eligiblehere- or read on for our explainer on free childcare across the UK.


Three and four year olds

In England, all parents of children aged three and four in England can claim 15 hours of free childcare per week, for 1,140 hours (38 weeks) a year, at an approved provider.

This is a universal offer open to all.

It can be extended to 30 hours where both parents (or the sole parent) are in work, earn the weekly minimum equivalent of 16 hours at the national minimum or living wage, and have an income of less than £100,000 per year.

Two year olds

Previously, only parents in receipt of certain benefits were eligible for 15 hours of free childcare.

But, as of last month, this was extended to working parents.

This is not a universal offer, however.

A working parent must earn more than £8,670 but less than £100,000 per year. For couples, the rule applies to both parents.

Nine months old

In September, this same 15-hour offer will be extended to working parents of children aged from nine months. From 12 May, those whose children will be at least nine months old on 31 August can apply to received the 15 hours of care from September.

From September 2025

The final change to the childcare offer in England will be rolled out in September 2025, when eligible working parents of all children under the age of five will be able to claim 30 hours of free childcare a week.


In some areas of Wales, the Flying Start early years programme offers 12.5 hours of free childcare for 39 weeks, for eligible children aged two to three. The scheme is based on your postcode area, though it is currently being expanded.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to free earlyeducation of 10 hours per week in approved settings during term time under the Welsh government's childcare offer.

Some children of this age are entitled to up to 30 hours per week of free early education and childcare over 48 weeks of the year. The hours can be split - but at least 10 need to be used on early education.

To qualify for this, each parent must earn less than £100,000 per year, be employed and earn at least the equivalent of working 16 hours a week at the national minimum wage, or be enrolled on an undergraduate, postgraduate or further education course that is at least 10 weeks in length.


All three and four-year-olds living in Scotlandare entitled to at least 1,140 hours per year of free childcare, with no work or earnings requirements for parents.

This is usually taken as 30 hours per week over term time (38 weeks), though each provider will have their own approach.

Some households can claim free childcare for two-year-olds. To be eligible you have to be claiming certain benefits such as Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit, or have a child that is in the care of their local council or living with you under a guardianship order or kinship care order.

Northern Ireland

There is no scheme for free childcare in Northern Ireland. Some other limited support is available.

Working parents can access support from UK-wide schemes such as tax credits, Universal Credit, childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare.

Aside from this, all parents of children aged three or four can apply for at least 12.5 hours a week of funded pre-school education during term time. But over 90% of three-year-olds have a funded pre-school place - and of course this is different to childcare.

What other help could I be eligible for?

Tax-free childcare- Working parents in the UK can claim up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of their children to help with childcare costs.

If the child is disabled, the amount goes up to £1,000 every three months (up to £4,000 a year).

To claim the benefit, parents will need to open a tax-free childcare account online. For every 80p paid into the account, the government will top it up by 20p.

The scheme is available until the September after the child turns 11.

Universal credit- Working families on universal credit can claim back up to 85% of their monthly childcare costs, as long as the care is paid for upfront. The most you can claim per month is £951 for one child or £1,630 for two or more children.

Tax credits -People claiming working tax credit can get up to 70% of what they pay for childcare if their costs are no more than £175 per week for one child or £300 per work for multiple children.


How downsizing your home could unlock more than £400,000

Downsizing your home as you get older has a lot of practical benefits - including cutting down on household bills and maintenance costs.

But new analysis shows that moving to a smaller home could also unlock hundreds of thousands of pounds to help clear your mortgage or tuck away in savings.

Research by consumer champion Which? found that - predictably - downsizers in London were likely to make the most in overall cash terms due to high property prices in the capital.

A Londoner moving from a four-bed to a two-bed property, and staying in the city, could release as much as £414,000, it found.

But Which? says that people downsizing within the capital are only getting back 46% of the total value of their original home on average - the lowest of any region.

In contrast, people in the North East could release as much as 56% of their four-bed home's worth.

People moving to a two-bed from a four-bed in Scotland would make an average of £159,264 in profit - the lowest in cash terms of all regions in Britain. However, they'd get back 50% of the total value.

Londoners wanting to break away from the Big Smoke could make as much as £771,097 by moving to the North East, according to Which?

Movers doing the big trek from the South West to the North West could also unlock a profit of up to £283,586, it said, while people in the South East downsizing in the North East could get £462,763.

Researchers at Which? analysed Office for National Statistics average property price data and factored in moving costs such as estate agent fees, stamp duty and conveyancing fees.

Sam Richardson, Which? deputy money editor, said while downsizing is "far from easy", it can unlock "a significant amount of money".

"Even after additional expenses, such as stamp duty and removal fees, the sums you free up could make a big difference, especially if you're concerned that your pension won't go far enough, or you're looking to help loved ones financially," he said.


House prices 'largely plateau' | Driverless car company raises $1bn | Waitrose in hot water over redundancy payouts

Average UK house prices have risen only slightly in the past month, according to data from Halifax.

The average house price rose by 0.1% in April month-on-month, after a fall of 0.9% in March.

Halifax said typical house prices in early 2024 have "largely plateaued", with the housing market "finding its feet in an era of higher interest rates".

It added it expected property prices to "rise modestly" over the course of 2024.

Read more here...

A British driverless car company has raised more than a billion dollars from three major tech companies to commercialise its products.

Start-up Wayve has secured funds from SoftBank, Nvidia and Microsoft to help develop its artificial intelligence software which can make any vehicle hands-free.

This is the biggest venture investment so far in a European AI start-up, and could see the London-based company valued at several billion dollars.

The technology teaches autonomous vehicles how to drive using videos and data from real life, and could mean cars are more responsive to incidents such as someone running into the road or another vehicle swerving.

Waitrose workers have claimed the supermarket lowered redundancy payouts for warehouse staff already at risk of losing their jobs.

Under the proposal, those made redundant will only be paid one week's salary per year of service, on top of statutory payouts received from the government.

John Lewis said earlier this year it was planning to halve redundancy payouts.

But workers are claiming a review into the planned closure of an Enfield warehouse had begun before the changes were made to redundancy packages.


PIP claimants could need to provide 'proof of diagnosis' letters

The government is planning to overhaul its Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scheme - and one proposal is to require claimants to provide a "proof of diagnosis" letter from a healthcare professional.

Another measure includes scrapping the current eligibility criteria and replacing it with one based on what condition or disability someone has.

People can claim PIP payments if they have a disability or medical condition that affects their ability to carry out daily tasks.

The standard rate is £72.65 a week, while the enhanced one is £108.55, and people can also get extra payments of £28.70 or £75.75 if they struggle with mobility.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is now proposing a claimant's eligibility would be based on their clinical diagnosis by a healthcare professional, rather than on an assessment.

Charities and campaigners have warned this could risk some medical conditions no longer being eligible for PIP if they're not deemed long-term or severe enough.

Here's everything you need to know about PIP and potential changes...


What is the Bank of England, why isn't it called the Bank of the UK, and how much is in its vaults?

Basically, the Bank of England is the UK's central bank.

It is different from a bank you would come across along the high street and does not hold accounts or make loans to the public.

The Bank issues bank notes that you spend and it also sets the official interest rates of the UK (otherwise known as the Bank/base rate), which directly influences savings and mortgages.

It earned the nickname "the old lady of Threadneedle Street" back in the 1700s after a cartoon depicted then-prime minister William Pitt trying to "woo" the Bank - depicted as an old lady - for her gold reserves.

When did the Bank become independent?

The Bank was founded in 1694 and was owned by various shareholders until it was nationalised in 1946.

It remains owned by the UK government today - but its decision-making was made independent by then-chancellor Gordon Brown in 1997 to increase confidence in the UK economy and stop politicians from influencing monetary policy for political or electoral reasons.

What is the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee and who sits on it?

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decides the Bank rate.

This generally happens every six weeks, so eight times a year, and the next meeting is on Thursday - hence which we've made it this week's Basically.

The committee is made up of nine independent members who all have expertise in economics and monetary policy.

There are also external members that ensure the MPC benefits from thinking and expertise from outside of the Bank of England.

A representative from HM Treasury also sits with the MPC at its meetings. The Treasury member makes sure the MPC is briefed on government policies, but they are not allowed to vote.

Does the Bank have any other responsibilities?

  • The Bank produces £5, £10, £20 and £50 banknotes;
  • It guards the value of money by keeping prices stable;
  • It keeps the financial system stable by maintaining a close watch on any risks and taking action;
  • The Bank also regulates and supervises all the major banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and investment firms.

Why is it called the Bank of England when it covers the whole UK?

Quite simply, it has never changed its name since it was founded.

It was created in 1694 after a Scotsman named William Paterson realised the nation's finances had no real system of money or credit.

Under his direction, a successful scheme was launched in which £1.2m was loaned to the government from funds raised by subscribers who were then incorporated into the governor and company of the Bank of England.

The money was used to support the English government in its war against France.

It wasn't until the 19th century that the Bank took on the role of central bank.

What is in the Bank of England's vaults?

About 400,000 bars of gold.

These are worth more than £200bn, making the Bank of England the second-largest keeper of gold in the world - behind the New York Federal Reserve.

The gold is kept in nine carefully guarded underground vaults.

Each bar costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, although the value can go up and down.

The Bank of England's customers - who include the UK government, banks and other governments around the world - can trade their gold bars with other customers.

When a customer trades gold it doesn't usually move - instead the name of the owner will change on the Bank's system.

Not many people are allowed to visit the vaults, but the King and the late Queen Elizabeth II have seen them.

Has anyone ever stolen any gold from the Bank?

The Bank says no gold has been stolen from its vaults, but there was a lucky escape in 1836 after a sewer worker doing repair work accidentally discovered an old drain that ran directly below the gold vault.

He sent anonymous letters to the directors of the Bank, saying he had access to their gold and offering to meet them in the vault at an hour of their choosing.

When the directors gathered one night in the vault, a noise was heard from beneath the floor and the man popped up through some of the floorboards.

A stocktake was taken afterwards, and it became clear he had not taken any gold.

The Bank then decided to reward the sewer worker for his honesty by giving him £800 - the equivalent of about £76,000 today.

Read other entries in our Basically... series:

Money latest: PG Tips enlists Top Boy star for £12m ad to revive fortunes - but poll suggests Britons much prefer rival (2024)
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