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Surge in problems with payday loan debt

There has been a big rise in the number of people struggling to pay back payday loan debts, according to a leading debt charity.

StepChange said they dealt with 43,716 people in the first six months of this year, compared with 30,762 for the same period last year.

StepChange reported a big rise in payday loan debt in the last year.
StepChange reported a big rise in payday loan debt in the last year. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A clampdown by financial regulators on the payday loan industry is due to come into effect in January of next year.

It includes cap on fees and interest charges to try to protect vulnerable people from getting mired in debt.

The proposals should mean those who have taken out a loan should never end up paying back more in charges than the amount they borrowed.

StepChange said that while the new measures were a "crucial step forward" there needed to be even stricter rules to stop people getting into difficulty.

Bank overdraft fees 'too high or unfair', customers say

About 2.5m people used an unauthorised overdraft in the last year, with over two thirds saying charges on them are too high or unfair.

The poll for consumer magazine Which? found over a third of people (36%) were surprised at how high their charges were, with 68% saying they were too high.

Many bank customers say fees for unauthorised overdrafts are too high.
Many bank customers say fees for unauthorised overdrafts are too high. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Which? said 25,000 people had now signed up to a campaign called 'Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges' aimed at misleading or overly high fees.

Read: Time to probe the £8bn made from 'overdrawn Britain'

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'No living wage' for many part-time working women

Women working part-time are typically earning less than the living wage in many parts of Britain, a new study claims.

Female employees earning below the living wage is the 'norm' in Britain, the TUC says.
Female employees earning below the living wage is the 'norm' in Britain, the TUC says. Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA

The TUC says most part-time women workers were earning below the living wage in over 50 local authority areas, including three out of four in West Lancashire and two-thirds in West Somerset.

The living wage is currently set at £7.65 an hour across Britain, apart from in London where it stands at £8.80.

The union has called on the Government to ensure companies awarded contracts pay their staff the living wage.

Government: Housing most affordable since 2007

Home ownership is at its most affordable since 2007, the government has claimed.

Responding to research from Shelter indicating many families are cutting back on food to cover housing costs, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said repossessions were currently at their lowest since 2007 and down almost a third since last year.

He added that record low interest rates had made owning a home more affordable, while adding that "private rent levels are falling in real times".

On top of this, we've got Britain building, with nearly half a million new homes delivered since 2010, including nearly 200,000 affordable homes, and almost 40,000 new home owners have been created through the Help to Buy schemes.

– Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister

One in ten parents 'missing meals to pay housing costs'

Nearly 900,000 working parents are skipping meals to help pay for the cost of housing, new research claims.

More than a third of parents are generally cutting back on food to cover the cost of housing, the survey claims.
More than a third of parents are generally cutting back on food to cover the cost of housing, the survey claims. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

A study from housing charity Shelter found 10.5% of adults with children said they or their partner had avoided a meal to save money for their rent or mortgage.

According to the survey, more than one third (37%) of working parents were generally cutting back on buying food , equating to three million parents across England as a whole.

Some 13% of working parents surveyed, equating to 1.1 million parents across England, said they had put off buying their children new shoes, while 10%, or around 820,000 parents across the country, delayed buying their children a new school uniform in the last year so that they could pay their rent or mortgage.

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IMF chief Lagarde: Formal investigation 'is without basis'

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has said the decision to formally investigate her over negligence claims was "without basis".

In a statement after a fourth round of questioning before magistrates, Lagarde said she was returning to work in Washington later in the day.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said the decision was 'without basis'. Credit: Olivier Douliery/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

"After three years of proceedings, dozens of hours of questioning, the court found from the evidence that I committed no offence, and the only allegation is that I was not sufficiently vigilant," Lagarde said.

IMF chief 'under investigation' over negligence claims

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been placed under formal investigation for negligence relating to a long-running political fraud case, an unnamed source has told Reuters.

Lagarde will appeal the French magistrates' decision to place her under formal investigation, saying the allegation of negligence was unfounded, the source stated.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde has said the allegation of negligence was unfounded. Credit: Laura Lean/PA Wire

The inquiry into French businessman Bernard Tapie has embroiled several of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet members, including Lagarde, who was finance minister.

Tapie was awarded €403 million (£321 million) in a 2008 arbitration payment under Sarkozy's presidency to settle a dispute with the now-defunct state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over a share sale in 1993.

Kitemark to highlight trusted apps and websites

A new kitemark has been launched to help people identify apps and websites they can trust with their personal and financial details.

Website and apps will undergo
Website and apps will undergo Credit: British Standards Institution

Barclays' Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking are the first products to have been independently assessed in order to be awarded the new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark for secure digital transactions.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms - for example within the entertainment industry.

Producers of websites or apps which want to achieve the kitemark will need to undergo "rigorous" testing to make sure their security controls meet the required standards for handling confidential data, the BSI said.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.

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