Our roundup this week includes news of increased train fares from the beginning of 2017, a slowdown in UK retail sales growth in November, a crackdown on spread betting products by financial regulator the FCA and warnings that many people are failing to budget for Christmas.
Train fares to increase by 2.3% next year
The rail industry has announced that train fares in the UK are to increase from early next year. It was revealed that fares will rise by an average of 2.3% from January 2017, covering both regulated and unregulated fares.
Regulated fares include tickets such as season passes, while unregulated fares include off-peak leisure tickets and similar passes. While regulated fares are capped at July's Retail Prices Index inflation rate of 1.9%, there is no cap on unregulated fares and there is a likelihood these will climb by significantly more than 2.3%.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers will now want to see the industry's investment deliver a more reliable day-to-day railway."
BRC: November saw retail sale growth slowdown
British retail sales growth slowed in November, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed. According to the figures, total spending climbed by 1.3% year on year, which was markedly slower than the 2.4% growth recorded in October.
The BRC found that much of November's spending centred on Black Friday towards the end of the month, with consumers appearing to wait for the big discounts associated with the promotion before making purchases.
Despite the slowdown, the 1.3% growth was slightly higher than the 2016 average and highlights a continuation of the robust growth in consumer spending seen following Britain's vote to leave the European Union in June.
FCA cracks down on spread betting products
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is looking to impose more stringent rules for retail financial spread betting products, otherwise known as 'contracts for difference' (CFD). The financial regulator has proposed the new rules to better protect investors after finding that 82% have lost money through the CFD market.
The FCA wants to ensure people are better informed about the products and has proposed measures to ensure the risks associated with the products are limited.
Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, commented: "We have serious concerns that an increasing number of retail clients are trading in CFD products without an adequate understanding of the risks involved, and as a result can incur rapid, large and unexpected losses."
'Less than one-third' budgeting for the festive period
The Money Advice Trust has warned that many people are failing to plan their finances properly ahead of Christmas. A survey carried out by the trust, which runs the National Debtline service, revealed that less than one-third of respondents have a budget in place for the festive season and around one-third will be borrowing money to see them through the period.
Joanna Elson, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: "Money worries can have a huge impact on your life at any time - but the fact that they are putting Christmas at risk for up to five million people shows what an extremely difficult time of year this can be."
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