Women who return to work part-time after having a baby continue to earn less than men for many years afterwards, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The wage gap between men and women becomes steadily wider in the years after babies are born, the IFS says. Women miss out on promotions and accrue less experience than men, which holds back their earning power, it adds. During the subsequent 12 years, the gap grows to 33 per cent of men’s hourly pay rates.
A second report from the Chartered Management Institute suggests men are more likely than women to have been promoted into senior roles last year. Its analysis of more than 60,000 UK employees found that 14 per cent of men in management roles were promoted into higher positions, but only 10 per cent of women.
The days of tapping in a pin code at the tills are numbered as contactless card readers spread across the country, with more tap-and-pay purchases occurring in the first six months of the year than all of 2015.
The Telegraph reports that shoppers spent £9.27 billion on 1.1 billion contactless payments between January and July, compared to £7.75 billion during last year, according to the UK Cards Association, a trade body. Last month, nearly one in five purchases made on a card used contactless readers, up from 7 per cent a year ago.
Meanwhile, the amount spent by Barclaycard customers using contactless technology has multiplied 2.7 times so far this year, as consumers make the most of the increase in the contactless limit, which went up from £20 to £30 in September 2015.
The latest Barclaycard Contactless Spending Index, which monitors the shopping trends of millions of UK customers, finds that usage has leapt 173 per cent by value and 112 per cent by volume.
Britain is facing a debt time bomb with more than 1.5 million households barely able to cover the interest payments on their personal loans, according to the TUC.
The Times reports that the problem has ballooned in the past three years as families have taken on £48 billion more non-mortgage debt while disposable incomes fell.
Rock bottom interest rates helped to relieve the pressure immediately after the financial crisis but 1.6 million households are today facing ‘extreme problem debt’, analysis of official data by the TUC found.
The trade union body is not alone in its concerns. The Bank of England has expressed worries about the level of household debt, which recently began rising as a proportion of disposable income for the first time since the recession in 2009.
In other debt news, new research for Debt Advisory Centre has found that 38 per cent of adults in the UK (18 million people) say they have been issued with a default in the last year due to late or missed mobile phone, utilities and credit card payments.
Passengers of easyJet and British Airways, and the UK’s biggest package holiday operators, could be charged £25 if they make a complaint about delays, cancellations or lost baggage that is subsequently not upheld, according to The Guardian.
The airlines, plus Thomson and Thomas Cook, have joined a dispute resolution service for tricky complaints that cannot be resolved by the companies themselves. But passengers who use this must pay if their case is unsuccessful.
Previously, the Civil Aviation Authority ran a free mediation service between travellers and airlines for passengers who were not satisfied with the resolution provided by the company. But under new aviation rules, airlines and package holiday providers have voluntarily agreed to be registered with the external Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme.
Motorists involved in a crash that was not their fault are seeing their insurance premiums soar by up to 40 per cent, according to the Daily Mail.
An investigation by Which? has found that insurance companies are hammering accident victims with higher charges. One big insurer increased its quote by 39 per cent after a claim in which the driver was blameless. Others upped quotes by 33 per cent and 29 per cent for drivers in crashes that were not their fault.
Esure increased its premium by 15 per cent after a scratch was declared, even when a claim had not been made.
Nearly half of British drivers would fail their theory test if they had to re-take it after passing their driving test, according to new insight from MoneySuperMarket.
The price comparison site has created a bespoke online theory test, based on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s official version, which has been taken by more than 30,000 people on MoneySuperMarket’s site since it went live on August 3. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the driving theory test.
Analysis of the results reveals a staggering 41 per cent of drivers would fail their test if they had to re-take it today. Only 10 per cent of participants secured top marks, while a fifth missed out marginally on the 86 per cent score required to pass, scoring 12 out of 15.
A government-promoted savings account taken out by more than 500,000 aspiring first-time buyers has been dubbed a ‘sham’ that has betrayed young people hoping for their first step on the property ladder.
The help-to-buy ISA pays a 25 per cent government bonus of up to £3,000 towards a deposit. But it has emerged that this is not paid until a property sale is completed, and so cannot be used to the initial deposit demanded by mortgage lenders.
Labour MP David Lammy said: ‘Young people and all those saving in the hope of one day owning their own home have got every right to feel betrayed and conned by the Government.’
Summer sales of supermarket groceries rose by 0.3 per cent, with German discount chains Lidl and Aldi showing the largest gains in market share, according to industry data. Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said the rise in the 12 weeks to 14 August was boosted by the warm weather.
Lidl and Aldi recorded sales growth of 12.2 per cent and 10.4 per cent respectively. Tesco was the best performer of the big four supermarkets, recording a sales drop of 0.4 per cent. Asda remained at the bottom, with sales down 5.5 per cent. Last week, Asda reported its worst quarterly performance on record.
The AA is to offer fee-free mortgages to its breakdown cover customers.
Following a tie-up with the Bank of Ireland, which already supplies mortgages for the Post Office, the AA has launched a range of fixed-rate loans aimed at existing homeowners looking to move to their mortgage to a cheaper deal.
The company is initially offering five deals, all fixed for between two and five years. Borrowers will only be offered loans of up to 60 per cent of their home’s value, effectively ruling out most first-time buyers and many remortgagers. The rates on offer are between 2.08 per cent and 2.67 per cent.
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