Cost of living - latest: Office tells stores to 'immediately cease' one-shoe policy (2023)

Key points
  • Borrowers urged to act fast before mortgage deals are replaced with higher rates
  • Mortgage deals pulled with just a few hours' notice
  • Expert gives advice for those concerned about affording their mortgage
  • Office tells stores to stop implementing one-shoe policy
  • How else could UK bring down food prices as price cap discussed? | Gurpreet Narwan
  • Families on Universal Credit to receive hundreds more pounds from end of June
  • Your dilemmas:I am paying my dad's mortgage, how do I get added on formally?
  • Budgeting Mum: Saving for your children | Do food subscriptions save you money?| Holiday spending money| Best broadband deals

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Your dilemmas: Are you struggling with your own cost of living crisis?

Is your energy company overcharging you? Have your benefits been withheld - or are you not sure what you are owed?

Submit your financial dilemmas to cost of living specialist Megan Baynes using the form above.

Include as much detail about your specific problem - and your name and contact details if you would like her to get in touch with you to help you resolve it.


That's all for our coverage today

We'll be back tomorrow with more on the cost of living crisis.


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Housing market 'reality check' as sales fall 8% this April compared to last

Home sales in April 2023 dropped by 25% compared to April 2022, with an estimated 82,120 transactions taking place across the UK, according to data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Furthermore, residential property sales were also down by 8% from the previous month.

HMRC's report said the drop in sales between March and April "appears particularly large".

It said: "The number of transactions in March was high due to a combination of factors including a larger number of working days relative to April and the final month for purchases to be completed under the government's Help To Buy equity loan scheme."

Mike Scott, chief analyst at estate agency Yopa, said: "This disappointing number, combined with the recent equally disappointing inflation figures and the resulting increases in market expectations for interest rates, mean that the housing market slowdown is likely to be longer and deeper than we originally anticipated."


How much extra will a barbeque for four people cost this summer?

The question arises from it being National Barbeque Week and the answer is £7 or 22.5%.

We reached this figure, using our Spending Calculator, by inputting some essentials.

Our basket of burgers, chicken, sausages, some drinks and a few other bits will set you back £37.08 - up from £30.28 a year ago.

The quantities in the calculator are set so it's worth pointing out that you or one of your three guests are probably going to be darting out to your local Spar/Nisa/McColl's for more lager, and if you've got a dog you'll have enough cheddar left over to pay the cheese tax for a few weeks...

Want to see how much the products you buy over the last year have gone up? Use our Spending Calculator here...


Wales care workers secure 15% pay increase

Care workers in Wales have secured a 15% pay increase and the Foundation Living Wage (FWL) after months of campaigning by Unison.

The union launched a campaign after members working for Integra Community Living Options did not receive a promised uplift to the FWL for registered care workers in Wales last year.

Four months of collective action saw support workers receive £780 back pay in April, with the uplift for 2023-24 also paid on 21 May.

"These two payments have resulted in a 15% increase overall," Unison said in a statement.

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Should you invest in solar panels to save on bills?

As regular readers of this live page will know, we've teamed up with social media influencer@BudgetingMumto provide practical money saving advice for families.

In her latest video she looks at if we should invest in solar panels to save on energy bills.

Some of her key considerations include if you have enough space on your roof, as a typical system will take up to 20 metres squared - and why south-facing roofs have an advantage.

Have a watch...


Waitrose 'sorry' after shelves left bare due to system issue

Some Waitrose shoppers have been unable to access fresh products for several few days after a slow-running system update saw deliveries disrupted.

The upmarket store has apologised after some branches across the country were left without bakery, fruit and other fresh items.

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Some shoppers complained online about the issue, posting pictures of rows of empty shelves in their local stores.

Waitrose was offering customers vouchers as compensation.

Shoppers in Maidenhead, Cheltenham, Cambridge and the Channel Islands all said they couldn't get the products they wanted over the bank holiday weekend, and even yesterday evening.

A Waitrose spokesman said the grocer is "really sorry that some branches have had low stock".

"We've fixed the cause of the issue, with extra deliveries already out with stores."


Business round up: Menopause and menstruation, longer lorries, CBI confidence vote

Moving away from cost of living for a moment and we've got a round up from the Sky News business page today.

First up, anew workplace standard has been created to help businesses support employees experiencing menopause or menstruation...

Meanwhile,longerlorriesare now allowed on Britain's roads to enable more goods to be carried on fewer journeys...

AndCBI members are to begin voting today on the future of the business lobby group, following a series of scandals...


Mortgage rates being pulled 'with just a few hours of notice' - as deals creep up towards 6%

More now on mortgage rates following a warning to home buyers/owners this morning (7.15am post) that they should act quickly to secure a deal or renewal.

Since inflation figures came in higher than expected last week, lenders have pulled around 400 residential deals, according to Moneyfacts.

Director of R3 Mortgages Riz Malik told Sky News some lenders had been giving just a few hours' notice to brokers before withdrawing deals from the market.

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"We could get an email at 2pm or 3pm saying we've got until 5pm to get our mortgage applications in at the current rate or we're going to be subject to the new pricing, and the trend seems to be upwards at the moment," he said.

Moneyfacts finance expert Rachel Springall told Sky News "volatility in the market" had returned, and fixed-term rates were now creeping up towards 6% - up from an average of 3% a year ago.

She explained that lenders were pulling deals as they reassess their propositions, and they're "trying obviously not to be too low, nor too high".


Families on Universal Credit to receive hundreds more pounds from end of June

Families on benefits will be able to claim hundreds of pounds more in childcare payments from the end of June, the government has announced.

People onUniversal Creditwill see their maximum childcare payments rise by nearly 50% from 28 June as the government tries to get more people back into work.

Parents eligible for help through the Universal Credit system will be able to claim back up to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two or more children - an increase of 47% from the previous caps of £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.

And parents who are eligible for support will also have some of their childcare costs paid for upfront for the first month if they either become employed or increase their work hours, in a move designed to help those struggling to take on a job or getting into debt under the current system due to the hefty upfront costs.

Those parents will receive up to 85% of their childcare costs back before their next month's bills are due, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.


Now Broadband to increase prices by £42 a year – here's how you can opt out

The majority of Now Broadband customers are facing a yearly increase of £42, according to an announcement made by the provider.

Regardless of which plan a customer subscribes to, a raise of £3.50 per month will be applied from 5 July.

Those who subscribe to its social tariff will not experience any price hikes and customers who are affected may cancel their service without incurring any penalties.

Most major providers, including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media, have already raised prices for their broadband customers.

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Want to opt out without being charged?

The provider has confirmed that customers affected by the price increase can leave their contracts without paying any early termination charges. If you want to cancel, you'll need to do so within 31 days of receiving Now's notification of the price increase to avoid being charged.


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