Money blog: Mobile customers told to switch within weeks or risk losing number (2024)

Money news
  • Plusnet customers have weeks to switch provider or risk losing number
  • Three popular brands fail sunscreen tests
  • Interest rate held at 16-year high in blow for borrowers
  • Aldi tactic forces Tesco 'to pull products from sales campaign'
Essential reads
  • Why frozen fruit and veg can be better for our health - and our wallets
  • Ian King analysis:Door still open for August rate cut - though one thing could get in the way
  • 'One guy wanted to rent my room for a few hours to meet a friend...' What I learnt from putting my home on Airbnb
  • Women in Business:'How I went from mum with no qualifications to owner of big law firm'
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

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09:42:34

Plusnet customers have weeks left to switch provider or risk losing number

Plusnet customers have just weeks left to switch to another mobile provider, or risk losing their phone number and access to banking apps.

At the end of the month Plusnet mobile services - which is part of BT - will close as EE takes over as BT's main mobile brand.

The company said customers should have been contacted 30 days before the date their account will close.

They will then have 40 days from that date to switch provider.

How can I keep my mobile number?

Customers who want to keep their mobile number will need to request a porting authorisation code (PAC).

To do this, text the word PAC to 65075 and give it to a new provider. The code remains valid for 30 days.

A Plusnet spokesperson told Sky News it had been contacting customers for months to let them know the mobile service was closing.

It said it is offering customers EE SIM-only deals starting at just £4 a month. Alternatively, they can switch to any other supplier, taking their number with them.

19:15:01

Steelworkers to strike for first time in more than 40 years

Around 1,500 workers at Tata Steel are to hold an "all-out indefinite strike", the Unite union has announced.

The industrial action at Port Talbot and Llanwern, Newport, will begin on 8 July and is expected to "severely impact" the company's UK operations, the union said.

It comes in response to plans to close Tata Steel's blast furnaces in South Wales, putting 2,800 jobs at risk, according to the union.

Unite said it would be the first time in more than 40 years that steelworkers in the UK have gone on strike.

Industrial action, including staff working to rule and a ban on overtime, began earlier this week.

The union's general secretary Sharon Graham said: "The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans.

"Unite is backing Tata's workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves."

17:45:01

Could we have a four-day working week? The UK's biggest trade union has just backed the idea

The UK's biggest trade union has officially backed the campaign to introduce a four-day working week.

Unison has argued the flexible working pattern could help employers recruit and retain staff, and has demanded the next government take action to make sure more businesses adopt it.

Campaigners have argued that research shows business performance and productivity increases when staff are able to work a four-day week.

Unison's general secretary Christina McAnea said the COVID pandemic proved people could do their jobs from home and, with the use of AI on the rise, the move was inevitable.

"What's needed is a rethink on how workplaces are organised, as well as progressive policies that future-proof people's livelihoods and protect their wellbeing," she said.

Last year, 61 companies across the UK took part in a four-day working week trial, and 56 of them agreed to stick with it.

16:15:01

How summer could slow down your Wi-Fi - and tips to stay online

The Great British summer could finally be arriving, with some forecasts suggesting there could be a heatwave next week.

But as temperatures creep towards 30C, technology in your home, including mobile phones and broadband routers, can overheat.

Placing a router in the coolest room, away from direct sunlight is the best way to ensure you stay connected to the internet, experts at Uswitch.com have recommended.

Mobile phones are also designed to work up to 35C.

Putting devices in direct sunlight can put them under additional strain.

Uswitch.com says by closing down unused apps, checking non-official chargers, and avoiding putting mobiles in a fridge or freezer, can keep them cooler for longer.

14:35:54

Part of the Tortured Parents Department this weekend? Here's how to bag a freebie

As thousands of Taylor Swift fans descend on Wembley Stadium for the blockbuster Eras tour this weekend, parents who are set to endure the clapping, screaming and crying have the chance to bag themselves a freebie.

Tech retailer Curry's is giving away free JBL noise-cancelling headphones to the first 50 parents or guardians who show a valid concert ticket.

"Taylor Swift's tour in Wembley will be a musical moment like no other," Stuart Taylor, store manager at Curry's in Wembley, said.

"But we know she isn't for everyone.

"We have already seen so many videos of social media of parents taking their kids to dates on the tour so far, so we wanted to give something back to parents doing their duty - whether they're going with their kids or playing taxi driver."

The deal only applies to the Wembley store in northwest London.

12:30:01

Government borrowing less than expected | Better weather gets shoppers out | Microsoft regains world title

Government borrowing was less than expected in May, new figures have revealed.

Net borrowing - the difference between public sector spending and income - was £15bn, an increase of £0.8bn on the same time last year, the Office for National Statistics said.

The amount is below the £15.7bn forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and less than expected by economists.

However, it's still the highest amount for the month of May since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail sales rose by a better-than-expected 2.9% in May as increased footfall, better weather and deals saw shoppers return to high streets, according to officials.

It comes following a poor performance during the previous month as days of heavy rain dampened demand across much of the country.

Economists polled by news agency Reuters had been expecting a rise of around 1.5%.

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics also revised its retail sales figures for April.

It previously estimated that they fell by a worse-than-expected 2.3%, but now it says the drop was 1.8%.

Microsoft has regained the title of the world's most valuable public company,just days after it was overtaken by one of its rivals.

Computer chipmaker Nvidia lost its hold on the top spot after its shares slipped by 3.5% in the US yesterday, leaving the company valued at $3.2trn (£2.5trn).

Nvidia, Microsoft and Apple are now in a three-horse race for the top spot, while they are also battling to become the world's first $4trn (£3.2trn) firm, analysts say.

A key factor to watch is whether Nvidia can maintain its dominance in AI, or if its market share will be eroded by its rivals as they invest heavily in the field while racing to catch up.

10:45:01

Britvic bounce after drinks firm spits out takeover bid

By Daniel Binns, business reporter

Shares in Britvic have surged by 15% on the FTSE 250 this morning after the soft drinks maker revealed it had rejected a takeover bid from beer giant Carlsberg.

The Hertfordshire-based company, which owns brands including Robinsons squash and J20 - as well as distribution rights for Pepsi in the UK - said the proposed £3.1bn deal was a "significant" undervaluation of its worth.

Britvic told shareholders this morning that its board "remains confident in the current and future prospects" of the company.

However, board members said they would "consider any further proposal on its merits," adding: "There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made for the company, nor as to the terms of any such offer, should one be made."

The FTSE 100 overall is down nearly 0.3% in early trading, with the FTSE 250 slipping 0.2%.

Top climbers on the FTSE 100 include grocery delivery firm Ocado, which is up 3%.

It comes amid increasing consumer confidence, falling inflation and new figures that revealed a better-than-expected 2.9% rise in retail sales during May.

Water firms United Utilities and Severn Trent are also both up around 2%.

Packaging firm Smurfit Kappa is among the biggest fallers, dropping nearly 3% on Friday morning.

On the currency markets, £1 buys $1.26 US or €1.18, similar to yesterday's rates.

Oil prices are stable this morning, with the cost of a barrel of Brent Crude hovering around $85 (£67).

07:02:15

Why frozen fruit and veg can be better for our health - and our wallets

It can be hard to balance the demands of eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value - and have enlisted the help ofSunna Van Kampen, founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don't try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

This time, we're looking at whether frozen fruit and vegetables, often a lot cheaper and more convenient, are just as good for you as fresh.

Frozen products often get bad press, but is that fair?

Sunna argues they can be better for you nutritionally than fresh - and that's good news for your wallet.

Fresh produce challenges

Before we get to why frozen fruit and veg is so great, let's look at some of the downsides of fresh produce.

"Fresh fruit and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, but they often have been picked before peak ripeness to allow them to ripen during the long distances to reach your local supermarket," he says.

This gives them less time to develop their full range of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants and during the journey, they might also spend days or even weeks in transit and storage.

Because of that, vitamins like C and B and other antioxidants start to degrade - beginning the moment they are picked.

"By the time it reaches your plate, your fruits and veggies might not be as nutrient-dense as they once were," he says.

The average UK household also wastes about £470 of food each year - and a big portion of that is fresh fruit and vegetables that have gone bad before being eaten.

Why frozen may be a better option

"Frozen veg could be your best ally in maintaining a nutritious diet while keeping costs low," Sunna says.

Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness, when it's most nutrient-dense, then flash-frozen within hours of picking.

"This process effectively pauses the degradation of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, preserving the nutritional value until you're ready to eat," Sunna says.

"Freezing produce also locks in nutrients that might otherwise be lost during the transportation and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables."

The money

The good news doesn't stop there - as your wallet can also win here.

Here are a few examples of the price difference between fresh and frozen produce:

Blueberries - more than 40% saving

  • Fresh 300g - £10.50 a kg
  • Frozen 400g - £6.25 a kg

Broccoli - more than 45% saving

  • Fresh loose - £2.19 a kg
  • Frozen florets - £1.19 a kg

Spinach - more than 65% saving

  • Baby fresh 220g - £6.10 a kg
  • Frozen 900g - £2.06 a kg

So switching from fresh to frozen blueberries (assuming one punnet a week) would save you £33.80 a year - do the same with broccoli and spinach and you're looking at more than £100 in savings.

Look in your cupboards and in your fridge for easy substitutes to maximise savings - these are just three examples.

There is one obvious drawback here...

Taste

"Frozen doesn't always taste as good as fresh," Sunna says, "but there are simple ways to make these changes more palatable for your taste buds too."

Sticking with our examples above - using fruit in smoothies means you'll barely notice a difference, while you can steam or roast broccoli instead of boiling it to avoid it going mushy.

Spinach tastes virtually the same.

"Don't let the allure of fresh produce blind you to the benefits of their frozen counterparts," Sunna says.

"By switching to frozen, you can enjoy better nutrient retention, amazing cost savings, and reduce food waste - a win-win-win."

Read more from this series...

06:36:16

Three popular brands fail Which? sunscreen tests

Three popular sunscreen products have failed an annual safety test by Which?.

Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 High, Calypso Press & Protect Sun Lotion SPF30 and Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen Lotion all failed the consumer champion's tests to assess their SPF and UVA protection.

Asda said it did not recognise the results, while Calypso said its product passed EU standards and regulations in independent testing.

Which? said the Calypso's Press & Protect lotion "barely mustered" two-thirds of its claimed SPF30 across the two tests.

Asda's Protect Moisturising lotion failed both rounds of testing, it added.

Bondi Sands SPF50+ "did not come close" to the claimed SPF and did not reach the minimum required UVA protection.

Asda said: "We recently had our Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 30 High re-tested by a leading external provider using internationally recognised testing methods.

"These test results confirmed that this product has a sun protection factor of 31.5, and therefore we do not recognise the test results Which? has published.

"When Which? reviewed this same product in 2022, they awarded it 'Great Value' at that time and it passed their SPF test."

Calypso Sun said: "All products are carefully and independently tested and have passed EU standards and regulations."

Bondi Sands did not respond to a Which? request for comment.

06:35:25

What does another delay in cutting interest rates mean for mortgages?

Every Friday we get an overview of the mortgage market with the help of industry experts. This week we have spoken to David Hollingworth, associate director atL&C Mortgages, and RachelSpringall, finance expert atMoneyfactscompare.co.uk.

Although it was widely expected to happen, the Bank of England's decision to hold interest rates at the 16-year high of 5.25% for the seventh time in a row dealt a blow to borrowers.

There had been better news the day before, when inflation fell to the Bank of England's target of 2%, ending a long three-year wait for borrowers.

Markets now expect the Bank to cut interest rates in August or September, which would be a major moment.

As Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, says, with inflation reaching the target "there will be more pressure on the committee to vote in favour to cut the bank base rate at its next meeting in August".

"Regardless of any potential base rate changes to come, fixed mortgage rates can rise or fall depending on how markets anticipate rates to fluctuate, so it's essential borrowers keep a close eye on the latest deals to hit the market," she adds.

"Week on week, the overall average two-year fixed rate fell to 5.96% and the average five-year fixed rate remained at 5.53%."

These are the lowest rates on offer…

Moneyfacts advises people looking to avoid upfront costs and legal fees to look at Best Buys as well as the deals with the lowest rates...

Will a cut change anything?

The last time inflation was this low was July 2021. Back then, as David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages, points out, the lowest fixed rates were around 1%.

They're now around 4.5%, which shows how quickly rates have changed.

Mortgage rates have moved around a bit in recent months as markets questioned when the interest rate cut would come and how big the cuts would be, David says.

"That pushed some fixed rates up a little, but we've seen funding costs ease back a little, and now lender price changes are often a mixed bag of cuts and hikes.

"Overall mortgage rates are tending to hold steady and the decision to hold the base rate will not come as a surprise to anyone, so it's unlikely that there will be much reaction in mortgage rates."

He has some advice for anyone delaying taking out a mortgage in the hopes of a rate cut: "Those that have been holding off in the hope that fixed rates will drop soon may want to reconsider their approach.

"Even if we do see a cut in August or September that will already have been priced into fixed rates and may not result in a major shift in rates.

"In many ways the safer approach may be to get a rate in place to protect against any increases and then keep rates under review up until the end of the existing deal.

"If rates do improve, you will generally still be able to move across to the newer product."

Money blog: Mobile customers told to switch within weeks or risk losing number (2024)

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