Cost of living - latest: Ryman launches loyalty scheme; Disney+ price change; costs cut at supermarket (2023)

Key points
  • UK economy grew in second quarter, latest GDP figure reveals
  • Average price of car insurance hits record high
  • The economy grew marginally better than the Bank was expecting - but it's still stuck in a rut | Paul Kelso
  • Disney+ announces price changes - here's what you need to know
  • More major lenders poised to reduce mortgage rates
  • Analysis:Could deflation in China bring UK prices down?
  • Heading school uniform shopping? Here are some deals to look out for
  • Use our spending calculator to see which prices have gone up or down
  • Live reporting by Jess Sharp


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Ryman unveils loyalty reward scheme

Ryman has launched a new loyalty scheme, offering customers points for the pounds they spend.

The high street stationery shop will offer exclusive prices, reward points for every purchase and personalised offers to be used in store and online.

Customers will earn one point for every pound they spend.

These points can then be used to save on products.

"Ryman has been on the high street serving customers for over 130 years, and with the current cost of living crisis, now is the perfect time to launch Ryman Rewards to ensure we serve our customers with even better deals," said the company's owner Theo Paphitis.

As part of the scheme's launch, each person that signs up and makes a purchase will be awarded 100 bonus points.

It will also allow customers to add their loyalty card to their Apple or Google wallets.


'You don't stand by when a neighbour's house is burning': Online booze seller refunds alcohol duty increase at check-out

By Jess Sharp, live reporter

An online booze seller is refunding the alcohol duty increase to UK customers at check-out.

Master of Malt is hoping the move will help retailers and bars cope with the recent rise in duty rates.

The deal will be available until the end of August.

Earlier this month, most wines and spirits increased after the government upped the tax paid on alcohol.

The duty rose by 44p on a bottle of wine and about 90p on a bottle of gin or vodka.

For beer drinkers, the government cut the duty on draught pints by 11p.

"At a time when consumers can ill afford to be paying more, this will continue to stoke inflation," Justin Petszaft, Master of Malt founder, said in a statement to Sky News.

He added: "This 10% hike couldn't have come at a worse time. You don't stand by while your neighbour's house is burning. Someone had to do something, and if not us then who?"

The majority of the company's customers are independent retailers and bars that have been working alongside the brand for decades.

"Even if this only helps one bar make it through their toughest month ever, then I'll be happy we did something," Mr Petszaft added.


2023 freshers face paying off their student loans into retirement

By Megan Baynes, cost of living specialist

This year's freshers face paying off their student loans into retirement under a new 40-year term, according to an online pension provider.

Those heading off to university for the first time will be taking out the new Plan 5 loan. Under previous plans, debts are written off after 30 years, yet these new loans will not be written off until 40 years from the April after someone leaves university.

This means some of today's students could find they are making the last of their loan repayments from their pension income, according to Pension Bee.

Repayments begin at a rate of 9% of earnings over £25,000 with the interest rate for Plan 5 loans currently capped at 7.1% - but this is not guaranteed and is subject to change.

The new plan terms mean that most graduates taking out full loans from this year face the prospect that they will still be repaying their loan well beyond the current normal minimum pension age of 55 (rising to 57 in 2028).

Although the amount on offer varies, if a student takes out the maximum tuition fee loan (£9,250 a year) and maintenance loan (£13,022 a year if in London), they could end up owing £66,816 by the time they graduate.

According to analysis by Pension Bee, a graduate whose £30,000 starting salary increases by 2% a year for 40 years would be repaying the loan for the full 40 years - the total they would repay over the 40-year period would be £27,180 (starting at £450 a year and rising to £974 in the 40th year).

Even someone who started off on a higher-than-average graduate starting salary of £35,000, and experiencing the same salary increases, could face repaying the full loan for the maximum 40 years, managing to repay £54,361 in those four decades.

Meanwhile, if a graduate earning £30,000 put that same 9% into a pension, they could have an extra £43,327 by the time they retire (at a cost to them of £12,138, with the rest from tax relief, employer contributions and investment growth).


Business round-up: 'Don't buy' warning, soaring Heathrow passenger numbers and what happened to Wilko?

While we've been keeping you up to date with all the latest cost of living news, our business team have been working on stories from the City.

Here are three of today's top stories...

Dangerous carbon monoxide alarms are being sold online, Which? has warned as it tells shoppers to stop buying them.

Heathrow has said passenger numbers are almost back to pre-pandemic levels after an extra 1.3 million flyers used the airport in July.

Wilko has failed despite catering to precisely the sort of cost-conscious, value driven consumer whose number has been swelled by the cost of living squeeze, writes our business correspondent Paul Kelso.


Tesco to swap cheaper product lines into smaller Express stores

Tesco is going to swap cheaper product lines into its convenience stores after its discounter rivals recorded sharp sales growth.

More than 50 everyday products in its smaller Express shops will be replaced by better priced alternatives, many from its own-brand range.

These items will be around 40% cheaper and will include a selection of products like Tesco penne pasta (85p), its own peanut butter (£1.65) and toothpaste.

The goods will be delivered to stores over the coming fortnight, with the changeover complete by the end of August, Tesco said.

The move comes as discounter rivals Aldi and Lidl saw sales grow in recent months.

Earlier this year, a study from Which? claimed shoppers who regularly buy groceries from Tesco and Sainsbury's convenience stores instead of bigger supermarkets were likely to pay hundreds of pounds more a year due to the higher price of many items stocked.


On the picket line: Strength of feeling among medics is not diminishing and situation is unsustainable

By Ashish Joshi, health correspondent

There were more TV cameras and journalists than junior doctors at the UCHL picket line this morning.

But don't let the sparse attendance fool you.

The strength of feeling among these striking medics has not diminished in any way.

They and the government remain as entrenched as ever and there is no resolution in sight.

One of the striking doctors I spoke to has already cast his ballot to extend the BMA's mandate for strike action until December. And they will do it too unless the deadlock is broken.

Dr Robert Gittins is so fed up with being an NHS medic that he has already made plans to quit the UK for Australia later this year.

And he's not alone.

Current recruitment and retention issues make already low morale even worse.

Workloads are unmanageable, summer pressures are almost as bad as winter ones and there's a growing waiting list that swells with every strike day.

Any Trust leader will tell you, as they tell me, the situation has to be resolved - it's simply not sustainable.


The UK's cheapest supermarket has cut the prices of more than 30 items

Aldi has reduced the price of more than 30 household items for its customers.

Butter, fresh fruit, and pet treats are some products included in the offer, which has seen prices fall by an average of around 7%.

The discount chain was named as the UK's cheapest supermarket in July for the 14th consecutive month by Which?.

On a basket of goods, Aldi was the cheapest at £71.22, which was £8.37 less than Tesco and £16.02 lower than Waitrose.

Here's a full list of the reduced items...


Average mortgage rates fall as more products come to the market

Every day we bring you the latest average mortgage rates according to MoneyFacts, and today's data shows they have fallen in the last 24 hours.

The average two-year fixed residential mortgage rate now sits at 6.80% - down from 6.83%.

For a five-year term, the average rate is 6.28% - down from 6.33%.

There are currently 5,165 residential mortgage products available.

This is up from a total of 5,111 on the previous working day.


In other positive news, some average savings rates have increased.

One-year fixed rates are averaging at 5.26% - up from 5.25% on the previous working day.

The rate for a one-year fixed Cash ISA is also up to 5.08% from 5.05%.

The average easy access ISA rate is 2.91% - up from 2.90%.

The average easy access savings rate sits at 2.88%, which is the same as yesterday.


Looking to buy school supplies? You might be better purchasing them in the next two weeks

For many families, the summer holidays serve as a time to stock up on fresh uniforms and school supplies before the start of the new term.

However, if you are waiting until autumn to buy back-to-school items, you may end up paying more, analysis by a website suggests.

Last year, the price of some common items used by school and university students jumped between August and September, according to price and product comparison service PriceSpy.

These are the items that typically increased in price:

  • Backpacks
  • Computer mice
  • Ink cartridges
  • Printers
  • Headphones

The typical prices of items that students often take to university with them, such as kettles, pots and saucepans, irons and air fryers also increased in 2022 between August and September, PriceSpy found.

It should be noted the trends seen last year may not necessarily be repeated in 2023.

You may find you save some cash by making a back-to-school shopping list early, comparing prices, and ticking items off as and when you spot sales.


Disney+ announces price changes - here's what you need to know

It's going to cost us more to subscribe to Disney+ from 1 November as the streaming platform is upping it prices.

The ad-free plan currently available will move to a Premium service and will cost £10.99 instead of £7.99.

Existing users will see their subscription automatically increase in price - so be sure to switch to another plan if you don't want to pay the extra cost.

A new Standard service that comes without 4k definition will be created, and offered at £7.99.

It is also introducing an ad-supported tier, which will be available for £4.99 a month.

Here's what each plan will include:

The decision is part of chief executive Bob Iger's plans to make the company profitable following a decline in customers.


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