NEWS IN BRIEF

CREDIT CARD SPENDING DOWN
According to analysis of customer spending data carried out by Santander Credit Cards, the average credit card spend has fallen four per cent over the past 12 months. The data reveals that while the total number of transactions has increased by one per cent over that time period, the value of transactions per card user has decreased. Sports and toy spending has been worst hit, with a massive 24 per cent reduction in the value of card spend per user over this period and clothes stores with a 6 per cent decrease.

By contrast, people are still spending on little luxuries – restaurants and bars have seen a 4 per cent increase in value of spend per user.

RECESSION-BUSTING BREAKS
In the current financial crisis, people have less money to spend on their holidays and there is huge demand for spacious and well-equipped accommodation that is available at a fraction of the cost of hotel rooms. For those planning a holiday, short-term renting website Flat-Club.com, which has just announced its expansion into the US, allows them to find people they trust within their existing social and business networks, and earn on average £1,000 while they are away. Holiday-goers can save up to 80 per cent on the cost of hotel prices, whilst enjoying the added value of more space, kitchen facilities, and the ability to travel like a local.

THREE YEARS OF PAY FREEZES
As the cost of living increases, pay freezes have left workers out in the cold. According to research from uswitch.com, almost two thirds of people have suffered a pay freeze in recent years – 15 per cent of those surveyed have seen their pay frozen for at least three years.

Even for the lucky few expecting a pay rise, the average expected increase is just 2.1 per cent – under half the current rate of inflation. To make matters worse, cash-strapped consumers have seen rail fares increase by up to 11 per cent meaning any workers lucky enough to get a pay rise may see it swallowed up by the cost of travelling to work.

BACK TO WORK, GRANDAD
The latest research from retirement specialist Aviva has unleashed a new work hungry generation of retirees who are ready to embrace part-retirement and continue working. Of those that responded to the survey, 86 per cent think that they could do a better job than young people at their roles and 67 per cent believe the younger generation moan too much about their work-life balance.

With retirees now facing a landscape of decreased savings and an increase in personal debt, there has been an upsurge in retirees wanting to get back into work – not just as something to do, but because they cannot afford to stop working.