Welcome to H&T’s News Roundup covering July 2019 – here we bring you some relevant news stories from the world of money, your household finances, gold, diamonds and pawnbroking.
With the race for UK Prime Minister coming to a head on the 23rd July, the news has been dominated by new PM Boris Johnson and his first days in office; so here’s a bite-sized look at the other stories you may have missed during July.
H&T Pawnbrokers Buys 65 New Locations
Firstly, we have some of our own news to report- H&T have recently bought 65 new locations, which takes the number of our nationwide branches to 247. The stores were purchased from The Money Shop, who ceased trading last month. These new branches are located right across the UK, with many bringing H&T services to certain regions for the first time.
H&T Pawnbrokers Wins Best Pawnbroker 2019 at Consumer Credit Awards
We are also thrilled to announce that H&T Pawnbrokers have won the prestigious title of Best Pawnbroker 2019 at the Consumer Credit Awards for the third year running! Unlike other industry award ceremonies, the Consumer Credit Awards are not voted upon by a panel of judges, but by real customers.
Being named Best Pawnbroker 2019 is a huge privilege and we endeavour to continue making our customers happy. If you voted for us – thank you.
UK Economy News
Consumers Send Mixed Economic Signals
New Bank of England data was released on Monday 29th July which gave some interesting insights into consumer borrowing in June. According to the latest figures, mortgage approvals rose in June, but the growth in consumer lending was at its weakest in over 5 years.
Many analysts are looking to a delayed Brexit as an explanation for increased house-buying. It is thought that the decision to extend the UK’s deadline to leave the EU from 29th March to 31st October has given buyers more breathing room and much less uncertainty about the near future.
No-Deal Brexit Could Trigger Economic Shock, Bank of England Warns
The Bank of England has warned about the economic risks associated with a no-deal Brexit. On 11th July, the BoE governor, Mark Carney said that,
“The perceived likelihood of no-deal Brexit has increased since last year. Although the degree of preparedness for such a scenario has improved, material risks still remain.”
On a more positive note, however, he also said that all of the UK’s largest banks were able to continue to trade without the risk of collapse in the event of a no-deal Brexit. As well as having plans in place for leaving the EU with no transition period, the big banks are also in a position to withstand potential costs arising from trade disputes and misconduct fines. After the financial crisis in 2008, this was not true for many banking institutions.
Pound Falls to Lowest Level in 28 Months
At the end of July, the pound fell to a 28-month low on the stock markets as a direct result of the new government and its stance on Brexit. It is thought that traders were banking on a deal being made at some point between now and October 31st, which is our deadline for leaving the EU. However, this is now looking more unlikely thanks to various hints at a no-deal Brexit and a new cabinet which is made up of MPs who support that option.
Business lobby groups have requested that no-deal be completely withdrawn as an option so that investment continues to flow into the UK, but it is looking unlikely this will be agreed.
Alan Turing Unveiled as Face of New £50 Note
The face of the new £50 note, which is due to be released in 2021, has been announced as Alan Turing, the computer pioneer. When the new £500 notes are released, they’ll be the last UK banknote to change from paper to polymer (£20 notes are due to change at the beginning of 2020).
Alan Turing helped to crack coded German messages with the famous Enigma machine, which was in essence a large computer. His influence on the development of computers and artificial intelligence is incalculable – it is only fitting that he is honoured on the new notes.
Free Cash Machines in Decline
So many cash machines now charge you for taking out money that people are prepared to drive 5 miles just to avoid paying the fee, and 1 in 6 people already have to go out of their way to find free cash withdrawals. With cash use on the decline in some areas, many are concerned that this is a growing trend that could see cash phased out altogether. However, according to new research by PSR (Payment Systems Regulator), more than 80% of people surveyed had used cash in the past week and nearly 30% said it was their preferred method of payment.
In Other News…
Feeling Lucky? Amazing Gold & Diamond Discoveries This Month
A man in Australia literally struck gold this month after digging up a gold nugget weighing a whooping 2kg! Its current value in Australian Dollars is approximately $130,000, but it is thought it will sell for much more than this thanks to its rare size. The man, who wishes to remain unnamed, is an amateur prospector and is retired.
Across the world in the USA, a 36-year-old teacher was visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas on holiday when he happened to find a 2.12 carat diamond on the ground. The brandy-coloured stone is the largest to be found at the park this year, and it is thought it was uncovered by heavy rains in the middle of July. The lucky visitor got to keep the stone, which is said to be worth thousands of dollars.