Diners looking to take advantage of the Government’s 50 per cent discount scheme from Monday can take a deeper gobble out of the cost, if they have an American Express credit card.
Its ‘Shop Small’ campaign has been running since late June and gives those who spend at least £10 in participating shops and restaurants £5 back on their card statement.
The cashback scheme, which only applies to physical purchases and can be used 10 times at different retailers, runs until 13 September, but it confirmed to This is Money that it is compatible with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount.
Quids in: Diners are looking at the prospect of healthy discounts from Monday
The Government scheme gives a 50 per cent discount up to a maximum of £10 per person on food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed in restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs and work and school canteens at participating businesses between Monday and Wednesday for the whole of August.
Around 53,000 businesses have signed up, according to the Treasury. You can type your postcode into this government website to find which restaurants are taking part.
However, with the two schemes compatible, the Amex £5 cashback being applied after a purchase and the discount scheme applying to the bill, it means those looking for somewhere to eat can potentially get a £20 meal for just £5, saving three quarters off the bill.
This is because the Government will pay 50 per cent of the cost per person up to £10 each, so the total bill for a £20 meal would be £10. Paying by Amex would see it refund half the cost, for a total bill of £5.
Amex’s ninth extended version of its campaign comes as 39 per cent of people surveyed by Santander said they’d spent more with local small businesses during lockdown, and 23 per cent spent more online with local restaurants.
Three in five said they would continue to do so after the coronavirus pandemic, while American Express said the average adult would look to spend £31 on a restaurant meal after lockdown.
To earn the £5 back from American Express customers must spend the money on their credit card in-person, it does not apply to online purchases
How do the schemes work?
Has anyone not signed up?
While around 53,000 businesses have signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, that still leaves thousands which have not.
Around 130,000 would be eligible to offer the discount, according to HMRC.
While some may simply be leaving it until the day of the scheme to register, some businesses may simply choose not to do so.
Ashley Keen, general manager of a restaurant on the Isle of Wight, told This is Money: ‘We just don’t need to as we are full.
‘When we were talking about it from an admin perspective we were worried it would create more admin work in terms of claiming the money back and we believe we’d even have to change till systems to accommodate the scheme.’
It is only possible to get the maximum £15 benefit from combining the two schemes by dining out.
While the Amex scheme would apply to a takeaway if it was collected and paid for in-store, online purchases do not count, and the Government scheme only applies to food purchased to eat in a restaurant, café or pub.
The Amex ‘Shop Small’ offer must be downloaded to an American Express credit card online or in its app.
It runs for 12 weeks from 22 June and those who download the offer, which is free, have 10 uses of the £5 credit to use by September.
However, it can only be used once per shop, meaning to obtain the maximum benefits cardholders must find 10 separate places signed up to the scheme. It is valid on purchases of £10 or more.
Amex say £5 credits should appear within five days of purchase, but they may take up to 90 days from the end of the offer on 13 September.
Meanwhile the Government’s scheme is fairly straightforward. While it is often described as a voucher scheme, diners do not need to carry around physical or virtual vouchers, the Treasury simply reimburses businesses for the discount they have given you.
The discount is 50 per cent per person on a final bill, up to a maximum of £10 each.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the 50% discount scheme in August during his coronavirus mini-Budget on 8 July
American Express credit cards tend to come with high interest rates and annual fees, although its popular gold card is fee-free for the first 12 months.
Many do their usual spending on the card to collect points which can be converted into Avios, and other uses, before paying it off in full each month.
Customers must make sure they do this, as the card comes with a representative APR of 56.6 per cent and an interest rate on purchases of 22.2 per cent.
The locations close to This is Money’s offices in Kensington signed up to American Express’ £5 cashback offer. Some are also registered for the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme
How much could you save and what is the best value?
Because the Government’s discount is applied to the bill, if two people have a meal worth £20 between Monday and Wednesday that doesn’t involve alcohol, it would be discounted to £10.
Then those who pay with an American Express credit card will get a further £5 off, taking the cost to just £5 – or 75 per cent.
Because the Amex discount is on purchases of £10 or more, those dining out at participating restaurants should be looking to get their food bill as close to £10 as possible using the Government discount, before the £5 Amex credit is applied.
A £25 bill would be £7.50 using the Amex offer, a £30 bill £10 and a £35 bill would be £12.50.
The Government’s website states: ‘Where there is more than one diner on a single bill, the cap does not need to be calculated for each individual diner based on their specific orders.
‘Instead, the discount that is applied to the overall bill should be capped at the number of diners multiplied by £10.’
In cases where the discounted amount per head is below this £10 cap, the Government uses the 50 per cent off percentage calculation.
For example, if a £50 bill is split between four people, 50 per cent off is £25, or £6.25 per head, below the £10 per head cap.
Interested diners can find out which businesses subscribed to both schemes on the Government website and on American Express’ ‘Shop Small’ map, and by putting in their postcode or where they want to eat.
From here, they can do some detective work and begin working out how much they can save over the next month.
Michelin starred restaurants signed up to Eat Out to Help Out
As well as high street chains and local restaurants, some Michelin starred restaurants across the country are also signed up to the Government’s scheme. It means diners can get a Michelin starred meal for as little as £12.
It is likely that some of these restaurants are also signed up to the Amex shop local offer.
- Aquavit, St James’s (reopening August 24)
- Gymkhana, Mayfair
- Hakkasan, Hanway Place
- Hakkasan, Mayfair
- Ikoyi, St James’s
- Kai Mayfair
- Lyle’s (reopening August 5)
- Murano, Mayfair (reopening August 4)
- Pollen Street Social, Mayfair
- Portland, Fitzrovia
- Quilon, Westminster
- Sabor, Mayfair
- Social Eating House, Mayfair
- St John, Farringdon
- The Five Fields, Chelsea
- Trishna, Marylebone
- Veeraswamy, Mayfair
- Amaya, Belgravia
- Allium at Askham Hall, Penrith
- EIPIC, Belfast
- HRiSHi, Windmere
- Interlude, Horsham
- L’Ortolan, Reading
- Number One at the Balmoral, Edinburgh
- Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac
- Paul Ainsworth at the No 6, Padstow
- Persons Restaurant, Tenbury Wells
- Red Lion Firehouse, Pewsey
- Restaurant at Coworth Park, Ascot
- Two One Five Kitchen and Drinks, Oxford
- Winteringham Fields, Scunthorpe
- Simpsons, Birmingham
- The Angel at Hetton, Skitpton
- The Bybrook at the Manor House Hotel, Chippenham
- The Cottage in the Wood, Braithwaite
- The Cross at Kenilworth, Kenilworth
- The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
- The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
- The Kitchin, Edinburgh
- The Nut Tree Inn, Murlott
- The Tudor Room at Great Fosters, Egham
- The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny
- The White Swan, Burnley
- The Woodspeen, Newbury
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST CREDIT CARDS
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card offers 10,000 Amex points if you spend £3,000 within the first six months. These points can be converted into Avios air miles. It comes with a £140 fee after the first 12 months and a 56.6% APR.
MBNA’s Low Fee 0% Balance Transfer card offers 24 months interest-free on balance transfers, one of the longest deals around, with a fee of just 1%. It has an APR of 20.9%.
The American Express Platinum Cashback card offers up to 5% cashback up to £125 for the first three months, and up to 1% back on spends up to £10,000 after that. The card carries a £25 annual fee with interest of 22.2% on purchases.
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is an old favourite for holidaymakers with no overseas fees This includes both spending and cash withdrawals abroad. It charges interest of 19.9% APR.
M&S Bank’s Reward Credit Card comes with double reward points on your spending – that’s two M&S points per £1 spent in stores – for a year, plus £20 in M&S points to sign up. You also get six months 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers. It has an APR of 19.9%.
Powered by: Daily Mail
My flat has got a leak, is mouldy and the shower doesn’t work. How can I fix this?
I’ve been renting my flat since February 2020. It has an immersion tank which is causing a lot of problems.
The hot tap on my shower barely has any pressure so when I try to get the right temperature it becomes overpowered by the cold water and unfortunately I can’t use it. Instead, I’ve been using my parents house to bathe.
I also had a leak back in June and withheld my rent. After a month, the landlady finally came round and sorted it.
Tenants who have issues with their landlord are not advised to withhold their rent at any time
As the shower still isn’t working I have refused to pay my rent this month as well. Not to mention the place is riddled with mould and after two weeks of living here my walls were covered in mould.
What rights do I have? Do I keep withholding my rent until it is sorted?
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Unfortunately you have had quite a lot of bad luck after moving into a new flat in February.
If not being able to shower isn’t bad enough, you have also had to deal with a leak and mould, which can be incredibly bad for your health if left untreated.
As such, you have withheld rent as you found your landlady wasn’t taking any steps.
However, despite the lag in action, tenants are always advised to keep paying rent as this could lead to a potential court case if left unpaid.
Landlord disputes are always difficult as you want to keep things civil as possible but also want to ensure that all necessary works are done.
Your landlord is responsible for most major repairs to your home if you rent privately which includes any hot water or heating repairs, such as your shower.
When contacting your landlady, ensure you send plenty of photos and emails so you have a record of complaints.
Once the landlady is notified, remedial action should be carried out as soon as possible. However, there is currently no set timeline as to when they will need to take action.
Having mould is unpleasant but it can be difficult to know who is responsible to clear it up
You have also said that the flat is ‘riddled’ with mould which could mean it could be unfit for human habitation.
However, with damp, it isn’t always easy to work out if your landlord is responsible for resolving this issue because it can be tricky to find the exact cause of damp without the help of a surveyor, unless it’s obvious, such as a leaking roof.
In most situations they will be but they could also require you to take action such as increase ventilation in the property and ensure you dry wet clothes outside when possible.
Check your tenancy agreement and speak to your landlord before you make significant steps to tackle the damp.
If you still think your home’s unsafe, contact the housing department at your local council.
They will do a Housing Health and Safety Rating System assessment and must take action if they think your home has serious health and safety hazards.
Another option is to seek help from Citizens Advice who will be able to provide more tailored solutions to your problem.
If all else fails, you can take the issue to court. Hiring a specialist solicitor who regularly deals with landlord and tenancy law will be the best course of action to take. However, this should always be the very last option as it will be costly.
Tenants should always read through their contract when settling a dispute with their landlord
A spokesperson for the Tenants Voice replies: The most important thing is to advise is that you have no right to withhold your rent under any circumstances.
A landlord’s repairing obligation is a continuing one during the life of a tenancy and will arise at various times, however, it is never correct for a tenant to withhold rent.
If you get to two months rent arrears that is grounds for a mandatory possession.
The landlords obligation in relation to how water is to provide adequate washing and heating facilities. Adequate is a matter of interpretation on a case by case basis.
However, if the shower is the only available washing facility then it ought to be in good working order and the water ought to be capable of being heated sufficiently.
If there is an alternative washing facility such as a bath then the landlord has no obligation to fit a shower. Poor water pressure would not be actionable if there is sufficient flow to get a shower as annoying as that would be.
In relation to mould, that is a hazard to health under the Homes Health and Safety rating System and should be reported to the Environmental Health officer at the local council.
If the landlord continues to refuse or fail to remedy any disrepair, an action could be taken against them under Sections 11 and 9A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 or Sections 79 to 82 Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Expert, replies: Damp and mould can be a common problem in rented properties. Depending on the cause and the type of mould it is usually the landlord’s responsibility to fix it, so make sure you report it.
If its the landlord’s responsibility but they don’t take action, and the mould is either causing ill health or making the home unsafe, then gather evidence including a medical letter and report it to the local environmental health department to inspect the home.
If the landlord still refuses to make repairs to ensure the home is safe then the tenant can consider using an alternative dispute resolution or seek court action as a last resort.
Powered by: Daily Mail
Does RateSetter’s takeover by Metro Bank mean the end of casual P2P investing?
Last December, the chief executive of the peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter, Rhydian Lewis, described new rules designed to better protect casual investors in the sector as ‘a Darwinian process… that will lead to a stronger industry’.
But just eight months later Lewis’ platform, one of Britain’s ‘big three’ in peer-to-peer investing, announced it had been snapped up by Metro Bank – one of the high street lenders P2P platforms were launched to take on – and that it would close its doors to everyday personal investors.
Rather than emerging stronger, the world of casual peer-to-peer investing appears to have done nothing but shrink since those new rules were introduced late last year, with the ‘big three’ leading the way.
RateSetter, one of Britain’s big three peer-to-peer platforms, said it would close its doors to everyday investors after it was bought by Metro Bank, which would fund its loans in future
While RateSetter has been picked up by a bank, Zopa, the UK’s first ever peer-to-peer platform launched in 2005, in June finally secured the licence to become one.
And publicly listed business lender Funding Circle has temporarily closed both the ‘in’ and ‘out’ doors to everyday investors, pausing the secondary market which lets investors sell off loans and barring savers from putting new money into the platform as a condition of being able to hand out government-backed loans.
It insists it will reopen its doors to retail investors, but having originated £300million by the end of June and facilitated 16 per cent of all coronavirus business interruption loans, there is something of an irony in a platform which helped pioneer the model of matching borrowers with individual investors seeing so much business after the latter were no longer allowed to invest.
Eight months on from the start of that ‘Darwinian process’, there is the question of whether casual peer-to-peer investing is an endangered species, or even already extinct.
Big platforms have dealt with higher default rates, even before the coronavirus crisis, and struggled to hand anxious investors back their money. And the collapse of the platform Lendy has cast a shadow over an industry sometimes seen as the Wild West of investing, even if last year’s regulations tightened things up.
And while everyday investors have been more concerned about getting out than getting into the sector since the coronavirus caused panic in markets months ago, platforms have said relying heavily on them as a funding source makes it harder to grow and scale.
Landbay, which lends money to buy-to-let landlords, said last December when it shut its doors to retail investors that ‘it has been hard to see how to scale this part of the business on commercial terms that make sense.’
Ravi Anand, the managing director of business lender ThinCats, said: ‘It is very hard to scale lending through crowd-funded money.’
ThinCats also closed its doors to personal investors last December, having made just two loans in 2019 funded by retail money, with the platform saying it was ‘no longer cost effective to raise funds’ that way.
And RateSetter’s acquisition by Metro Bank is a particular blow given it was one of the few platforms almost solely funded by personal investors.
Anand added: ‘For years Ratesetter has been claiming it had a better funding model than banks, clearly it doesn’t. P2P was a moment in time response following the financial crisis.
‘The current coronavirus crisis is showing that alternative finance is relevant to those borrowers that the banks don’t properly address, but lending capital needs to be at scale and stable which means sourced via a bank or through institutional capital.’
This is magnified by the fact that funding for government-backed lending schemes must come from institutional investors like pension funds.
‘If you’re not on these schemes, it’s going to be difficult to do any lending over the coming period’, one industry executive told the Financial Times in June.
Others are less gloomy about the sector’s future prospects.
Charlotte Croswell, the chief executive of trade body Innovate Finance, which represents six peer-to-peer platforms, including the big three, said RateSetter’s acquisition was ‘a natural evolution of the strategic development of the peer-to-peer market.’
The UK’s original peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa still accepts money from casual investors, but having secured a licence to become a bank it is looking to move beyond being simply a peer-to-peer lender
She added: ‘Over time, we would expect to see some platforms as acquirers of complementary businesses, as well as attractive partners and targets for larger, more traditional financial services groups, who are looking to access the tech-led franchises of P2P.
‘In most cases to date, corporate activity has added new funding sources alongside the P2P platform.’
Neil Faulkner, the chief executive of P2P comparison site 4thWay, added: ‘The more closely a loan book matches that of typical bank lending, the more likely it is that the P2P lending business is going to be sold to a bank.
‘RateSetter arranged a lot of standardised, automated, unsecured personal lending, so it fits that bill.
‘RateSetter’s underwriting team and credit analysis will be highly complementary and valuable to Metro Bank’s existing infrastructure.’
But, he said, even with the three biggest peer-to-peer platforms either turning their back on retail investors or altering their horizons, ‘retail investors still have a lot of choice.’
What are the options for those who still want to invest?
While two of the UK’s most recognisable platforms are no longer taking money from casual investors, there are still options around.
Most obviously, Zopa, the third of Britain’s big three, is still accepting investors.
The platform uses investors’ money to fund unsecured personal loans and car loans and offers two options. Its ‘core’ investment offers a projected return of between 2.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent and its higher risk ‘plus’ offer pays a headline rate of between 2.4 per cent and 5.6 per cent.
Investments start from £1,000 and both can be invested into using an Innovative Finance Isa.
Casual investors under Financial Conduct Authority rules, which came in last year, are told not to invest more than 10 per cent of their assets into peer-to-peer investments, while they must also demonstrate they understand the rules around P2P investing.
Funding Circle closed its doors to casual investors as a prerequisite of being able to hand out government-backed loans. It called the move ‘temporary’
In particular they must make it clear they know returns can differ from headline rates, and that investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the same way that money held with banks or investment platforms is.
4thWay’s Neil Faulkner also recommends the platforms Loanpad, CrowdProperty and Proplend.
Proplend uses investors’ money to lend to commercial property borrowers at up to 75 per cent LTV.
Investors can invest from £1,000 and can choose to invest in loans which are 50 per cent LTV or less, while the average LTV of the £98.75million worth of loans it has originated is 62.75 per cent.
Investors should be aware of the problems facing the commercial property sector at the moment, however, with most of the UK’s commercial property funds locking in investors’ cash due to a coronavirus crisis crash.
Platforms like CrowdProperty and Loanpad allow investors to invest in property development in exchange for a return. However investments are not protected and may go sour
Loanpad is another property lender, with an average LTV of 28 per cent. Faulkner said: ‘Loanpad loans to developers and other property owners are all for under 50 per cent of the property valuation.
‘Partner lenders with an impeccable, decades-long record in this kind of lending also lend their money on top, to all of the same borrowers.
‘These partner lenders lose their money first. They typically lend around 30 per cent of the total, so that’s a lot of skin-in-the-game.’
Investors can choose its ‘classic’ account paying 3.5 per cent or its ‘premium’ account paying 4.5 per cent. Both can be opened with £10.
CrowdProperty, one of the six platforms represented by Innovate Finance, raises money from investors for property development and allows investors to choose which projects they can invest in, with headline returns of up to 8 per cent.
No projects are currently available to invest in, but prospective investors can register their interest on its website.
Previous developments have seen borrowers take out loans of roughly between 48 per cent and 70 per cent LTV, although headline returns are the same regardless of the value of the loan.
Prospective P2P investors should be sure they are aware headline returns are not fixed, make sure they do their research and know what they’re investing in, be aware their money is at risk and ensure what they lend is suitably diversified over borrowers and platforms.
Faulkner added: ‘Aside from diversifying, the biggest thing that prospective investors can do is to be very critical about what a platform is telling investors.
‘Only if investors feel they are being given a huge amount of information about the experience of the people behind the platforms, their processes and their results, and only if they have no doubts about the platform at all, should they be considering an investment through it.
‘Investors who have lent through transparent platforms only have done very well from P2P. In contrast, those who have been beguiled by interest rates and little supporting information could well be disappointed with their results.’
Powered by: Daily Mail
More than 100 UK churches are renting out their parking spaces to drivers
Some churches in the UK are earning an average of £200 a month by renting out their parking spaces to drivers, it has been revealed.
A website that allows property owners to hire out their vacant parking facilities says that over 100 churches are now registered online – and making a tidy sum out of their unused car parks.
Parishes that are already utilising the opportunity suggest the move not only helps bring in a little extra cash but also reduces crime levels at places of worship.
O park, all ye faithful: Over 100 UK churches have registered their car parks with a website that hires spaces out to drivers looking to avoid on-street charges and multi-storey facilities
Website YourParkingSpace.co.uk says it has more than 100 churches on its database of 64,000 registered spaces for motorists looking for alternative options to on-street parking and expensive traditional car parks.
It allows drivers to pre-book an allocated space at a private property or business car park from half an hour to block bookings over monthly periods.
The site claims that these churches are pocketing a collective £20,000 a month from utilising their available parking spots – and others should take advantage of the opportunity.
With some 16,000 registered churches in the UK, only a fraction of the total number who could be making a tidy additional income.
Analysis by the website estimates that over 85 per cent of churches have suitable parking spaces that can be offered to motorists looking to avoid steep charges in place by council, private parking firms and multi-storey operators.
St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate is one of the 100 or so to offer affordable parking options to drivers.
St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate, which is one of the 100 or so UK churches that is renting out its car park to motorists online
The car park has plenty of free spaces and the church says by making spaces available it increases the footfall and reduces crime levels
A parking space at the church, which is just a five minute walk from the town centre, for just one hour costs £1.19 if you book now to use the facilities tomorrow.
For a month, it costs £291.81.
A quick search of car parks in the North Yorkshire area found that that West Park multi storey in the centre of town – which has 343 spaces – charges just 50p for an hour, while parking for two hours in £1.
For use of the space for 12 hours it’s a total of £4.80, which works out at just £96 for a month of weekday-only use.
The church claims that by having more people use the available parking spaces it has and generally walking around the church, it has reduced the level of anti-social behaviour in its immediate surroundings.
St Wilfrid’s Church’s facilities and commercial manager, Rebecca Oliver, said: ‘The parking income helps to support the running costs of the church, which as a Grade I listed building are significant.
‘Using YourParkingSpace.co.uk is a straightforward and affordable way for a church to monetise its car park, without having to spend a lot of time managing it.’
Many churches listed on the pre-booking website are located near city and town centres, where demand for parking is traditionally high
Figures have revealed that around 28 crimes occurred around places of worship in the two years from January 2017.
That’s according to a report published at the end of last year by Countryside Alliance.
It made a Freedom of Information request to the UK’s 45 police forces (of which 41 responded) and found that crimes over the two years totaled a concerning 20,168 cases.
These were a catalogue of offences, ranging from rape and murder to petty theft, the alliance described as ‘extremely distressing reading’.
Many churches listed on the pre-booking website are located near city and town centres, where demand for parking is traditionally high.
Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said: ‘Churches offering their empty parking spaces makes perfect financial sense, you could almost describe it as ‘pray and display’.
‘However, the extra income is just one benefit as a busy car park deters anti-social behaviour, while visitors could also be tempted to have a look around the church if it is allowed.’
Powered by: Daily Mail
Ibrahimovic, 38, expected to sign new £104k-a-week AC Milan contract this week after returning from Saint-Tropez holiday
Donald Trump criticized for saying ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two
Pep Guardiola reveals what was said in private chat with Zinedine Zidane after Man City’s win over Real Madrid
Above Suspicion (2019)
The Invisible Man (2020)
The Dinner Party (2020)
Movies1 month ago
Above Suspicion (2019)
Movies2 months ago
The Invisible Man (2020)
Movies2 months ago
The Dinner Party (2020)
Movies2 months ago
Gabriel’s Inferno (2020)
Movies2 months ago
Adventures of Rufus: The Fantastic Pet (2020)
Movies2 months ago
Sports2 months ago
Templegate’s horses to follow: Our top racing tipster lets you in on his horses to keep on side this Flat season
Sports2 months ago
Chelsea ‘one-in, one-out’ transfer policy could see N’Golo Kante leave for PSG and Jorginho head to Juventus