With the weather now greatly improved, I was reminded this week of the seemingly long summers of my youth, during the last weeks of term.

I remember looking longingly out of the window at the time, a blue sky and vibrant green grass, whilst all the while I was inside sweating over quadratic equations, complex numbers, or something similar.

However, this got me thinking about teaching and how we value it.

At the time some of the skills we learn don’t seem to ever likely be useful, let alone practical… then later in life, we find they actually are. (yes even algebra and complex numbers)!

These days of the internet we can learn so much in a self-directed manner, often for free and it really is amazing.

However, I was struck on how there is still really enormous value in teaching and in having good teachers.

The value in a teacher isn’t just telling you the facts, but (and even more so these days) the fact that they know more than you.

They can see beyond what you know, to things you don’t yet understand, and the reason why things are important. A guiding hand on what to learn, why, and how to learn it. They can create belief in yourself and an ability to stretch yourself further to be better than you thought possible.

The same is true for your peer group, friends, and colleagues at work too.

Knowing more, setting higher expectations can actually create more belief. Leveraging each other we can do more and help each other to achieve more and be better and smarter in what we do… it really can be additive, rather than competitive… something than can get easily lost, but we need to remember these days… just look at what happened in the last week

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Dear CEO letter

The FCA released its ‘Dear CEO’ letter, basically laying down the law for financial services firms, in they are going to be expected to “pick up the slack” and look after their customers in financial difficulty through this cost of living crisis.

Certainly, lots of financial services firms have been doing this already. However, I also read this as a coded “shot across the bow” for those that may think twice, to say “the good times are over and you are expected to step up”.

This together with “you are have all read the new consumer duty (due April 2023) and have had plenty of time to implement changes… it is going to arrive and you better be ready, we will enforce it”…

… time to double-check we are ready for sure.

Fuel price cap increases

Last night, I sat bolt upright in my chair last night seeing Martin Lewis’s tweet informing me of the latest status of the energy price cap in the UK.

Bearing in mind my fuel bill already seems to have gone up by 30-40% in the last year… we are apparently due a further 50% increase in October.

Just got latest @CornwallInsight price cap predictions. Wholesale prices spiked heavily last week, so they’re up a lot Today’s price cap: At typical use = £1,971/yr Prediction Oct – Dec: UP 51% (£2,980/yr typical use) Prediction Jan – Mar: UP 1% (£3,000/yr typical use)


Now, £3,000 a year on an average income of £31,000 is getting close to 10% of income on fuel. With increasing food costs (£4,500) and interest rates there is not going to be much left over for many folks.

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Likely impacts over the summer and increasing into the autumn, we are now looking at… yikes

  • Less disposable income – undoubtedly
  • Economic slow down or recession in UK – highly likely
  • Reduced levels of borrowing – likely
  • Slow down or collapse in the housing market – probably (slow down already started in some areas)
  • Increasing arrears levels in collections for financial services – I think so

It is really starting to feel like the back end of the year is going to be even more chaotic… again worth getting ready now while we still can.

A new consumer credit act and BNPL changes

Finally, new affordability checks for Buy-Now-Pay-Later transactions, together with bringing these firms under the regulation of the FCA were finally been reported this week.

Obviously, most of us think this is a good thing… it has been long discussed and expected for a while.

Under plans set out by the government today it confirmed that lenders will be required to carry out affordability checks, ensuring loans are affordable for consumers, and will amend financial promotion rules to ensure Buy-Now Pay-Later advertisements are fair, clear, and not misleading. Lenders offering the product will need to be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and borrowers will also be able to take a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).


However, what was also reported was the reform of the consumer credit act.

This piece of legislation governs the vast majority of consumer lending in the UK… any change could be a big deal and something to watch very closely. It is due to finish consultation at the end of the year.

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… unfortunately, with everything going on it seems we may not be able to stare out the window as much this year either too.

Have a good rest of the week everyone…

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