Money latest: Drivers warned 'psychological shock' coming from petrol prices (2024)

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Another glimpse of Megan's debut lifestyle brand product

The duch*ess of Sussex seems to be soft-launching the first product from her upcoming lifestyle brand.

Influencers and friends of Meghan have been posting pictures of American Riviera Orchard's debut item - strawberry jam - in recent days.

Parenting campaigner Kelly McKee Zajfen has become the latest to promote the jar, posting an image of it in a basket of lemons and flowers on Instagram.

The duch*ess reportedly sent out 50 jam jars to online influencers.

Los Angeles-based fashion designer Tracy Robbins shared a photo of a jar - marked 17 out of 50 - earlier this week.

Megan has already launched the American Riviera Orchard website, but it does not feature any products and simply invites visitors to join a waiting list.

An Instagram profile has also been set up for the business, but just features several posts making up its gold logo.

"By Meghan, The duch*ess of Sussex⁣⁣⁣. Established 2024", is all the description says.

You can read more about when we first saw a glimpse of the product here...


The occupations with the biggest gender pay gaps

Barristers and judges have the biggest gender pay gap in the UK, a study has shown.

Women in the profession earn just over 29% less than their male counterparts - around £8.31 an hour.

That's according to ONS data analysed by

Financial managers and directors were found to have the second-biggest difference, with women paid approximately £11.56 less an hour than men in the same occupation.

"Perhaps in 2024, studies like this will raise awareness of the gender pay gap and precipitate change in these industries, starting with pay reviews," said.

You can see the 10 jobs with the biggest pay gaps below...


Hay fever season: How to sniff out the best prices

As the season for high pollen count is upon us, anyone who suffers from hay fever will be thinking about stocking up on their medication.

But this can mean the pocket takes a hit.

Branded tablets from pharmacies can set buyers back quite a bit, with Clarityn allergy relief costing £10.99 for 30 tablets. Piriteze is another common brand, priced at£11.55 for 30 tablets.

But most of these medications have identical properties, regardless of brand.

It's important to look out for the "active" ingredients - and then buy the cheapest option.

These include loratadine andcetirizine hydrochloride.

Supermarkets and discount stores can provide cheaper alternatives to the brand names.

Poundstretcher, for example, sells 30 loratadine tablets for 79p.

Supermarkets will often sell the branded versions alongside their own cheaper equivalents - so compare the ingredients before deciding which to go for.

Here are some examples:

  • Asda: £2.50 for cheapest generic v £6.50 for cheapest Clarityn tablets
  • Boots: £5.99 for cheapest generic v £11.55 for Piriteze, Zirtek or branded equivalent
  • Boots: £2.75 for cheapest generic v £10.99 for Clarityn tablets
  • Sainsbury’s: £2.50 for cheapest generic v £11.10 for Clarityn tablets
  • Tesco: £2.95 for cheapest generic v £11 for Piriteze, Zirtek or branded equivalent
  • Waitrose: £3.25 for cheapest generic v £11.85 for Clarityn tablets

There are no cheaper equivalent options for Benadryl tablets, but Amazon offers cheaper deals of £7.20 or £6.48 with Prime vs a standard price of around £10 from supermarkets.

Remember, certain options could seem cheaper, such as an option of 90p for 10 tablets vs £1 for 10 one-a-day tablets.

However, you'll need to keep taking the first option throughout the day, with the second option lasting you much longer.

You should only buy medications from legitimate pharmacies and shops, as they must adhere to certain standards and inspections.


Would you tip your favourite game developer?

By Mickey Carroll, science and technology reporter

If you had a great meal out, you'd probably leave a tip. Why don't you tip the people that make your video games too?

That's the suggestion from former game studio president Mike Ybarra. He sparked a debate on X when he posted the idea he'd been thinking about "for a while".

"When I beat a game, there are some that just leave me in awe of how amazing the experience was.

"I've often thought 'I wish I could give these folks another $10 or $20' because it was worth more than my initial $70 and they didn't try to nickel and dime me every second," he posted.

His idea was a flop.

A lot of the more than 1,700 replies asked why games studios didn't just pay their developers properly, at a time when the industry is in crisis.

"Maybe it's time companies start giving salaries and a bonus structure adequate to all their employees," posted @leqvist.

Game developers are facing mass redundancies. (You can read more about that here.)

In the Past two years, more than 19,000 people have lost their jobs and just four months into 2024, another 8,000 have gone.

Only yesterday, an estimated 600 redundancies were announced by Grand Theft Auto-6 publisher Take-Two, which could include jobs at Scotland’s Rockstar Games UK.

The other criticism that cropped up a lot was that games are pretty expensive anyway and should just be… good?

"A horrible idea. The game should be an amazing experience for $70! Paying extra for a 'great game' means that you are settling for a **** or mediocre game normally," posted @LinuxMostly.

The average price for a boxed video game in the UK is now £35.70, according to the Entertainment and Retail Association yearbook.

After posting his idea, Mr Ybarra clearly went about his life, posting afterwards: "Whoever runs SteamDB [a database of everything on Steam], I tip my hat to you."

"Maybe you should tip them," came the reply.


Boeing using 'defective planes' | Nearly one million renters handed no-fault evictions | Bank near landmark deal

Crisis-hit Boeing has rushed to defend itself from fresh whistleblower allegations of poor practice as the airline grapples its latest safety crisis.

A Congressional investigation heard evidence yesterday on the safety culture and manufacturing standards at the company - rocked in January by a mid-air scare that saw an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 flight suffer a panel blowout.

One Boeing quality engineer, Sam Salehpour, told members of a Senate subcommittee that Boeing was taking shortcuts to bolster production levels that could lead to jetliners breaking apart.

Read more on this story here...

Almost one million private renters in England have been handed no-fault evictions since the Conservative government promised to abolish them, new data has shown.

Research by YouGov on behalf of homelessness charity Shelter - and shared exclusively with Sky News - showed that since April 2019 943,000 people had been given Section 21 notices, the equivalent of more than 500 renters every day.

The figures also showed unwanted moves were costing private renters in England £550m a year, with 830,000 people having to move in the past 12 months alone due to either their fixed tenancies coming to an end, being priced out by rent increases or being served with a Section 21.

You can read more on our political reporter Jennifer Scott's exclusive here...

The Co-operative Bank will this week move a step closer to regaining its mutual status when it announces that it has struck a £780m deal to be bought by the Coventry Building Society.

Sky News has learnt that the two organisations are expected to announce as early as today that they have reached agreement on the terms of a transaction.

Insiders said the cash price to be paid by the Coventry would be close to £800m.

Read more on this story here...


The 10 cheapest European holidays - with some 'surprising' destinations

The 10 cheapest European summer holidays have been revealed, with some "surprising" destinations making the list.

Which? compiled the list after analysing more than 4,500 package holidays.

The consumer group found the least expensive were often in locations that people "assume come with a higher price tag", such as Italy's Amalfi Coast or Greek islands.

Interestingly, traditionally low-cost destinations such as Bulgaria and Turkey failed to make the top 10.

Which? said this was partly because of the type of packages available, with the Amalfi Coast having a wide choice of accommodation on either a self-catering or bed and breakfast basis, which is usually cheaper than full board packages.

These are the 10 cheapest package holidays for seven nights during the first week of August:



Petrol prices are soaring - and could soon go well above 150p a litre

Petrol prices could go well above 150p a litre, the RAC has warned, as data shows it has already risen by nearly 8p this year.

The price at the pump has hit a five-month high of 148.5p, according to government figures.

It was 140.8p at the start of the year.

During this week alone, the cost has gone up by 1.6p - there has not been a sharper weekly rise since August 2023.

Average pump prices for diesel have also increased to 157.5p, the highest since November 2023.

"This year is proving to be another tough one for drivers," RAC fuel price spokesperson Simon Williams said.

"Both petrol and diesel are now the most expensive they've been since November last year, which is bad for households, businesses and the economy, especially as we know there is a close link between fuel prices and inflation.

"With increased tensions in the Middle East, the cost of oil is only likely to go up, which could push petrol well above 150p a litre."

This was echoed by AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bosdet, who said pump prices were climbing towards the point "drivers fear".

"It is a psychological shock that shouts out from the price boards each time motorists drive past," he said.

"The early part of the summer could be a tough time for UK motorists."

Mr Williams also explained that while diesel is edging towards 160p, that is due to retailers taking much bigger margins.

"There's only been a few pence between the wholesale prices of both fuels since mid-March," he added.

"We find it hard to believe that a margin of 13p a litre on diesel - compared to the long-term average of 8p - is fair.

"This surely won't go unnoticed by the Competition and Markets Authority, which only two weeks ago expressed its concern about higher retailer margins."


Revealed: The broadband provider that gets the most complaints

Virgin Media has topped the rankings of the most complained-about broadband, landline and pay-TV providers, Ofcom figures show.

The regulator said Virgin Media received the most complaints between October and December last year.

The company received 20 complaints per 100,000 broadband customers in the three-month period.

But this was an improvement on the 32 per 100,000 in the previous quarter.

Complaints handling was the cause of 43% of customer complaints, compared with an industry average of 32%.

Some 22% of its complaints were about faults, service and provisioning, well below the industry average of 37%.

It was slightly ahead of Now Broadband, which received 18 complaints per 100,000, but lagged behind the industry average of 12.

Sky, Sky News' parent company, came in with the fewest complaints at five per 100,000 customers.

Virgin Media complaints for landline came in at 13 per 100,000, just ahead of Shell Energy and Now Broadband.

It also received 13 complaints per 100,000 for pay-TV, almost double that of BT.

A Virgin Media O2 spokesman said: "We're committed to providing an excellent service to our customers, and while overall these complaints represent a very small proportion of our customer base, we acknowledge there is a need for improvement, which is under way, and we're focused on getting this right.

"We are investing heavily and making changes across our business to deliver tangible improvements, for example through multi-skilling our teams and rolling out new IT platforms that will make it easier for customers to get support when they need it, and empowering our people to resolve any issues quickly and effectively first time."


FTSE recovers after rout this week

By James Sillars, business reporter

The FTSE 100 has recovered a bit more ground in early dealing after Tuesday's sharp losses.

The index opened 0.4% higher at 7,880, building on a 0.4% gain yesterday.

The Tuesday rout, on fears of US interest rates remaining higher for longer, saw more than 1.8% of its value lost.

While the issue remains a concern for investors, miners have dug the FTSE's way to recovery.

Among other sectors making strides were airline and holiday stocks.That was after easyJet reported strong summer bookings and an easing of first-half losses.

The no-frills carrier, which makes all its profits in the six months to the end of September, said it expected to be among the fastest growing European airlines.Shares took off by 4.5%.

Deliveroo stock also gained, by 2.3%, after it returned to order growth in the first three months of the year.

One deal making waves is a takeover of troubled British music investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund.The FTSE 250 firm, which has a catalogue including rights to work by artists including Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Blondie and Red Hot Chili Peppers, is set to be bought by Concord Chorus.Under the terms of the deal, shareholders of Hipgnosis will get $1.16 per share in cash, valuing the company at $1.4bn (£1.1bn).

The price, musical and theatrical rights holder Concord said, represented a 30% premium on the recent value of Hipgnosis shares.

Hipgnosis has been mired by troubles since mid-last year, including valuation concerns, board and legal battles, and a shareholder revolt against a catalogue sale deal that forced a strategic review.

Money latest: Drivers warned 'psychological shock' coming from petrol prices (2024)
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