Money blog: Taylor Swift makes £450 kebab shop order (2024)

Inflation news
  • Big moment in cost of living crisis as inflation falls to 2%
  • Watch:Ed Conway breaks down inflation numbers - and shows chart that tells very different story
  • Interest rate cut will be delayed - markets
  • One concerning figure in today's data could delay interest rate cut - economists
  • Analysis:Welcome news but question marks remain
Money blog essentials
  • Taylor Swift makes £450 kebab shop order
  • 'One guy wanted to rent my room for a few hours to meet a friend...' What I learnt from putting my home on Airbnb
  • Women in Business:'How I went from mum with no qualifications to owner of big law firm'
  • Holiday money - where to buy it, how to avoid fees, and one thing you must not do
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

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Cheapest energy tariffs revealed - and signs consumers beginning to trust suppliers again

It's been a really difficult few years for millions of families paying for their energy.

Many have expressed their anger and distrust in energy suppliers as a result of spiralling prices and shifting goalposts.

But there are signs that's beginning to change.

Overall customer satisfaction is up 10% since last year, a survey of 15,030 energy customers by has revealed.

The survey found that Utility Warehouse and Octopus Energy were the best and second-best at providing customer service and for value for money.

However, satisfaction with value for money from providers overall is still 17% lower than before the energy crisis, according to the poll.

Uswitch also announced its top five cheapest energy tariffs - see below...


Top chef's tips for eating on the cheap in London

Every Wednesday we ask Michelin chefs to pick their favourite Cheap Eats where they live and when they cook at home.This week we speak toSofian Msetfi, executive chef at Mayfair's one-starred Ormer restaurant.

HiSofian - what are your picks for a meal for two for less than £40 in London?

Berenjakin Soho and London Bridge offers a traditional Persian dining experience - I'd recommend ordering a charcoal grilled kebab for that tables plus a selection of the mezeh-style sharing plates to accommodate a budget of £40 for two. A brilliant dining experience with high-quality and fresh ingredients.

BAO(with locations around London) is known for its creative take on Taiwanese street food. They offer some of the best bao buns in the city which start from just £6, plus there's affordably priced small plates, allowing for a diverse tasting experience without overspending. The restaurants also have a weekday set menu with three courses for £15, which is a steal.

Secret Sandwich Shopin Notting Hillelevates the humble sandwich to new heights – the sheer size of theJapanese Wanpakusandwiches are incredible and so filling. It's a great find, hidden behind a secret door in Notting Hill, with the signature "Secret Sandwich" priced at £9, meaning you can each get a sandwich plus a generous selection of classic snacks and even some Japanese drinks for £40.

What's your go-to cheap meal at home?

A braised lemon chicken with green olives. You can use chicken thighs or legs in this recipe (which are often much cheaper). It's easy and quick, everything goes in the dish together and cooks at the same time. One of my favourite tips is to use some of the olive brine from the jar when cooking as it really enhances the flavour of the dish.

We've spoken to lots of top chefs and bloggers - check out their cheap eats from around the country here...


Taylor Swift puts in £450 kebab order

Taylor Swift has reportedly ordered 45 large kebabs for her team ahead of her Wembley Stadium show.

The singer is set to perform in front of up to 90,000 fans on Friday in the first of eight Eras Tour shows at the London venue.

But before that, her staff will be tucking into £450-worth of chicken donor kebabs made by Kentish Delight, according to The Sun.

The takeaway restaurant is thought to be a favourite of Taylor's, having featured in the music video for End Game in 2017.

"Taylor adds garlic sauce to hers, as well as heaps of salad," a source told The Sun.

The newspaper previously reported the star bought hundreds of Greggs sausage rolls, steak bakes and bakery goods for her team when performing in Edinburgh.


Cricket salads and lab-grown meat 'to be on our menus by 2054'

Cricket salads, lab-grown steaks and azolla burgers could be staples on British menus in 30 years' time, according to the Co-op.

Using AI and research from experts from FixOurFood and the University of York, the retailer predicted what mealtimes could look like in 2054.

They predict a rise in urban indoor farming across Britain, which will in turn see lab-grown meat and seafood - cultivated from animal tissues to produce steaks, burgers, tuna and lobster - become more mainstream.

Another part of the report suggested climate change would result in the likes of avocados and olives being grown in Surrey by 2054 - meaning less reliance on importing vegetables.

"By 2054, British people will have edible insects on their dinner plate, and we may see the crushing up of crickets quicker than wholegrain," project researcher Bob Doherty said.

"We may even see the introduction of 3D-printed food. As we navigate the challenges of climate change, we'll need to embrace these innovations to ensure that we can feed a growing population sustainably."


We're returning to regular Money blog now

After spending the morning reacting to the positive news on inflation (and less positive news on interest rates), we're going to start posting other personal finance and consumer news again now.

We'll still have any reaction coming in on the economy.


Watch: Ed Conway breaks down inflation numbers - and shows chart that tells very different story

Oureconomics and data editor Ed Conwayhas been poring over this morning's data drop from the Office for National Statistics.

"In one sense this is a watershed moment," he says, inflation having dropped to the target 2%.

But looking at the data another way - at overall inflation over the last three years rather than annual figures - the numbers tell a different story.

By doing so, you can see there's closer to a 20% increase in prices since the start of the cost of living crisis - rather than the 2% increase we've recorded in the 12 months from May last year to May 2024.

And this figure - basically, prices - is still going up, just slower than it was before.

Watch Ed's full analysis here...


Wages going up way higher than inflation

We have one more chart to show you in response to inflation having fallen to the target of 2% in May.

Like much of today's data, it is primarily good news - wages are going up significantly more than inflation.

For workers to whom this applies, it's rightly a cause for some cheer after a period of falling living standards and skyrocketing prices.

But for the economy, there's a flipside - high wage growth is inflationary, as businesses either have to absorb wage increases or put up prices. It also means people have more money to spend - again, when this happens prices tend to go up faster.

This chart illustrates how wage growth - after lagging behind price rises for some time - is now ahead...


Fall in inflation doesn't hide 'worst living standards in modern times'

May's fall in inflation cannot disguise "the worst period for living standards in modern times", Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Paul Nowak has said.

Reacting to today's data, he said: "Over the last three years UK families have suffered the highest price rises in the G7 - with inflation going up more over that period than it usually does over an entire decade.

"Ministers can try to rewrite history all they like. But the Conservatives have presided over the worst period for living standards in modern times.

"Food and energy bills have surged. Rents and mortgages have skyrocketed. And real wages are still worth less than in 2008."

There are nearly 50 affiliated unions under the TUC banner with a total of about 5.5 million members.


What inflation data could mean for savers

We've been reporting how services inflation - which is much higher than the headline rate at 5.7% - could thwart hopes of an interest rate cut in June or August.

That's potentially bad news for borrowers - but Britons could benefit from savings rates remaining higher for longer than previously thought.

Mark Hicks, head of Active Savings at investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Lower inflation will be music to the ears of savers, because if you hold cash in a competitive account, you'll be significantly outstripping inflation.

"Right now, you can still earn more than 5% on everything from easy access accounts to those fixed for up to two years.

"Unfortunately, most people won't be making anything like this, because high street easy access branch rates are far less generous, and in most cases, they pay less than inflation.

"At times like this it's key to check out the rates from online banks and savings platforms, which tend to pay more than the high street giants."


ICYMI: Do Sunak and Hunt deserve any credit at all for bringing down inflation?

From its 40-year high of 11.1% in October 2022, the headline rate of inflation – the consumer prices index (CPI) – is back to the Bank of England's 2% target rate.

The government, naturally, will seek to take credit for it. Rishi Sunak, after all, promised to halve inflation last year and was quick to point to that when it happened.

It was a piece of chutzpah that brought to mind the old saying "success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan".

If anyone deserves credit for bringing down inflation to the target rate, it is arguably the Bank of England, whose interest rate rises from December 2021 to August last year bore down on demand and on some of the inflationary pressures that can build in an economy when demand is too high.

In so far as the government can take credit for bringing down inflation, it is because - since the debacle of Liz Truss's short spell in 10 Downing Street - Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have restored order to the public finances,calming the panic in markets which erupted when Ms Truss sought to introduce £45bn worth of unfunded tax cuts.

From the depths it plumbed after the mini-budget in September 2022, sterling has rallied by 22% against the US dollar and by 9% against the euro.

All things being equal, that has brought down the cost of goods and services that the UK buys from the US and from countries in the Eurozone, which may at the margins have had an impact on inflation.

In other ways, though, government policies have helped push up inflation. Public sector pay between February and April this year, the latest period for which figures were available, was up 6.4% year on year. That obviously feeds into higher prices.

The government has also just raised the national living wage by 9.8%, the biggest increase in history, which again will feed into higher prices, particularly in sectors such as hospitality. The chancellor has also actively increased inflation by raising taxes on tobacco, as he did last year.

So the government cannot really take that much of the credit for inflation falling to target.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee deserves more. So, too, do some of the UK's retailers. The latest figures published by the British Retail Consortium suggest Shop Price Inflation was running at an annual rate of just 0.6% in May - down from 1.3% in March. In other words, by bearing down on prices, retailers are contributing strongly to the decline in inflation. The market is competitive and consumers are benefiting.

In truth, though, most of the heavy lifting in bringing down inflation has come from so-called "base effects" – the impact of the corresponding "base" the previous year.

Prices can still be rising, but contribute to a lower headline rate of inflation. If the price of an item in the inflation basket was rising by 10% in April last year but was only rising by 5% in April this year, that automatically feeds through to a lower headline rate of inflation.

Inflation took off in 2022 mainly because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up the price of oil and – thanks to Ukraine's position as one of the world's biggest exporters of corn, seed oils, wheat and rapeseed – a whole clutch of foodstuffs.

It had another boost when, at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, China suddenly relaxed its COVID restrictions – unleashing a big burst of demand from the world's second-largest economy for commodities like oil. That pushed up prices elsewhere.

We have seen big falls in the energy price cap - a major contributor to lower inflation. Some of the biggest elements in the UK inflation basket - food and non-alcoholic drinks, clothing and footwear, furniture and household goods – are not rising in price to the extent that they were a year ago and certainly not to the extent they were in the autumn of 2022.

That is the main reason inflation has come back down to the Bank's target rate.

A version of this analysis was first published a month ago as inflation dipped to 2.3%

Money blog: Taylor Swift makes £450 kebab shop order (2024)
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