Welcome to our monthly open thread covering what’s happening right now, both in the world of Which? and across the latest news.
Welcome to December, and a slightly belated Hanukkah Sameach to those celebrating!
This is our monthly open thread, covering what’s happening over the month. We’ll be updating this discussion with what’s coming up, so check back often to see what’s new.
We also want to hear from you in the comments below. What’s happening for you in December?
Jump ahead to:
10 December: New restrictions in England
A number of coronavirus restrictions are now back in play in England following the Government’s announcements this past Wednesday.
- Face coverings are now mandatory in shops, cinemas, theatres, places of worship, and on public transport (unless you’re exempt)
- From Wednesday, 15 December, you’ll need the NHS Covid pass or a proof of a negative lateral flow test to gain entry to nightclubs and setting with large crowds.
- From Monday, people in England should work from home if possible.
See the full list of restrictions in play across the UK, and what you can do to limit the spread. Which? is keeping its guidance up to date – see the 1 December update for a list of useful resources.
Bank closures, the Scottish Autumn Budget and capital gains taxes
Over at Which? Money, the team has been busy breaking down the Scottish Autumn Budget and how that, for the majoirty of Scottish taxpayers, they’ll continue to pay less tax than if they lived elsewhere in the UK.
They’ve also been looking at the upcoming changes to the capital gains tax system, including five changes the government is considering taking on board.
Which? also continues to call for bank branch closures, as it’s been revealed this week that a further 736 branches has closed this year, and 220 more set to shut in 2022. The pace of these closures is accelerating, which in @ahoult’s words ‘leaves many people who depend on them at risk of being cut adrift’ from their essential banking services. Which? is calling on banks to pause any further bank closures until proposals to protect access to cash are rolled out. If you’d like to help us in this call, you can sign our Freedom to Pay petition.
Keeping warm and dry in December
Just in time for colder weather (and off the back of Storms Arwen and Barra), Which? has updated a fair few advice guides on keeping your home–and yourself–protected from the seasonal elements:
- How to dry out your home after a leak or flood
- How to draught proof your home
- Keeping warm in chilly or draughy rented accomodation – see also our advice guide on how to claim against your landlord for disrepair
- Which?’s roundup of the best cheap electric heaters (free for all to view)
Ask Which? Legal
We’re now accepting questions for our upcoming Which? Legal Hour! If you have a question about setting up Power of Attorney, or want to know more about what you need to make a will, they’re happy to help. Post your question now, and the Which? Legal team will answer it during the event on 17 December.
1 December: the Omicron variant: what you need to know
As you’ll likely have heard, there’s a new mutation of the coronavirus currently causing worldwide concern.
Which? is continuing to monitor what this means for you as a consumer, so be sure to check back regularly on the latest advice. Some recent updates include:
- Updates to the Travel traffic light system, including what to do if you’re currently in or planning travel to one of the countries that has been red listed
- Where to find a cheap and reliable lateral flow or PCR test for travel
- Understanding the different types of Covid test
- Which?’s vaccine advice guide
- How to buy the best reusable face covering. If you’d rather go disposable, there’s an advice guide for that too.
Be sure also to stay aware of the latest government advice, and above all, look after the health of you and yours.
There’s never a good time for a new and highly transmissible virus mutation, however right ahead of the holiday season – and after the nation is just getting used to opening up again – is less than ideal. An immediate concern is how people plan to celebrate this year; we’re curious to know whether the prospect of Omicron might cause you to rethink whether you celebrate indoors:
How will the omicron variant affect your Christmas / holiday party plans?
I will cancel if government advice restricts indoor socialising (33%, 5 Votes)
I will still have an indoor celebration regardless of the variant, or of government advice (27%, 4 Votes)
Something else - tell us in the comments (27%, 4 Votes)
I have already cancelled my plans due to the variant (13%, 2 Votes)
I will shift my celebrations outdoors if the government advice changes (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 15
What other advice would you need Which? to look into for you? Leave us a comment below and we’ll flag it up to our researchers.
What’s coming up in December?
📅 7 December – National Trade Conversations, one year on –it’s been more than a year since we asked people for their views on trade. We’ll be exploring whether people’s knowledge of trade – and how much it affects them as consumers – may have changed since then.
📅 17 December: Which? Legal Live Hour: we’re excited to be welcoming Which? Legal back to Which? Conversation later this month for the next in our series of Legal Live Hours, where they’ll be taking your questions on Wills and Power of Attorney (POA). We’ll be taking your questions on this from 9 December, but if you can’t wait, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
📅 31 December: the Which? Conversation quiz of the year: get ready for the biggest quiz on Which? Conversation since…well, the 2020 quiz of the year.