Are sugary cereal bars as healthy as they seem? Will free banking really prevent mis-selling? And should we pay for plastic bags? You’ve been debating these questions and more this week.
Norm says that extra bank account charges would drive him away:
‘The first time my bank introduces a charge will be the last time I use them. They have already reduced the meagre interest rate on my current account to zero, so charging to keep hold of my cash would be the last straw.’
In the meantime, Nfh shared their vision for banking:
‘It would be much fairer if end-prices for banking services were related to cost. I believe it would be fair for UK banks to charge for incidental services that cost the banks money. For example, sending out paper statements by post, using another bank’s cash machine (after one or two free withdrawals per month) and for paper-based transactions (e.g. cheques).’
Tpoots wasn’t impressed to hear about the £1bn ‘interest free loan’ TV licence holders give to the government every year:
‘This angered me too when I set up a direct debit for TV licence, but sadly you’re at their mercy and have to agree to these terms or pay the full year in a lump sum. Not many people will be happy doing that, especially as they will probably have only just moved into a property at huge expense.’
Donna Edmunds didn’t think this system was fair financially:
‘There’s no explanation of why the system is set up in this way, or what they do with the money. If you want to pay by direct debit (and as I can’t afford the lump sum in one hit, I have to), you HAVE to go along with this. It’s not even as if the licence itself is optional!’
In the debate over free plastic bags in supermarkets, Chris pointed to an overseas solution:
‘When I was living in Australia a few years ago, most supermarkets just stopped using plastic bags and instead offered really robust and good quality tote bags for around $1 (40p at the time) – I was more than happy to meet the initial cost for this quality bag and still carry them round in my backpack to save me using plastic bags here. The situation won’t change unless we’re no longer offered plastic.’
But Vivienne doesn’t want to see plastic bags disappear:
‘I want to continue to be given “free” plastic bags from supermarkets and other shops. It is very easy for drivers to carry plastic bags and “bags for life” in their car, but it’s a big problem for non-drivers like me. I have a 25 minute walk to the supermarket and simply could not carry sufficient heavy, bulky bags with me.
‘I do have to get a cab home with all my shopping, but would not want to have to get one to the supermarket too. My supermarket and other shops bags are always reused for bin liners, storage, garden rubbish, charity shop donations etc – without these “free” bags I would have to buy bin liners and larger bags instead, rather defeating the object.’
As energy company SSE announced 9% price rises, Chris Gloucester shared his concerns:
‘Back in the days when energy supply was privatised, we were all told that the resulting competition would benefit us all. Well, to me it doesn’t seem to have happened that way. The big six suppliers seem to have a monoploy. Prices keep rising and profits keep rising, and there seems little the free market can do to improve the situation.’
Wavechange doesn’t think renationalisation is the answer:
‘I well remember how inefficient most of our nationalised industries were. I think that the answer is private industries that are efficient through competition but closely regulated to avoid the problems that we are all aware of. Renationalisation is inconceivable, so we need to get on with the regulation.’
When our research found that cereal bars rarely deserved their ‘healthy’ image, Laura was glad to have some evidence to back her view. She gets our Comment of the Week:
‘My daughter’s school has a healthy-eating policy but allows these kind of bars in lunch boxes. I have been saying for some time that these bars are no better than a chocolate biscuit type snack but have not been listened to. I shall now show the school this!’
Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).