Student Grant Protests, Penguin Scraps Degree Requirement For Jobs, New Co-op Meal Deal…
Students protest the axing of maintenance grants
Students gathered outside Parliament to protest the scrapping of maintenance grants, which will be replaced with loans from September this year.
The protest was on Tuesday 19th January and coincided with a debate trying to reverse the government's decision. The protesters blocked Westminster Bridge for an hour and a half during the demonstration.
Our take: What's absolutely key here is that the Conservatives actually promised not to scrap the grants in the run-up to the general election. So what's changed?! Maintenance grants helped a lot of students from a poorer background to get to uni and it just isn't fair to take away the opportunity to study if they can't afford to go otherwise. Sure, the system isn't fair – a lot of people struggle, just look at our National Money Survey last year where 8 out of 10 students said they worried about making ends meet. Clearly, the whole grant/loan system needs looking at to make it fair for all students.
Penguin removes degree requirement from jobs
Penguin (not the chocolate bar…) Random House, one of the UK's largest publishing companies, is removing all degree requirements from all new jobs to attract more varied applicants.
The reason for this move is because the company don't believe there's a link between having a degree and job performance. However, qualifications will still be needed in some cases.
Our take: It's becoming more frequent for companies to relax rules about degrees and classifications for jobs, which is great as it'll encourage more applicants from different backgrounds to apply!
Car insurance set to rise
According to the AA, car insurance could rise by 25% this year. Ouch!
Last year, the cost of car insurance rose 20% compared to 2014 and the AA reckon there'll be another steep increase this year.
Our take: Having a car and being a student is a bit of a luxury, but if you're lucky enough to own one then prepare yourself for a potentially expensive renewal… We're here to help, though – check out our guide on getting cheap car insurance, and how to use less petrol when driving to save some pennies. Price hikes not putting you off learning to drive? We have some handy tips here.
E.on to cut gas prices by 5%
E.on has become the first of the 'big six' energy suppliers to cut the cost of gas. Customers will enjoy a 5.1% drop in their gas bills. Electricity prices will stay the same.
The reason E.on have dropped the price is because the cost of gas is at a six-year low (and electricity a five-year low) which we reported in our news last week. It may only be a small reduction, but hopefully other energy companies will soon follow suit.
Our take: If you're an E.on customer this is great news! Any price drop is welcome, but remember you may be better off switching – whoever your current supplier is. Here are some tips on finding the cheapest energy supplier and some ways on saving money on your energy bills – between the two guides you could save quite a bit of money! (No thanks necessary to us, but thank you cards are welcome. And shoes.)
AA and Sky best companies to haggle with
A poll of almost 4,000 Money Saving Expert users has found that AA and Sky are the easiest firms to haggle with to get a better deal.
88% of users said that they were successful negotiating with AA and Sky, closely followed by RAC where 86% of customers had managed to save money by haggling.
Our take: It can be a bit scary haggling – but you don't ask, you don't get! The worst that'll happen is they will say no, but best case scenario… you could save money! It's worth a shot, whether it's buying a new fridge or you want a better TV package. We've got a great guide on how to haggle if you need some advice.
New £5 Co-op meal deal
You may know by now that the Co-op does a £5 meal deal which changes every few weeks. The deals offer some real value for money!
Until the 9th February, pop in to your local Co-op and pick up some battered cod, chips, peas, jam roly poly and ice cream for just £5. They're really handy for having in the freezer when you can't be bothered to cook – and you even get dessert!
Our take: We know these deals are really popular and it's no surprise! £5 for 4 meals, that's an absolute bargain!