It feels like a long time since we last headed toward a winter season that didn’t come with some sort of impending doom looming over us. Are we in store for a good news surprise?
The last time I can think that we didn’t have something to worry about (although that is rather relative) was winter 2018.
Let’s look at the last four:
- December 2019 – Boris Johnson’s infamous oven-ready Brexit election win
- December 2020 – Lockdown Christmas
- December 2021 – Lockdown Christmas 2.0
- December 2022 – Cost-of-living/energy crisis (plus whisperings on the Ukraine/Russia border [and the disastrous Truss/Kwarteng mini budget to kick off Autumn])
These of course affected us all in different ways. But the sense that something bad was on the horizon has been present basically every year.
This winter, we might have some cause for optimism.
Inflation is in retreat. With it, energy bills are normalising (sort of). We aren’t about to leave the thick woollen jumpers behind and turn up the thermostat but its less anxiety-inducing than last year when bills were looking like they’d hit £4,000 at one point.
So daring to be optimistic going into winter is possible, despite a damp summer.
But economic clouds are still gathering with interest rates still rising, property market looking shaky and the labour market starting to show signs of something not good.
September is typically a time for stock market wobbles and other general anxieties to emerge as people get back to their desks from holiday, schools go into session and other normalities prevail. But by November/December this often irons itself out.
Another area for optimism (although tempered by quietly rising unemployment) is we seem to be getting proper pay rises for the first time in a while. Indeed, such is the improvement in our collective earnings that property affordability is quietly rising, albeit against higher mortgage rates. If rates begin to ease, as they have begun to show a bit of, then suddenly people could be in a position to start buying at better rates.
So what have we got coming up in the diary for the September reset?
On the first of the month ASLEF are on strike again with train drivers across 12 rail firms.
The House of Commons is back in session on 4 September, but rises again for conference season on 19 September.
The Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) publishes its latest complaints data on 6 September.
12 September is the latest ONS employment and wages data for the UK economy, with inflation on 20 September.
On 16 September it’s the 10th anniversary of the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) launch.
And finally on 21 September we’ll see the result of the latest Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) rate decision.
All the best, wishing you a positive September from us here at MRM and Mouthy Money.