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tv   Inside Out  BBC News  January 20, 2018 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news. the headlines: the us government grinds to a halt on the first anniversary of president trump's inauguration — as the senate fails to agree on a budget to fund many public services. america knows this is the trump shutdown. only the president can end it. gunmen in afghanistan are reported to have attacked a top hotel in the capital, kabul. turkey deploys tanks to shell kurdish fighters in northern syria — as turkish air strikes are ordered. the move is likely to cause tensions with the united states. north korea will send 22 athletes to compete in three sports at the winter olympics in south korea in february. now on bbc news, inside out asks how to get out — and stay out — of debt. welcome to inside out. here's what's coming up on tonight's programme: as we count the cost of a christmas spending binges, we find out how to get out and stay out of debt. —— as we count the cost of our christmas spending now‘s the time to actually cut up that credit card. fantastic.
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don't sit on it. get help. there is no debt that we've yet seen that can't be sorted and get you to freedom. sending in the bailiffs. why council tax debt is at an all—time high. it escalated to £608.75 from £86.75. yes, i don't know how that happened. and the baby boomers funding their retirement in surprising new ways. if you can spot a gap in the market, have enough focus and get up and go then it's never too late to start your own business, become successful and you might even help the economy. christmas shopping sprees will have sent many of us into the red. here in the uk it's reckoned more than 8 million of us are struggling to cope with the money we owe. how do we free ourselves from the debt spiral and get savvier about the money we spend and save?
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we sent finance expert jasmine birtles to find out how to get back into the black. i'm in birmingham today with £500 to see if people are spenders or savers. if i give you a pound, would you spend it or save it? i'm a spender. i'll spend it because i am thirsty. i need a drink. i haven't got enough money to save. while the team continue with our experiment, i am catching up with debt charity community money advice. we are volunteers from community money advice... they are hosting a road show here in one of birmingham's largest shopping centres. january is when we get a lot of calls across the whole cma network because people have spent at christmas and enjoyed themselves and really not connected that with the consequences of what happens in the weeks afterwards when all those bills start coming in. i was passing by and ijust asked some advice because christmas has been a little bit
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difficult because i have got myself into a little bit of debt. our aim today is to try and break the taboo that people have about spending money. we find in all the advice we give face to face with people that once you get it out in the open and start opening the post, that wall just evaporates. out of the 500 £1 coins we've been giving out just how people decided to save and how many chose to spend? 148 would save them but 352 would spend them. it looks like birmingham people like to spend. our experiment today was just a bit of fun but statistics show that we are a nation of spenders. the average household has £14,000 worth of non—mortgage debt. and one in three households in the uk has no savings whatsoever. getting out of debt isn't easy. i should know, i've been there. but a unique project in london
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could have a solution. i'm in the london borough of newham which has the highest level of problem debt in the country. one in four people here is behind on a bill or a credit commitment. morning, welcome to money works. since money works opened two years ago, they've seen over 3,500 newham residents use the service. money works was set up by the mayor of newham. a client had gone into his surgery and had a financial crisis and had ended up going to loan sharks. it was then that sir robin thought, what can i do for the residents of newham to offer more affordable credit? i've just put in for an £800 loan so let's see what happens. just at least get a good sum, about 200. what's special about money works is that it offers loans in partnership with a credit union
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alongside debt advice. it's not about giving a loan and putting a plaster on it and it is forgotten about, it is about working with the customer and looking at where they are and how we can move them forward. how are you, michael? nice to see you. michael first came to money works 18 months ago, desperately struggling with £5,000 worth of debt. i got very, very depressed and i tried to take my own life on several occasions because of the pressure of debt. ill—health forced michael to retire. this, together with the drop in benefits, meant he was struggling to afford basic living costs. it was our washing machine that broke down. it always seems to happen roundabout christmas time, i don't know why. michael couldn't afford to buy a washing machine out right so he got one from rent to own company brighthouse. at £9.50 a week, it seemed like a good deal but the total cost amounted to over £1600. you end up paying astronomical
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amounts for small items. brighthouse told us they give people on lower incomes an affordable way to get everyday goods. a lot of customers who come to us aren't even aware of some of the interest rates that they're paying and it's an eye—openerto them. i thought, my word, all that money. it's just ridiculous. i can dojust a quick calculation to see other gas and electric suppliers. michael was given practical advice alongside a loan to pay off his debts. we decided to offer him a money works loan to pay off the brighthouse loan and michael was £1213 better off. michael is now debt free. companies like money works, it's a pity they haven't got it nationwide. it worked wonderful. money works is proving so successful, other councils are now looking at doing the same. back in birmingham and the road
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show is in full swing. for people who have got credit cards and have got debts that are building up, the answer to solving the runaway credit is not more credit. now is the time to actually cut up that credit card. 0k. fantastic. we've had people burst into tears at the moment that the scissors cut through because of the emotional tag and hold that the idea of credit has got with someone. it might come as a shock to most of us, but by seven years old children have already formed their financial habits. i've come to kirton school in boston in lincolnshire to meet an expert team of super savers. hello. hello, please may i have the kirts to go deliver? you can, yes. lam lily, and i am the bank manager. i need to look after everyone's money and make sure that nothing goes wrong with it.
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my name's taylor and i'm the assistant bank manager. i have to supervise all the cashiers and make sure no one is misbehaving. when we first started the project, we were asking children where they think money comes from. they think itjust comes from a cashpoint or it comes out of a till. they didn't really understand, which is why we introduced the idea of you need to work for your money and then you're rewarded. children can earn their kirts by doing well in spelling and times tables, working in the bank or shop and for special achievements. you have 14 kirts, what would you like to do? can i deposit them, please? so this is an actual kirt, there's the back of it. it's worth about 3p but it is worth more to these children. they can either deposit it in the bank here or once they've earned enough, they can take some out and spend it in the kirton store next door. i'm going to go in and have a look and see what i can get. the children are often saving for over a year before they will buy anything at all. the interest has made
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a difference as well. they see it as, actually, if ijust keep my 50 kirts in the bank, over a year i'm going to get an extra 30 kirts. it is clear to these children that saving reaps rewards. so, what are you going to buy? teddy! show me where the teddy is. is it that one? 0h, lovely. shall we go in and buy it? yes. come on, then. what we are hoping is that children are actually understanding and experiencing we process of saving and learning to wait for things. i am going to call him tom. back at the road show and the day is coming to a close. so, julian, how has it been today? we are seeing lots of debts but the most important message is, don't sit on it, get help, there is no debt that we have yet seen that can't be sorted and get you to freedom. now then, still to come on tonight's show... if you look at the impact of all of those people starting their
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own businesses who are aged 55 or over, that is worth over £7 billion to the uk economy in any given year, so that is really good news for our economic prosperity. overspending on credit cards can be a huge problems for people but an even bigger problem nowadays is council tax debt. local authorities are often resorting to bailiffs to recover what they are owed. but is this approach too heavy—handed, especially when some people simply find themselves unable to pay? we sent markjordan to investigate. the clink prison museum. for centuries its bars held traitors, thieves and debtors. the traitors were executed. but for debtors the only way they would walk free was to pay up in full. but how to do that behind bars with mounting weekly jail charges?
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the rat man, unable to pay, ate rats until he died. this is a grim place, so why is it that a leading london barrister thinks many councils are using similar tactics to bring in their council tax debt? council tax is britain's biggest personal debt problem and it is growing. some local authorities are going down the road of bankruptcy, making people insolvent, which hugely multiplies their debt with the consequences that they lose their homes, their businesses. it is utterly devastating. it's probably, in some ways, it is actually worse now than being jailed for council tax default. to be honest, i lose sleep, i am anxious, i have a lot of anxiety. the worst cases i've been involved with myself, people have actually committed suicide. four years ago,
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peter williams brought trains to a halt after killing himself on the railway. his home had been taken away for failing to pay £1350 over council tax debt. the problem was, peter was mentally ill and nobody realised this at the time and, as a result, he was literally hounded to death over what was a relatively small amount of money, £1350, which was inflated to over £70,000 by the time of his death. it was all costs, he had paid his council tax, this was all costs. i'm seeing this kind of stress repeated every week now around england and wales. my court case. contact us now to avoid further action and costs. in the past two years, court action for council tax debt has risen a0%. use of bailiffs is also up. notice of removal action, that means we are coming to get you.
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that is your copy there. it is, we have not received any pavements whatsoever. i am struggling at the same time and i just want to feed my child, ijust want to eat, that is all. i require a payment today. you have gotjust over £1000 to pay. so, what are you offering now? 97% of us pay our council tax bill but debt campaigners claim over 200,000 bailiffs visits were made in london to those who don't. the figures show, if you look at boroughs across london and, in fact, across england and wales, there's very different practice in different boroughs, it's a postcode lottery. westminster council sent bailiffs out over 18,000 times, while havering was a tenth of that. in less than a decade, government grants to councils have been cut by a third. whoever you're looking for it's not me... westminster and several other councils declined to be interviewed. but all insist they avoid targeting the vulnerable, only using bailiffs when sustainable repayment plans have failed. i'm asking a simple question.
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but single, unemployed mum michelle is watching her £86 council tax debt spiral. it escalated to £608.75 from £86.75. yeah, i don't know how that happened. it's bad enough to pay that debt and then they've chucked that on. i'm thinking if i can't pay that, how am i supposed to pay that on top? what is it you want from me? it's the councils who decide if dave the bailiff comes knocking. is there any difference in the way you work between can't pay or won't pay? that's not my business. the system does not distinguish at all now between the can't payers and won't payers. the council tax has become a kind of frankenstein's monster. for all intents and purposes, the local authority is now taking over in terms of council tax by its computers. it's the computer which calculates your bill and is in charge of every step of the way. one exceptional week,
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franklin earned £170 on his zero—hour contractjob. so the council computer cancelled his council tax benefit. they sent me an assessment saying i earned £170 a week so i can afford to pay it. isaid, no, i'm not. some weeks i was earning £20 a week. franklin says he couldn't afford the full council tax now being charged. and the bailiffs are knocking. i'm trying to better myself. i'm diagnosed with heart failure and kidney failure. i have multiple organ failure. i thought, let me go out and get a job for the last years and try to better myself, you know. this is the obstacle why people don't want to work because of the hassle. not because they're lazy, but because of the hassle that they get from the government. the letter box isjammed up. in some cases where it's impossible to get the
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money back, then there's nothing else we can do. are you finding that more and more? yes. people haven't got the means to pay. mike thompson was a book seller until a devastating illness meant he could barely work. his council tax debt would take his home and lead to recovery costs 30 times the original arrears of 2,900. the council forced the sale of the house, i got just over £6,000 as my share of the proceeds. the other 85, £86,000 was swallowed up in the debt itself, plus all the costs that had accumulated along the way. now mike lives in sheltered social housing and guess who's paying? now the government foots full housing benefit for me which is currently about £8,500 a year. the lawyers who do this business for local authorities prosper mightily, but the local authorities themselves actually in the great scheme of things actually lose out big time. at hammersmith and fulham council
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they've begun to wonder if bankrupting, seizure of homes and use of bailiffs is working. they claim bailiffs only recover 30% of council tax debt and are getting rid of them from april. if a family is trying to keep the bailiffs away and prioritises the bill for council tax, they then might miss their rental payment and then you're left with a homeless family being traumatised. but then presenting the public sector with a huge bill in terms of rehousing and the problems with homelessness. good morning, first credit, how can i help? first credit are in charge of hammersmith‘s ethical new debt collection. we don't add any interest or charges... like tv money advisors, they set up a payment plan. we would never look to pursue any bailiffs. i'm hoping for hammersmith they will end up with the same amount of money collected or more, which they can get back to the residents. i'm already seeing on cases
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they've given up on, i'm already collecting money on the cases they'd given up on. i know that will give them more money back for their residents, which is a win—win. are you worried some people might go out and buy a telly rather than pay the council tax if you're ethical? i'm optimistic this will work. we are not stopping debt collection. we'rejust doing debt collection in an ethical way. but the bailiff industry warn hammersmith‘s experiment will backfire. the civil enforcement industry has collected around £650 million worth of local authority debt. to dispense with the enforcement service will come at a price. i think that in two or three years' time, the coffers will be looked at and the question will be asked, where's the money? they come up with all sorts of excuses. you can normally read them, whether or not they're lying or not. well, i can any way. now ethical debt collection in hammersmith is about to show whether or not the bailiffs' knock might, like the clink, become part of debt
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collecting history. we hear a lot about baby boomers and how lucky they are compared to younger, less well off generations. but not all boomers are secure enough to put their feet up and let their pensions take care of everything. in fact, a record number are funding their retirements by setting up first time business ventures. we sent our resident boomerjo good to meet some of them. i'm 62 and i'm still working, whether it's hosting my daily show on bbc radio london or presenting films like this. i started work at 16. i'm freelance, so i don't have a pension. but i often wake up at night with a fear of what's going to happen when i'm no longer flavour of the month? living off a state pension hardly fills me with glee. i realise at some point i'm
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going to have to change my life. i'm not the only one. there's a lot more like me. i'm 61 now. you're getting older and you're getting less employable. i would like to work for quite a few more years. i was unemployable i think because of my age. everyjob i went for, i was turned down flat. like many others in our age group, linda and louise need the money to keep coming in. they know they still have loads to offer. they decided to take matters into their own hands and started up their small businesses, for the first time in their lives. # the best things in life are free # but you can give them to the birds and bees # i need money #. down on canvey island, linda is running a small business making designer wearfor dogs. i do collars, leads, coats, harnesses, carrier bags, carseats. sometimes i get up at four, five and i start cutting patterns. 4am or5am?
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yeah, crazy. because there's a lot to do for one person. but it's not financially secure at the moment to employ people or to go the next steps. it will do. basically, if i've got work to do, i've got to get up and do it. most of it is online selling. which to a dinosaur like me, i've had to learn a lot. how about this, look, it's lined... oh, my goodness. it's so snug. now i'm shipping them out everywhere. i've sent off to las vegas, valencia in spain. so i wasn't only going england, scotland, ireland, wales. it's going. when i started with this, i started with 79p and a sewing machine. that was it. and i'm thinking there's no food on the table. yes, i can go to family. yes, i can go to friends. it wasn't in my nature. they say, oh, what are you eating tonight, mum?
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oh, yes, i'm having this and that. and literally living on toast and getting up the next day and making something to sell it. at the end of the day, you've got to rely on yourself. you know, that's the way i am. i'm very, very proud and i was like, i can do this. # i've been laid off for work, my rent is due # my kids all need brand new shoes # so i went to the bank to see what they could do # they said, sorry, looks like bad luck got a hold on you # money's too tight to mention #. there are many like linda starting up small businesses later in life than would be expected. barclays bank have done a lot of research into this growing trend over the last ten years. it's actually really surprising what we found. there's been a huge growth in the number of people in their late 50s, even late 60s who are starting their own business.
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if you think of people in their mid—20s, early 30s, we've seen about 23%. but actually for older people, in their late 50s and 60s it's much higher, a 63% growth. we've seen this new trend most prevalent in london and the south—east compared to the rest of the country. actually in london it's up 89%, higher than anywhere else in the country. one of the reasons that many of these new entrepreneurs are willing to give it a go so late in life is that people of our age have a whole wealth of life experiences to draw upon. # that's money, money #. not everyone makes the decision to start afresh because they can't get a job. louise was at the very top of a hugely successful career. i've been a magazine editor for three decades, journalist and editor. i've been at magazines like vogue, good housekeeping. i was the editor of psychologies magazine.
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louise noticed things changing and worried that she could become surplus to requirement. journalism, it's not entirely but largely a career for younger people. it's going through enormous changes because of the internet. i'm from the old school. so five years ago, old school louise decided to take a giant step and get out of the world of magazines but surprisingly, the business she started up is based purely on the internet. what i decided to do was start a site that finds therapists for people, so it's basically using an algorithm to match people with the therapist most suited to them. i don't literally know how to do that. so of course you use tech developers. in this business i employ people. i'm building a business that i hope will be a major force and will make money, obviously, and we can maybe even sell on.
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are you making money? we do make money, yes. great news, then, that louise is already making money. it turns out, though, that she and others like her are also creating good news for the rest of us. if you look at the impact of all of those people starting their own businesses, who are aged 55 or over, that's worth over £7 billion to the uk economy in any given year. so that's really good news for our economic prosperity. it seems that if you can spot a gap in the market, have enough focus and get up and go, then it's never too late to start your own business, become successful and you might even help the economy. jo good there and her bulldog matilda looked impressed with all that designer dog gear. that's all for this
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week's inside out. tonight's programme will be available on the iplayer. head to our website and click on london. thanks very much for watching. see you again soon. we can expect temperatures to climb as we head into the week ahead. but that transition to milder weather will bring a couple of issues, i suspect. nice end to the day in wakefield. where we have fine weather to end the day we will see clear skies overnight. it will turn very cold. this next weather system pushing in from the atlantic promises to bring some rain. eventually milder air. with cold are still holding on stubbornly, some of us still holding on stubbornly, some of us will see some snow and ice over the next 12 to 24—hour is. the wet weather works its way in from the west during the night from parts of northern ireland. icy conditions and snow for a time across northern ireland and wales as this wet weather pushes in. ahead of that,
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mist and fog patches. in very cold night up to the north. some parts of scotla nd night up to the north. some parts of scotland could get all the way down to -13 scotland could get all the way down to —13 degrees. with all of the rain into cold air, we will see snow and ice tomorrow morning, particularly in central and northern areas, bringing disruption. you can see that everything slides to the east, and particularly over high ground we will see snow for a time. although much of it will turn back to rain as we get into the afternoon. after a bright start things will cloud over north—eastern scotland. we will see significant snow in some places. but rain returning across the west in the day. an awkward mixture of rain, sleet, snow over england, down into the midlands, and snow for some time over lincolnshire and east anglia. just a couple of degrees here, compared with 12 in the far south—west. around here there will be outbreaks of rain which will also affect south west wales. into sunday night, we push that band of rain
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through to the north east. some hangs around in the far south as we go into monday morning. broadly speaking, maunder isn't a bad looking day. some styles of sunshine around. —— monday isn't a bad looking day. temperatures are beginning to not upwards, six to 10 degrees. that's the story over the coming week. temperatures will climb, particularly in the south, 12, 13 degrees. but with the milder conditions will also see some wet and windy weather at times. that's all from me for now. this is bbc news. the headlines at 9: mary lou mcdonald, mary lou mcdonald, the motion's not agreed to. us senators vote to shut down the american government — in a budget row on the first anniversary of donald trump's inauguration. senior democrats say the president is impossible to negotiate with. america knows this is the trump shutdown. only the president can end it. gunmen in afghanistan attack a top
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hotel in the capital, kabul — police there are fighting to regain control of the area. turkey launches an assault on kurdish fighters in northern syria — opening up a new front in the conflict. mary lou mcdonald is confirmed as the only candidate nominated to replace gerry adams as sinn fein president.
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