Posts Tagged ‘prices’
With Steam working so well, some optimists figured that with the next-gen consoles, there would be a load of cheap downloadable games we could get our hands on. However, Sony are behind the PS4 and they don’t like value-for-money.
Prices have been announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and the cheapest games are £50. If you’re a teenager, get a part-time job now or you’ll be playing nothing ’til the New Year.
FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are all going for £55 on PSN (Sony’s online marketplace), which are exactly the same price as the games on Xbox Live. Even PS4 exclusives – Knack and Killzone – are only £2 cheaper at £53.
Oddly, physical copies of games are going cheaper (around the £46 mark), which is strange seeing as there’s a manual, cover, box and Blu Ray disc. One thing that might be bringing the price down is that you can’t play games directly off the disc, instead, you have to install them, thereby making the packaging a big waste of everyone’s time.
“As PS4 and PSN have not yet officially launched in this region, nothing on the PSN is final, including pricing on the store,” Sony said. ”You will continue to see some prices adjusted over the next few days in preparation for launch on Friday.”
For bargains, it will definitely be worth waiting for 2014 to roll in because, as it stands, you’ll either be forking out loads of money or getting bored of the scant games available.
The National Audit Office has warned us all that energy bills could rise by around 50% over the next six years, outstripping inflation and basically leaving everyone in a position where no-one can afford to pay for it.
The NAO says in a report: ”The available projections suggest that increases in both energy and water bills will continue to outstrip inflation, on average, up to 2030.”
Angela Knight, chief executive for Energy UK, said that new research shows that energy prices could rise by 46% in the lead up to 2020. So, in short, from 2004, that means that prices will increase by 260%. By 2020, bills could be over £2,000.
Knight said: “The industry has become a lightning conductor for the general concern about the cost of living. As a result we stand accused for things that we do, for things that we don’t do, for things that we are responsible for and things that we are not … this is not an understood industry.”
Understood or not, we all know that prices are going up more sharply than wage increases and that any lack of transparency in the sector isn’t our fault. Bill prices haven’t been justified or explained and no-one seems to be doing anything about it, even though it looks like certain companies are indulging in flagrant blackmailing of the government by threatening further price rises if green levvies don’t change.
The NAO is recommending that the Treasury needs to publish the expected overall impact on our bills in a bid to promote transparency. Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “Government and regulators do not know the overall impact of planned infrastructure on future consumer utility bills, or whether households, especially those on low incomes, will be able to afford to pay them. It seems critical to know ‘how much is too much’, based on reliable information.”
The Government have announced that they’re curbing train operators’ ability to increase ticket prices in 2014. Thus far, rail companies have been able to slap on an additional 5% to fares, provided the average rise of regulated fares is maintained at 1% above inflation. However, that will now be limited to 2%.
It isn’t a decrease, but it is better than a kick in the arse.
The rise in the new year will be based on the July 2013 RPI inflation rate, which means the old flexible system has gone, and thereby ending tickets going up by eye-watering amounts (some season tickets could have gone up by nearly 10% under the old rules).
This review was published today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who said: ”By capping fares we are protecting passengers from large rises at a time when family incomes are already being squeezed. We will need to wait for the rail industry to calculate individual ticket prices for next year, but this cap could save some commuters as much as £200 a year.”
The review also looks at a potential end to paper tickets, flexible season tickets and a code of conduct for train companies in the hope that they’ll actually give passengers some confidence that they are getting the best deal for their journey.
McLoughlin added: “Today is just the start of a Government-wide programme to help hardworking people and reduce the cost of living. The Government will be announcing a range of initiatives to help put money back in people’s pockets over the next few weeks. Alongside this, the Government is investing over £16bn to transform our rail network, which will make sure we can respond to increasing passenger demand and drive forward economic growth that will help strengthen our economy.”
Npower have blasted British Gas for their Free Power Saturdays idea, claiming it’s a gimmick which will confuse customers.
Npower chief Paul Massara said: ‘We are looking at smart meters but we think at the moment Joe Public is more concerned about understanding their bill and the size of the bill. A ‘Free Saturday’ is more of a gimmick really. People will simply end up paying more during the week to make up for it.’
(Let’s just take a moment to digest that ‘Joe Public’ comment, which shows how slow witted he thinks we really are.)
So what’s npower’s helpful contribution to their customers? Well, it’s… a simplified bill. UNFORTUNATELY, though, 2 million customers will face an 11% increase in their standing charge for electricity this winter too. Apparently, the higher standing charge is intended to cover a £40 annual loyalty discount which is already in place.
Now, I know I’m only ‘Joe Public’ but I wouldn’t say that’s a very good gimmick, Paul. How about something a bit more snappy, like: ‘WAIT FOR DEATH WEDNESDAY’ or ‘FROZEN THURSDAYS?’
Despite the fact that Centrica have just announced a big sizzling, toasting, roasting, sweaty profit of £356m from the cold weather of 2012-13– British Gas say they can’t rule out price rises this winter.
As we all know, they raised fuel prices by 6% in the depths of November 2012, and the long run of cold weather and frozen spring saw customers using 13% more gas than usual. But instead of allowing their customers to benefit, BG are now mumbling something about the profit being absorbed by ‘substantially higher costs for environmental obligations and network charges.’
This is also after PROMISING customers they would use the benefits of their profitable winter to freeze prices. They announced that in May, but they didn’t confirm it, and now it seems they’re not going to bother.
Centrica’s finance director Nick Luff said the extra profits created by British Gas only equated to about an extra 70p per customer, so they wouldn’t be ruling out upping prices.
Looks like we’ll all have to wear extra big jumpers this winter. Or DIE.
Microsoft have been having a bit of a nightmare, with people yelling at them for apparent ‘always-on’ internet needs for the Xbox One, as well as the notion that they’ll be putting an end to people buying second-hand games.
And so, in a bid to publicly win a few hearts and minds, the company have announced that they won’t put out first party titles any higher than an RRP of £50.
Which is still a load of money.
However, that is the same price as new games on the previous 360 platform, so something of a price freeze.
Of course, third parties will be allowed to charge whatever they want for games, so don’t expect Activision’s ‘Call of Duty’ to be cheap, especially when the demand is so large. Naturally, supermarkets and such will be offering discounts and packages , but we’ll just have to see what happens there.
Passengers travelling through the Channel Tunnel (or ‘Chunnel’ if you’re from the ’90s) are being ripped off accordin to the European Commission. The EC have demanded that Eurotunnel slash their “excessive” £32 per passenger return levy plus per train fee.
They state that these charges are putting other train companies off entering the market and it is giving Eurostar an unfair dominance. Not only that, the grown in passenger numbers is too slow, held back by these high charges.
As a result, the number of goods trains is falling annually and shipping companies are relying on carbon-intensive road travel instead.
Vice president of the European Commission Siim Kallas said: “The Channel Tunnel is not being used to its full capacity because of these excessive charges. As a result, more freight is being carried on lorries instead of by rail; freight operators and their customers are being overcharged, and passengers are paying over the odds for their tickets. The current regime is also stifling growth in the rail sector.”
A spokeswoman for Eurostar said: “We are keen to encourage more passengers to travel with us and to new destinations and the cost is a significant factor in that. If the cost of going through the tunnel is lower then we have greater flexibility on destinations.”
The EC added that the Channel Tunnel regulator, IGC, wasn’t independent which is obviously a problem: “Lack of independence of a rail regulator can lead to failure by the regulator to address complaints by operators in an independent manner or to adopt decisions to force compliance with EU rules and thus can lead to distortions of competition”.
Remember when festivals were full of young people with flowers painted on their boobs, indulging in free love? Well, now they’re more likely to be full of tedious over 30s with John Lewis picnic equipment and an endless supply of Dorset Cereal, according to a new survey by MSN.
It’s hardly surprising when you find out that the average cost for a British festival is now a staggering £423.01 – that’s including tickets, transport, camping equipment, bottles of Williams Brothers craft beer, crap straw hats and ukelele maintenance.
As festival goers are older these days, there’s also been an increasing trend towards older headline acts. It seems that when you hit 36 it’s impossible to process new things, so campers are much happier to see established acts from back in the days when they were happy and had an intact hairline. In fact, 43% of the 2000 festival goers polled said they preferred to see acts that had been around a decade or more.
The average age of festival punters who go to T In The Park is 37, with Glastonbury at 36 and Reading and Leeds at a relatively sprightly 35 years and eight months.
So come on, Reef – start rehearsing ‘Place Your Hands’ – you’ve got work to do.
Not content with charging the earth for a Grab Bag of Quavers and a pine forest Magic Tree, service stations seem to think they can charge what they like for petrol, too.
Prices at the pumps at your average motorway services can be 10p a litre higher than elsewhere, but that’s soon going to change, say the Government.
They want to make them advertise their prices on the road, to create competition between service stations and ‘drive’ prices down. So you will never again be stuck at the South Mimms Welcome Break with tears in your eyes and a petrol bill of £2 million pounds. It happens in France already, so it must be good, right?
Pete Williams from the RAC welcomed the proposal, which is currently being drawn up by the Downing Street Policy Unit.
‘This is welcome news for motorists and commercial drivers but we still need motorway services to be transparent and fair on all their prices. They have held the motorist to ransom for far too long – let’s hope that Number 10 encourages them to sort out their food prices and their parking charges too.’
Encouraging words for anyone who has ever had to extend their mortgage so they can buy a Costa coffee and a tuna melt panini that tastes like fish weetabix.
British drivers have long complained about the high price of fuelling their cars… and with good reason. It costs more than £100 to fill up their tanks, thanks to the prices shooting up by 5.5% in two months.
Unleaded cars are being hit the hardest, with the price increasing by an eye-watering 7.3% a litre, according to analysis by Santander.
So who is being ripped off the most? Well, if you’re unlucky enough to live in Paisley, Durham or Hereford, you’re paying 9% more for unleaded fuel than anywhere else.
In Dumfries, petrol prices are at an average 145.9 a litre, which equates to £100 per average tank. Same goes for Durham, which is bleak news indeed. However, if you live in Torquay, it’ll cost you an average £95.13 for a 70-litre tank. Still expensive, but not as bad as the aforementioned places.
“With the cost of fuel expected to reach its highest level in the coming weeks, families and car commuters are likely to be the hardest hit once again,” said Alan Mathewson, from Santander. “Aside from mortgage costs, households in the UK already spend more on transport than any other living cost, so further hikes may well push many family budgets over the edge. There are a number of small changes people can make to reduce these costs, such as car-pooling with colleagues, driving more economically or using public transport.”
As well as Dumfries and Durham, other rip-off towns include Hereford, Crewe and Oxford. The five least expensive places (so if you live nearby, you might to get on it) to buy fuel are Torquay, Kirkcaldy, Plymouth, Bradford and Wigan.
As we all know, the price of train tickets has been leaping wildly upward for too long, with some going up by double in ten years. And are our trains running more efficiently and all shiny and new? Arse they are.
And so, ministers – far too late to the party, as usual – are saying that future price hikes could be scrapped. Rail minister Norman Baker said he wanted to stop further increases, but showed typical insensitivity by saying that current fares were ‘not nearly as expensive as is being presented’.
Tell that to those who have seen tickets going up by almost 90% and everyone else who has noticed that fares have outstripped salary rises.
Baker said: ‘We want to end the era of above-inflation rises as soon as we possibly can, and we’re working towards that. I’m engaged in the fares and ticketing review… which will aim to make fares more transparent and simpler for the passenger. I think in an ideal world we wouldn’t be having fare increases above inflation.’
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said: “The impact of successive Government’s policies on rail fares is appalling. It’s truly shocking that we have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance that many struggle to afford. The time has come not just to stop the rises but to reduce fares.”
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said: “We understand commuters don’t like to pay more to travel to work but it is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. Successive governments have required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets every January since 2004 by more than inflation. Ministers want passengers to pay a larger share of railway running costs to reduce the contribution from taxpayers while sustaining investment in better stations, new trains and faster services.”
Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union, spits: “Passengers getting another inflation-busting kick in the teeth know that their hard-earned cash is being bled out of the railways and into the pockets of a bunch of spivs and chancers.”
Wine (hashish for Tories) is about to get more expensive, which is terrible news for people who prefer boozing to talking about their stifling, miserable, lonely lives. A bottle of plonk could be a whole quid dearer in the new year, thanks to a poor harvest of grapes this summer.
This means, those of you who went for the second cheapest wine, could be begrudgingly spending something in the region of the wines you once refuted for being slightly too pricey.
Those hardest hit were the Argentinians, as well as the French and the Italians. It seems the lousy weather was too wet for decent wine grapes, to the point where the International Organisation of Vine and Wine noted that global production was at its lowest in over 30 years!
This will lead us to an average price of £6 per bottle.
“I would expect to see significant price inflation at entry price points,’ said Majestic Wine boss Steve Lewis. “The price of a bottle of pinot grigio could go up by between 50p and £1 come February/March.”
Fill your boots this Christmas and New Year because, in 2013, we’ll all be downing cans of Ace and trying to get pissed on Wine Gums.
The Rolling Stones are BACK! Yes, AGAIN! Arguably the world’s biggest still-surviving rock and roll act, Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wood, Jones, Starr, Holder and Bullard have announced a few gigs to help promote their new 50th anniversary greatest hits album.
It all sounds pretty good until you look at the cost of the tickets for their show at the O2 Arena, formerly know as the Millennium Dome. The cheapest ones are £106 and they go up all the way to a whopping £406. Yes, £406! Those prices include some fairly mammoth booking fees as well (£31 in the case of the most expensive tickets).
Are the Stones worth that amount of money (bear in mind that they probably won’t be doing this kind of thing for that much longer)? Is any artist worth that amount of money? TELL US!*
(*before noon on Tuesday)
To nobody’s surprise whatsoever, Npower has joined British Gas and SSE in announcing a gas and electricity price increase, with an average of 8.8% on gas and 9.1% on electricity kicking in from 26 November.
Earlier today, British Gas announce an average increase of 6% for both fuels, which was a huge relief to millions, after it had been rumoured to be closer to 8% (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it).
We haven’t bothered checking but we assume that Npower are blaming it all on the old chestnut of ‘wholesale gas prices’ as per usual. Rumours are abound that Scottish Power will be next. Probably time to shop around for a new deal before they ALL whack up the prices…
Is your monthly budget just about at breaking point? Have your pips been squeezed until they’ve got nothing more to give? Do you use a mobile phone? If the answer to that last question is yes, get ready because the season of pay-monthly price rises is on its way again.
It looks as though the mobile phone providers are starting to get a thirst for hiking up the prices of their customers monthly bills more or less in line with the rate of inflation. Of course, they’re legally entitled to do that but they now seem to be adopting it as an essential way of squeezing more cash out of the humble consumer.
Those tax-avoiding pranksters Vodafone have today had the brass balls to text customers who signed up before 7th September 2012, informing them that from 1st November, their monthly line rental will be going up by as much as 2.4%, about 60p per month for most customers. As that figure is less than the RPI rate of inflation, Vodafone are well within their legal rights.
It follows on from last year, when they rounded up contract prices to the nearest 50p – a moved which Which! reckon has earned them an additional £10.5m over the past year. To be fair, that’s a drop in the ocean when compared to the £7 billion which it is said they managed to persuade the HMRC from charging them in tax.
Now we just need to sit back and wait for the other mobile providers to wait until it’s a year since their last price rises – we won’t be even vaguely surprised to see them hit their customers with another price hike that’s in the same region as Vodafone’s 2.4% rise.
Did you sign up for a fixed term mobile phone contract believing that you’d be paying a fixed tariff? Or do you think that the likes of Vodafone should be able to start charging you more midway through your deal? Let us know in the box below – we won’t even charge you a penny for the privilege!