jueves, 10 de octubre de 2013

How low interest rates affect borrowers and savers

Whenever authorities announce that interest rates will be lowered or not raised, there is widespread contentment. But not everybody welcomes the news.

Self-study activity:
Watch this BBC news item and answer the questions below about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 What's the employment situation in Ely?
2 Why didn't pensioners welcome the news about low interest rates?
3  What's the family situation of Amanda Freeman?
4  What benefits will she get from low interest rates?
5  How have many businesses reacted to the news of low interest rates?
6  How does Kate Marshall feel about the news?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below. Remember that if you don't understand the meaning of any word, you can easily look it up by double-clicking on it.

The cathedral city of Ely has grown rapidly in recent years. The employment rate here is higher than the national average even though it’s an easy commute to Cambridge and London, and tourism helps the local economy too. But this small community has felt the downturn, including these pensioners who meet in the morning to knit and natter. Those who rely on their savings to boost their income weren’t impressed by the promise to hold interest rates down.
I can understand that it will be stability for the country and the economy, but it doesn’t help me at all. I just feel that we’ve been prudent for a long time before our retirement and I can just now see our savings just being eroded away. It’s costing us more and more each month to live.
Many in this quiet and contained city have talked about having to tighten their belts in recent times, but the words of the Governor of the Bank of England have boosted the confidence of some.
Home-owner Amanda Freeman has been decorating, but wasn’t sure if she could afford to do everything she wanted. She is a single mother with two children and a mortgage and she brightened up for today’s announcement.
It’s good news obviously for me and now that my mortgage is hopefully going to stay as it is for a little while means I can budget easier and, well, hopefully do a few more home improvements.
Businesswoman Kate Marshall, who runs these dance studios, is more lukewarm. While many businesses well over welcomed what Mark Carney had to say, she thinks maintaining the status quo won’t provide much of a boost.
I don’t think it will make much of a difference to me financially other than, that I’m hoping it will hold down the interest rates on my loan and my overdraft which are quite high as it is.
The peace and beauty of this market city are underpinned by relative prosperity, but for many people who feel a little bit more secure after today, there’s another who feels worse off.