PR’s of the Week
Every week, we post the best covered stories that were sent through MediaHQ’s press release distribution tool. This week the Banking and Payments Federation, the Construction Industry Federation and the AA made it to the top of our list.
We would also like to pass our condolences to everyone who was affected by the Creeslough tragedy on Friday afternoon. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families during this very difficult time.
1) The Banking and Payments Federation
Title: Embargo Tuesday 4th Oct 2022 - Dedicated phonelines for vulnerable customers moving bank account set up by five retail banks as latest figures show 434,000 accounts opened to date in 2022
Author: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications
Email delivery rate: 99.6%
Time of release: 16:12 on 03/10/2022
Press release content:
*****EMBARGO 00.01hrs TUESDAY 4TH OCTOBER 2022*****
Dedicated phonelines for vulnerable customers moving bank account set up by five retail banks as latest figures show 434,000 accounts opened to date in 2022
As account opening activity increases, BPFI publishes guide on moving account for customers in vulnerable circumstances, and those helping them, as part of public information campaign
Tuesday 4th October 2022 - Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today announced that all five retail banks have put in place dedicated phonelines for customers in vulnerable circumstances who are moving bank accounts due to the exit of Ulster Bank and KBC from the market. The announcement comes as new BPFI figures (attached above) show account opening increased again in August with 70,000 personal current accounts (PCAs) opened in the four weeks ending 2nd September. This brings to 434,000 the number of PCAs opened in the year to date, which is on average 12,400 a week.
As account opening activity increases, BPFI is today highlighting the supports in place by banks for customers who may need additional assistance as they move accounts. In tandem with the dedicated phonelines set up by all the retail banks, BPFI have also launched a new guide aimed at customers in vulnerable circumstances, and those caring for them in a personal or private capacity, who are in the process of moving to a new financial services provider. The guide, which is part of a wider information campaign, details the different types of circumstances which may lead a customer to require additional assistance as they move account and provides examples of the various types of solutions which banks can put in place.
Speaking on these initiatives Louise O Mahony, Head of Sustainable Banking, BPFI said: “BPFI and its member banks are acutely aware that moving bank can be a daunting experience, particularly for customers who may be in vulnerable circumstances. There are many reasons a customer may need additional support during this process. This includes customers who cannot attend a branch due to mobility issues, those who may have an accessibility need due to hearing loss or customers who need additional support due to diminished cognitive ability. Indeed, in many cases it may be a trusted family member, a carer, or a legal representative acting on behalf of the customer who needs help during the account moving process.”
“That is why today we are highlighting our dedicated phonelines which are in place across the five retail banks for customers who need this extra assistance as well as the guide we have published which aims to reassure customers that help is at hand from their existing or chosen new bank as they move accounts, regardless of their situation. Frontline staff - online, on the phone, or in the branch - are trained to help and we are encouraging all those customers who feel they need additional support to contact their new provider on their dedicated phoneline to discuss their individual situation. Banks understand the importance of facilitating independent decision making for all customers, and while some cases are quite complex and may take more time our member banks understand that each case is different and will work with you to find a solution,” Ms O’Mahony concluded.
Today’s initiative forms part of a wider programme of work which BPFI and its member banks have undertaken in recent months to ensure dedicated resources and supports are in place for customers who require additional assistance as they move bank account. This has included ongoing and in-depth training for front line bank staff as well as regular cross-bank meetings through BPFI’s Vulnerable Customer Forum to discuss and agree a shared understanding of the challenges for and best practice approach to customers in vulnerable circumstances. Extensive engagement has also taken place with a range of stakeholders including Safeguarding Ireland, the Department of Social Protection, the HSE and the Decision Support Services* to road test the industry’s approach for customers moving bank account who need additional support.
The launch today of each bank’s dedicated phoneline and the BPFI guide is being further supported by a national and local radio and digital advertising campaign and over the coming weeks BPFI will further engage with Safeguarding Ireland and other advocacy groups to share awareness of the issues that can arise for vulnerable customers as they move financial service provider and to ensure our new guide reaches as many impacted customers as possible. A copy of the guide, along with a host of other information on moving bank account is available on BPFI’s movingaccount.ie website here.
* The Decision Support Service is a new service established under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. It will provide an essential service for people who face difficulties exercising their decision-making capacity.
2) Construction Industry Federation
Title: Updated: 96% of construction companies report increase in cost of materials: Construction Industry Federation Economic Outlook.
Author: Jennifer Nisbet-Daly, Communications Executive
Email delivery rate: 98.3%
Time of release: 10:18 on 05/10/2022
5th October 2022
96% of construction companies report increase in cost of materials: Construction Industry Federation Economic Outlook.
CIF annual conference takes place, tomorrow, Thursday 6th October 2022 at Croke Park.
96% of construction companies have reported a rise in the cost of building materials between June and August 2022, with 85% expecting cost rises to continue to year end, according to the latest Construction Industry Federation Economic Outlook research. This comes as the Government plans to impose a 10% levy on concrete products.
86% reported an increase in the cost of labour over the last three months, with 61% expecting labour costs to continue to increase.
The increasing cost of materials was cited as the top concern for companies over the next three to six months (86%), followed by access to skilled labour and cost of labour (both 72%), securing a healthy profit margin (69%) and the cost of fuel (67%).
Just 12% of companies believe that the Government’s inflationary measures introduced between January and May 2022 have been effective. CIF believes the primary reasons for this are a lack of engagement and awareness from contracting authorities. 88% hold the view that the increased cost of building new homes will have a negative impact on housing supply in 2023.
Despite the challenging trade environment, the industry remains resilient, with a significant number of companies expecting to increase their turnover and staff.
76% of construction companies reported that their turnover has stayed the same or increased over the last three months, with over one third reporting an increase (35%). 82% of companies surveyed reported that staffing levels had increased or stayed the same, with this trend expected to continue for the remainder of the year.
Director General of the Construction Industry Federation, Tom Parlon, said: “Cost increases are having a significant impact on the construction industry, with rises in the cost of materials, labour and energy.
“The Government’s budget announcement of a 10% levy on concrete products is out of step with the needs of public consumers and construction companies at a time when extraordinary inflationary factors are driving costs up across society.
“We understand the issue the Government is seeking to address around the faulty product that was supplied into the construction sector, but we are concerned that this measure will result in additional costs for first-time buyers, people trying to extend their homes, affordable and social houses and public infrastructure projects, as it will drive costs up along the supply chain.
“Current indicators from our research are that the outlook is stable for construction companies this year, which have weathered the impact of Brexit, Covid shutdowns and supply chain disruption. But there are challenges ahead, particularly for housing targets, which now include the impact of the new levy.
“To support the industry to continue to deliver on critical housing and infrastructure for the Irish people, the Government should continue to invest counter cyclically and put in place measures to effectively manage inflation in the sector as we look towards 2023.”
The Construction Industry Federation’s Economic Outlook Survey was carried out by Accuracy Research with 202 CIF members between 2nd – 9th September 2022.
The federation’s annual conference will take place in Croke Park tomorrow, 6th October 2022, with 500 delegates from across the sector expected to attend. Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, will address the audience.
To find out more about the conference visit: https://cifconference.ie/
The full Construction Industry Federation Economic Outlook October 2022 is attached for your reference.
3) The AA
Title: Analysis by the AA shows that EV drivers can pay as much 3½ times more if they don’t choose the right electricity provider and plan.
Author: Paddy Comyn, Head of Communications
Email delivery rate: 100%
Time of release: 06:44 on 03/10/2022
Press release content:
Analysis by the AA shows that EV drivers can pay as much 3½ times more if they don’t choose the right electricity provider and plan.
New research by the AA shows that EV drivers can pay as much as 3.5 times more to charge their EVs by failing to shop around for the right tariff.
Around 14,000 Battery Electric Vehicles have been sold so far this year in Ireland, which represents an 83% increase compared to last year. In the same period, sales of petrol and diesel vehicles have fallen by 7.6% and 20.5% respectively. With the government continuing its support of EV sales by providing grants, many car buyers are opting to go electric for the first time.
However many EV owners are now paying multiples more than their neighbours by failing to shop around, AA research has found.
Ireland’s best-selling EV this year is the Volkswagen iD.4, which has a 77kWh battery. Some EV drivers can pay up to €33.32 to fill the iD.4’s battery. However, their neighbour could be paying as little as €9.74 to charge up.
Consumers that haven’t shopped around and have stuck to a tariff such as Electric Ireland’s Pay As You Go tariff will be paying as much as €0.4327 per kWh from the 1st of October. To fill the iD.4’s battery at this rate, they would pay €33.32
Their next-door neighbour with a smart meter who has shopped around and got a night rate of €0.2155 only pays €16.59.
Savvy drivers can take advantage of a tariff like the ‘Night Boost’ from Electric Ireland. The rate between 2 am and 4 am will be priced at €0.1265. This is the equivalent of paying €9.74 for a full charge, which is about 3.5 times less than the driver that failed to shop around.
“With the average motorist in Ireland driving about 17,000km per year, choosing the right time to charge and which tariff to use could save them up to €1,000 per year in charging costs alone. As long as they are happy to ‘top up’ by about 80km range per night, a year’s worth of driving would cost them a mere €404.00,” said Blake Boland from AA Ireland.
“With the average price of petrol at €1.84 and diesel at €1.94 according to our survey this month, we know that the same distance driven by your equivalent diesel will be about €1,900, and about €2,300 for the petrol version. Even paying the highest rate of domestic electricity from October 1st, the same 17,000km is going to cost an EV driver €1,381, but this analysis shows that it could cost as little as €404.
Electric Ireland offers a ‘Night Boost’ tariff that offers a discounted rate of €0.1265 per kWh. Those with a smart meter can program their car to take advantage of this rate and charge only between the hours of 2 am and 4 am. This would be the equivalent of putting approximately 80km of driving range into the car every night for €1.90, which is about the same price as 1 litre of Diesel at today’s prices.
Those that don’t keep an eye on their electricity bills or when they charge their cars, may find themselves paying as much as €0.4327 per kWh*** from the 1st of October. At this rate, the same 15kWh charge would cost €6.49, nearly 3.5 times more.****
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