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The Week
The Week

The Week Unwrapped: Bank warning, allergies and talking to strangers

Will life get easier for savers? Why are allergies rising? And should we talk to more people we don’t know?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Guy Anker, Suchandrika Chakrabarti and Arion McNicoll.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped wherever you get your podcasts:

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Savings rates

The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s banking regulator, says it will take “robust action” if banks fail to pass on rising interest rates to customers with savings as well as mortgages. High-street banks have been accused of being too slow to pay out more on savings accounts, despite raising rates on loans and mortgages almost immediately. What action can the FCA take? And what can we do to make sure we’re getting the best return on our money?

Allergies on the rise

The number of people taken to hospital in the UK suffering from severe allergies has more than doubled in the past two decades, rising from 12,361 to 35,721. The wider availability of foods from around the world is one factor, but an increase in the number of birch trees – which produce large quantities of pollen – has also been blamed. Amena Warner, head of clinical services at Allergy UK, the leading national patient charity for people living with all types of allergy, told The Guardian that the rise was “hugely worrying”.

Talking to strangers

A recent survey has found that people are increasingly unwilling to talk to people they don’t know. Even when we’re in a public place, we’re more likely to insulate ourselves from conversations with strangers by listening to music (or podcasts) or browsing on our phones. Are we denying ourselves the simple pleasure of chance encounters, and could there be a more significant drawbacks to our social retreat?

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