The cost of Christmas dinner has risen faster than inflation, ten million of us will be tipped into debt this Christmas, even the Chancellor can’t protect his family business from losing money, but I am determined to bring you some tidings of comfort and joy.
My friend Vix, last seen working for £9 an hour in the Spitalfields workhouse, has had a reversal of fortune. This time last Christmas she was skip surfing for survival, and paid for Christmas dinner with the ebay proceeds of two champagne buckets salvaged from a skip outside a defunct gastro pub. If things hadn’t picked up by December she was planning to foster the cat out and run away to Dubai.
This year her fridge is packed with smoked salmon from Ikea and cold cuts from Lidl. She breezed over last night brandishing presents for the children, a marked-down brie from Waitrose and a ham bone for Doughnut.
Hurrah for the mis-sold PPI scam. Years ago, when Vix was struggling with her own business as well as single-handedly supporting friends in fringe theatre with the benefits of her webmastery, she was forced to take out a loan or two. Being a cautious yet trusting girl she signed up for every income insurance scheme the banks offered – not realising, that as she wasn’t in regular employment, she had been sold a pup, an entire litter of pups in fact. For almost four years she has been paying the equivalent of her rent in loan repayments – but no longer!
A month ago those pups came home to roost in the form of a cheque from almost every high street bank in the country. Yes, she is one of thousands to have been reimbursed for a mis sold Payment Protection Insurance on her personal loans. For the cost of a bit of research and a some advice from the Financial Services Authority , she was able to reclaim the cost of all the insurance premiums she had been mis sold and the interest. For once something which three months ago sounded too good to be true, wasn’t. The last of the cheques has just cleared, just in time for Christmas.
To add to the fairy tale she has just, after months of agonised multi-panel interviews and much rifling of friends’
wardrobes for suitable executive attire, landed a proper job. She promptly took out another loan, this time it’s interest free and pays for her rail ticket. She phoned me on Monday morning having squeezed herself and her flask of home made latte onto the train with seconds to spare. “I’m on the 8 .05 from London Bridge, I feel like Reggie Perrin!” she cried. Let me know if you spotted her – she was the one in the black Jaeger from the Sue Ryder shop.