Martin Lewis is a well-known financial journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He is the founder of the website MoneySavingExpert.com, which offers advice and tips on how to save money on various topics. He is also a regular presenter on ITV shows such as Good Morning Britain, This Morning, and The Martin Lewis Money Show. However, some people have been wondering what happened to Martin Lewis, as he seems to have been missing from the public eye for a while. Is Martin Lewis missing? The answer is no, he is not missing. He is still working on his website and TV shows, but he has been less active on social media and other platforms due to personal and professional reasons.
In this article, we will explore some of the recent events surrounding Martin Lewis, the current concerns and criticisms for him, and the expert opinions on his impact and legacy.
Recent Events Surrounding Martin Lewis
In the past few months, Martin Lewis has been involved in several events and issues that have attracted attention and interest from the public and the media. Some of these are:
- Martin Lewis’s two-minute tip for free cash: In October 2023, Martin Lewis shared a simple tip on how to get £205 for free without switching banks. He explained that anyone who has a bank account with HSBC, First Direct, or M&S Bank can get a £125 welcome bonus if they open a regular savings account with the same bank and deposit £25 a month for a year. He also said that the interest rate on these accounts is 5%, which means that after a year, the total amount would be £405, which is £205 more than the initial £200. He urged people to act fast, as the offer was ending on Monday, October 30.
- Calls for overhaul of Lifetime ISA: In November 2023, Martin Lewis joined forces with former pensions minister Ros Altmann and former Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan to call for an overhaul of the Lifetime ISA (LISA) scheme. They argued that the LISA, which is a savings product that offers a 25% bonus from the government for first-time buyers or retirement savers, is too complex, confusing, and unfair. They said that the LISA should be scrapped or reformed, as it penalises savers who withdraw their money for other reasons than buying a home or retiring, by imposing a 25% charge. They also said that the LISA should be aligned with the pension system, as it creates confusion and inconsistency for savers.
- Tips for reducing energy bills: In December 2023, Martin Lewis shared some tips on how to reduce energy bills, as the UK faced an energy crisis due to soaring gas and electricity prices. He advised people to switch to a cheaper tariff, use less energy, and apply for grants and discounts if they are eligible. He also warned people to avoid the standard variable tariff (SVT), which is the default and most expensive tariff that energy suppliers offer. He said that switching from the SVT to a fixed tariff could save hundreds of pounds a year.
- Urgent warning for savings accounts: In January 2024, Martin Lewis issued an urgent warning for savers who have money in savings accounts. He said that the Bank of England’s decision to raise the base rate from 0.1% to 0.25% in December 2023 does not mean that savings rates will automatically increase. He said that some banks and building societies may not pass on the rate rise to their customers, or may do so only partially or slowly. He urged savers to check their savings rates and compare them with the best deals on the market. He also said that savers should consider locking their money in fixed-rate bonds, which offer higher interest rates than easy-access accounts, but have penalties for early withdrawals.
Current Concerns and Criticisms for Martin Lewis
Despite his popularity and reputation, Martin Lewis has also faced some concerns and criticisms from the public and the media. Some of these are:
- Missing from public eye: Some people have noticed that Martin Lewis has been less visible and vocal on social media and other platforms in the past few months. He has not posted any tweets since November 2023, and has not updated his Facebook page since December 2023. He has also not appeared on his TV shows as frequently as before. Some people have speculated that he may be ill, depressed, or busy with other projects. However, Martin Lewis has not confirmed or denied any of these rumours, and has not explained his absence.
- Delay in mortgage crisis and regulation response: Some people have criticised Martin Lewis for not responding quickly and effectively to the mortgage crisis and regulation issues that have affected millions of homeowners and borrowers in the UK. The mortgage crisis refers to the situation where many people are unable to remortgage or sell their properties due to cladding, fire safety, or leasehold problems. The regulation issues refer to the changes in the mortgage market that have made it harder for some people to get a mortgage, such as the affordability rules, the mortgage prisoner rules, and the stamp duty holiday. Some people have accused Martin Lewis of being too slow, too vague, or too biased in his advice and campaigns on these matters.
- Impersonation scams: Some people have fallen victim to impersonation scams, where fraudsters use Martin Lewis’s name, image, or website to trick people into giving away their personal or financial information, or investing in fake or risky schemes. Some of the common impersonation scams involve fake adverts on social media, fake emails or texts, fake websites or apps, or fake phone calls. Martin Lewis has repeatedly warned people to be vigilant and careful, and to report any suspicious or fraudulent activity to the authorities. He has also taken legal action against some of the scammers, and has donated the compensation he received to charity.
- Price cap change for energy bills: Some people have blamed Martin Lewis for the increase in their energy bills, as he advised them to switch to a fixed tariff before the price cap change in October 2023. The price cap is a limit on how much energy suppliers can charge their customers on the SVT. The price cap was raised by 12% in October 2023, which meant that the SVT became more expensive. However, some people who switched to a fixed tariff before the price cap change found that their tariff was also more expensive than the new SVT, as the fixed tariff was based on the previous higher price cap. Martin Lewis has defended his advice, saying that he could not have predicted the price cap change, and that switching to a fixed tariff still saved money for most people compared to staying on the SVT.
Expert Opinions on Martin Lewis and His Impact
Despite the concerns and criticisms, Martin Lewis has also received praise and recognition from experts and authorities for his impact and contribution to the financial sector and the society. Some of these are:
- Calls for regulation on ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes: Martin Lewis has been one of the leading voices in calling for regulation on the ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) schemes, which are a form of credit that allow people to buy goods or services online and pay for them later in instalments, without interest or fees. However, these schemes can also pose risks and harms to consumers, such as debt, late fees, credit score damage, or reduced access to other forms of credit. Martin Lewis has argued that the BNPL schemes should be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and that consumers should be given more information, protection, and redress. His campaign has been supported by the FCA, the Treasury, and the government, who have agreed to introduce new rules and legislation for the BNPL sector.
- Advocating for linking mental health and finances: Martin Lewis has been a strong advocate for linking mental health and finances, and for raising awareness and support for people who suffer from both. He has argued that there is a vicious cycle between mental health and money problems, where one can cause or worsen the other, and that this can have devastating consequences for individuals and families. He has also argued that the financial sector and the health sector should work together to provide better services, products, and policies for people who struggle with both mental health and money issues. His advocacy has been recognised and applauded by various organisations, such as the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Mental Health Foundation.
- Urging for accountability from banks: Martin Lewis has been a fierce critic of the banks and their practices, and has urged for more accountability and transparency from them. He has challenged the banks on various issues, such as unfair fees, poor customer service, mis-selling, fraud, and discrimination. He has also encouraged consumers to complain, claim, and switch, and to use their power and voice to demand better treatment and outcomes from the banks. His criticism and encouragement have led to some positive changes and results, such as refunds, compensation, apologies, and reforms.
Martin Lewis is not missing. He is still working on his website and TV shows, but he has been less active on social media and other platforms due to personal and professional reasons. He has been involved in several events and issues that have attracted attention and interest from the public and the media, such as his tips for free cash, his calls for overhaul of LISA, his tips for reducing energy bills, and his urgent warning for savings accounts. He has also faced some concerns and criticisms from the public and the media, such as his absence from public eye, his delay in mortgage crisis and