<p>According to thinktank the Resolution Foundation, the proportion of adults owning no property has also risen, leading to wealth inequality</p><p>One in 10 UK adults, or 5.2 million people, own a second home, while four in 10 adults own no property at all, according to new research that highlights the stark divide in wealth that Britain now faces.</p><p>The number of people who do not own property has also risen over the past 12 years, according to the <a href="http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/press-releases/21st-century-britain-has-seen-a-30-per-cent-increase-in-second-home-ownership/">Resolution Foundation</a>.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/second-home-ownership-up-30-since-2000-research-finds">Continue reading...</a>

Second-home ownership up 30% since 2000, research finds

Aug 19, 2017 16:54

According to thinktank the Resolution Foundation, the proportion of adults owning no property has also risen, leading to wealth inequality

One in 10 UK adults, or 5.2 million people, own a second home, while four in 10 adults own no property at all, according to new research that highlights the stark divide in wealth that Britain now faces.

The number of people who do not own property has also risen over the past 12 years, according to the Resolution Foundation.

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A million people have taken out the help-to-buy Isa, but there’s another option for savers<p>The government is hailing the success of the help-to-buy Isa, with figures released today which show that a million accounts have been opened by first-time buyers since December 2015, with £1.8bn saved towards buying a home.</p><p>It’s not difficult to see why they have been popular – the government <a href="https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/how-does-it-work/" title="https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/how-does-it-work/">gives a 25% bonus on savings of up to £12,000</a>, worth £3,000 for an individual or £6,000 for a couple. To put it another way, a couple who save £24,000 between them for a deposit are given a further £6,000 by the government. The money has to be used to buy a home up to the value of £250,000 outside London, or up to £450,000 in the capital.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/help-to-buy-isa-first-time-buyers-lisa">Continue reading...</a>

Here’s help to decide which of two Isas is the best to buy into

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

A million people have taken out the help-to-buy Isa, but there’s another option for savers

The government is hailing the success of the help-to-buy Isa, with figures released today which show that a million accounts have been opened by first-time buyers since December 2015, with £1.8bn saved towards buying a home.

It’s not difficult to see why they have been popular – the government gives a 25% bonus on savings of up to £12,000, worth £3,000 for an individual or £6,000 for a couple. To put it another way, a couple who save £24,000 between them for a deposit are given a further £6,000 by the government. The money has to be used to buy a home up to the value of £250,000 outside London, or up to £450,000 in the capital.

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<p>It’s got a Norman castle, an ancient cathedral, fantastic views over the Medway – and Dickens</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Every time I go to Rochester it surprises me. I forget how ravishingly beautiful it is, the Norman castle and ancient cathedral high on a&nbsp;bluff above the Medway, curling lanes of old houses, bookshops and flint walls tumbling down the hill. The views! The long Medway valley, lined with the foothills of the North Kent Downs, is dreamy. The history! Pilgrims and scholars, naval bases and Dickens. There’s no escaping him here. Dickens spent much of his childhood in Chatham, next door, and his latter years at Gad’s Hill Place, just outside. The Swiss chalet in the garden where he wrote his novels now sits, surreally, on the High Street. Nearby, you’ll find <em>the</em> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/03/digested-read-great-expectations-dickens" title="">Satis House, of Miss Havisham fame</a>, <em>the</em> Pumblechook’s chambers, and crystals and karma at <em>the</em> <a href="https://en-gb.facebook.com/LittleDorritRochester" title="">Little Dorrit new age shop</a>.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Rochester’s economy, and that of Chatham and Gillingham, has for centuries been tethered to the navy. A substitute has yet to be found since the dockyard’s decline.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/18/lets-move-to-rochester-kent-ravishingly-beautiful">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Rochester, Kent: ‘It’s ravishingly beautiful’

Aug 18, 2017 16:30

It’s got a Norman castle, an ancient cathedral, fantastic views over the Medway – and Dickens

What’s going for it? Every time I go to Rochester it surprises me. I forget how ravishingly beautiful it is, the Norman castle and ancient cathedral high on a bluff above the Medway, curling lanes of old houses, bookshops and flint walls tumbling down the hill. The views! The long Medway valley, lined with the foothills of the North Kent Downs, is dreamy. The history! Pilgrims and scholars, naval bases and Dickens. There’s no escaping him here. Dickens spent much of his childhood in Chatham, next door, and his latter years at Gad’s Hill Place, just outside. The Swiss chalet in the garden where he wrote his novels now sits, surreally, on the High Street. Nearby, you’ll find the Satis House, of Miss Havisham fame, the Pumblechook’s chambers, and crystals and karma at the Little Dorrit new age shop.

The case against Rochester’s economy, and that of Chatham and Gillingham, has for centuries been tethered to the navy. A substitute has yet to be found since the dockyard’s decline.

Continue reading...

<p>High-end estate agents say smartphones have transformed lettings and the wealthy are making decisions based on video tours</p><p>Wealthy foreigners are prepared to shell out as much as £25,000 a week renting luxury homes in London without bothering to set foot inside before opening their wallets.</p><p>High-end estate agents report that overseas demand for super-prime London homes is so strong that the global super-rich are agreeing to rent properties after only viewing them on FaceTime or WhatsApp. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/18/global-super-rich-agreeing-to-rent-luxury-london-homes-without-visiting">Continue reading...</a>

Global super-rich agreeing to rent luxury London homes without visiting

Aug 18, 2017 15:39

High-end estate agents say smartphones have transformed lettings and the wealthy are making decisions based on video tours

Wealthy foreigners are prepared to shell out as much as £25,000 a week renting luxury homes in London without bothering to set foot inside before opening their wallets.

High-end estate agents report that overseas demand for super-prime London homes is so strong that the global super-rich are agreeing to rent properties after only viewing them on FaceTime or WhatsApp.

Continue reading...

<p>Trying to find a pair of shoes in the three-layer-deep shoe stack beneath my clothes rail would no longer be a problem<br><br>• Every week, a member of generation rent writes about her dreams of property ownership</p><p>Some people choose to exercise before work. They like to start the&nbsp;day energised by the challenge&nbsp;of personal bests, and the sense of virtuousness that comes from having tried where others have&nbsp;not.</p><p>I, too, like that – but I’d prefer not&nbsp;to leave my house. Instead, I&nbsp;get my fix facing two herculean challenges. First, trying to find the one piece of black clothing I want to wear in my drawer of mainly black clothing,&nbsp;and second, trying to find a pair of shoes in the three-layer-deep shoe stack that lives beneath the clothes rail.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/18/generation-rent-dedicated-shoe-storage">Continue reading...</a>

Generation rent: why I’ll never live in a house with dedicated shoe storage

Aug 18, 2017 13:00

Trying to find a pair of shoes in the three-layer-deep shoe stack beneath my clothes rail would no longer be a problem

• Every week, a member of generation rent writes about her dreams of property ownership

Some people choose to exercise before work. They like to start the day energised by the challenge of personal bests, and the sense of virtuousness that comes from having tried where others have not.

I, too, like that – but I’d prefer not to leave my house. Instead, I get my fix facing two herculean challenges. First, trying to find the one piece of black clothing I want to wear in my drawer of mainly black clothing, and second, trying to find a pair of shoes in the three-layer-deep shoe stack that lives beneath the clothes rail.

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<p>Ex-criminals tell Co-op Insurance most thieves are opportunists who tend to avoid difficult break-ins</p><p>Burglars are most likely to be put off breaking into homes by CCTV cameras and barking dogs, according to a panel of former criminals.</p><p>Nearly half of the 12 former burglars consulted by Co-op Insurance said most thieves were opportunists wandering the streets who would avoid difficult break-ins that were likely to attract attention. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/18/former-burglars-barking-dogs-cctv-best-deterrent">Continue reading...</a>

Former burglars say barking dogs and CCTV are best deterrent

Aug 18, 2017 6:01

Ex-criminals tell Co-op Insurance most thieves are opportunists who tend to avoid difficult break-ins

Burglars are most likely to be put off breaking into homes by CCTV cameras and barking dogs, according to a panel of former criminals.

Nearly half of the 12 former burglars consulted by Co-op Insurance said most thieves were opportunists wandering the streets who would avoid difficult break-ins that were likely to attract attention.

Continue reading...

<strong>Dr David Etherington</strong> and <strong>Melanie Henwood </strong>respond to the Grenfell inquiry terms, <strong>David Hickey</strong> recalls the government response to Aberfan, and <strong>Dr Stephen Battersby</strong> makes the case for tackling rogue landlords<p>With reference to your report on the Grenfell inquiry terms of reference, it is crucial, as argued by Justice for Grenfell and your <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/the-guardian-view-on-the-grenfell-inquiry-not-enough-trust" title="">editorial</a>, that the provision, financing and allocation of social housing is put under the spotlight (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/15/grenfell-fire-public-inquiry-to-consider-cause-and-council-response" title="">Grenfell fire inquiry will not consider bigger picture</a>, 16 August). Such an investigation would include an analysis of the impact of austerity and particularly welfare reforms.</p><p>The benefit cap is set at a level that places more and more individuals and families in a precarious financial situation, and for many abject poverty. Benefit delays resulting from the rollout of universal credit are having the same effect. The knock-on impact on social housing is significant. More and more people are falling into rent arrears and homelessness. A national housing organisation has stated that a couple with three children will not be able to afford the average housing association rent on a three-bed property in any region. The weekly shortfall under a £20,000 cap ranges from £37.40 in Yorks and Humberside to £67.35 in the south-east. They estimate that the cap will impact on 205,000 households, which will lower 200,000 children below the poverty line, with the biggest group affected being working families with three children.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/17/grenfell-inquiry-should-shine-a-spotlight-on-uks-housing-issues">Continue reading...</a>

Grenfell inquiry should shine a spotlight on UK’s housing issues | Letters

Aug 17, 2017 19:18

Dr David Etherington and Melanie Henwood respond to the Grenfell inquiry terms, David Hickey recalls the government response to Aberfan, and Dr Stephen Battersby makes the case for tackling rogue landlords

With reference to your report on the Grenfell inquiry terms of reference, it is crucial, as argued by Justice for Grenfell and your editorial, that the provision, financing and allocation of social housing is put under the spotlight (Grenfell fire inquiry will not consider bigger picture, 16 August). Such an investigation would include an analysis of the impact of austerity and particularly welfare reforms.

The benefit cap is set at a level that places more and more individuals and families in a precarious financial situation, and for many abject poverty. Benefit delays resulting from the rollout of universal credit are having the same effect. The knock-on impact on social housing is significant. More and more people are falling into rent arrears and homelessness. A national housing organisation has stated that a couple with three children will not be able to afford the average housing association rent on a three-bed property in any region. The weekly shortfall under a £20,000 cap ranges from £37.40 in Yorks and Humberside to £67.35 in the south-east. They estimate that the cap will impact on 205,000 households, which will lower 200,000 children below the poverty line, with the biggest group affected being working families with three children.

Continue reading...

<p>Also, a chance to snap up a part of Roald Dahl history and our Consumer Champions take on Virgin Mobile and gift cards<br></p><p>Hello and welcome to this week’s Money Talks – a roundup of the week’s biggest stories and some things you may have missed.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/17/slow-uk-house-price-growth-steep-rail-fare-increases">Continue reading...</a>

Slow house price growth and steep rail fare increases

Aug 17, 2017 15:37

Also, a chance to snap up a part of Roald Dahl history and our Consumer Champions take on Virgin Mobile and gift cards

Hello and welcome to this week’s Money Talks – a roundup of the week’s biggest stories and some things you may have missed.

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Cohousing schemes save up their ground rents for improvements and for emergencies, writes <strong>Jane Blackburn</strong><p>I write in support of Stephen Hill’s letter (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/03/leaseholds-are-not-the-problem-abuse-of-them-is" title="">It’s not leaseholds that are the problem</a>, 4 August). Leasehold tenure is the choice of many utopian communities, from the garden cities of the early 20th century to the cohousing schemes now emerging in Britain.</p><p>At Cannock Mill Cohousing Colchester, we have taken matters into our own hands to get the retirement lifestyle we want – because there isn’t enough choice in today’s property market for people retiring. We are developing a spacious site so that we can downsize to something appealing for our later years, which we intend to manage ourselves.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/16/leaseholding-as-the-utopian-alternative">Continue reading...</a>

Leaseholding as the utopian alternative | Letters

Aug 16, 2017 19:04

Cohousing schemes save up their ground rents for improvements and for emergencies, writes Jane Blackburn

I write in support of Stephen Hill’s letter (It’s not leaseholds that are the problem, 4 August). Leasehold tenure is the choice of many utopian communities, from the garden cities of the early 20th century to the cohousing schemes now emerging in Britain.

At Cannock Mill Cohousing Colchester, we have taken matters into our own hands to get the retirement lifestyle we want – because there isn’t enough choice in today’s property market for people retiring. We are developing a spacious site so that we can downsize to something appealing for our later years, which we intend to manage ourselves.

Continue reading...

<p>Scenery scenery everywhere – from St Ives to Sesto Fiorentino </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/aug/16/properties-in-beauty-spots-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Properties in beauty spots – in pictures

Aug 16, 2017 7:00

Scenery scenery everywhere – from St Ives to Sesto Fiorentino

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<p>The city’s had a few grim years – but things are looking up</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> This city, like so many, has seen the proverbial hit the fan. When I popped by in 2011, austerity was biting. Shops were being boarded up. Big investments were collapsing. Like every other council, Preston’s was facing nasty choices. Six years on, although peace, love and prosperity do not reign on its streets, interesting things are bubbling up. The council is experimenting with co-ops, and keeping wealth and investment local. <a href="http://www.visitlancashire.com/things-to-do/avenham-and-miller-parks-p19100">Avenham Park</a> has been tidied up. Instead of being demolished for a drab shopping mall, the magnificent <a href="http://www.bdp.com/en/projects/p-z/Preston-Bus-Station">postwar bus station</a> has been protected. And PricewaterhouseCoopers last year named Preston the best city in the north-west in which to live and work. One to watch.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>It’s going to be a long slog. Poverty and inequality still haunt the city.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/11/lets-move-to-preston-lancashire">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Preston, Lancashire: parched peas and plenty of trains

Aug 11, 2017 16:30

The city’s had a few grim years – but things are looking up

What’s going for it? This city, like so many, has seen the proverbial hit the fan. When I popped by in 2011, austerity was biting. Shops were being boarded up. Big investments were collapsing. Like every other council, Preston’s was facing nasty choices. Six years on, although peace, love and prosperity do not reign on its streets, interesting things are bubbling up. The council is experimenting with co-ops, and keeping wealth and investment local. Avenham Park has been tidied up. Instead of being demolished for a drab shopping mall, the magnificent postwar bus station has been protected. And PricewaterhouseCoopers last year named Preston the best city in the north-west in which to live and work. One to watch.

The case against It’s going to be a long slog. Poverty and inequality still haunt the city.

Continue reading...

<p>Sandwiched between Whitstable and Margate is the seaside that time forgot</p><p><strong>W</strong><strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Funny how some places change by the hour – blink, and the Poundland’s been magicked into a slam-poetry cafe – while others are the still, immovable eye of the storm. I’ve been coming to Herne Bay for decades and, OK, so the bandstand has been (nicely) restored, but little else has changed. This seaside town still seems wedged in the age of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001889/">Charles Hawtrey</a> and the three-day week. All the more surprising with just a few hundred yards on one side dividing it from <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2009/feb/14/lets-move-to-whitstable-kent">Whitstable</a>, which seems to sprout a biodynamic toddlerwear emporium every third day, and a few miles on the other keeping <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/jan/22/lets-move-to-margate-kent">Margate</a> and its slam-poetry cafes at bay. Don’t get me wrong: Herne Bay could do with a few pounds being spent in its caffs, but there’s something heartening about a place where the height of entertainment remains a round of crazy golf.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>Occasionally melancholic. A lack of decent bars.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/04/lets-move-to-herne-bay-kent">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Herne Bay, Kent: classic caffs and crazy golf

Aug 4, 2017 16:30

Sandwiched between Whitstable and Margate is the seaside that time forgot

What’s going for it? Funny how some places change by the hour – blink, and the Poundland’s been magicked into a slam-poetry cafe – while others are the still, immovable eye of the storm. I’ve been coming to Herne Bay for decades and, OK, so the bandstand has been (nicely) restored, but little else has changed. This seaside town still seems wedged in the age of Charles Hawtrey and the three-day week. All the more surprising with just a few hundred yards on one side dividing it from Whitstable, which seems to sprout a biodynamic toddlerwear emporium every third day, and a few miles on the other keeping Margate and its slam-poetry cafes at bay. Don’t get me wrong: Herne Bay could do with a few pounds being spent in its caffs, but there’s something heartening about a place where the height of entertainment remains a round of crazy golf.

The case against Occasionally melancholic. A lack of decent bars.

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<p>It feels like London used to feel, only with decent coffee</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> I like Brockley. Gentrification advances, but has yet to overwhelm the place. Duck down the odd back alley, squint and you might have slipped down a wormhole to 1978 when it was full of sociology students from Goldsmiths, bohemians and the scent of wacky baccy and rosebay willow herb. A glance in an estate agent’s window might break the spell, but the geography of hills, valleys and crisscrossing railway lines is complex enough to keep hidden wormholes to a past long disappeared in inner London, like a wee nature reserve off terraced streets, or Hilly Fields park, its stone circle glowering over London’s thrusting skyline, the glorious Rivoli Ballroom, and the shaggy mews of overgrown flora behind the town houses on Wickham Road. It feels like London used to feel, only with decent coffee. And a lovely Saturday market. The past wasn’t always so great.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The centre has no centre, just a gigantic knot of roads and railways. Quite a few ratruns in this age of <a href="https://www.waze.com/">Waze</a>.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/28/lets-move-to-brockey-south-east-london">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Brockley, south-east London

July 28, 2017 16:30

It feels like London used to feel, only with decent coffee

What’s going for it? I like Brockley. Gentrification advances, but has yet to overwhelm the place. Duck down the odd back alley, squint and you might have slipped down a wormhole to 1978 when it was full of sociology students from Goldsmiths, bohemians and the scent of wacky baccy and rosebay willow herb. A glance in an estate agent’s window might break the spell, but the geography of hills, valleys and crisscrossing railway lines is complex enough to keep hidden wormholes to a past long disappeared in inner London, like a wee nature reserve off terraced streets, or Hilly Fields park, its stone circle glowering over London’s thrusting skyline, the glorious Rivoli Ballroom, and the shaggy mews of overgrown flora behind the town houses on Wickham Road. It feels like London used to feel, only with decent coffee. And a lovely Saturday market. The past wasn’t always so great.

The case against The centre has no centre, just a gigantic knot of roads and railways. Quite a few ratruns in this age of Waze.

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<p>A weird, intoxicating jumble of creeks, oil jetties, bungalows and blues music</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Islands are magical. Step over the water and something weird happens, as if normal rules have been suspended. What else could explain Canvey Island? On paper, it shouldn’t work. What, sunbathing next to petrochemical plants? Why ever not? What, a&nbsp;mudflat metres below water, mostly covered in detached houses, bungalows and mobile homes, with a dash of 18th-century Dutch, a soupcon of 1930s modernism (the <a href="http://www.thelabworth.com/" title="">Labworth cafe</a>, <a href="http://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/33/33/333397_319ed80d.jpg" title="">the Monico pub</a>, swoon), nature reserves of incredible biodiversity, all to a soundtrack of proto-punk pub rock? Why ever not? Julien Temple’s rockumentary <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/feb/04/oil-city-confidential-review" title="">Oil City Confidential</a>, about the “best local band in the world”, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/apr/12/dr-feelgood-all-through-review" title="">Dr Feelgood</a>, proposed Canvey Island as Britain’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/24/the-blues-authenticity-mississippi-road-trip-hari-kunzru-music" title="">Mississippi delta</a>, an intoxicating, romantic jumble of creeks, oil jetties and blues music. Sounds improbable? Then you haven’t been. Nothing seems odd again after you cross the creek.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The weirdness won’t be for all. Water, water everywhere… <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2013/jan/31/devastation-east-anglia-1953-flood-in-pictures" title="">disaster came calling in 1953</a>. The defences built afterwards are sturdy, but for how long? Congestion at rush hour.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/21/lets-move-to-canvey-island-essex-britain-mississippi-delta">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Canvey Island, Essex: ‘Britain’s Mississippi delta’

July 21, 2017 16:29

A weird, intoxicating jumble of creeks, oil jetties, bungalows and blues music

What’s going for it? Islands are magical. Step over the water and something weird happens, as if normal rules have been suspended. What else could explain Canvey Island? On paper, it shouldn’t work. What, sunbathing next to petrochemical plants? Why ever not? What, a mudflat metres below water, mostly covered in detached houses, bungalows and mobile homes, with a dash of 18th-century Dutch, a soupcon of 1930s modernism (the Labworth cafe, the Monico pub, swoon), nature reserves of incredible biodiversity, all to a soundtrack of proto-punk pub rock? Why ever not? Julien Temple’s rockumentary Oil City Confidential, about the “best local band in the world”, Dr Feelgood, proposed Canvey Island as Britain’s Mississippi delta, an intoxicating, romantic jumble of creeks, oil jetties and blues music. Sounds improbable? Then you haven’t been. Nothing seems odd again after you cross the creek.

The case against The weirdness won’t be for all. Water, water everywhere… disaster came calling in 1953. The defences built afterwards are sturdy, but for how long? Congestion at rush hour.

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<p>Do not double take if you spot armour-clad warriors in the queue at the petrol station. They’re used to warlords and sorcery round here</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> There are boat trips round here that promise sightings of “the fictional Lordsport harbour on Pyke, the Iron Islands (which is really Ballintoy harbour), where Theon Greyjoy was welcomed home, and the beach where Theon was baptised and where the pirate Salladhor Saan pledged his support for Stannis Baratheon.” Gobbledegook? Then you, like me, are among the precious few who have never seen <a href="http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/articles/game-of-thrones-locations/" title="">Game Of Thrones</a>. For the rest of you… well, the Glens of Antrim will seem terribly familiar. The landscape is all juicy green valleys capped with bluffs as gruff and rough as Sean Bean’s epidermis. Do not double take if you spot armour-clad warriors in the queue at the petrol station. They’re used to warlords and sorcery round here. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2005/dec/04/unitedkingdom.cslewis.booksforchildrenandteenagers" title="">CS Lewis grew up in these parts</a>, honeymooned in the Glens and often returned for holidays and Narnian inspiration. There is something otherworldly about the place, though Ballycastle, with its prim cottages and municipal borders, brings life back down to earth – more Alan Bennett than George RR Martin.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> A little on the monochrome side. Get your paintbrushes out! Small-town torpor.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/14/lets-move-to-ballycastle-county-antrim-juicy-green-valleys">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Ballycastle, County Antrim: ‘It’s all Game Of Thrones’

July 14, 2017 16:30

Do not double take if you spot armour-clad warriors in the queue at the petrol station. They’re used to warlords and sorcery round here

What’s going for it? There are boat trips round here that promise sightings of “the fictional Lordsport harbour on Pyke, the Iron Islands (which is really Ballintoy harbour), where Theon Greyjoy was welcomed home, and the beach where Theon was baptised and where the pirate Salladhor Saan pledged his support for Stannis Baratheon.” Gobbledegook? Then you, like me, are among the precious few who have never seen Game Of Thrones. For the rest of you… well, the Glens of Antrim will seem terribly familiar. The landscape is all juicy green valleys capped with bluffs as gruff and rough as Sean Bean’s epidermis. Do not double take if you spot armour-clad warriors in the queue at the petrol station. They’re used to warlords and sorcery round here. CS Lewis grew up in these parts, honeymooned in the Glens and often returned for holidays and Narnian inspiration. There is something otherworldly about the place, though Ballycastle, with its prim cottages and municipal borders, brings life back down to earth – more Alan Bennett than George RR Martin.

The case against A little on the monochrome side. Get your paintbrushes out! Small-town torpor.

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<p>If you’d like to live beside the seaside, Hove is more laid-back – and more affordable – than neighbouring Brighton</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Only the canny-eyed can tell the precise point, somewhere around <a href="http://www.audreyschocolates.co.uk/index.aspx">Audrey’s chocolate boutique</a> (straight outta <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/twin-peaks">Twin Peaks</a>/the age of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/dec/15/humanities.research">Glenn Miller</a>), when supposedly rakish <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/apr/19/alt-city-guide-brighton-festival-fringe-art-music-food-beer">Brighton</a>, inventor of the dirty weekend, segues into supposedly suburban Hove, land of <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/keepingupappearances/">Hyacinth Bucket</a>s. Those stereotypes of this twin city hold less and less true today. Stratospheric property prices in Brighton risk turning the place into Notting Hill-on-Sea, with all the dirtiness of an antiseptic wipe. Hove, meanwhile, though hardly cheap, retains un-spruced-up fringes, where those less interested in property investment portfolios but still hankering after sea air, like-minded people and kiss-me-quick can just about survive. No wonder, then, that it’s Hove, not Brighton, these days that’s attracting more young people than any other spot in the country. For now.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> It lacks the intensity and density of Brighton. Suburban in places.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/07/lets-move-to-hove-east-sussex-young-people">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Hove, East Sussex: ‘It attracts more young people than anywhere in the country’

July 7, 2017 16:30

If you’d like to live beside the seaside, Hove is more laid-back – and more affordable – than neighbouring Brighton

What’s going for it? Only the canny-eyed can tell the precise point, somewhere around Audrey’s chocolate boutique (straight outta Twin Peaks/the age of Glenn Miller), when supposedly rakish Brighton, inventor of the dirty weekend, segues into supposedly suburban Hove, land of Hyacinth Buckets. Those stereotypes of this twin city hold less and less true today. Stratospheric property prices in Brighton risk turning the place into Notting Hill-on-Sea, with all the dirtiness of an antiseptic wipe. Hove, meanwhile, though hardly cheap, retains un-spruced-up fringes, where those less interested in property investment portfolios but still hankering after sea air, like-minded people and kiss-me-quick can just about survive. No wonder, then, that it’s Hove, not Brighton, these days that’s attracting more young people than any other spot in the country. For now.

The case against It lacks the intensity and density of Brighton. Suburban in places.

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<p>You’re out of the way, but that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> You don’t mind if I do a bit of personal research masquerading as journalism, do you? (“Isn’t that what you do here every week, Tom?”) Will you be my guinea pigs? Ta very much. Only some friends have to move to Norfolk, so I said I’d scout around. And I don’t mean <em>that</em> Norfolk, all sand dunes and soy lattes. I mean Norfolk Norfolk. Aylsham will do nicely. It’s not <em>so</em> far from the illustrious <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/feb/03/in-praise-of-norfolk-holidays-beaches-subtle-beauty">north Norfolk coast</a>, but just far enough to keep the property investors and la-di-das away. But a half-hour drive? That wouldn’t stop me making a spontaneous Saturday morning trip to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2009/nov/21/lets-move-to-cromer">Cromer</a> with the kids, picnic blanket, bucket and spade and all in the boot. Best thing of all to the middle-aged (ie, me)? You get to come home at the end of the day to Aylsham, one of those extraordinarily ordinary delights they don’t make any more; its Dutch gabled lanes hung with old butchers that sell lard, a palatial wool-town church, or the splendidly named Granville Bond fishmongers for crab sarnies, and – yes – the odd fancy-pants deli and vintage chic home decor emporium, but not so many as to get the estate agents all frothed up.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>Very little. You’re out of the way, but that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? The usual small-town blues.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/30/lets-move-to-aylsham-norfolk-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Aylsham, Norfolk: an extraordinarily ordinary delight

June 30, 2017 16:30

You’re out of the way, but that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?

What’s going for it? You don’t mind if I do a bit of personal research masquerading as journalism, do you? (“Isn’t that what you do here every week, Tom?”) Will you be my guinea pigs? Ta very much. Only some friends have to move to Norfolk, so I said I’d scout around. And I don’t mean that Norfolk, all sand dunes and soy lattes. I mean Norfolk Norfolk. Aylsham will do nicely. It’s not so far from the illustrious north Norfolk coast, but just far enough to keep the property investors and la-di-das away. But a half-hour drive? That wouldn’t stop me making a spontaneous Saturday morning trip to Cromer with the kids, picnic blanket, bucket and spade and all in the boot. Best thing of all to the middle-aged (ie, me)? You get to come home at the end of the day to Aylsham, one of those extraordinarily ordinary delights they don’t make any more; its Dutch gabled lanes hung with old butchers that sell lard, a palatial wool-town church, or the splendidly named Granville Bond fishmongers for crab sarnies, and – yes – the odd fancy-pants deli and vintage chic home decor emporium, but not so many as to get the estate agents all frothed up.

The case against Very little. You’re out of the way, but that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? The usual small-town blues.

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<p>It has the Footlights, the Backs and Nine Lessons and Carols – plus gargantuan science parks and property prices, thanks to the biotech boom</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it? </strong>Success doesn’t always come in the form you might wish. Unlike the more entitled, worldly Oxford, Cambridge has long had the air of an ordinary market town that hit the jackpot and couldn’t believe its luck. It has had the last laugh, though. The signs of Cambridge’s astonishing new economic success come in the shape of gargantuan science parks and property prices only just the right side of London’s. It has created a peculiar place. On the one hand there’s the Cambridge you think you know: university, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/06/tom-sharpe-dies">Tom Sharpe</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2013/jun/03/cambridge-footlights-comedy-university">Footlights</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/feb/01/great-city-walks-cambridge">the Backs</a>, the <a href="http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services/nine-lessons.html">Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols</a>, all of that gubbins. On the other, money, money, money, as thousands pour into the city hunting biotech jobs, nerd fame and geek fortune. The two sides are in uneasy equilibrium. It can only end in tears. For now, though, it makes for bizarre juxtapositions, the ancient jump-cut with the futuristic, the provincial with the globalised, and old town houses beside luxury apartment blocks bulging from any spare square inch.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>A victim of its own success? Some growth lobbyists would have even more, removing planning restrictions to turn <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/23/cambridge-university-silicon-fen-shaken-by-winds-of-change-arm-softbank">Silicon Fen</a> into Silicon City. Expensive. I’d miss the sea. But then that’s me.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/23/lets-move-to-cambridge-ancient-jump-cut-with-futuristic">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Cambridge: ‘Ancient university and biotech boom town’

June 23, 2017 16:30

It has the Footlights, the Backs and Nine Lessons and Carols – plus gargantuan science parks and property prices, thanks to the biotech boom

What’s going for it? Success doesn’t always come in the form you might wish. Unlike the more entitled, worldly Oxford, Cambridge has long had the air of an ordinary market town that hit the jackpot and couldn’t believe its luck. It has had the last laugh, though. The signs of Cambridge’s astonishing new economic success come in the shape of gargantuan science parks and property prices only just the right side of London’s. It has created a peculiar place. On the one hand there’s the Cambridge you think you know: university, Tom Sharpe, Footlights, the Backs, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, all of that gubbins. On the other, money, money, money, as thousands pour into the city hunting biotech jobs, nerd fame and geek fortune. The two sides are in uneasy equilibrium. It can only end in tears. For now, though, it makes for bizarre juxtapositions, the ancient jump-cut with the futuristic, the provincial with the globalised, and old town houses beside luxury apartment blocks bulging from any spare square inch.

The case against A victim of its own success? Some growth lobbyists would have even more, removing planning restrictions to turn Silicon Fen into Silicon City. Expensive. I’d miss the sea. But then that’s me.

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<p>I’m surprised more artists haven’t settled here, but a quick eye on local history shows they were beaten to it by Johnny Posh</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> There’s no escaping the waters in Helensburgh. They’re in front of you (the Clyde), to the side (Gare Loch) and behind (Loch Lomond). So much liquid does something funny to&nbsp;the light – the air seems to sparkle, while the brooding landscape of smoky, blue-green hills bleeds into the sea like watercolour flicked from a&nbsp;brush. I’m surprised more artists haven’t settled here, but local history shows they were beaten to it by Johnny Posh. Helensburgh was only magicked into existence in the late 18th century when Sir James Colquhoun bought the land and willed a town to appear, named after his wife, Lady Helen (of the notorious Sutherlands). Glasgow’s 1% moved in soon after, escaping the noxious fumes of the city. You still have to pay through the nose for its sparkling air; Helensburgh remains one of Scotland’s wealthiest towns, although it’s far too genteel to say so. If it were a few hundred miles south, it’d be all air kisses and poodle parlours, but&nbsp;that’s the sign of real wealth – discretion.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Not cheap. And not for those who hanker after hullabaloo: it’s all cherry blossom and villas round here. You don’t mind having a large number of nuclear weapons on your doorstep, do you? <a href="http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14708427.Inside_Faslane__Everyday_life_in_UK_s_most_contentious_base/">Faslane submarine base</a> makes this either the safest, or most dangerous, spot in the country.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/16/lets-move-to-helensburgh-argyll-and-bute-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Helensburgh, Argyll & Bute: ‘The air seems to sparkle’

June 16, 2017 16:30

I’m surprised more artists haven’t settled here, but a quick eye on local history shows they were beaten to it by Johnny Posh

What’s going for it? There’s no escaping the waters in Helensburgh. They’re in front of you (the Clyde), to the side (Gare Loch) and behind (Loch Lomond). So much liquid does something funny to the light – the air seems to sparkle, while the brooding landscape of smoky, blue-green hills bleeds into the sea like watercolour flicked from a brush. I’m surprised more artists haven’t settled here, but local history shows they were beaten to it by Johnny Posh. Helensburgh was only magicked into existence in the late 18th century when Sir James Colquhoun bought the land and willed a town to appear, named after his wife, Lady Helen (of the notorious Sutherlands). Glasgow’s 1% moved in soon after, escaping the noxious fumes of the city. You still have to pay through the nose for its sparkling air; Helensburgh remains one of Scotland’s wealthiest towns, although it’s far too genteel to say so. If it were a few hundred miles south, it’d be all air kisses and poodle parlours, but that’s the sign of real wealth – discretion.

The case against Not cheap. And not for those who hanker after hullabaloo: it’s all cherry blossom and villas round here. You don’t mind having a large number of nuclear weapons on your doorstep, do you? Faslane submarine base makes this either the safest, or most dangerous, spot in the country.

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<p>I want to move out of the marital home and this flat would be the only property in my name<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My husband owns the house we live in. Things are strained between us and I have decided to buy a flat so I can move out. My solicitor mentioned that I would have to pay the 3% surcharge on stamp duty. I can cover this at the moment and I really want to buy the flat on which I have put down an offer.</p><p>However, I am unsure whether I can claim this stamp duty back if we separate because this would be the only property in my name. The stamp duty is substantially more – in the region of £12,000. If you could shed some light on claiming stamp duty back in case of a divorce or separation I would greatly appreciate it. <strong>PF</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/14/buying-flat-separating-higher-stamp-duty-refund">Continue reading...</a>

I'm buying a flat as I'm separating – can I reclaim the higher stamp duty?

Aug 14, 2017 7:00

I want to move out of the marital home and this flat would be the only property in my name

Q My husband owns the house we live in. Things are strained between us and I have decided to buy a flat so I can move out. My solicitor mentioned that I would have to pay the 3% surcharge on stamp duty. I can cover this at the moment and I really want to buy the flat on which I have put down an offer.

However, I am unsure whether I can claim this stamp duty back if we separate because this would be the only property in my name. The stamp duty is substantially more – in the region of £12,000. If you could shed some light on claiming stamp duty back in case of a divorce or separation I would greatly appreciate it. PF

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<p>I would prefer buying to renting but fear a 2007-like crash may wipe out value and make it tough to resell </p><p><strong>Q</strong> I’m 26, living in London, and on civil service salary of £34,500, and after I’ve completed my graduate scheme, I should be on £50,000-plus in a couple of years. I’m fortunate to have £110,000 in cash – from savings and inheritance – to put towards the purchase of a property.</p><p> I am young and single and like living in London, it suits my lifestyle now, but not if I decided to start a family and settle down. I was considering buying a flat in London, with the idea that it would be my first home, and I would sell it off by the time I was 32. I’d like to have a place to call my own, and I am currently paying £800 a month in rent, which I could pay towards a mortgage.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/07/is-it-a-bad-idea-to-buy-a-property-in-london-if-its-not-home-for-life">Continue reading...</a>

Is it a bad idea to buy a property in London if it's not home for life?

Aug 7, 2017 12:41

I would prefer buying to renting but fear a 2007-like crash may wipe out value and make it tough to resell

Q I’m 26, living in London, and on civil service salary of £34,500, and after I’ve completed my graduate scheme, I should be on £50,000-plus in a couple of years. I’m fortunate to have £110,000 in cash – from savings and inheritance – to put towards the purchase of a property.

I am young and single and like living in London, it suits my lifestyle now, but not if I decided to start a family and settle down. I was considering buying a flat in London, with the idea that it would be my first home, and I would sell it off by the time I was 32. I’d like to have a place to call my own, and I am currently paying £800 a month in rent, which I could pay towards a mortgage.

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<p>I’m thinking of asking the vendor to rectify the faulty damp-proofing or perhaps I can get an allowance from my mortgage lender</p><p><strong>Q </strong>My girlfriend and I are in the process of buying a flat. We have had an offer agreed on the property and our survey has been conducted which has shown up a few worrying problems:<br>•the damp proof injection course has failed by the back entrance leading to a 100% saturation reading;<br>•the electrics are faulty and need a rewire and there are also sockets in the splash zone of the kitchen sink;<br>•there is possibly a problem with a few joists in the front and back bedrooms.<br></p><p>Do we ask the vendor to rectify the problems before we move in to the flat or do we try to renegotiate the offer? We estimate the cost of the works will be £4,000 to £5,000. Or is it possible to get an allowance from the mortgage company? It might be worth mentioning that the flat is currently vacant so any works would be done in an empty property. <strong>IL</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/31/renegotiate-offer-price-survey-problems-damp-proof-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Should I renegotiate my offer price after survey points to problems?

July 31, 2017 9:51

I’m thinking of asking the vendor to rectify the faulty damp-proofing or perhaps I can get an allowance from my mortgage lender

Q My girlfriend and I are in the process of buying a flat. We have had an offer agreed on the property and our survey has been conducted which has shown up a few worrying problems:
•the damp proof injection course has failed by the back entrance leading to a 100% saturation reading;
•the electrics are faulty and need a rewire and there are also sockets in the splash zone of the kitchen sink;
•there is possibly a problem with a few joists in the front and back bedrooms.

Do we ask the vendor to rectify the problems before we move in to the flat or do we try to renegotiate the offer? We estimate the cost of the works will be £4,000 to £5,000. Or is it possible to get an allowance from the mortgage company? It might be worth mentioning that the flat is currently vacant so any works would be done in an empty property. IL

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<p>I’m thinking of topping up its current cash-in value with a personal loan so I can pay off the mortgage when my deal ends</p><p><strong>Q</strong> The current fixed-rate deal on my interest-only mortgage of £47,000 will finish at the end of next March, and the entire mortgage term is due to end in July 2023. My endowment will mature a year before that and is on track to pay out £49,800 at the low rate and £57,300 at the mid rate. It has never performed better than the mid rate since it started, and has frequently performed at the low rate, leaving me with a potential small shortfall at times.</p><p>My yearly endowment statement has just arrived and the cash-in value is now £41,000. So rather than just remortgaging next March, I’m thinking of cashing in the endowment early next year and topping up the £41,000 with a personal loan of £6,000 so I can pay off the entire mortgage of £47,000. I only have £2,000 in savings and that’s not likely to grow quickly as I’m focusing all I can on pension payments. Is it a good idea to cash in soon, or am I missing something here?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/20/should-i-cash-in-my-endowment-early-to-pay-off-my-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Should I cash in my endowment early to pay off my mortgage?

July 20, 2017 7:00

I’m thinking of topping up its current cash-in value with a personal loan so I can pay off the mortgage when my deal ends

Q The current fixed-rate deal on my interest-only mortgage of £47,000 will finish at the end of next March, and the entire mortgage term is due to end in July 2023. My endowment will mature a year before that and is on track to pay out £49,800 at the low rate and £57,300 at the mid rate. It has never performed better than the mid rate since it started, and has frequently performed at the low rate, leaving me with a potential small shortfall at times.

My yearly endowment statement has just arrived and the cash-in value is now £41,000. So rather than just remortgaging next March, I’m thinking of cashing in the endowment early next year and topping up the £41,000 with a personal loan of £6,000 so I can pay off the entire mortgage of £47,000. I only have £2,000 in savings and that’s not likely to grow quickly as I’m focusing all I can on pension payments. Is it a good idea to cash in soon, or am I missing something here?

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<p>We’re worried about the impact of Brexit on our money</p><p><strong>Q</strong> We are a family with some savings – around £70,000 – but are worried they might be worth less once Brexit is decided: ie, the pound will go downhill.</p><p>So if we want to put the savings into something, is it best to pay off a big lump sum on a mortgage of £135,000 with 12 years to run, or use the money to buy another property to let out? Or do both?<br> <br> The mortgage on our home is a two-year interest-only deal that expires in June. We save £1,000 a month to pay off lump sums each time we switch fixed-rate deals. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/13/is-paying-off-the-mortgage-better-than-saving">Continue reading...</a>

Is paying off the mortgage a better bet than saving?

July 13, 2017 7:00

We’re worried about the impact of Brexit on our money

Q We are a family with some savings – around £70,000 – but are worried they might be worth less once Brexit is decided: ie, the pound will go downhill.

So if we want to put the savings into something, is it best to pay off a big lump sum on a mortgage of £135,000 with 12 years to run, or use the money to buy another property to let out? Or do both?

The mortgage on our home is a two-year interest-only deal that expires in June. We save £1,000 a month to pay off lump sums each time we switch fixed-rate deals.

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<p>Despite having a good deposit, prices in south London seem unachievable, so we are thinking about going for a new-build with government help<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My little family are looking to buy a house in London after many years of renting and scrupulous saving. The good news is that we have accumulated about £100,000 in savings, but the bad news is that the London property market is unfathomably expensive.</p><p>We have a daughter under a year old, and hope to have another child in the next few years, so are looking for a two- to three-bedroom house somewhere that’s near our friends, who are mostly in zone two in south London – from Herne Hill to Brixton to New Cross, Peckham and Brockley. <br tabindex="-1"></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/29/london-help-to-buy-scheme-purchase-home-good-deposit">Continue reading...</a>

Should we use the London help-to-buy scheme to purchase a home?

June 29, 2017 7:00

Despite having a good deposit, prices in south London seem unachievable, so we are thinking about going for a new-build with government help

Q My little family are looking to buy a house in London after many years of renting and scrupulous saving. The good news is that we have accumulated about £100,000 in savings, but the bad news is that the London property market is unfathomably expensive.

We have a daughter under a year old, and hope to have another child in the next few years, so are looking for a two- to three-bedroom house somewhere that’s near our friends, who are mostly in zone two in south London – from Herne Hill to Brixton to New Cross, Peckham and Brockley.

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<p>I lived in it with my late wife before letting it, and want to sell. Where do I stand regarding stamp duty and capital gains tax? </p><p><strong>Q </strong>Could you please help? In 1984, I purchased a house and lived there with my late wife until August 2015. I then rented the house out and moved in with a friend as I didn’t want to live there anymore (too many memories). I would now like to sell the house and buy another in a different area to live in on my own. Would I be liable for any tax, doing this? <strong>TA </strong></p><p><strong>A </strong>If the house you end up buying costs more than £125,000, you will definitely have to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and you can work out exactly how much using our handy <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/ng-interactive/2016/mar/17/stamp-duty-calculator">SDLT calculator</a>.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/22/will-i-be-taxed-if-i-sell-my-house-rented-out-buy-new-one-to-live-in">Continue reading...</a>

Will I be taxed if I sell my house, which I rented out, and buy a new one to live in?

June 22, 2017 7:00

I lived in it with my late wife before letting it, and want to sell. Where do I stand regarding stamp duty and capital gains tax?

Q Could you please help? In 1984, I purchased a house and lived there with my late wife until August 2015. I then rented the house out and moved in with a friend as I didn’t want to live there anymore (too many memories). I would now like to sell the house and buy another in a different area to live in on my own. Would I be liable for any tax, doing this? TA

A If the house you end up buying costs more than £125,000, you will definitely have to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and you can work out exactly how much using our handy SDLT calculator.

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<p>I can’t afford to take on the whole mortgage, but another friend is willing to help <br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I could do with some advice with regard to buying someone out of a property. In 2015, my friend and I bought a property for £210,000 with a cash deposit of 10%, which we each paid half of. <br></p><p>She now wants out of the property but I don’t think I can afford to buy her out on my own. However, another friend is willing to help by becoming part of the joint mortgage with me. <br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/15/buy-friend-out-joint-property-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

How can I buy my friend out of our joint property?

June 15, 2017 7:00

I can’t afford to take on the whole mortgage, but another friend is willing to help

Q I could do with some advice with regard to buying someone out of a property. In 2015, my friend and I bought a property for £210,000 with a cash deposit of 10%, which we each paid half of.

She now wants out of the property but I don’t think I can afford to buy her out on my own. However, another friend is willing to help by becoming part of the joint mortgage with me.

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<p>It seems we are liable for the 3% surcharge on the new-build we are buying in London, even though she has never lived in the house in Italy<br></p><p><strong>Q </strong>My girlfriend and I have been saving for some time towards buying a property. We currently rent a one-bedroom flat and are in the process of purchasing a new-build property in Acton, west London.</p><p>As the legal side of our new-build purchase has developed, we have been shocked to learn that we will have to pay the 3% stamp duty surcharge. This is because a few years ago, my girlfriend inherited a share of her grandmother’s house in Italy (my girlfriend is Italian and not a British passport holder). She has never lived in this property or made any money from it. As far as I can see, we have three options.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/08/higher-stamp-duty-inherited-property-buying-new-build">Continue reading...</a>

Will we pay higher stamp duty as my girlfriend has inherited property?

June 8, 2017 7:00

It seems we are liable for the 3% surcharge on the new-build we are buying in London, even though she has never lived in the house in Italy

Q My girlfriend and I have been saving for some time towards buying a property. We currently rent a one-bedroom flat and are in the process of purchasing a new-build property in Acton, west London.

As the legal side of our new-build purchase has developed, we have been shocked to learn that we will have to pay the 3% stamp duty surcharge. This is because a few years ago, my girlfriend inherited a share of her grandmother’s house in Italy (my girlfriend is Italian and not a British passport holder). She has never lived in this property or made any money from it. As far as I can see, we have three options.

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<p>We’ve been advised to look into the help-to-buy scheme to boost our deposit but we’re not sure if that’s our best option<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My partner and I have put our names down for a new-build property in north-west England, with the completion date in November or December. We expect to get a valuation of the property in July, which should be about £152,000 for a small two-bedroom house.</p><p>By the time we are due to apply for a mortgage we reckon we would have saved enough to put down a cash deposit of 10% of the value of the property. However, we have been advised to look into the 20% help-to-buy scheme due to some lenders not offering mortgages for new-builds where there is only a 10% deposit.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/01/deposit-mortgage-new-build-house-help-to-buy">Continue reading...</a>

Is a 10% deposit enough to get a mortgage on a new-build house?

June 1, 2017 7:00

We’ve been advised to look into the help-to-buy scheme to boost our deposit but we’re not sure if that’s our best option

Q My partner and I have put our names down for a new-build property in north-west England, with the completion date in November or December. We expect to get a valuation of the property in July, which should be about £152,000 for a small two-bedroom house.

By the time we are due to apply for a mortgage we reckon we would have saved enough to put down a cash deposit of 10% of the value of the property. However, we have been advised to look into the 20% help-to-buy scheme due to some lenders not offering mortgages for new-builds where there is only a 10% deposit.

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You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps<p>Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/factsheet-buying-home-property">Continue reading...</a>

Factsheet: Buying a home

Nov 24, 2014 14:10

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps

Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:

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'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax<p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/oct/25/state.pensions">State pensions</a><br><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/sep/11/taxcredits.familyfinance">Tax credits</a></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/20/money-factsheets-benefits-loans-interest-rates-buying-house-insurance-pensions-savings">Continue reading...</a>

Money factsheets: How to organise your finances

Nov 20, 2013 12:35

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax

State pensions
Tax credits

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<p>Muse on this: a ‘Tardis-like’ five-bedroom apartment in the block where Roald Dahl wrote The Witches could cast a spell on wannabe writers </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/aug/11/roald-dahls-former-mews-house-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Turnchapel Mews – in pictures

Aug 11, 2017 7:00

Muse on this: a ‘Tardis-like’ five-bedroom apartment in the block where Roald Dahl wrote The Witches could cast a spell on wannabe writers

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<p>These properties, from Leicestershire to Italy, offer more period features than you could swing a sword at</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/aug/09/medieval-homes-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Medieval homes for sale - in pictures

Aug 9, 2017 10:30

These properties, from Leicestershire to Italy, offer more period features than you could swing a sword at

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<p>Set in a palazzo on one of Venice’s grandest squares, this sprawling £8m home features 18th century frescoes and paintings by artist who exhibited at London’s Royal Academy</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/aug/02/a-six-bedroom-venetian-apartment-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A six-bedroom Venetian apartment – in pictures

Aug 2, 2017 7:00

Set in a palazzo on one of Venice’s grandest squares, this sprawling £8m home features 18th century frescoes and paintings by artist who exhibited at London’s Royal Academy

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<p>Why take the train to the countryside? Here, you can see where you’ll be rambling from the bedroom window</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/aug/02/homes-for-hikers-and-walkers-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for hikers and walkers – in pictures

Aug 2, 2017 7:00

Why take the train to the countryside? Here, you can see where you’ll be rambling from the bedroom window

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<p>This two-bedroom house in the Italian town of Mombaruzzo, Piedmont, has a gorgeously colourful interior, and its guest accommodation is just the ticket</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jul/31/luxury-railway-carriage-garden-italian-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Luxury railway carriage in garden – in pictures

July 31, 2017 10:58

This two-bedroom house in the Italian town of Mombaruzzo, Piedmont, has a gorgeously colourful interior, and its guest accommodation is just the ticket

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<p>Properties with vertiginous vistas to make your palms sweat, from Wales to Greece</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jul/26/life-on-the-cliff-edge-properties--in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Life on the (cliff) edge – in pictures

July 26, 2017 7:00

Properties with vertiginous vistas to make your palms sweat, from Wales to Greece

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<p>Not for those of a guilty conscience – the law hangs heavy in this listed courthouse with attached police house in Downham Market</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jul/24/a-former-courthouse-downham-market-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A former courthouse – in pictures

July 24, 2017 12:35

Not for those of a guilty conscience – the law hangs heavy in this listed courthouse with attached police house in Downham Market

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<p>You don’t have to spend a fortune, but what you get varies massively – from a ‘wee stone segment’ in York to a French three-bedder with pool</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jul/19/homes-for-about-150000-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for about £150,000 – in pictures

July 19, 2017 7:00

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but what you get varies massively – from a ‘wee stone segment’ in York to a French three-bedder with pool

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<p>If only these fortified walls could talk – they’ve seen an awful lot of history<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jul/18/fort-clarence-kent-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Fort Clarence in Kent – in pictures

July 18, 2017 11:33

If only these fortified walls could talk – they’ve seen an awful lot of history

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<p>Many plants fade at this time of year, but choose carefully and you can enjoy vibrant hues right through till October</p><p>August is probably my favourite month in the garden. The frenzy of sowing and planting that is spring and early summer is finally over, meaning you have much more time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, frustratingly, come late summer many traditional British garden plants can be looking long past their best, which is a bit of an annoying irony as you try to relax, cocktail in hand.</p><p>Seek out superstar exotics to pick up the slack in autumn</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/20/stretching-out-summer-floral-colour-in-the-garden">Continue reading...</a>

Stretching out summer floral colour

Aug 20, 2017 6:00

Many plants fade at this time of year, but choose carefully and you can enjoy vibrant hues right through till October

August is probably my favourite month in the garden. The frenzy of sowing and planting that is spring and early summer is finally over, meaning you have much more time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, frustratingly, come late summer many traditional British garden plants can be looking long past their best, which is a bit of an annoying irony as you try to relax, cocktail in hand.

Seek out superstar exotics to pick up the slack in autumn

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<p>After years as a special forces soldier, Patrick Baty became a leading expert on historical paint. Ed Cumming meets him<strong> </strong></p><p>When <a href="http://patrickbaty.co.uk/">Patrick Baty</a> took over his family’s paint shop, <a href="http://www.papersandpaints.co.uk/">Papers and Paints</a>, in 1981, he noticed customers had lots of questions about historic paint. What colours would their homes have originally been painted? What pigments were available to the Georgians? And what about in Queen Victoria’s time?</p><p>Often, he found, he didn’t know the answers. It was hardly his fault. The field of historic paint, outside of a few highly specialised niches, didn’t yet exist. So Baty set about inventing it. He enrolled in a course of independent study, identified 100 or so original sources, and began a dissertation that swelled from 10,000 words to 80,000 on the methods and materials of the house-painter between 1650 and 1850. “I like having answers,” he says. “I knew I was creating a reference library for myself that I would be able to draw on. Also, part of me probably had a chip on my shoulder about not having been to university. In those days army officers went straight to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/picture/2016/jun/25/eyewitness-sandhurst-uk">Sandhurst</a>.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/20/historical-paint-expert-patrick-baty-papers-and-paint">Continue reading...</a>

Doctor hue: the paint guru

Aug 20, 2017 6:00

After years as a special forces soldier, Patrick Baty became a leading expert on historical paint. Ed Cumming meets him

When Patrick Baty took over his family’s paint shop, Papers and Paints, in 1981, he noticed customers had lots of questions about historic paint. What colours would their homes have originally been painted? What pigments were available to the Georgians? And what about in Queen Victoria’s time?

Often, he found, he didn’t know the answers. It was hardly his fault. The field of historic paint, outside of a few highly specialised niches, didn’t yet exist. So Baty set about inventing it. He enrolled in a course of independent study, identified 100 or so original sources, and began a dissertation that swelled from 10,000 words to 80,000 on the methods and materials of the house-painter between 1650 and 1850. “I like having answers,” he says. “I knew I was creating a reference library for myself that I would be able to draw on. Also, part of me probably had a chip on my shoulder about not having been to university. In those days army officers went straight to Sandhurst.”

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<p>It is the clever use of topiary and riotous flower combinations at this Buckinghamshire farmhouse that make it such a thrill</p><p>It’s a huge stand of <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=1993"><em>Verbena bonariensis</em></a> that offers the first clue about what kind of garden lies beyond the five-barred gate. The verbena’s spindly stems topped with tiny lilac pompoms like a map of the stars have colonised one side of an ancient open-sided barn with an undulating roof of rust-red tiles. Above the froth, the eye is drawn to the horizontal line of a grapevine trained along the eaves and a tightly clipped specimen of potted topiary at one end. This tension between form and free-for-all is what makes retired farmer Marilyn Godden’s garden such a thrill.</p><p>When Godden and her husband moved into this Buckinghamshire farmhouse in 1980, there was little more than a 40ft tall laurel hedge and some mistreated box topiary to call a garden. It took three weeks to trim the riotous hedge, then she started work on a little bed under the kitchen window. Over the subsequent decades, Godden gradually turned the moisture-retaining clay-heavy pasture into a series of beautiful garden rooms, with the helpful addition of manure – freely available from her herds of beef cattle and sheep. The farmhouse has required much time and energy, too. “The house dates from 1692 but it’s older than that – they did a refurb in 1692, the chimney and inglenook were Tudor,” she explains.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/19/gardens-box-topiary-farmhouse-buckinghamshire">Continue reading...</a>

Order v disorder: the two faces of a magical garden

Aug 19, 2017 11:00

It is the clever use of topiary and riotous flower combinations at this Buckinghamshire farmhouse that make it such a thrill

It’s a huge stand of Verbena bonariensis that offers the first clue about what kind of garden lies beyond the five-barred gate. The verbena’s spindly stems topped with tiny lilac pompoms like a map of the stars have colonised one side of an ancient open-sided barn with an undulating roof of rust-red tiles. Above the froth, the eye is drawn to the horizontal line of a grapevine trained along the eaves and a tightly clipped specimen of potted topiary at one end. This tension between form and free-for-all is what makes retired farmer Marilyn Godden’s garden such a thrill.

When Godden and her husband moved into this Buckinghamshire farmhouse in 1980, there was little more than a 40ft tall laurel hedge and some mistreated box topiary to call a garden. It took three weeks to trim the riotous hedge, then she started work on a little bed under the kitchen window. Over the subsequent decades, Godden gradually turned the moisture-retaining clay-heavy pasture into a series of beautiful garden rooms, with the helpful addition of manure – freely available from her herds of beef cattle and sheep. The farmhouse has required much time and energy, too. “The house dates from 1692 but it’s older than that – they did a refurb in 1692, the chimney and inglenook were Tudor,” she explains.

Continue reading...

<p>Plant an agastache, enjoy the grasses at Knoll Gardens in Dorset and pot herbs</p><p>Stick your head into the foliage of an <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=5149" title="">agastache </a>and its liquorice-scented leaves take you back to childhood sweetshops. This short-lived perennial’s spikes of blue or purple flowers from mid- to late summer are loved by bees and butterflies. Try dark purple ‘<a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/313009/Agastache-Blackadder/Details" title="">Blackadder</a>’, lavender-blue ‘<a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=5149" title="">Blue Fortune</a>’ or pink ‘<a href="http://www.perennials.com/plants/agastache-cotton-candy.html" title="">Cotton Candy</a>’. It needs a sunny, sheltered, well-drained spot to really thrive.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/19/gardens-what-to-do-plant-agastache-grasses-knoll-gardens">Continue reading...</a>

Gardens: what to do this week

Aug 19, 2017 10:59

Plant an agastache, enjoy the grasses at Knoll Gardens in Dorset and pot herbs

Stick your head into the foliage of an agastache and its liquorice-scented leaves take you back to childhood sweetshops. This short-lived perennial’s spikes of blue or purple flowers from mid- to late summer are loved by bees and butterflies. Try dark purple ‘Blackadder’, lavender-blue ‘Blue Fortune’ or pink ‘Cotton Candy’. It needs a sunny, sheltered, well-drained spot to really thrive.

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<p>Alchemilla by name, alchemical by nature… here’s a plant to transform any garden</p><p>Just before the snow line by a tumbling mountain stream grew some lady’s mantle, <a href="http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/alchemilla-vulgaris.php" title=""><em>Alchemilla vulgaris</em></a>. Of all the things I wandered through in those alpine meadows – the orchids, the arnica, the aconites and the clouds of butterflies – this was perhaps the least impressive. “Oh, that old garden plant,” I thought. Yet as the leaves caught the stream’s spray and rolled the mercurial water into droplets, I was struck by its brilliance.</p><p>There are three main species that are widely available. <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/774/Alchemilla-mollis/Details" title=""><em>A. mollis</em></a> from the Caucasus is the best known, with its lime-yellow flowers. Dwarf lady’s mantle, <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/26453/Alchemilla-erythropoda/Details" title=""><em>A. erythropoda</em></a>, comes from the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans and has blue-green, greyish foliage and yellow flowers. And finally, Alpine lady’s mantle,<em> </em><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemilla_alpina" title=""><em>A. alpina</em></a>, has delicate grey-green leaves that are edged with silver, and tiny yellow green flowers.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/19/alys-fowler-alchemilla-ladys-mantle">Continue reading...</a>

All hail the magical power of lady’s mantle

Aug 19, 2017 10:59

Alchemilla by name, alchemical by nature… here’s a plant to transform any garden

Just before the snow line by a tumbling mountain stream grew some lady’s mantle, Alchemilla vulgaris. Of all the things I wandered through in those alpine meadows – the orchids, the arnica, the aconites and the clouds of butterflies – this was perhaps the least impressive. “Oh, that old garden plant,” I thought. Yet as the leaves caught the stream’s spray and rolled the mercurial water into droplets, I was struck by its brilliance.

There are three main species that are widely available. A. mollis from the Caucasus is the best known, with its lime-yellow flowers. Dwarf lady’s mantle, A. erythropoda, comes from the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans and has blue-green, greyish foliage and yellow flowers. And finally, Alpine lady’s mantle, A. alpina, has delicate grey-green leaves that are edged with silver, and tiny yellow green flowers.

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<p>Our workers’ co-operative community market garden partners with the council to ensure that locally grown, healthy food is affordable and accessible to all</p><ul><li>Ru Litherland works at OrganicLea</li></ul><p>One cold grey February morning, back in 2001, we turned the key and opened the creaking gate on to a world that could not have been further from the built-up street just strides away. As far as the eye could see, scattered sheds teetered on the edge of a tidal wave of dense bramble. Halfway down the hill, just as the path disappeared into this surge, were plots 20 to 24: our new allotments. Whatever else, this was going to be groundbreaking stuff.</p><p>Driven by the vision that more food can and should be grown in London, we set up OrganicLea on a derelict allotment in Chingford, east London. The Lea Valley, which for centuries used the river to transport food down the Thames, from Saxon settlers growing celery in the sixth century to Italians growing cucumbers in glasshouses in the 1950s, was a good place to start.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2017/aug/17/carrots-communism-allotments-sustainable-food-revolution-organic">Continue reading...</a>

Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution

Aug 17, 2017 7:42

Our workers’ co-operative community market garden partners with the council to ensure that locally grown, healthy food is affordable and accessible to all

  • Ru Litherland works at OrganicLea

One cold grey February morning, back in 2001, we turned the key and opened the creaking gate on to a world that could not have been further from the built-up street just strides away. As far as the eye could see, scattered sheds teetered on the edge of a tidal wave of dense bramble. Halfway down the hill, just as the path disappeared into this surge, were plots 20 to 24: our new allotments. Whatever else, this was going to be groundbreaking stuff.

Driven by the vision that more food can and should be grown in London, we set up OrganicLea on a derelict allotment in Chingford, east London. The Lea Valley, which for centuries used the river to transport food down the Thames, from Saxon settlers growing celery in the sixth century to Italians growing cucumbers in glasshouses in the 1950s, was a good place to start.

Continue reading...

<p>A new survey found Brits split down the middle when asked to pick between these two appliances. We took to the streets to get the lay of the land</p><p>Brits are in a spin as to which white good is the most essential: a tumble dryer or a dishwasher. With the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/housing">cost of housing</a> squeezing people into smaller spaces and the cost of living rising, the luxury of owning both is increasingly out of reach. Given a choice between the two, though, 47% of people in the UK favour a tumble dryer, while 44% would choose a dishwasher, <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/08/14/would-you-rather-have-dishwasher-or-tumble-dryer/">according to a YouGov survey</a>. Pity the 9% of Brits who can’t make up their mind.</p><p>We took to the streets to find out more about the issue dividing the nation.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2017/aug/15/the-big-debate-would-you-rather-have-a-dishwasher-or-a-tumble-dryer">Continue reading...</a>

The big debate: would you rather have a dishwasher or a tumble dryer?

Aug 15, 2017 18:35

A new survey found Brits split down the middle when asked to pick between these two appliances. We took to the streets to get the lay of the land

Brits are in a spin as to which white good is the most essential: a tumble dryer or a dishwasher. With the cost of housing squeezing people into smaller spaces and the cost of living rising, the luxury of owning both is increasingly out of reach. Given a choice between the two, though, 47% of people in the UK favour a tumble dryer, while 44% would choose a dishwasher, according to a YouGov survey. Pity the 9% of Brits who can’t make up their mind.

We took to the streets to find out more about the issue dividing the nation.

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<p>Harking back to the Victorian era, these designers are breathing new life into botanical illustration. By Emma Love</p><p>Botanical illustration isn’t anything new but it is becoming increasingly popular as part of a wider greenery trend. The current <a href="https://gardenmuseum.org.uk/exhibitions/tradescants-orchard/">Tradescant’s Orchard: A Celebration of Botanical Art exhibition</a> at the Garden Museum in London is showing watercolours by 50 artists and there’s a botany theme at next month’s <a href="http://www.londondesignfair.co.uk/">London Design Fair</a>. Meanwhile, photography duo <a href="https://www.haarkon.co.uk/">Haarkon</a> are becoming known for self-initiated greenhouse tours which they post on Instagram. Plants are everywhere. For these illustrators and designers, what starts out as a drawing often ends up as textiles, original artwork or products for the home. Here are some of the best.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/13/designers-inspired-by-botanical-illustration-homes">Continue reading...</a>

Second nature: five designers inspired by plants

Aug 13, 2017 6:00

Harking back to the Victorian era, these designers are breathing new life into botanical illustration. By Emma Love

Botanical illustration isn’t anything new but it is becoming increasingly popular as part of a wider greenery trend. The current Tradescant’s Orchard: A Celebration of Botanical Art exhibition at the Garden Museum in London is showing watercolours by 50 artists and there’s a botany theme at next month’s London Design Fair. Meanwhile, photography duo Haarkon are becoming known for self-initiated greenhouse tours which they post on Instagram. Plants are everywhere. For these illustrators and designers, what starts out as a drawing often ends up as textiles, original artwork or products for the home. Here are some of the best.

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<p>Succulents and similar are amazingly ‘in’; here’s how to get yours Instagram-ready</p><p>Though there are many glossy, beautifully arranged pictures of houseplants that take Instagram by storm, any horticulturist scrolling through has to reveal that many set-ups are clearly impossible. On Instagram there are photos of plants that would never be able to grow together, display ideas that are totally impractical, and even plastic replicas passed off as the real deal. I love how social media is making this once-forgotten group of plants aspirational and exciting to a whole new generation, but for newbies here are three tips to avoid the biggest potential pitfalls in houseplants.</p><p>Social media is making this once-forgotten group of plants aspirational</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/13/three-top-tips-for-happy-houseplants">Continue reading...</a>

Three top tips for happy houseplants

Aug 13, 2017 6:00

Succulents and similar are amazingly ‘in’; here’s how to get yours Instagram-ready

Though there are many glossy, beautifully arranged pictures of houseplants that take Instagram by storm, any horticulturist scrolling through has to reveal that many set-ups are clearly impossible. On Instagram there are photos of plants that would never be able to grow together, display ideas that are totally impractical, and even plastic replicas passed off as the real deal. I love how social media is making this once-forgotten group of plants aspirational and exciting to a whole new generation, but for newbies here are three tips to avoid the biggest potential pitfalls in houseplants.

Social media is making this once-forgotten group of plants aspirational

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<p>The buyer of my Fender Stratocaster claimed there was no guitar in the case as soon as he received it</p><p><strong>Can you help with an eBay/PayPal disaster. In June I decided to sell my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar on eBay, which went for £1,165. I posted it to the buyer’s address, and it was fully insured through a local Manchester firm which uses Parcelforce to deliver.</strong></p><p><strong>Tracking shows it was successfully delivered. But, on the same night, I received a message to say that the buyer had opened a dispute case with eBay claiming the item was “not as described” as “NO guitar in case”.</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/20/ebay-fraudster-selling-electric-guitar">Continue reading...</a>

I lost £1,165 to eBay fraudster when selling my electric guitar

Aug 20, 2017 6:59

The buyer of my Fender Stratocaster claimed there was no guitar in the case as soon as he received it

Can you help with an eBay/PayPal disaster. In June I decided to sell my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar on eBay, which went for £1,165. I posted it to the buyer’s address, and it was fully insured through a local Manchester firm which uses Parcelforce to deliver.

Tracking shows it was successfully delivered. But, on the same night, I received a message to say that the buyer had opened a dispute case with eBay claiming the item was “not as described” as “NO guitar in case”.

Continue reading...

Cost of commuting unfairly penalises public sector staff and part-time workers, warns union<p>Plans to hit rail commuters with the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/15/commuters-brace-for-steepest-fare-rise-in-five-years-as-uk-inflation-rises-to-36">biggest fare rises in five years</a> will force many key workers, including nurses and teaching assistants, to quit their jobs, the biggest public-sector union Unison warned on Saturday.</p><p>Anger at the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/15/commuters-brace-for-steepest-fare-rise-in-five-years-as-uk-inflation-rises-to-36">3.6% increase</a> to regulated fares, including commuter fares and season tickets, spilled over last week after it was revealed that the rises would come into effect in January.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/20/rail-fare-rise-force-key-workers-to-quit-public-sector-part-time">Continue reading...</a>

UK rail fare rise ‘will force key workers to quit city jobs’

Aug 20, 2017 0:05

Cost of commuting unfairly penalises public sector staff and part-time workers, warns union

Plans to hit rail commuters with the biggest fare rises in five years will force many key workers, including nurses and teaching assistants, to quit their jobs, the biggest public-sector union Unison warned on Saturday.

Anger at the 3.6% increase to regulated fares, including commuter fares and season tickets, spilled over last week after it was revealed that the rises would come into effect in January.

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As graduates start their first jobs and face a raft of new bills,&nbsp;tackling the loan mountain can seem insurmountable<p>After three years at university Vic Froggett has started in her first job and is adjusting to the succession of new bills she has to pay. But as well as the increased cost of rent, travel and council tax, in the background is her mountain of debt – student loans of £40,000.</p><p>After borrowing all she could from the Student Loans Company (SLC) for the £9,000-a-year tuition fees for her English literature and politics degree at the University of Reading, she also took out money for maintenance. Now working as a publishing assistant for £17,000 a year, the debt appears insurmountable.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/20/student-debt-graduates-loan-mountain">Continue reading...</a>

Getting to grips with a £32,220 student debt – and how you can lighten the load

Aug 20, 2017 7:00

As graduates start their first jobs and face a raft of new bills, tackling the loan mountain can seem insurmountable

After three years at university Vic Froggett has started in her first job and is adjusting to the succession of new bills she has to pay. But as well as the increased cost of rent, travel and council tax, in the background is her mountain of debt – student loans of £40,000.

After borrowing all she could from the Student Loans Company (SLC) for the £9,000-a-year tuition fees for her English literature and politics degree at the University of Reading, she also took out money for maintenance. Now working as a publishing assistant for £17,000 a year, the debt appears insurmountable.

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<p>Government to crack down on scammers who persuade savers to transfer money from pension accounts into fake schemes</p><p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/19/pension-cold-calling-banned-rise-scams-autumn-statement">A ban on cold-calling by pension companies</a> will include texts and emails, the government has announced, as it cracks down on scammers who target savers’ retirement funds.</p><p>Almost £5m was lost to fraudsters in the first five months of 2017, said the government, and it was estimated that since April 2014 a total of £43m had been taken. People targeted by scammers lost an average of £15,000 each.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/20/pension-cold-calling-ban-include-texts-emails-fraudsters">Continue reading...</a>

Pension cold-calling ban to include texts and emails in effort to tackle fraud

Aug 20, 2017 11:53

Government to crack down on scammers who persuade savers to transfer money from pension accounts into fake schemes

A ban on cold-calling by pension companies will include texts and emails, the government has announced, as it cracks down on scammers who target savers’ retirement funds.

Almost £5m was lost to fraudsters in the first five months of 2017, said the government, and it was estimated that since April 2014 a total of £43m had been taken. People targeted by scammers lost an average of £15,000 each.

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Information commissioner’s ruling on data breach strengthens case against broadband provider<p>Lawyers acting for around 50 people defrauded by scammers after a major data breach at TalkTalk in 2014 are discussing their next move, which victims hope could herald the start&nbsp;of legal action against the broadband firm.</p><p>Last week the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced it was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/10/talktalk-fined-100000-for-not-protecting-customers-personal-data" title="">fining TalkTalk £100,000</a> for failing to look after its customers’ data. The ICO said TalkTalk had breached data protection laws by allowing unjustifiably wide-ranging access to its systems by external companies, including Wipro, an Indian IT services firm it employed to deal with complaints&nbsp;and coverage problems. Staff there had access to large quantities of TalkTalk customers’ data including names, addresses, phone numbers and account details.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/talktalk-scam-victims-class-action-data-breach">Continue reading...</a>

TalkTalk scam victims move closer to class-action lawsuit

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

Information commissioner’s ruling on data breach strengthens case against broadband provider

Lawyers acting for around 50 people defrauded by scammers after a major data breach at TalkTalk in 2014 are discussing their next move, which victims hope could herald the start of legal action against the broadband firm.

Last week the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced it was fining TalkTalk £100,000 for failing to look after its customers’ data. The ICO said TalkTalk had breached data protection laws by allowing unjustifiably wide-ranging access to its systems by external companies, including Wipro, an Indian IT services firm it employed to deal with complaints and coverage problems. Staff there had access to large quantities of TalkTalk customers’ data including names, addresses, phone numbers and account details.

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Account holders slate ‘astonishing’ rate of borrowing which is more than credit cards and payday loans<p>There is growing anger among some Lloyds and Halifax customers – those who regularly use their overdraft – after they received letters from the banks this week warning them that the cost of going overdrawn could shoot up after November.</p><p>In July, Lloyds banking group announced that it was radically overhauling its overdrafts fees, including those at Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. At the time the bank said the move will leave most customers better off – although it admitted that 10% of account holders could end up paying significantly more.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/overlloyds-halifax-52-apr-overdraft-fee">Continue reading...</a>

Lloyds and Halifax customers face up to 52% APR overdraft fee

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

Account holders slate ‘astonishing’ rate of borrowing which is more than credit cards and payday loans

There is growing anger among some Lloyds and Halifax customers – those who regularly use their overdraft – after they received letters from the banks this week warning them that the cost of going overdrawn could shoot up after November.

In July, Lloyds banking group announced that it was radically overhauling its overdrafts fees, including those at Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. At the time the bank said the move will leave most customers better off – although it admitted that 10% of account holders could end up paying significantly more.

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<p>The ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings lists the UK’s highest salaried careers. If you fancy one of the Top 10 jobs, we have tips on how to do it<br></p><p>Have you got one of the best paid jobs in the UK? <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/26/weekly-uk-earnings-rose-2015-biggest-increase-since-financial-crash">The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016</a>, and we’ve looked at the top 10 highest paid jobs in the country and what you need to do to get one of them. </p><p>To obtain the data, the ONS surveyed a random sample of 1% of all the workers who carry out each occupation, using 2015/2016 pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax records. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/31/highest-paid-jobs-2016-ons-annual-survey-hours-earnings">Continue reading...</a>

What are the highest paid jobs of 2016 in the UK?

Oct 31, 2016 14:10

The ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings lists the UK’s highest salaried careers. If you fancy one of the Top 10 jobs, we have tips on how to do it

Have you got one of the best paid jobs in the UK? The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016, and we’ve looked at the top 10 highest paid jobs in the country and what you need to do to get one of them.

To obtain the data, the ONS surveyed a random sample of 1% of all the workers who carry out each occupation, using 2015/2016 pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax records.

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Two things are vital to help you make the correct choice – the giveaways on offer and the amount of interest-free overdraft you’ll receive and when<p>School leavers found out this week which university they will be going to, and over the next month they and their parents will be wondering how on earth they are going to afford it. For many it will be the first time they run a proper bank account and look after their own money. So which account should a fresher choose?</p><p>Proximity of the bank and its branches may influence some; others will automatically go with the one their parents are with. But cool-headed students will choose an account on two things: the value of the interest-free overdraft on offer, and whether the giveaways are worth taking.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/19/how-pick-best-student-account-giveaways-interest-free-overdraft">Continue reading...</a>

A free railcard or a £2,000 overdraft? How to pick the best student account

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

Two things are vital to help you make the correct choice – the giveaways on offer and the amount of interest-free overdraft you’ll receive and when

School leavers found out this week which university they will be going to, and over the next month they and their parents will be wondering how on earth they are going to afford it. For many it will be the first time they run a proper bank account and look after their own money. So which account should a fresher choose?

Proximity of the bank and its branches may influence some; others will automatically go with the one their parents are with. But cool-headed students will choose an account on two things: the value of the interest-free overdraft on offer, and whether the giveaways are worth taking.

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<p>If it was a bank, we’d brand the 6.1% interest rate shameless profiteering</p><p>Student loans are overpriced, badly administered and probably mis-sold. If they were a financial product that we unpick in the Money pages each week, they would more than likely fall into the “worst-buy” rather than the “best-buy” category. Yet well over 200,000 undergraduates will be herded into them in September.</p><p>Let’s start with the overpriced interest rate. Supermarket group Asda launched into personal loans this week, promising rates starting at 2.9%. Tesco and Sainsbury’s start just a tad higher at 3%. Meanwhile, the government can borrow on international money markets at just 1.8% for repayment over 30 years. Yet, when it lends the money out through the Student Loans Company, to be repaid in up to 25 years, it applies an interest rate of up to 6.1%. If this were Lloyds or Barclays we’d call it shameless profiteering.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/aug/19/student-finance-mis-selling-shameless-profiteering">Continue reading...</a>

How to reform student finance? Let’s start with interest rates

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

If it was a bank, we’d brand the 6.1% interest rate shameless profiteering

Student loans are overpriced, badly administered and probably mis-sold. If they were a financial product that we unpick in the Money pages each week, they would more than likely fall into the “worst-buy” rather than the “best-buy” category. Yet well over 200,000 undergraduates will be herded into them in September.

Let’s start with the overpriced interest rate. Supermarket group Asda launched into personal loans this week, promising rates starting at 2.9%. Tesco and Sainsbury’s start just a tad higher at 3%. Meanwhile, the government can borrow on international money markets at just 1.8% for repayment over 30 years. Yet, when it lends the money out through the Student Loans Company, to be repaid in up to 25 years, it applies an interest rate of up to 6.1%. If this were Lloyds or Barclays we’d call it shameless profiteering.

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<p>Majestic, Waitrose, Naked ... I don’t know where to start</p><p><strong>Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.</strong></p><p><strong>This week’s question:</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/aug/19/best-website-buy-wine-online">Continue reading...</a>

What’s the best site for buying wine online?

Aug 19, 2017 7:00

Majestic, Waitrose, Naked ... I don’t know where to start

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

This week’s question:

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Sales are falling. Older cars are facing bans. Next week’s budget could see taxes slapped on. We explore the future for the owners of these high-polluting vehicles<p>Is this the nightmare future for owners of today’s diesel cars? It’s 2020 and you are already taxed out of driving into the city centre. At the pumps the price of diesel has soared. The low-emission zone has extended to your suburb. Do you carry on paying extra, or sell for a small fraction of what you paid?</p><p>The mayor of London has effectively banned older diesel cars from central London from next October, and the same drivers face a wider ban from a larger area, possibly as soon as 2019. Meanwhile, a report this week by the mayor’s office proposed higher parking charges for diesel owners across the capital.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/04/diesel-environment-ban-tax-duty-emissions-values">Continue reading...</a>

Will the diesel car you are driving today be worthless in five years’ time?

Mar 4, 2017 7:00

Sales are falling. Older cars are facing bans. Next week’s budget could see taxes slapped on. We explore the future for the owners of these high-polluting vehicles

Is this the nightmare future for owners of today’s diesel cars? It’s 2020 and you are already taxed out of driving into the city centre. At the pumps the price of diesel has soared. The low-emission zone has extended to your suburb. Do you carry on paying extra, or sell for a small fraction of what you paid?

The mayor of London has effectively banned older diesel cars from central London from next October, and the same drivers face a wider ban from a larger area, possibly as soon as 2019. Meanwhile, a report this week by the mayor’s office proposed higher parking charges for diesel owners across the capital.

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Wedding costs can quickly grow, but couples need not say ‘I do’ to paying an average of £7,500 on their big day<p>The wedding season is in full swing, and while some couples are happy to throw cash around like confetti, others try to slash the cost of their big day. <a href="http://www.nationwide.co.uk/about/media-centre-and-specialist-areas/media-centre/press-releases/archive/2015/6/8-friends-and-family-first-to-go-as-couples-cut-wedding-costs" title="">Those tying the knot can expect to pay an average of £7,500</a>, according to Nationwide building society (that’s for couples of all ages, which includes the lower amounts older couples tend to spend), or more than £24,000 if you’re a reader of Brides Magazine.</p><p>But celebrating with a bit of fanfare doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it is perfectly possible to tie the knot for less than a grand.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jun/27/how-get-married-finances-wedding-costs">Continue reading...</a>

How to get married for less than £1,000

June 27, 2015 7:00

Wedding costs can quickly grow, but couples need not say ‘I do’ to paying an average of £7,500 on their big day

The wedding season is in full swing, and while some couples are happy to throw cash around like confetti, others try to slash the cost of their big day. Those tying the knot can expect to pay an average of £7,500, according to Nationwide building society (that’s for couples of all ages, which includes the lower amounts older couples tend to spend), or more than £24,000 if you’re a reader of Brides Magazine.

But celebrating with a bit of fanfare doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it is perfectly possible to tie the knot for less than a grand.

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I did cool off during the cooling-off period but can’t get my money back<p><strong>I signed up for gym membership with Fitness First – for more than twice the £23.99 I was paying PureGym a month. I was happy to fork out more money for what I thought would be quality membership but, given the bad service I received, I am now happy to stick with PureGym. </strong></p><p><strong>Fitness First requires you to sign up to a 12-month contract with a 14-day cooling-off period. I used the 14 days to develop the confidence to stay on at the gym, but this never happened. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/15/fitness-first-gym-membership-cancel-cooling-off-period">Continue reading...</a>

Fitness First is last when it comes to cancelling gym membership

Aug 15, 2017 7:00

I did cool off during the cooling-off period but can’t get my money back

I signed up for gym membership with Fitness First – for more than twice the £23.99 I was paying PureGym a month. I was happy to fork out more money for what I thought would be quality membership but, given the bad service I received, I am now happy to stick with PureGym.

Fitness First requires you to sign up to a 12-month contract with a 14-day cooling-off period. I used the 14 days to develop the confidence to stay on at the gym, but this never happened.

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If you are one of the rising number of people working part-time, earn some extra cash in dog walking or rampant veg growing<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/10/jobs-home-working-tips">• Top tips for working at home</a><p>Happy days are here again – or so you might assume from a recent wave of optimistic reports about the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/aug/30/bcc-economic-forecast-recession" title="">economic outlook</a> and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/aug/31/consumer-confidence-recession-economy" title="">rising consumer confidence</a>. But while unemployment is down, the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/aug/11/claimant-count-falls-unemployment" title="">latest labour market figures reveal a surge in part-time jobs</a> as employers remain anxious about long-term recovery prospects, suggesting it may not be time to hang out the bunting just yet.</p><p>With more of us working fewer hours and with a resulting earnings gap to close, there's arguably never been a better time to set up a business you can run in your spare time from home. Whether it's to help make ends meet, or to follow your passion, or maybe even both, we've asked the experts to come up with 50 practical and cheap ways to make some extra cash.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2010/sep/04/50-side-businesses-from-home">Continue reading...</a>

50 side businesses to set up from home

Sep 4, 2010 0:01

If you are one of the rising number of people working part-time, earn some extra cash in dog walking or rampant veg growing

• Top tips for working at home

Happy days are here again – or so you might assume from a recent wave of optimistic reports about the economic outlook and rising consumer confidence. But while unemployment is down, the latest labour market figures reveal a surge in part-time jobs as employers remain anxious about long-term recovery prospects, suggesting it may not be time to hang out the bunting just yet.

With more of us working fewer hours and with a resulting earnings gap to close, there's arguably never been a better time to set up a business you can run in your spare time from home. Whether it's to help make ends meet, or to follow your passion, or maybe even both, we've asked the experts to come up with 50 practical and cheap ways to make some extra cash.

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I had dropped it on the seat in front of me but it proved impossible for the airline to find<p><strong>I arranged for my two sisters and me to fly out on a surprise birthday visit to our fourth sister, who lives in Venice. We are all in our 70s and haven’t holidayed together since we were children. </strong></p><p><strong>When I was putting my bag in the overhead locker of our easyJet flight, my passport, unbeknown to me, slipped onto the seat in front. The passenger who later occupied that seat handed it to a crew member, who passed it to airport ground staff. </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/16/dropped-passport-easyjet-flight-missed-family-reunion">Continue reading...</a>

Family reunion is ruined as easyJet struggles to return my passport

Aug 16, 2017 7:00

I had dropped it on the seat in front of me but it proved impossible for the airline to find

I arranged for my two sisters and me to fly out on a surprise birthday visit to our fourth sister, who lives in Venice. We are all in our 70s and haven’t holidayed together since we were children.

When I was putting my bag in the overhead locker of our easyJet flight, my passport, unbeknown to me, slipped onto the seat in front. The passenger who later occupied that seat handed it to a crew member, who passed it to airport ground staff.

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<p>‘I sailed on, hitting target after target, until one day I couldn’t do it any more’</p><p>Everyone told me to be careful. “Watch out: you’re burning the candle at both ends.” “Maybe you could do with some support?” And I would wave them away dismissively. Of course I could cope. They hadn’t seen anything yet. So I sailed on, hitting target after target, making my company more successful than it had ever been until suddenly I&nbsp;couldn’t do it any more. I&nbsp;couldn’t get out of bed some days, and when I&nbsp;did, I&nbsp;couldn’t stand up, walk in a&nbsp;straight line or talk sense. I felt physically sick in the presence of colleagues; I&nbsp;couldn’t make decisions, take notes or sit in&nbsp;meetings.</p><p>Thank goodness I had someone to support me through it all. My partner quietly gave me space to get well, encouraged me to see a&nbsp;psychotherapist and never judged. “Welcome to the mainstream!” said&nbsp;my doctor, who told me my body was simply shutting down until I could get my head straight.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/22/what-im-really-thinking-burned-out-businessman">Continue reading...</a>

What I’m really thinking: the burned-out businessman

July 22, 2017 9:00

‘I sailed on, hitting target after target, until one day I couldn’t do it any more’

Everyone told me to be careful. “Watch out: you’re burning the candle at both ends.” “Maybe you could do with some support?” And I would wave them away dismissively. Of course I could cope. They hadn’t seen anything yet. So I sailed on, hitting target after target, making my company more successful than it had ever been until suddenly I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t get out of bed some days, and when I did, I couldn’t stand up, walk in a straight line or talk sense. I felt physically sick in the presence of colleagues; I couldn’t make decisions, take notes or sit in meetings.

Thank goodness I had someone to support me through it all. My partner quietly gave me space to get well, encouraged me to see a psychotherapist and never judged. “Welcome to the mainstream!” said my doctor, who told me my body was simply shutting down until I could get my head straight.

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<p>I should get the full fare back after a four-hour delay, but have received nothing</p><p><strong>I got caught up in huge delays on Great Western Railway services between London and Chippenham at the end of April that resulted in a hold-up of four hours, making me eligible for a full refund. The tickets were London to Chippenham returns for two people at a total of £104. </strong></p><p><strong>Refunds are meant to take place within 14 days, according to the website. I made my compensation claim the day after and, since then, have spoken to GWR more than 20 times through Twitter and phone calls, but I have still not received any compensation. I think it wants me to just give up and forget about it. Do I have any rights? </strong><em>TM</em>, <em>Balham, London </em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/14/great-western-railway-train-delay-fare-refund">Continue reading...</a>

I’ve reached the end of the line with GWR refund

Aug 14, 2017 15:52

I should get the full fare back after a four-hour delay, but have received nothing

I got caught up in huge delays on Great Western Railway services between London and Chippenham at the end of April that resulted in a hold-up of four hours, making me eligible for a full refund. The tickets were London to Chippenham returns for two people at a total of £104.

Refunds are meant to take place within 14 days, according to the website. I made my compensation claim the day after and, since then, have spoken to GWR more than 20 times through Twitter and phone calls, but I have still not received any compensation. I think it wants me to just give up and forget about it. Do I have any rights? TM, Balham, London

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