<p>Bank of England brings forward annual stress tests as it grows anxious over lenders’ exposure to consumer credit</p><p>The Bank of England is to force banks to strengthen their financial position in the face of a rapid growth in borrowing on credit cards, car finance and personal loans.</p><p>The intervention by Threadneedle Street means banks will need to set aside as much as £11.4bn of extra capital in the next 18 months and is intended to protect the financial system from the 10% rise in consumer lending over the year.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/27/uk-banks-ordered-to-hold-more-capital-as-consumer-debt-surges">Continue reading...</a>

UK banks ordered to hold more capital as consumer debt surges

June 27, 2017 18:19

Bank of England brings forward annual stress tests as it grows anxious over lenders’ exposure to consumer credit

The Bank of England is to force banks to strengthen their financial position in the face of a rapid growth in borrowing on credit cards, car finance and personal loans.

The intervention by Threadneedle Street means banks will need to set aside as much as £11.4bn of extra capital in the next 18 months and is intended to protect the financial system from the 10% rise in consumer lending over the year.

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<p>We discovered the alarm wasn’t working and have no idea how long it’s been out, but ADT isn’t acknowledging the problem</p><p><strong>We have an ADT burglar alarm on our house in west London, but recently discovered it wasn’t working and have no idea how long it has been out. It’s a rental property and is between tenancies, so we rely on the alarm for security. Despite a number of phone calls and emails to ADT, the only explanation has come from a call handler who reluctantly told us it was due to an O2 mast failure in the area. Customers don’t necessarily know this, and we imagine that hundreds of homes and commercial premises within range of the mast could be unprotected and have their insurance invalidated.</strong></p><p><strong>We are having a frustrating time with this, with no idea when the problem is going to be fixed. We have still had no acknowledgement from ADT regarding the cause of failure, despite persisting with calls and emails. </strong><em>A L-G,</em> West Drayton, London</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/27/adt-burglar-alarm-faulty-rental-property-unprotected">Continue reading...</a>

Fault in ADT burglar alarm left our rental property unprotected

June 27, 2017 7:00

We discovered the alarm wasn’t working and have no idea how long it’s been out, but ADT isn’t acknowledging the problem

We have an ADT burglar alarm on our house in west London, but recently discovered it wasn’t working and have no idea how long it has been out. It’s a rental property and is between tenancies, so we rely on the alarm for security. Despite a number of phone calls and emails to ADT, the only explanation has come from a call handler who reluctantly told us it was due to an O2 mast failure in the area. Customers don’t necessarily know this, and we imagine that hundreds of homes and commercial premises within range of the mast could be unprotected and have their insurance invalidated.

We are having a frustrating time with this, with no idea when the problem is going to be fixed. We have still had no acknowledgement from ADT regarding the cause of failure, despite persisting with calls and emails. A L-G, West Drayton, London

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<p>The quarter-acre parcel brings in no income, has no natural resources and has environmental restrictions. So why does the president still maintain it?</p><p>Amid the gilded tower blocks, luxury hotels and high-end golf clubs of Donald Trump’s vast global property portfolio is a much smaller holding that looks more than a little out of place.</p><p>It’s a quarter-acre lot of overgrown woodland in one of Florida’s poorest counties that the US president has owned and paid property taxes on since 2005 – having bought it for $1 from a woman who owned a photographic studio specialising in adult lingerie shoots.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/25/donald-trump-florida-property-sebring">Continue reading...</a>

Inside the mysterious lot of land Donald Trump owns in Florida's swamplands

June 25, 2017 8:00

The quarter-acre parcel brings in no income, has no natural resources and has environmental restrictions. So why does the president still maintain it?

Amid the gilded tower blocks, luxury hotels and high-end golf clubs of Donald Trump’s vast global property portfolio is a much smaller holding that looks more than a little out of place.

It’s a quarter-acre lot of overgrown woodland in one of Florida’s poorest counties that the US president has owned and paid property taxes on since 2005 – having bought it for $1 from a woman who owned a photographic studio specialising in adult lingerie shoots.

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<p>Housebuilder has admitted it let buyers down on quality and service but six months on, some are still battling to get problems fixed</p><p>At the Bovis annual meeting in May the chairman, Ian Tyler, apologised to homebuyers for “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/28/bovis-home-hundreds-of-snags-angry-buyers-unfinished-homes">letting them down</a>” and admitted the company had been cutting corners to reach ambitious targets. Quality and customer service had suffered in the past two years, he said. Tyler indicated that hundreds of homebuyers had suffered. “We absolutely got it wrong. We have compromised along the way ... We built too quickly. We started sites too early and handed over too early.”</p><p>Bovis had used subcontractors that “may not have been of the highest quality”, he said, but added that most customer complaints had been resolved.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/24/frustrated-bovis-homebuyers-bovis-quality-problems">Continue reading...</a>

Frustrated homebuyers in a fight to the finish with Bovis

June 24, 2017 7:00

Housebuilder has admitted it let buyers down on quality and service but six months on, some are still battling to get problems fixed

At the Bovis annual meeting in May the chairman, Ian Tyler, apologised to homebuyers for “letting them down” and admitted the company had been cutting corners to reach ambitious targets. Quality and customer service had suffered in the past two years, he said. Tyler indicated that hundreds of homebuyers had suffered. “We absolutely got it wrong. We have compromised along the way ... We built too quickly. We started sites too early and handed over too early.”

Bovis had used subcontractors that “may not have been of the highest quality”, he said, but added that most customer complaints had been resolved.

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<p>Will they put up with the terrible conditions some tenants have to suffer? A new BBC programme is putting them to the test</p><p>Linda is 66, lives alone and sets her alarm for 4.30am to start work as a carer for children with special needs. She has taken on three jobs a week, despite being close to pensionable age, to earn enough to pay the £950 rent on her two-bed flat in Chadwell Heath, a workaday suburb on the fringes of east London. The bathroom hot water tap seized up long ago. Half the rings on her electric cooker aren’t working. The smell from the mould and damp is overpowering. And, after paying her rent and bills, she is left with just £54.12 a week.</p><p>Father and son Peter and Mark are her landlords. They own £7m-worth of property, making £15,000 a month. “It’s just the best way of becoming wealthy,” says Mark, 36. “Some people are saving for their first home. I’ve got 40.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/24/renting-property-landlords-tenants-bbc-series-buy-to-let">Continue reading...</a>

Life swap … landlords are being given the chance to live like their tenants

June 24, 2017 7:00

Will they put up with the terrible conditions some tenants have to suffer? A new BBC programme is putting them to the test

Linda is 66, lives alone and sets her alarm for 4.30am to start work as a carer for children with special needs. She has taken on three jobs a week, despite being close to pensionable age, to earn enough to pay the £950 rent on her two-bed flat in Chadwell Heath, a workaday suburb on the fringes of east London. The bathroom hot water tap seized up long ago. Half the rings on her electric cooker aren’t working. The smell from the mould and damp is overpowering. And, after paying her rent and bills, she is left with just £54.12 a week.

Father and son Peter and Mark are her landlords. They own £7m-worth of property, making £15,000 a month. “It’s just the best way of becoming wealthy,” says Mark, 36. “Some people are saving for their first home. I’ve got 40.”

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<p>If you’re to the manor born, then these properties – in Essex, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire – are ideal for you<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/23/homes-in-converted-mansions-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes in converted mansions – in pictures

June 23, 2017 23:45

If you’re to the manor born, then these properties – in Essex, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire – are ideal for you

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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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At the mercy of largely unregulated private landlords, young people are unable to save for their future. No wonder they are backing Labour<p>There has been much interest in young people in the aftermath of the election. Reporters have focused on a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/09/corbyn-may-young-voters-labour-surge" title="">youth surge</a> that may be the reason May lost her majority, with increased numbers of young voters turning out who seem to have largely opted for the Labour party.</p><p>But could it be that this trend is in fact an indicator of the same old class politics? A <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/06/13/how-britain-voted-2017-general-election/" title="">YouGov study</a> released last week suggested that class had been turned on its head – with results that showed that you were just as likely to vote Tory if you worked in a manual labour job as if you were upper or middle class. But the real indicator here was age – Labour outperformed the Conservatives in every age group until people reached their 50s.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/generation-rent-voting-housing-private-landlords-labour">Continue reading...</a>

With generation rent voting, could housing be a political game-changer? | Poppy Noor

June 23, 2017 13:46

At the mercy of largely unregulated private landlords, young people are unable to save for their future. No wonder they are backing Labour

There has been much interest in young people in the aftermath of the election. Reporters have focused on a youth surge that may be the reason May lost her majority, with increased numbers of young voters turning out who seem to have largely opted for the Labour party.

But could it be that this trend is in fact an indicator of the same old class politics? A YouGov study released last week suggested that class had been turned on its head – with results that showed that you were just as likely to vote Tory if you worked in a manual labour job as if you were upper or middle class. But the real indicator here was age – Labour outperformed the Conservatives in every age group until people reached their 50s.

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<p>This splendid building could be the answer to your property prayers <br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/23/former-wesleyan-chapel-harrogate-north-yorkshire-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A former Wesleyan chapel in Harrogate – in pictures

June 23, 2017 7:00

This splendid building could be the answer to your property prayers

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<p>Council of Mortgage Lenders downgrades forecast saying landlords are withdrawing from market in response to tax changes and tighter lending rules</p><p>The number of properties bought by landlords has almost halved in a year after a tax and regulatory clampdown, prompting a leading banking body to <a draggable="true" href="https://www.cml.org.uk/news/news-and-views/market-commentary-june-2017/">downgrade its forecasts</a> for buy-to-let lending in 2017 and 2018.<br tabindex="-1"></p><p>The Council of Mortgage Lenders said buy to let had had a weak start to 2017, with lending falling faster than expected as landlords withdrew from the market in response to major tax changes and tighter lending rules.<br tabindex="-1"></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/22/buy-to-let-uk-property-sales-fall-by-almost-50-in-a-year">Continue reading...</a>

Buy-to-let UK property sales fall by almost 50% in a year

June 22, 2017 22:39

Council of Mortgage Lenders downgrades forecast saying landlords are withdrawing from market in response to tax changes and tighter lending rules

The number of properties bought by landlords has almost halved in a year after a tax and regulatory clampdown, prompting a leading banking body to downgrade its forecasts for buy-to-let lending in 2017 and 2018.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said buy to let had had a weak start to 2017, with lending falling faster than expected as landlords withdrew from the market in response to major tax changes and tighter lending rules.

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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>A kind of Mayfair nestled in the Chiltern beechwoods</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> I could probably afford a three-bedroom detached town house round these parts. Trouble is, it’s&nbsp;2ft high. Actually, I bet I couldn’t even afford a rabbit hutch in Beaconsfield’s famous <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/may/16/take-the-kids-bekonscot-model-village-buckinghamshire" title="">Bekonscot Model Village</a>, the oldest and definitely the cutest model village in the world. A&nbsp;square inch or two in this neck of the woods costs a pretty penny. “Stuck in a 1930s time warp,” says Bekonscot’s blurb, which could just as well apply to the town outside which, traffic congestion, availability of olives, and modish Farrow &amp; Ball paint schemes apart, has changed little since the era when everyone knew their place, and that’s exactly how they like it. Its unchanging nature and proximity to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/gallery/2011/may/01/elstree-studios-in-pictures" title="">Elstree</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2011/sep/30/pinewood-studios-75-years-anniversary" title="">Pinewood</a> and the bright lights of the Smoke has long made it the perfect retreat for stars of stage and screen, from <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2008/jun/15/1" title="">Dirk Bogarde</a> to, ahem, Dennis Waterman. It has that immaculately groomed timelessness that only the&nbsp;poshest parts of the country can afford these&nbsp;days, like a kind of Mayfair nestled in the Chiltern beechwoods.</p><p><strong>The case against… </strong>Not for the likes of you and&nbsp;me.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/09/lets-move-to-beaconfield-buckinghamshire-property">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire: ‘It’s stuck in a time warp’

June 9, 2017 16:30

A kind of Mayfair nestled in the Chiltern beechwoods

What’s going for it? I could probably afford a three-bedroom detached town house round these parts. Trouble is, it’s 2ft high. Actually, I bet I couldn’t even afford a rabbit hutch in Beaconsfield’s famous Bekonscot Model Village, the oldest and definitely the cutest model village in the world. A square inch or two in this neck of the woods costs a pretty penny. “Stuck in a 1930s time warp,” says Bekonscot’s blurb, which could just as well apply to the town outside which, traffic congestion, availability of olives, and modish Farrow & Ball paint schemes apart, has changed little since the era when everyone knew their place, and that’s exactly how they like it. Its unchanging nature and proximity to Elstree, Pinewood and the bright lights of the Smoke has long made it the perfect retreat for stars of stage and screen, from Dirk Bogarde to, ahem, Dennis Waterman. It has that immaculately groomed timelessness that only the poshest parts of the country can afford these days, like a kind of Mayfair nestled in the Chiltern beechwoods.

The case against… Not for the likes of you and me.

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<p>This Oxfordshire village, with wisteria-stewn cottages and water on three sides, is cute as a dormouse</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Dorchester-on-Thames is one of those English villages that get me all misty-eyed with patriotism, if only patriotism hadn’t been hijacked by the Kippers. Thanks to an illustrious history some time in the seventh century when it was, briefly, capital of Mercia, it carries itself with a certain grandeur. Its parish church is an abbey, it has the confidence to hold its own annual <a href="https://www.englishmusicfestival.org.uk/welcome.html">English Music Festival</a> and the high street is lined with portly town houses, 17th-century mansions and cottages strewn with wisteria that give it the air of a place considerably bigger. These days, though, the stagecoaches, modern life and hullabaloo that must once have coursed through the place bypass it on the A4074 en route for Oxford. It is thus preserved as a kingdom unto itself, water on three sides, including the magnificent <a href="http://www.hurst-water-meadow.org.uk/">Hurst Water Meadow</a> (it’s more Thames-on-Dorchester than Dorchester-on-Thames), a little utopia of untouched Englishness.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>Its glory days are long past. Not&nbsp;for lovers of fleshpots.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/02/lets-move-dorchester-on-thames-oxfordshire-little-utopia">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to… Dorchester-on-Thames: ‘A little utopia’

June 2, 2017 16:29

This Oxfordshire village, with wisteria-stewn cottages and water on three sides, is cute as a dormouse

What’s going for it? Dorchester-on-Thames is one of those English villages that get me all misty-eyed with patriotism, if only patriotism hadn’t been hijacked by the Kippers. Thanks to an illustrious history some time in the seventh century when it was, briefly, capital of Mercia, it carries itself with a certain grandeur. Its parish church is an abbey, it has the confidence to hold its own annual English Music Festival and the high street is lined with portly town houses, 17th-century mansions and cottages strewn with wisteria that give it the air of a place considerably bigger. These days, though, the stagecoaches, modern life and hullabaloo that must once have coursed through the place bypass it on the A4074 en route for Oxford. It is thus preserved as a kingdom unto itself, water on three sides, including the magnificent Hurst Water Meadow (it’s more Thames-on-Dorchester than Dorchester-on-Thames), a little utopia of untouched Englishness.

The case against Its glory days are long past. Not for lovers of fleshpots.

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<p>As inner London becomes supergentrified, it’s suburbs such as this that are left for the likes of you and me</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Ilford’s attraction is not immediate. I rise past it most weeks on the North Circular; you might be in any outer London suburb, Kingston or Kingsbury, Bromley or Barnet. If you squint hard (health and safety warning: not when you’re driving), you could even be in Los Angeles. Maybe. Look, Ilford has its moments. Indeed, as central London becomes supergentrified with artisan chocolate boutiques, suburbs such as Ilford are left for the likes of you and me, with the cosmopolitan diversity we once used to seek in the hubbub of the city. These are today’s boomtowns, filled with young professionals, here not least because of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk/crossrail">Crossrail</a> – aka the <a href="http://content.tfl.gov.uk/elizabeth-line-map.pdf">Elizabeth line</a>. Sure, Ilford is fat on chainstores, but look past TK Maxx and Wilko and you’ll find wonderful green pockets such as <a href="http://www.valentinesmansion.com/gardens.php">Valentines Park</a>, ace south Asian grocers and Turkish grills, and ooh, a <a href="http://www.percy-ingle.co.uk/">Percy Ingle</a>. A Percy Ingle always makes a good place great.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> It’s not a beauty. It’s as if a giant toddler tipped out its building blocks on to the Essex borders.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/26/lets-move-ilford-east-london-boomtown-property-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Ilford, east London: ‘One of today’s boomtowns’

May 26, 2017 16:30

As inner London becomes supergentrified, it’s suburbs such as this that are left for the likes of you and me

What’s going for it? Ilford’s attraction is not immediate. I rise past it most weeks on the North Circular; you might be in any outer London suburb, Kingston or Kingsbury, Bromley or Barnet. If you squint hard (health and safety warning: not when you’re driving), you could even be in Los Angeles. Maybe. Look, Ilford has its moments. Indeed, as central London becomes supergentrified with artisan chocolate boutiques, suburbs such as Ilford are left for the likes of you and me, with the cosmopolitan diversity we once used to seek in the hubbub of the city. These are today’s boomtowns, filled with young professionals, here not least because of Crossrail – aka the Elizabeth line. Sure, Ilford is fat on chainstores, but look past TK Maxx and Wilko and you’ll find wonderful green pockets such as Valentines Park, ace south Asian grocers and Turkish grills, and ooh, a Percy Ingle. A Percy Ingle always makes a good place great.

The case against It’s not a beauty. It’s as if a giant toddler tipped out its building blocks on to the Essex borders.

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<p>Fortified farmhouses, wild countryside, model country pubs and shopkeepers who know their customers: what’s not to like?</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Oh <a href="https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside">Cragside</a>! If you haven’t been, drop what you’re doing right now. Stop reading this. Put down your Shreddies. And the smartphone. To the train station with you. What a place: Cragside was built on the outskirts of remote Rothbury by William Armstrong, a Victorian multimillionaire arms manufacturer, scientist and ship-builder, using the most famous architect, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/mar/29/biography.architecture">Richard Norman Shaw</a>, and the highest technology of the day. He built his own power station on site, to generate electricity for his dishwashers, washing machines, security systems and telephones – all in the 1880s! He hauled 7m trees into the gardens, dug out five artificial lakes and spread his largesse into town, which owes its restored architecture to the baron.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>The delightfully named <a href="http://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/cat/coquetdale/">Coquetdale</a> is remote and wild, with Northumbria’s forests on the doorstep, so maybe it’s not for the metropolitan. Watch out for trolls in <a href="http://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/places/simonside-hills/">the Simonside Hills</a>, rumoured to attack walkers and dampen house prices. Them apart, it’s pretty near perfect.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/19/rothbery-northumberland-property-guide-perfect-idyll">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Rothbury, Northumberland: ‘It’s pretty near perfect’

May 19, 2017 16:30

Fortified farmhouses, wild countryside, model country pubs and shopkeepers who know their customers: what’s not to like?

What’s going for it? Oh Cragside! If you haven’t been, drop what you’re doing right now. Stop reading this. Put down your Shreddies. And the smartphone. To the train station with you. What a place: Cragside was built on the outskirts of remote Rothbury by William Armstrong, a Victorian multimillionaire arms manufacturer, scientist and ship-builder, using the most famous architect, Richard Norman Shaw, and the highest technology of the day. He built his own power station on site, to generate electricity for his dishwashers, washing machines, security systems and telephones – all in the 1880s! He hauled 7m trees into the gardens, dug out five artificial lakes and spread his largesse into town, which owes its restored architecture to the baron.

The case against The delightfully named Coquetdale is remote and wild, with Northumbria’s forests on the doorstep, so maybe it’s not for the metropolitan. Watch out for trolls in the Simonside Hills, rumoured to attack walkers and dampen house prices. Them apart, it’s pretty near perfect.

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<p>The streetscape fuses Stevenage surreally with Burnham Market – flinty cuteness jumpcut with 50s council house</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> We’ve had Essex Man, Worcester Woman and the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. But these days, if editors of newspapers and broadcast news programmes want to hear “the voice of the people”, deepest, darkest Thetford seems to be where they dispatch their journalists. This microcosm is seen to somehow embody the state of the nation, a bundle of contradictions squished into one town. After the second world war it became an overspill town for Londoners, tripling its size. Listen hard and today you can still hear Cockney inflections grafted on to Norfolk burrs; the streetscape fuses Stevenage surreally with Burnham Market – flinty cuteness jumpcut with 50s council house. Two decades of European migration for agricultural work expanded the town further. Yes, it voted for Brexit. There’s a statue of Captain Mainwaring (much of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/may/13/my-favourite-tv-show-dads-army">Dad’s Army</a> was filmed here). But Thetford was also home to Boudicca, gave birth to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/mar/02/my-hero-thomas-paine-sue-townsend">Thomas Paine</a> (though the radical didn’t stay long) and voted in Britain’s first black mayor – in 1904! Told you, rum old mix.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> A bit of a muddle. Its postwar reimagining wasn’t entirely successful: the ringroad rudely interrupts medieval streets. Its high streets are just keeping decline at bay. There have been ethnic tensions in the past.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/12/lets-move-to-thetford-norfolk">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to… Thetford, Norfolk: ‘A rum old mix’

May 12, 2017 16:30

The streetscape fuses Stevenage surreally with Burnham Market – flinty cuteness jumpcut with 50s council house

What’s going for it? We’ve had Essex Man, Worcester Woman and the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. But these days, if editors of newspapers and broadcast news programmes want to hear “the voice of the people”, deepest, darkest Thetford seems to be where they dispatch their journalists. This microcosm is seen to somehow embody the state of the nation, a bundle of contradictions squished into one town. After the second world war it became an overspill town for Londoners, tripling its size. Listen hard and today you can still hear Cockney inflections grafted on to Norfolk burrs; the streetscape fuses Stevenage surreally with Burnham Market – flinty cuteness jumpcut with 50s council house. Two decades of European migration for agricultural work expanded the town further. Yes, it voted for Brexit. There’s a statue of Captain Mainwaring (much of Dad’s Army was filmed here). But Thetford was also home to Boudicca, gave birth to Thomas Paine (though the radical didn’t stay long) and voted in Britain’s first black mayor – in 1904! Told you, rum old mix.

The case against A bit of a muddle. Its postwar reimagining wasn’t entirely successful: the ringroad rudely interrupts medieval streets. Its high streets are just keeping decline at bay. There have been ethnic tensions in the past.

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<p>It lacks the obvious beauty of Hay and the Wye valley, but it’s as picturesque as a former mining town can get</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Last time we came here, 14 years ago, news was Blaenafon was going to magic itself into <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/may/27/anti-establishment-hay-on-wye-breeding-ground-independents">Hay-on-Wye</a>. This, the crucible of the Welsh coal industry, had set upon its postindustrial future: books, cakes and ’eritage. Well, the magic has worked – kinda. It was always a tough task. Blaenafon lacks the obvious beauty and quaintness of Hay and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jul/29/lets-move-monmouth-and-lower-wye-valley-tom-dyckhoff">the Wye valley</a> and much of its thunder has been stolen by the revival of Abergavenny, just over the hill. Blaenafon may be as picturesque as a former mining town in the Welsh valleys can possibly get, but its beauty comes more from other directions: its doughty community; the stories of bravery told in the <a href="https://museum.wales/bigpit/">Big Pit museum</a>; and the flavour of the lamb chops sold in the butchers. Hard work and money have spruced the place up. Broad Street, with its bunting, cake shops and the <a href="http://www.chunkofcheese.co.uk/">Cheddar Company</a> (its cheeses maturing in the old pits), is jolly. The museums are busy. It hasn’t been transformed into Poshville, but Blaenafon is surviving and didn’t sell its soul to the devil in the process.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> On the grey side, visually. Winters can be cruel. Move here for the long haul, and roll up your sleeves.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/05/lets-move-to-blaenafon-gwent">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Blaenafon, Gwent: ‘Money and hard work have spruced it up’

May 5, 2017 16:30

It lacks the obvious beauty of Hay and the Wye valley, but it’s as picturesque as a former mining town can get

What’s going for it? Last time we came here, 14 years ago, news was Blaenafon was going to magic itself into Hay-on-Wye. This, the crucible of the Welsh coal industry, had set upon its postindustrial future: books, cakes and ’eritage. Well, the magic has worked – kinda. It was always a tough task. Blaenafon lacks the obvious beauty and quaintness of Hay and the Wye valley and much of its thunder has been stolen by the revival of Abergavenny, just over the hill. Blaenafon may be as picturesque as a former mining town in the Welsh valleys can possibly get, but its beauty comes more from other directions: its doughty community; the stories of bravery told in the Big Pit museum; and the flavour of the lamb chops sold in the butchers. Hard work and money have spruced the place up. Broad Street, with its bunting, cake shops and the Cheddar Company (its cheeses maturing in the old pits), is jolly. The museums are busy. It hasn’t been transformed into Poshville, but Blaenafon is surviving and didn’t sell its soul to the devil in the process.

The case against On the grey side, visually. Winters can be cruel. Move here for the long haul, and roll up your sleeves.

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<p>There’s a peculiar air to this rock at the end of Chesil Beach, best known for the stone used in buildings all over the world</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> You come across bits of Portland in the most unlikely of places. Like the <a href="http://visit.un.org/">UN headquarters</a> in Manhattan, St Paul’s Cathedral or the bank on my high street. Portland stone, prized for its searing whiteness, has been used for centuries to build the most illustrious of architecture. Half of London is covered in it. Which, if you follow the thought to its logical conclusion, means that half of Portland is not. The place is pockmarked with quarries, the lingering sense of something missing adding a peculiar air to a place which already has its fair share of oddity. The position of this gigantic, 500ft-high rock, sticking out into the Channel, with a skein of pebbles connecting it to the mainland, means its streets are bathed in an end-of-the-universe light, as if perched on the prow of a ship. Its quiet small towns, with their dusty, bleached stone cottages, seem, if you squint, plucked from a corner of the Mediterranean. There’s one way in and one way out, unless you’re handy with a sail. And you share the few square miles with inmates at HM Prison Portland. Not put off? Then the Isle, my strange friend, is all yours.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Buffeted by weather. Isolation and general weirdness: not for everyone. I miss trees (a precious commodity on this blasted isle).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/21/lets-move-portland-dorset-fair-share-oddity">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to the Isle of Portland, Dorset: ‘It has its fair share of oddity’

Apr 21, 2017 16:30

There’s a peculiar air to this rock at the end of Chesil Beach, best known for the stone used in buildings all over the world

What’s going for it? You come across bits of Portland in the most unlikely of places. Like the UN headquarters in Manhattan, St Paul’s Cathedral or the bank on my high street. Portland stone, prized for its searing whiteness, has been used for centuries to build the most illustrious of architecture. Half of London is covered in it. Which, if you follow the thought to its logical conclusion, means that half of Portland is not. The place is pockmarked with quarries, the lingering sense of something missing adding a peculiar air to a place which already has its fair share of oddity. The position of this gigantic, 500ft-high rock, sticking out into the Channel, with a skein of pebbles connecting it to the mainland, means its streets are bathed in an end-of-the-universe light, as if perched on the prow of a ship. Its quiet small towns, with their dusty, bleached stone cottages, seem, if you squint, plucked from a corner of the Mediterranean. There’s one way in and one way out, unless you’re handy with a sail. And you share the few square miles with inmates at HM Prison Portland. Not put off? Then the Isle, my strange friend, is all yours.

The case against Buffeted by weather. Isolation and general weirdness: not for everyone. I miss trees (a precious commodity on this blasted isle).

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<p>Once more important than neighbouring Exeter, this unpretentious town has great views and affordable property</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Little, I’m sure, did Crediton’s citizens think, circa AD736, that their town would serve as a commuter suburb for middle managers from Exeter. Back then, before the Normans turned up, Crediton was the head honcho round these parts, the bee’s knees, with a bishop and everything. Then some cleric bozo called Leofric decided he wanted to move to Exeter to be with the cool kids, and ruined everything. Then it was all Exeter, Exeter, Exeter for the next millennium and a bit. Still, Crediton continued to thrive on wool and milk, splurging the profits on conspicuous consumption like beautiful town houses and the fabulous Church of the Holy Cross, a cathedral in all but name, to thumb a nose at its upstart neighbour. The town still has a cocky confidence that can only come from the knowledge that once upon a time it was great and that, some day, when the time is right, when Devon Armageddon threatens, when Exeter is on its knees, Crediton’s day will come again.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> You will love and hate the A377 in equal measure. There’s nothing but teeny villages between you and Exmoor, which fills your heart with either joy or dread.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/14/lets-move-crediton-devon-day-will-come-again-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Crediton, Devon: ‘Its day will come again’

Apr 14, 2017 16:30

Once more important than neighbouring Exeter, this unpretentious town has great views and affordable property

What’s going for it? Little, I’m sure, did Crediton’s citizens think, circa AD736, that their town would serve as a commuter suburb for middle managers from Exeter. Back then, before the Normans turned up, Crediton was the head honcho round these parts, the bee’s knees, with a bishop and everything. Then some cleric bozo called Leofric decided he wanted to move to Exeter to be with the cool kids, and ruined everything. Then it was all Exeter, Exeter, Exeter for the next millennium and a bit. Still, Crediton continued to thrive on wool and milk, splurging the profits on conspicuous consumption like beautiful town houses and the fabulous Church of the Holy Cross, a cathedral in all but name, to thumb a nose at its upstart neighbour. The town still has a cocky confidence that can only come from the knowledge that once upon a time it was great and that, some day, when the time is right, when Devon Armageddon threatens, when Exeter is on its knees, Crediton’s day will come again.

The case against You will love and hate the A377 in equal measure. There’s nothing but teeny villages between you and Exmoor, which fills your heart with either joy or dread.

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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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<p>I have a savings account plus two Isas, and need advice to ensure I can repay the outstanding balance in five years<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have an interest-only mortgage from a well known high street bank. The balance outstanding is £139,000. The lender has informed me that I have five years left to settle this balance and that I need to discuss my options for repaying the mortgage. The options are reviewing the performance of any repayment strategy with a financial adviser; extending the term of the loan to match my repayment strategy; or changing the mortgage so I repay some capital as well as interest (at a rate of 3.49%). </p><p>I regularly save 20%-28% of our monthly income in a savings account offering a low interest rate. I have two Isas and am thinking of starting another.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/25/best-way-pay-off-interest-only-mortgage-savings-isa">Continue reading...</a>

What's the best way of paying off my interest-only mortgage?

May 25, 2017 7:00

I have a savings account plus two Isas, and need advice to ensure I can repay the outstanding balance in five years

Q I have an interest-only mortgage from a well known high street bank. The balance outstanding is £139,000. The lender has informed me that I have five years left to settle this balance and that I need to discuss my options for repaying the mortgage. The options are reviewing the performance of any repayment strategy with a financial adviser; extending the term of the loan to match my repayment strategy; or changing the mortgage so I repay some capital as well as interest (at a rate of 3.49%).

I regularly save 20%-28% of our monthly income in a savings account offering a low interest rate. I have two Isas and am thinking of starting another.

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<p>I don’t have a mortgage and need some cash for new windows and doors<br></p><p><strong tabindex="-1">Q</strong> I would like to know more about equity release. I am a homeowner with no mortgage on my house. I cleared my mortgage back in 2013 when my endowment policy reached maturity.</p><p>I would like to make some changes to my home, including installing PVC windows and external doors, as well as having a bit of landscaping done. I am approaching my 64th birthday and live alone, and hope to release some of the equity in my home. Can you please point me in the right direction? <strong>BT</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/18/best-way-release-equity-home-improvements">Continue reading...</a>

What's the best way to release equity for home improvements?

May 18, 2017 7:00

I don’t have a mortgage and need some cash for new windows and doors

Q I would like to know more about equity release. I am a homeowner with no mortgage on my house. I cleared my mortgage back in 2013 when my endowment policy reached maturity.

I would like to make some changes to my home, including installing PVC windows and external doors, as well as having a bit of landscaping done. I am approaching my 64th birthday and live alone, and hope to release some of the equity in my home. Can you please point me in the right direction? BT

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<p>I have accepted an offer on my house, but the purchaser is asking for a reduction citing repair works</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have accepted an offer on my house but the purchaser is now asking for a further reduction in the price due to work required on the property. Is this legal? And, if so what is your advice on how to deal with it? <strong tabindex="-1">HW</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> Yes it is legal and quite common when a survey reveals extensive – and expensive – work required on a property. Once a buyer’s offer on a property is accepted by its seller, in estate agent speak, the property becomes “sold subject to contract”, which means that the price can still be negotiated. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/11/can-a-buyer-legally-ask-to-cut-agreed-offer-price">Continue reading...</a>

Can a buyer legally ask to cut agreed offer price?

May 11, 2017 7:00

I have accepted an offer on my house, but the purchaser is asking for a reduction citing repair works

Q I have accepted an offer on my house but the purchaser is now asking for a further reduction in the price due to work required on the property. Is this legal? And, if so what is your advice on how to deal with it? HW

A Yes it is legal and quite common when a survey reveals extensive – and expensive – work required on a property. Once a buyer’s offer on a property is accepted by its seller, in estate agent speak, the property becomes “sold subject to contract”, which means that the price can still be negotiated.

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<p>My partner and I are putting in different amounts of money and I’m worried about how we would share the proceeds if we had to sell<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I wonder if you can help. I’m struggling to put my practical head on in the midst of the romantic adventure that is buying my first home with my partner. </p><p>We’re going to own the house as tenants in common, which we’re both fine with, as we’re putting significantly different amounts into the deposit: I’m putting in 15% and he is contributing the remaining 85%. We are planning to pay the mortgage 50/50. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/04/buying-tenants-in-common-what-happens-if-we-split-up">Continue reading...</a>

We're buying as tenants in common – but what if we split up?

May 4, 2017 7:00

My partner and I are putting in different amounts of money and I’m worried about how we would share the proceeds if we had to sell

Q I wonder if you can help. I’m struggling to put my practical head on in the midst of the romantic adventure that is buying my first home with my partner.

We’re going to own the house as tenants in common, which we’re both fine with, as we’re putting significantly different amounts into the deposit: I’m putting in 15% and he is contributing the remaining 85%. We are planning to pay the mortgage 50/50.

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<p>We rent in Oxfordshire but want to buy property near Sheffield to let until we move there<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My partner and I have been renting for the past seven years. We live in a salubrious part of Oxfordshire in a house we would never be able to afford to buy without a lottery win. We’ve been lucky enough to have as landlords a wealthy elderly couple, who let us pay probably half the going rate for the area on the unspoken proviso that we don’t bother them about minor repairs and keep the place in good order. It suits us all fine. <br></p><p>This has allowed us to save up a small pot over the years and I recently inherited around £100,000 from my grandmother. This gives us a cash deposit of roughly £140,000 to buy somewhere, but with a joint income of around £40,000 and the average two-bed around here selling at the half a million mark, we’re going to have to start looking elsewhere.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/27/first-time-buyers-can-we-get-buy-to-let-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

As first-time buyers, can we take out a buy-to-let mortgage?

Apr 27, 2017 7:00

We rent in Oxfordshire but want to buy property near Sheffield to let until we move there

Q My partner and I have been renting for the past seven years. We live in a salubrious part of Oxfordshire in a house we would never be able to afford to buy without a lottery win. We’ve been lucky enough to have as landlords a wealthy elderly couple, who let us pay probably half the going rate for the area on the unspoken proviso that we don’t bother them about minor repairs and keep the place in good order. It suits us all fine.

This has allowed us to save up a small pot over the years and I recently inherited around £100,000 from my grandmother. This gives us a cash deposit of roughly £140,000 to buy somewhere, but with a joint income of around £40,000 and the average two-bed around here selling at the half a million mark, we’re going to have to start looking elsewhere.

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<p>My husband and I are worried about how much time we have to sell before CGT and higher rate stamp duty kick in<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I recently got married and we each own a flat. I was told by a friend that if we wanted to avoid capital gains tax (CGT) we would have to sell one of the flats in the first three years of getting hitched. I am thinking of selling my flat to buy a house but since we would still have his flat, would we have to pay second home stamp duty or does that come under the same three-year allowance? <br></p><p>Would we be better off selling both flats within the first three years and buying one together to avoid these massive tax penalties? Some sage advice would be most welcome as the extra 3% stamp duty would definitely have an impact on our search parameters. <strong>RR</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/apr/20/newlyweds-capital-gains-tax-sell-flat-stamp-duty">Continue reading...</a>

As newlyweds, what capital gains tax will we pay if we sell one of our flats?

Apr 20, 2017 7:00

My husband and I are worried about how much time we have to sell before CGT and higher rate stamp duty kick in

Q I recently got married and we each own a flat. I was told by a friend that if we wanted to avoid capital gains tax (CGT) we would have to sell one of the flats in the first three years of getting hitched. I am thinking of selling my flat to buy a house but since we would still have his flat, would we have to pay second home stamp duty or does that come under the same three-year allowance?

Would we be better off selling both flats within the first three years and buying one together to avoid these massive tax penalties? Some sage advice would be most welcome as the extra 3% stamp duty would definitely have an impact on our search parameters. RR

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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>These attractive and affordable homes include a cottage in Wales, a duplex in Newcastle and an Italian villa </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/21/homes-for-250000-stamp-duty-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for £250,000 – in pictures

June 21, 2017 10:52

These attractive and affordable homes include a cottage in Wales, a duplex in Newcastle and an Italian villa

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<p>There’s plenty of space for the relatives in these properties, from Lincolnshire to Scotland, as they all have self-contained granny flats<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/16/homes-with-annexes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with annexes – in pictures

June 16, 2017 23:45

There’s plenty of space for the relatives in these properties, from Lincolnshire to Scotland, as they all have self-contained granny flats

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<p>Jaw-dropping luxury is the hallmark of this nine-bedroom island mansion<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/16/private-paradise-island-mansion-maldives-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Your private paradise in the Maldives – in pictures

June 16, 2017 7:00

Jaw-dropping luxury is the hallmark of this nine-bedroom island mansion

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<p>Enjoy the salt air at these seafront properties, from Whitby to Mauritius</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/14/beachfront-homes-in-pictures-home-and-away">Continue reading...</a>

Beachfront homes – in pictures

June 14, 2017 7:00

Enjoy the salt air at these seafront properties, from Whitby to Mauritius

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<p>You might just recognise these properties if you’re a keen filmgoer</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/10/homes-with-starring-roles-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with starring roles – in pictures

June 10, 2017 7:00

You might just recognise these properties if you’re a keen filmgoer

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<p>This compact former school house stands guard over the city’s ancient St Cuthbert’s churchyard</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/09/georgian-cottage-below-edinburgh-castle-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A Georgian cottage below Edinburgh Castle – in pictures

June 9, 2017 7:00

This compact former school house stands guard over the city’s ancient St Cuthbert’s churchyard

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<p>These horticultural gems would suit green-fingered buyers from Lincolnshire to Málaga</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/07/homes-with-designer-gardens-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with designer gardens – in pictures

June 7, 2017 7:00

These horticultural gems would suit green-fingered buyers from Lincolnshire to Málaga

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<p>Cars are given the smart treatment in these properties, making parking a breeze<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jun/02/homes-with-hi-tech-parking-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with hi-tech parking – in pictures

June 2, 2017 23:45

Cars are given the smart treatment in these properties, making parking a breeze

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<p>How to help your beloved, fragile plants face up to two untended weeks while you swan off to the Med</p><p>I’m off on holiday in a couple of weeks. Believe me, I really can’t wait for the escape. But for obsessive houseplant collectors like me, going away at the height of the growing season can be tinged with anxiety. Given the fact that I am currently watering my growing army of ferns, orchids, carnivorous plants and herbs virtually every day in hot weather, a two-week absence could be enough to finish off some of my more delicate specimens. But things don’t have to be this way!</p><p>I don’t have massive trays or capillary matting to hand (frankly, who does?)</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/25/holiday-proof-houseplants">Continue reading...</a>

Top tips for holiday-proofing houseplants

June 25, 2017 6:00

How to help your beloved, fragile plants face up to two untended weeks while you swan off to the Med

I’m off on holiday in a couple of weeks. Believe me, I really can’t wait for the escape. But for obsessive houseplant collectors like me, going away at the height of the growing season can be tinged with anxiety. Given the fact that I am currently watering my growing army of ferns, orchids, carnivorous plants and herbs virtually every day in hot weather, a two-week absence could be enough to finish off some of my more delicate specimens. But things don’t have to be this way!

I don’t have massive trays or capillary matting to hand (frankly, who does?)

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<p>Reclaimed wood, stained glass, pretty tiles… Handcrafted conversions are giving old vans a new life</p><p>Old removal vans don’t conjure up a vision of happy holidays. Yet increasingly these vehicles are being lovingly converted and handcrafted into camper vans that are used both for rent and as permanent homes.</p><p>There’s a growing trend for people wanting something handcrafted and handmade</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/25/the-happiest-campers-in-handcrafted-converted-vans">Continue reading...</a>

The happiest campers

June 25, 2017 6:00

Reclaimed wood, stained glass, pretty tiles… Handcrafted conversions are giving old vans a new life

Old removal vans don’t conjure up a vision of happy holidays. Yet increasingly these vehicles are being lovingly converted and handcrafted into camper vans that are used both for rent and as permanent homes.

There’s a growing trend for people wanting something handcrafted and handmade

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<p>You’d expect mountain climbers to be great champions of the environment, but their high-performance clothing is a chemical nightmare</p><p>There’s a long-standing rivalry between surfers and climbers as to who is the greenest. For my money, surfers have the edge. They’ve influenced environmentalism at large, making their issues – sewage and plastic – ours.</p><p>Greenpeace has found noxious chemicals in the air around outdoor clothing shops</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/25/the-eco-guide-to-performance-wear">Continue reading...</a>

The eco guide to performance wear

June 25, 2017 6:00

You’d expect mountain climbers to be great champions of the environment, but their high-performance clothing is a chemical nightmare

There’s a long-standing rivalry between surfers and climbers as to who is the greenest. For my money, surfers have the edge. They’ve influenced environmentalism at large, making their issues – sewage and plastic – ours.

Greenpeace has found noxious chemicals in the air around outdoor clothing shops

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<p>Not everyone likes bright pink flowers. But they’re wrong</p><p>This plant may have been&nbsp;named after an order of monks that dates back to the 11th century, but&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/5704/Dianthus-carthusianorum/Details" title=""><em>Dianthus carthusianorum</em></a> is a&nbsp;particularly useful one for our small modern gardens. It has magenta flowers from now to late summer, held on slim stems around 40-50cm tall above a&nbsp;nest of strap-like leaves, and works well amid grasses in gravel and prairie gardens. As <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3311733/How-to-grow-Carthusian-pink.html" title="">garden writer Val Bourne has noted</a>, it&nbsp;has the same see-through quality that turned <a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=1993" title=""><em>Verbena bonariensis</em></a> into a garden favourite – only this is evergreen, so&nbsp;you’ll have foliage all winter, too.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/24/plant-of-the-week-carthusian-pink">Continue reading...</a>

Plant of the week: Carthusian pink

June 24, 2017 11:00

Not everyone likes bright pink flowers. But they’re wrong

This plant may have been named after an order of monks that dates back to the 11th century, but Dianthus carthusianorum is a particularly useful one for our small modern gardens. It has magenta flowers from now to late summer, held on slim stems around 40-50cm tall above a nest of strap-like leaves, and works well amid grasses in gravel and prairie gardens. As garden writer Val Bourne has noted, it has the same see-through quality that turned Verbena bonariensis into a garden favourite – only this is evergreen, so you’ll have foliage all winter, too.

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<p>Bhakti Vinode, head gardener at Krishna Eco Farm in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, on past lives and plants with souls</p><p>I started gardening when I was 10, so&nbsp;it&nbsp;feels entirely natural to me. We&nbsp;believe in reincarnation here at <a href="http://www.iskconscotland.org/">the Krishna Eco Farm</a>, and I feel that I&nbsp;was&nbsp;a gardener in a&nbsp;previous life.</p><p>I have been on the farm since 1989, having first&nbsp;been to a Krishna farm in Watford in 1981. Back then, I was living in a squat and hanging around the West End of London, drinking and getting into trouble. But the Krishna way of life gave me a&nbsp;new goal, rather than always thinking about where I could get my next&nbsp;fix from.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/24/how-does-your-garden-grow-krishna-eco-farm">Continue reading...</a>

Me and my garden: ‘At 5am, I go to the temple to chant. It’s how I get ready to work’

June 24, 2017 11:00

Bhakti Vinode, head gardener at Krishna Eco Farm in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, on past lives and plants with souls

I started gardening when I was 10, so it feels entirely natural to me. We believe in reincarnation here at the Krishna Eco Farm, and I feel that I was a gardener in a previous life.

I have been on the farm since 1989, having first been to a Krishna farm in Watford in 1981. Back then, I was living in a squat and hanging around the West End of London, drinking and getting into trouble. But the Krishna way of life gave me a new goal, rather than always thinking about where I could get my next fix from.

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<p>Our gardening expert has the answer</p><p><strong>I grow fruit and vegetables organically in my front garden in boarded raised beds. I would love to&nbsp;grow blueberries, but I know they need an acidic soil. How can I&nbsp;create a bed for them without using any peat-based products?</strong><br>Peat-free soil for acid-loving plants does exist, but you might not be able&nbsp;to get it from every garden centre you visit. The best one I’ve&nbsp;tried is made by <a href="http://www.melcourt.co.uk/products/gardener/peat-free-composts/">Melcourt</a> and is&nbsp;called SylvaGrow ericaceous compost – this is the bee’s knees, although I’d say that about all&nbsp;of this&nbsp;company’s composts. You&nbsp;can get hold of it online and it’s&nbsp;also available from a number of good garden centres: visit <a href="http://www.melcourt.co.uk">melcourt.co.uk</a> for a&nbsp;list of stockists.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/10/alys-fowler-edibles-west-facing-ivy-covered-wall">Ask Alys: what edibles can I plant by a west-facing wall?</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/24/ask-alys-fowler-blueberries-without-peat">Continue reading...</a>

Ask Alys: can I grow blueberries without peat?

June 24, 2017 11:00

Our gardening expert has the answer

I grow fruit and vegetables organically in my front garden in boarded raised beds. I would love to grow blueberries, but I know they need an acidic soil. How can I create a bed for them without using any peat-based products?
Peat-free soil for acid-loving plants does exist, but you might not be able to get it from every garden centre you visit. The best one I’ve tried is made by Melcourt and is called SylvaGrow ericaceous compost – this is the bee’s knees, although I’d say that about all of this company’s composts. You can get hold of it online and it’s also available from a number of good garden centres: visit melcourt.co.uk for a list of stockists.

Related: Ask Alys: what edibles can I plant by a west-facing wall?

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<p>Protect them from blight – and learn how to prune</p><p>Tomatoes come from coastal regions in Chile and Peru – rocky places high in the mountains that are a far cry from our damp, mild climate. You can grow great tomatoes outside in the UK, but it’s a gamble: they like long, hot, dry summers, not short, wet ones.</p><p>There are two types of tomatoes: cordon and bush. The other name for cordon tomatoes is “indeterminate”, meaning they could grow on and on as long as the conditions allow, so these you have to prune. Do this by pinching out the side shoots that emerge between leaves and the main stem, and pinching out the main shoot when it has five to eight trusses – fruiting stems – of tomatoes. (Four or five trusses is best for cordon tomatoes grown in a pot.) Determinate, or bush, tomatoes can be left to do their own thing, no pruning necessary.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/24/alys-fowler-tomatoes-blight-pruning">Continue reading...</a>

Give your tomato plants a fighting chance

June 24, 2017 10:59

Protect them from blight – and learn how to prune

Tomatoes come from coastal regions in Chile and Peru – rocky places high in the mountains that are a far cry from our damp, mild climate. You can grow great tomatoes outside in the UK, but it’s a gamble: they like long, hot, dry summers, not short, wet ones.

There are two types of tomatoes: cordon and bush. The other name for cordon tomatoes is “indeterminate”, meaning they could grow on and on as long as the conditions allow, so these you have to prune. Do this by pinching out the side shoots that emerge between leaves and the main stem, and pinching out the main shoot when it has five to eight trusses – fruiting stems – of tomatoes. (Four or five trusses is best for cordon tomatoes grown in a pot.) Determinate, or bush, tomatoes can be left to do their own thing, no pruning necessary.

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<p>Kim Stoddart on the new projects fostering a fun connection with the natural world for children and teenagers</p><p>I had an interest in the great outdoors from a very young age. I can remember as a child watching mesmerised as hundreds of baby spiders emerged and spread themselves bravely across a web. I wanted to grow veg but my parents didn’t know how, so I threw carrot seeds in the ground recklessly, hoping for the best. While I tried to fit in as best I could at school, my apparently not-very-cool interest withered - until my late twenties, when I began dabbling with growing veg in my back garden.<strong><br></strong></p><p>Even now, nudging into my forties, I still regularly hear people say “you’re a gardener? Aren’t you too young to be doing that?” While I increasingly enjoy hearing the words; “aren’t you too young?”, the idea that “this” should only be enjoyed by an older generation both amuses and grates. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2017/jun/23/why-gardening-is-getting-a-youth-takeover">Continue reading...</a>

Why gardening is getting a youth takeover

June 23, 2017 8:00

Kim Stoddart on the new projects fostering a fun connection with the natural world for children and teenagers

I had an interest in the great outdoors from a very young age. I can remember as a child watching mesmerised as hundreds of baby spiders emerged and spread themselves bravely across a web. I wanted to grow veg but my parents didn’t know how, so I threw carrot seeds in the ground recklessly, hoping for the best. While I tried to fit in as best I could at school, my apparently not-very-cool interest withered - until my late twenties, when I began dabbling with growing veg in my back garden.

Even now, nudging into my forties, I still regularly hear people say “you’re a gardener? Aren’t you too young to be doing that?” While I increasingly enjoy hearing the words; “aren’t you too young?”, the idea that “this” should only be enjoyed by an older generation both amuses and grates.

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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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<p>I’m interested in academia, law, journalism, the civil service – how do I figure out which is the right choice?<br></p><p><strong>Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming </strong><strong><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/series/dearjeremy">Dear Jeremy</a> </strong><strong>advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights.</strong></p><p>I’ve just turned 30, and I can’t decide what to do with my career. I studied English at Cambridge hoping to go into academia, but couldn’t afford further study. I found work as a technical writer, then a junior business analyst, then a UX (user experience) web designer and finally a web developer. The last role has been my vocation for a good four years and I’ve done well – I have a great salary and enjoy recognition from my peers. I have a reputation in my field and a technical blog that has done well too. But over the past 18 months I’ve become convinced this is absolutely the wrong career.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/26/successful-web-developer-wrong-career">Continue reading...</a>

I'm a successful web developer but it's the wrong career for me

June 26, 2017 7:00

I’m interested in academia, law, journalism, the civil service – how do I figure out which is the right choice?

Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremy advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights.

I’ve just turned 30, and I can’t decide what to do with my career. I studied English at Cambridge hoping to go into academia, but couldn’t afford further study. I found work as a technical writer, then a junior business analyst, then a UX (user experience) web designer and finally a web developer. The last role has been my vocation for a good four years and I’ve done well – I have a great salary and enjoy recognition from my peers. I have a reputation in my field and a technical blog that has done well too. But over the past 18 months I’ve become convinced this is absolutely the wrong career.

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We booked the hotel specifically because it had a kids’ club for our daughter, but it was closed on four occasions<p><strong>My husband and I and our young daughter went on holiday to Turkey with Thomas Cook in September. We were very clear when booking the trip that one of the criteria was a kids’ club. Our daughter is an only child and misses the company of other children on holiday. Our local branch was very helpful in finding us our hotel.</strong></p><p><strong>However, while we were abroad the club did not operate on four separate occasions as our child was the only one attending. We were told repeatedly that&nbsp;this was because of “child protection”. I challenged this as it did not make sense that the safety of a child should rely on the presence of another child. We asked repeatedly to see the child protection policy, but a copy was never provided.</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/26/thomas-cook-holiday-kids-club-closed">Continue reading...</a>

Let down by Thomas Cook when kids’ club failed to operate

June 26, 2017 7:00

We booked the hotel specifically because it had a kids’ club for our daughter, but it was closed on four occasions

My husband and I and our young daughter went on holiday to Turkey with Thomas Cook in September. We were very clear when booking the trip that one of the criteria was a kids’ club. Our daughter is an only child and misses the company of other children on holiday. Our local branch was very helpful in finding us our hotel.

However, while we were abroad the club did not operate on four separate occasions as our child was the only one attending. We were told repeatedly that this was because of “child protection”. I challenged this as it did not make sense that the safety of a child should rely on the presence of another child. We asked repeatedly to see the child protection policy, but a copy was never provided.

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<p>Eleven areas fail to provide the government’s minimum download proposal of 10Mbps, says Which?</p><p>It might be home to the Shard skyscraper, City Hall and Tate Modern, but the central London borough of Southwark has been named one of the 20 worst places in the UK for broadband speeds, in a list that stretches from Orkney to Bexhill-on-Sea.</p><p>An analysis of 719,000 speed tests by the consumer organisation <a href="http://www.which.co.uk">Which?</a> found that 11 local authority areas didn’t meet the minimum download speed proposed under <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-plans-to-make-sure-no-one-is-left-behind-on-broadband-access">the government’s so-called universal service obligation</a> (USO), which anyone in the UK would be entitled to request.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/27/local-authorities-broadband-speed-delivery-minimum-download-10mbps">Continue reading...</a>

Local authorities not up to speed with fast broadband delivery

June 27, 2017 15:45

Eleven areas fail to provide the government’s minimum download proposal of 10Mbps, says Which?

It might be home to the Shard skyscraper, City Hall and Tate Modern, but the central London borough of Southwark has been named one of the 20 worst places in the UK for broadband speeds, in a list that stretches from Orkney to Bexhill-on-Sea.

An analysis of 719,000 speed tests by the consumer organisation Which? found that 11 local authority areas didn’t meet the minimum download speed proposed under the government’s so-called universal service obligation (USO), which anyone in the UK would be entitled to request.

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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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<p>Start small in a regular savings account or stock market fund and little by little you can build a tidy lump sum</p><p>Setting aside a sum every month is the most painless way to save for the future. And when it comes to stock market investing, a regular savings plan can help smooth out the highs and lows – which is important during times of turbulence such as the last month or two, when the FTSE 100 index fell more than 10% in six weeks.</p><p>Once you have set up your direct debit or standing order, your money should quietly roll up over the years and provide a handy sum when you need it. Many people decide to save regularly to create a nest-egg for a child or grandchild.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/07/regular-investing-whether-you-have-10-or-500-theres-a-place-for-you">Continue reading...</a>

Regular investing: whether you have £10 or £500 there’s a place for you

Nov 7, 2014 7:30

Start small in a regular savings account or stock market fund and little by little you can build a tidy lump sum

Setting aside a sum every month is the most painless way to save for the future. And when it comes to stock market investing, a regular savings plan can help smooth out the highs and lows – which is important during times of turbulence such as the last month or two, when the FTSE 100 index fell more than 10% in six weeks.

Once you have set up your direct debit or standing order, your money should quietly roll up over the years and provide a handy sum when you need it. Many people decide to save regularly to create a nest-egg for a child or grandchild.

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A persistent failure to pay employees could be a signal a company is struggling. Make sure you know where you stand<p>The issue of not getting your salary paid has been in the news <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/jun/27/rbs-natwest-it-problems-ulster-account-holders" title="RBS and NatWest: continuing IT problems affect Ulster account holders">as a result of the problems at NatWest</a>, but while those employees will eventually get their cash, some employees never do. So what are your legal rights if an employer does not pay you for work you have done?</p><p>Although technically a one-off or occasional failure to pay your salary is a breach of contract, it is not normally serious enough to entitle you to resign and claim constructive dismissal. There is, though, an express or implied term in every contract of employment that your employer will pay your salary, and a persistent failure to comply with this obligation would indeed entitle you to resign and claim constructive dismissal and a breach of contract.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2012/jun/28/your-rights-employers-dont-pay">Continue reading...</a>

What are your rights when employers don't pay up?

June 28, 2012 13:17

A persistent failure to pay employees could be a signal a company is struggling. Make sure you know where you stand

The issue of not getting your salary paid has been in the news as a result of the problems at NatWest, but while those employees will eventually get their cash, some employees never do. So what are your legal rights if an employer does not pay you for work you have done?

Although technically a one-off or occasional failure to pay your salary is a breach of contract, it is not normally serious enough to entitle you to resign and claim constructive dismissal. There is, though, an express or implied term in every contract of employment that your employer will pay your salary, and a persistent failure to comply with this obligation would indeed entitle you to resign and claim constructive dismissal and a breach of contract.

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Online property sales are dominated by a handful of websites, but there are many others with a different focus, specialist criteria and alternative search facilities<p>If you're looking for somewhere new to live you'll be well aware of the main property websites such as <a href="http://www.rightmove.co.uk/" title="Rightmove website">Rightmove</a> and <a href="http://www.zoopla.co.uk/">Zoopla</a>. But while they carry more than a million listing, you may miss out on your perfect home if you make them your only port of call.</p><p>If you aren't sure where you want to live, want to take on a renovation project or dream of living somewhere truly unique, there are other sites to help you in your search. Here are 15 of the best alternatives for buyers and tenants.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/sep/24/property-websites-alternatives-rightmove">Continue reading...</a>

Property websites: 15 great alternatives to Rightmove

Sep 24, 2013 7:00

Online property sales are dominated by a handful of websites, but there are many others with a different focus, specialist criteria and alternative search facilities

If you're looking for somewhere new to live you'll be well aware of the main property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. But while they carry more than a million listing, you may miss out on your perfect home if you make them your only port of call.

If you aren't sure where you want to live, want to take on a renovation project or dream of living somewhere truly unique, there are other sites to help you in your search. Here are 15 of the best alternatives for buyers and tenants.

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Can you really achieve 'financial freedom' by spending a few hours at a seminar on stock market investing? David Robinson joined fortune seekers at three 'learn to trade' schemes<p>Tony turned £3,000 into £47,000 in just nine weeks and has retired at the age of 50. Awia was a "bored mum", but is now earning a good living while being "100% there for the kids". Samet made 30% on this first trade, and each day his profits rise. These are just some of the glowing testimonials posted on "learn to trade" websites, which hold out the promise that anyone who spends just a few hours at a seminar can look forward to a future relaxing on luxury yachts in the Caribbean sipping strawberry daiquiris. All you have to do, it seems, is follow a few easy-to-apply trading strategies.</p><p>Almost every day in hotel suites across the UK a new crop of would-be stockmarket millionaires sit down to hear from the "professionals" the secrets of trading in stocks and currencies. Over the last few months I've been one of them. Not only that, I decided to put down some of my own money and see how far I'd get following the advice of the so-called experts.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jul/20/learn-to-trade-stock-market-websites">Continue reading...</a>

Trialling 'learn to trade' stock market websites: can you get rich quick?

July 20, 2013 7:00

Can you really achieve 'financial freedom' by spending a few hours at a seminar on stock market investing? David Robinson joined fortune seekers at three 'learn to trade' schemes

Tony turned £3,000 into £47,000 in just nine weeks and has retired at the age of 50. Awia was a "bored mum", but is now earning a good living while being "100% there for the kids". Samet made 30% on this first trade, and each day his profits rise. These are just some of the glowing testimonials posted on "learn to trade" websites, which hold out the promise that anyone who spends just a few hours at a seminar can look forward to a future relaxing on luxury yachts in the Caribbean sipping strawberry daiquiris. All you have to do, it seems, is follow a few easy-to-apply trading strategies.

Almost every day in hotel suites across the UK a new crop of would-be stockmarket millionaires sit down to hear from the "professionals" the secrets of trading in stocks and currencies. Over the last few months I've been one of them. Not only that, I decided to put down some of my own money and see how far I'd get following the advice of the so-called experts.

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<p>James Goodfellow patented the first ATM and created the first pin code but, unlike those in the financial industry who command vast salaries, he effectively earned nothing for his all-conquering contribution</p><p>Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook and is now worth an estimated $48bn (£33bn). James Goodfellow also invented something used by millions of people around the world every day – the cash machine – but it didn’t make him rich. In fact, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of his invention, the 79-year-old told Guardian Money that he earned just $15 (around £10) from the patent, and has not made a penny more from it since.</p><p>“You can imagine how I feel when I see bankers getting £1m bonuses. I wonder what they contributed to the banking industry more than I did to merit a £1m bonus. It doesn’t make much sense to me, but that’s the way of the world,” Goodfellow says.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/apr/29/who-invented-cash-machine-james-goodfellow-first-atm-pin">Continue reading...</a>

Who invented the cash machine? I did – and all I earned was £10

Apr 29, 2016 12:09

James Goodfellow patented the first ATM and created the first pin code but, unlike those in the financial industry who command vast salaries, he effectively earned nothing for his all-conquering contribution

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook and is now worth an estimated $48bn (£33bn). James Goodfellow also invented something used by millions of people around the world every day – the cash machine – but it didn’t make him rich. In fact, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of his invention, the 79-year-old told Guardian Money that he earned just $15 (around £10) from the patent, and has not made a penny more from it since.

“You can imagine how I feel when I see bankers getting £1m bonuses. I wonder what they contributed to the banking industry more than I did to merit a £1m bonus. It doesn’t make much sense to me, but that’s the way of the world,” Goodfellow says.

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<p>An international transfer of £792 in euros in May still hasn’t turned up in my friend’s account</p><p><strong>I made an international transfer of £792 in euros to a friend using the Barclays Pingit mobile payment service on 18 May. My friend has still not received the money, though it has left my account and on the Pingit app it shows as having been paid. I have called different Barclays helplines with no luck. I also tried online chat and went into a branch. There I was told I could pay £20 to order a “trace” on the transaction. Initially the staff told me it was going to take 24-48 hours, but I am yet to receive any information on my trace and no one can tell me where my money is.</strong></p><p><strong>I had previously made a successful payment to the same friend using the same account details and for a similar amount. Barclays said the money had left its end, but my friend has checked with her bank and it has said that nothing has been processed. So where exactly is my money? Please help. </strong><em>TW,</em> <em>Birmingham</em></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/25/barclays-pingit-app-international-transfer-missing-money">Continue reading...</a>

I sent money to a friend using Barclays’ Pingit app, but it never arrived

June 25, 2017 6:59

An international transfer of £792 in euros in May still hasn’t turned up in my friend’s account

I made an international transfer of £792 in euros to a friend using the Barclays Pingit mobile payment service on 18 May. My friend has still not received the money, though it has left my account and on the Pingit app it shows as having been paid. I have called different Barclays helplines with no luck. I also tried online chat and went into a branch. There I was told I could pay £20 to order a “trace” on the transaction. Initially the staff told me it was going to take 24-48 hours, but I am yet to receive any information on my trace and no one can tell me where my money is.

I had previously made a successful payment to the same friend using the same account details and for a similar amount. Barclays said the money had left its end, but my friend has checked with her bank and it has said that nothing has been processed. So where exactly is my money? Please help. TW, Birmingham

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<p>Time with parents, holiday clubs … we’re wondering what others do to cover the six weeks</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><br></p><p><strong>This week’s question:</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/26/whats-the-best-mix-for-looking-after-our-kids-over-the-summer-holiday">Continue reading...</a>

What's the best way to look after our kids over the summer holiday?

June 26, 2017 9:31

Time with parents, holiday clubs … we’re wondering what others do to cover the six weeks

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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<p>HM Revenue &amp; Customs doesn't regard lottery winnings as income, so all prizes are tax-free – hurray! However, there could be tax implications once you've banked your winnings.</p><p>The cash will form part of your estate and be liable for 40% inheritance tax (IHT) if it takes the value of your estate above the current threshold of £325,000.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/sep/10/do-you-pay-tax-lottery-win">Continue reading...</a>

Do you have to pay tax on a lottery win?

Sep 10, 2012 8:00

HM Revenue & Customs doesn't regard lottery winnings as income, so all prizes are tax-free – hurray! However, there could be tax implications once you've banked your winnings.

The cash will form part of your estate and be liable for 40% inheritance tax (IHT) if it takes the value of your estate above the current threshold of £325,000.

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<p>Yes, you can – but it doesn't legally have to be accepted. Three banks in Scotland are authorised to issue notes: Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland. There are also four note-issuing banks in Northern Ireland: Bank of Ireland; AIB Group (which trades as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland), Northern Bank and Ulster Bank.</p><p>Banknotes issued by all seven are legal currency and can be accepted throughout the UK. But it doesn't necessarily mean they will be.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/sep/12/can-i-spend-scottish-money-england">Continue reading...</a>

Can I spend Scottish money in England?

Sep 12, 2012 12:43

Yes, you can – but it doesn't legally have to be accepted. Three banks in Scotland are authorised to issue notes: Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland. There are also four note-issuing banks in Northern Ireland: Bank of Ireland; AIB Group (which trades as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland), Northern Bank and Ulster Bank.

Banknotes issued by all seven are legal currency and can be accepted throughout the UK. But it doesn't necessarily mean they will be.

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When married couples decide to split up, there are options over how they can divide what is typically their main asset<p>"The family home has a special place in any family and in many cases it is the major family asset," says solicitor advocate Ursula Rice. So it's little wonder that when a family breaks down, property will be central to a divorce settlement. What happens to an existing home and where one or both partners go next will depend on the divorcing couple.</p><p>All assets will need to be identified and valued as part of the process of working out what there is to divide up. The home and any other properties will be included in this – regardless of whose name the property is in. "There is no formula in this country setting out how assets are to be split on divorce," says Nigel Shepherd, a partner and family and collaborative lawyer for law firm Mills &amp; Reeve. "There's a broad starting point of 50:50 but we look at a series of different factors to try to get to an outcome that meets the needs of the couple and, in particular, any children and is broadly fair (although one person's fair is often the other's unfair)."</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/feb/15/divorce-what-happens-to-the-family-home">Continue reading...</a>

Divorce: what happens to the family home?

Feb 15, 2013 7:00

When married couples decide to split up, there are options over how they can divide what is typically their main asset

"The family home has a special place in any family and in many cases it is the major family asset," says solicitor advocate Ursula Rice. So it's little wonder that when a family breaks down, property will be central to a divorce settlement. What happens to an existing home and where one or both partners go next will depend on the divorcing couple.

All assets will need to be identified and valued as part of the process of working out what there is to divide up. The home and any other properties will be included in this – regardless of whose name the property is in. "There is no formula in this country setting out how assets are to be split on divorce," says Nigel Shepherd, a partner and family and collaborative lawyer for law firm Mills & Reeve. "There's a broad starting point of 50:50 but we look at a series of different factors to try to get to an outcome that meets the needs of the couple and, in particular, any children and is broadly fair (although one person's fair is often the other's unfair)."

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Filling in a self-assessment form can be a real headache. But how do you find a professional to do it for you?<p>Is self assessment too taxing to do it yourself? High street accountants will prepare and complete the forms for around £250, while budget online services start as low as £50. But how do you find an accountant, what should you pay and what do you get?</p><p>A Google search elicits scores of services promising "We won't be beaten on price", but the first thing to remember is that in the UK anyone can call themselves an accountant, whether they have qualifications or not. So check the firm's status. How many of the staff are members of the Chartered (ICAEW) or Certified (ACCA) professional bodies? Don't be fooled by words such as "professional" or "tax expert" – they mean little.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jan/12/find-accountant-tax-return-how-much-pay">Continue reading...</a>

How to find an accountant to do your tax return – and how much you should pay

Jan 12, 2013 7:01

Filling in a self-assessment form can be a real headache. But how do you find a professional to do it for you?

Is self assessment too taxing to do it yourself? High street accountants will prepare and complete the forms for around £250, while budget online services start as low as £50. But how do you find an accountant, what should you pay and what do you get?

A Google search elicits scores of services promising "We won't be beaten on price", but the first thing to remember is that in the UK anyone can call themselves an accountant, whether they have qualifications or not. So check the firm's status. How many of the staff are members of the Chartered (ICAEW) or Certified (ACCA) professional bodies? Don't be fooled by words such as "professional" or "tax expert" – they mean little.

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Should you sell it, scrap it, or give it away? Getting rid of an old car is not as easy as it seems<p>I have only ever owned two cars, and a thief relieved me of the last one. So when it came to saying goodbye to my defunct 13-year-old Alfa estate, lying abandoned with a dead battery outside my house since November, I realised I had no idea how to actually get rid of a vehicle. Could I sell it? Scrap it? Give it away?</p><p>Every year in Britain between six and seven million used cars are sold, and two million are scrapped. The EU has introduced strict environmental rules on how cars should be disposed of through its End of Life Vehicle Directive, while new rules designed to combat copper and other metal theft have had the curious impact of making it illegal for car owners to be paid cash when scrapping a vehicle.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/feb/14/getting-rid-old-car-scrap">Continue reading...</a>

Do's and don'ts of getting rid of your old car

Feb 14, 2014 9:57

Should you sell it, scrap it, or give it away? Getting rid of an old car is not as easy as it seems

I have only ever owned two cars, and a thief relieved me of the last one. So when it came to saying goodbye to my defunct 13-year-old Alfa estate, lying abandoned with a dead battery outside my house since November, I realised I had no idea how to actually get rid of a vehicle. Could I sell it? Scrap it? Give it away?

Every year in Britain between six and seven million used cars are sold, and two million are scrapped. The EU has introduced strict environmental rules on how cars should be disposed of through its End of Life Vehicle Directive, while new rules designed to combat copper and other metal theft have had the curious impact of making it illegal for car owners to be paid cash when scrapping a vehicle.

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<p>Survey by Lloyds finds more than half of British companies are struggling to recruit the staff they need – up from almost a third in January </p><p>British businesses face their biggest challenge in recruiting skilled labour in a decade, as high employment combines with a fall in the value of the pound and uncertainty about the future for EU nationals in the UK.</p><p>A net balance of 52% of 1,500 UK companies questioned in May said they had experienced difficulty in recruiting skilled labour during the past six months, compared with 31% in January. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/26/skilled-labour-shortage-fuelled-by-uncertainty-for-eu-workers">Continue reading...</a>

Skilled labour shortage fuelled by uncertainty for EU workers

June 26, 2017 0:01

Survey by Lloyds finds more than half of British companies are struggling to recruit the staff they need – up from almost a third in January

British businesses face their biggest challenge in recruiting skilled labour in a decade, as high employment combines with a fall in the value of the pound and uncertainty about the future for EU nationals in the UK.

A net balance of 52% of 1,500 UK companies questioned in May said they had experienced difficulty in recruiting skilled labour during the past six months, compared with 31% in January.

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<p>The honeymooners’ saga of mishaps and delays highlights the problems of getting redress from airlines when things go wrong, as Anna Tims reports</p><p>Appropriately it was on April Fools’ Day that Matthew and Natalie Hogg boarded their Iberia flight to Cuba via Madrid for their honeymoon. What should’ve been a 15-hour journey ended up taking the newlyweds more than two days, their wedding night spent on an airport bench thanks to a barrage of mishaps and errors. The saga that unfolded highlights the inadequacy of consumer redress available when airlines dispute legal responsibilities.</p><p>“The flight from Heathrow to Madrid was cancelled due to brake failure after we’d spent 45 minutes on the runway,” says Natalie, a teacher from Ilford in Essex. “British Airways [Iberia’s sister company and UK handling agent] rebooked us on a BA flight to Istanbul for a connecting Turkish Airlines flight to Havana. When we reached Istanbul, Turkish Airlines had no record of us, no one from BA was available to help, and we were told we couldn’t retrieve our luggage from baggage reclaim unless we paid $20 (£15.80) each for Turkish visas. We ended up spending a night and a day at the airport with no accommodation or refreshments.” Eventually, they were flown to Amsterdam for a KLM flight to Havana the following dawn.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/25/ba-debacle-delays-problems-getting-redress">Continue reading...</a>

BA debacle sees couple spend wedding night on an airport bench

June 25, 2017 6:59

The honeymooners’ saga of mishaps and delays highlights the problems of getting redress from airlines when things go wrong, as Anna Tims reports

Appropriately it was on April Fools’ Day that Matthew and Natalie Hogg boarded their Iberia flight to Cuba via Madrid for their honeymoon. What should’ve been a 15-hour journey ended up taking the newlyweds more than two days, their wedding night spent on an airport bench thanks to a barrage of mishaps and errors. The saga that unfolded highlights the inadequacy of consumer redress available when airlines dispute legal responsibilities.

“The flight from Heathrow to Madrid was cancelled due to brake failure after we’d spent 45 minutes on the runway,” says Natalie, a teacher from Ilford in Essex. “British Airways [Iberia’s sister company and UK handling agent] rebooked us on a BA flight to Istanbul for a connecting Turkish Airlines flight to Havana. When we reached Istanbul, Turkish Airlines had no record of us, no one from BA was available to help, and we were told we couldn’t retrieve our luggage from baggage reclaim unless we paid $20 (£15.80) each for Turkish visas. We ended up spending a night and a day at the airport with no accommodation or refreshments.” Eventually, they were flown to Amsterdam for a KLM flight to Havana the following dawn.

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<p>One family is still £700 out of pocket after the airline’s IT meltdown. But its battle get paid is likely to be typical of many others</p><p>A family of six who lost their holiday to Portugal after the British Airways meltdown are still out of pocket, because neither the airline nor their travel insurer will pay out for the villa they were forced to abandon.</p><p>The family’s fight for compensation is an early indicator of the many more battles ahead for holidaymakers following the IT failure in which more than 700 flights were cancelled just as families were jetting off for the school break.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/24/british-airways-it-failure-ruined-holiday-wont-pay-insurance-claim">Continue reading...</a>

BA ruined our break – but it still won’t pay out!

June 24, 2017 7:00

One family is still £700 out of pocket after the airline’s IT meltdown. But its battle get paid is likely to be typical of many others

A family of six who lost their holiday to Portugal after the British Airways meltdown are still out of pocket, because neither the airline nor their travel insurer will pay out for the villa they were forced to abandon.

The family’s fight for compensation is an early indicator of the many more battles ahead for holidaymakers following the IT failure in which more than 700 flights were cancelled just as families were jetting off for the school break.

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<p>The French are getting heated up about their meters collecting data on their daily lives. Perhaps the British should be concerned too<br></p><p>They are the mini-computers being installed in 30m UK homes and businesses in an £11bn programme that will allow the energy companies to remotely monitor our gas and electricity usage. But could <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/01/smart-meter-energy-saving-revolution-cut-bills-gas-electricity" title="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/01/smart-meter-energy-saving-revolution-cut-bills-gas-electricity">smart meters</a> also become the new spies in our homes, raising fresh fears about a surveillance society as they track our daily activities?</p><p>Campaigners in France, where a similar installation programme is taking place, think so. On holiday in Bordeaux recently I was struck by posters advertising a demo called “<a href="https://stoplinkynonmerci.org/" title="https://stoplinkynonmerci.org/">Stop Linky</a>”. Linky&nbsp;is the name of French utility giant EDF’s new smart meter, but it has sparked a more vociferous backlash than here. “<em>Dites NON! aux compteurs communicants LINKY,</em>” posters shouted&nbsp;ahead of a demo in mid-June, with others planned around the country.&nbsp;</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/24/smart-meters-spying-collecting-private-data-french-british">Continue reading...</a>

Is your smart meter spying on you?

June 24, 2017 7:00

The French are getting heated up about their meters collecting data on their daily lives. Perhaps the British should be concerned too

They are the mini-computers being installed in 30m UK homes and businesses in an £11bn programme that will allow the energy companies to remotely monitor our gas and electricity usage. But could smart meters also become the new spies in our homes, raising fresh fears about a surveillance society as they track our daily activities?

Campaigners in France, where a similar installation programme is taking place, think so. On holiday in Bordeaux recently I was struck by posters advertising a demo called “Stop Linky”. Linky is the name of French utility giant EDF’s new smart meter, but it has sparked a more vociferous backlash than here. “Dites NON! aux compteurs communicants LINKY,” posters shouted ahead of a demo in mid-June, with others planned around the country. 

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