<p>Fancy a three-bed semi with a garden for £152,000? Or rent at less than £500 per month? Sheffield is showing other local authorities how to build again </p><p>In 2015, England’s local authorities built fewer than 3,000 new homes, just a tiny fraction of the estimated 250,000 new homes needed every year to meet demand. But one council has begun building again in volume, in what some see as a model for tackling the housing crisis.</p><p>On the outskirts of Sheffield, hundreds of new homes are springing up, built by the council to space standards that have all but disappeared in the private sector. New residents – the majority are 25-35 year olds – say they are impressed by the designs and spaciousness, and enjoy their close proximity to the city.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/25/how-one-council-is-beating-britain-housing-crisis-sheffield">Continue reading...</a>

How one council is beating Britain's housing crisis

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

Fancy a three-bed semi with a garden for £152,000? Or rent at less than £500 per month? Sheffield is showing other local authorities how to build again

In 2015, England’s local authorities built fewer than 3,000 new homes, just a tiny fraction of the estimated 250,000 new homes needed every year to meet demand. But one council has begun building again in volume, in what some see as a model for tackling the housing crisis.

On the outskirts of Sheffield, hundreds of new homes are springing up, built by the council to space standards that have all but disappeared in the private sector. New residents – the majority are 25-35 year olds – say they are impressed by the designs and spaciousness, and enjoy their close proximity to the city.

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<p>From Constable country to Laurie Lee’s Cotswold valley, these properties are as easy on the eye as their surroundings</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/24/homes-in-beauty-spots-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes in beauty spots – in pictures

Mar 24, 2017 23:45

From Constable country to Laurie Lee’s Cotswold valley, these properties are as easy on the eye as their surroundings

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<p>There are tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson </p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Was it the charming assistant at <a href="https://www.henningswine.co.uk/">Hennings wine merchants</a>? The shelf-stacker in the topographical section at the bookshop? I’m still hunting for Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, but there are plenty of plummy-voiced antiques dealers in these towns to go on my list of suspects; let alone the rum fellows I imagine conduct their affairs behind the high walls of the illustrious <a href="https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house-and-park">stately home</a> that run through Petworth like the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/berlinwall">Berlin Wall</a>. These neighbouring towns are straight out of central casting for Miss Marple: tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2012/jul/09/tv-detectives-miss-marple">Joan Hickson (<em>still </em>the definitive Jane</a> for me), picking up a korma in <a href="http://www.mystiquemasala.co.uk/index.html">Meghdoot’s</a> (“Authentic Indian Cuisine Since 1950”). Petworth lives in the shadow of The House and its Titians and Turners. Having the railway station, though, Pulborough is the more worldly of the two, the kind of place I imagine lived in, in Agatha Christie’s day, by brassy secretaries with a taste for jazz and romantic dalliances with aged wealthy widowers who should know better.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Expensive. But you expected that, didn’t you? Too lovely for their own good. Coach parties. The looming walls of the house do rather make one feel like a peasant.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/24/lets-move-to-petworth-and-pulborough-west-sussex-miss-marple">Continue reading...</a>

Petworth and Pulborough, West Sussex: straight out of Miss Marple

Mar 24, 2017 16:30

There are tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson

What’s going for it? Was it the charming assistant at Hennings wine merchants? The shelf-stacker in the topographical section at the bookshop? I’m still hunting for Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, but there are plenty of plummy-voiced antiques dealers in these towns to go on my list of suspects; let alone the rum fellows I imagine conduct their affairs behind the high walls of the illustrious stately home that run through Petworth like the Berlin Wall. These neighbouring towns are straight out of central casting for Miss Marple: tile-covered cottages, porches draped in roses, enough wisteria to fill the Albert Hall and I swear I glimpsed the reincarnation of Joan Hickson (still the definitive Jane for me), picking up a korma in Meghdoot’s (“Authentic Indian Cuisine Since 1950”). Petworth lives in the shadow of The House and its Titians and Turners. Having the railway station, though, Pulborough is the more worldly of the two, the kind of place I imagine lived in, in Agatha Christie’s day, by brassy secretaries with a taste for jazz and romantic dalliances with aged wealthy widowers who should know better.

The case against Expensive. But you expected that, didn’t you? Too lovely for their own good. Coach parties. The looming walls of the house do rather make one feel like a peasant.

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<p>On the Isle of Man lies a Victorian town house with sea views and a menhir in the garden, perfect for those seeking a prehistoric period feature</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/24/home-standing-stone-isle-of-man-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A home with a standing stone – in pictures

Mar 24, 2017 7:00

On the Isle of Man lies a Victorian town house with sea views and a menhir in the garden, perfect for those seeking a prehistoric period feature

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<p>Despite a near-halving in retailer’s stock market value over 16 months, are its current troubles really severe?</p><p>Panic over for Next shareholders? It’s too soon to sound the all-clear since a steeper decline in profits than <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/23/next-price-rises-profits-fall-pound-brexit">last year’s 4% fall to £790m</a> is very possible this time. Chief executive Lord Wolfson also has a longer list of grumbles than usual: inflation, currencies, the squeeze on real incomes and consumers’ new love of entertainment over “stuff”. </p><p>For the time being, he won’t risk a penny of shareholders’ funds on share buy-backs in case the retailing weather turns nastier. Yet, after a near-halving in Next’s stock market value over the past 16 months, there’s a fair argument that the gloom is in the price.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2017/mar/23/what-next-for-next-decline-if-it-comes-should-still-be-profitable">Continue reading...</a>

What next for Next? Decline, if it comes, should still be profitable | Nils Pratley

Mar 23, 2017 20:22

Despite a near-halving in retailer’s stock market value over 16 months, are its current troubles really severe?

Panic over for Next shareholders? It’s too soon to sound the all-clear since a steeper decline in profits than last year’s 4% fall to £790m is very possible this time. Chief executive Lord Wolfson also has a longer list of grumbles than usual: inflation, currencies, the squeeze on real incomes and consumers’ new love of entertainment over “stuff”.

For the time being, he won’t risk a penny of shareholders’ funds on share buy-backs in case the retailing weather turns nastier. Yet, after a near-halving in Next’s stock market value over the past 16 months, there’s a fair argument that the gloom is in the price.

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<p>Also, average house costs 7.6 times annual salary, part-time workers face five-fold NICs increase and for sale: Pierre Cardin’s bubble palace </p><p>Hello and welcome to this week’s Money Talks – a roundup of the week’s biggest stories and some things you may have missed.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/23/london-cheaper-to-live-new-york-tokyo-viagogo-snubs-mps">Continue reading...</a>

London now 'cheaper to live than New York and Tokyo', plus Viagogo snubs MPs

Mar 23, 2017 14:25

Also, average house costs 7.6 times annual salary, part-time workers face five-fold NICs increase and for sale: Pierre Cardin’s bubble palace

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

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<p>I can afford only to rent in the area where I work, so I plan to buy a house for cash elsewhere to let to my sister</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a query regarding home-owning and was hoping you could help. I have rented for my whole life and have never taken out a mortgage or owned a home. I am required to stay in my rented house for my job. However, I am now in a position to buy a house in a much cheaper area for cash, which I could rent to my sister. As I won’t be taking out a mortgage, am I still required to register for self-assessment? I will use the rent I receive from my sister to pay part of the rent on the property I live in.</p><p>Of course, I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense to carry on renting myself while owning a house and letting it to another person, but I need to stay near to my work and simply could not afford to buy in the area I live. <strong>SQ </strong> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/23/do-i-need-tax-return-buy-to-let-without-a-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Do I need to fill out a tax return if I buy to let without a mortgage?

Mar 23, 2017 7:00

I can afford only to rent in the area where I work, so I plan to buy a house for cash elsewhere to let to my sister

Q I have a query regarding home-owning and was hoping you could help. I have rented for my whole life and have never taken out a mortgage or owned a home. I am required to stay in my rented house for my job. However, I am now in a position to buy a house in a much cheaper area for cash, which I could rent to my sister. As I won’t be taking out a mortgage, am I still required to register for self-assessment? I will use the rent I receive from my sister to pay part of the rent on the property I live in.

Of course, I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense to carry on renting myself while owning a house and letting it to another person, but I need to stay near to my work and simply could not afford to buy in the area I live. SQ

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<p>From air- and ground-source heat pumps to desalinating seawater, these properties flaunt their environmentally friendly credentials</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/22/eco-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Eco homes – in pictures

Mar 22, 2017 10:47

From air- and ground-source heat pumps to desalinating seawater, these properties flaunt their environmentally friendly credentials

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Secrecy surrounds much of the country’s land ownership. It’s time for the Land Registry database to be completed and opened up to all<p>“The ownership of land,” wrote the 19th-century radical <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George" title="">economist Henry George</a>, “is the great fundamental fact which ultimately determines the social, the political and … the moral condition of a people.”</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/31/who-owns-land-housing-crisis-land-registry-secret-ownership-of-land">The Land Registry is the guardian of our most basic national resource | Peter Hetherington</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/20/take-back-control-england-land-ownership">Continue reading...</a>

Utopian thinking: to ‘take back control’ of England, we must find out who owns it | Guy Shrubsole

Mar 20, 2017 8:00

Secrecy surrounds much of the country’s land ownership. It’s time for the Land Registry database to be completed and opened up to all

“The ownership of land,” wrote the 19th-century radical economist Henry George, “is the great fundamental fact which ultimately determines the social, the political and … the moral condition of a people.”

Related: The Land Registry is the guardian of our most basic national resource | Peter Hetherington

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<p>From mountain-shaped apartment blocks to the centre of braised chicken reinventing itself as ‘Solar Valley’, China’s second (and third) tier cities are hiring big-name architects to get them noticed</p><p>From egg-shaped concert halls to skyscrapers reminiscent of big pairs of pants, China’s top cities are <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/oct/23/-sp-chinas-strangest-buildings-from-pairs-of-pants-to-ping-pong-bats">famously full of curious monuments to architectural ambition</a>. But as land prices in the main metropolises have shot into the stratosphere, developers have been scrambling to buy up plots in the country’s second and third-tier cities, spawning a new generation of delirious plans in the provinces. President<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/xi-jinping"> Xi Jinping</a> may have <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/2016/02/25/china-moves-to-prevent-oversized-xenocentric-weird-architecture-news/">issued a directive last year</a> outlawing “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings, but many of these schemes were already well under way; his diktat has proved to be no obstacle to mayoral hubris yet.</p><p>From Harbin “City of Music” to Dezhou “Solar Valley”, provincial capitals are branding themselves as themed enclaves of culture and industry to attract inward investment, and commissioning scores of bold buildings to match. Even where there is no demand, city bureaucrats are relentlessly selling off land for development, hawking plots as the primary form of income – <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/aug/20/why-havent-chinas-cities-learned-from-americas-mistakes">accounting for 80% of municipal revenues in some cases</a>. In the last two months alone, 50 Chinese cities <a href="http://www.scmp.com/business/article/2076753/chinas-city-land-sales-surge-73-cent-despite-cooling-measures">received a total of 453bn yuan (£54bn) from land auctions </a>, a 73% increase on last year, and it’s the provincial capitals that are leading the way.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/18/real-estate-revolution-unstoppable-building-boom-china">Continue reading...</a>

Put us on the map, please: China's smaller cities go wild for starchitecture

Mar 18, 2017 8:00

From mountain-shaped apartment blocks to the centre of braised chicken reinventing itself as ‘Solar Valley’, China’s second (and third) tier cities are hiring big-name architects to get them noticed

From egg-shaped concert halls to skyscrapers reminiscent of big pairs of pants, China’s top cities are famously full of curious monuments to architectural ambition. But as land prices in the main metropolises have shot into the stratosphere, developers have been scrambling to buy up plots in the country’s second and third-tier cities, spawning a new generation of delirious plans in the provinces. President Xi Jinping may have issued a directive last year outlawing “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings, but many of these schemes were already well under way; his diktat has proved to be no obstacle to mayoral hubris yet.

From Harbin “City of Music” to Dezhou “Solar Valley”, provincial capitals are branding themselves as themed enclaves of culture and industry to attract inward investment, and commissioning scores of bold buildings to match. Even where there is no demand, city bureaucrats are relentlessly selling off land for development, hawking plots as the primary form of income – accounting for 80% of municipal revenues in some cases. In the last two months alone, 50 Chinese cities received a total of 453bn yuan (£54bn) from land auctions , a 73% increase on last year, and it’s the provincial capitals that are leading the way.

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<p>Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and red kites</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> “Follow the artists”, canny home hunters always say, “they’re always a step ahead.” I beg to differ. Follow the monks. Monks, after all, were the original downshifters. Tired of the hullabaloo and poor work-pray balance of 14th-century life (and who wouldn’t be?), they had a knack of rooting out the most delightful and away-from-it-all spots on God’s Earth. Spots so lovely, one would be quite content to spend the rest of one’s life there without being tempted back to medieval Sodoms or Gomorrahs. Spots like Rhayader and the Elan valley. The landscape round here is crisscrossed by <a href="http://www.walkingworld.com/Articles/Pathways/Pathways/Monks--trods.aspx">monks’ trods</a>, holy motorways of commerce and communication between mid-Wales abbeys like <a href="http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/strata-florida-abbey/?lang=en">Strata Florida</a>. Centuries on, you can see the attraction of the “Welsh Lake District”. Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and sublime natural beauty. Come for red kites. Though judging from the wholefood shops, organic farms and high per capita pub ratio hereabouts, it’s more craft beer spelt-eaters than spiritual gurus the valley’s attracting these days.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Wet: bring gills. Converging trunk roads can turn Rhayader into Piccadilly Circus (ish).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/17/lets-move-rhayader-elan-valley-powys-sublime-natural-beauty">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Rhayader & the Elan valley, Powys: sublime natural beauty

Mar 17, 2017 16:30

Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and red kites

What’s going for it? “Follow the artists”, canny home hunters always say, “they’re always a step ahead.” I beg to differ. Follow the monks. Monks, after all, were the original downshifters. Tired of the hullabaloo and poor work-pray balance of 14th-century life (and who wouldn’t be?), they had a knack of rooting out the most delightful and away-from-it-all spots on God’s Earth. Spots so lovely, one would be quite content to spend the rest of one’s life there without being tempted back to medieval Sodoms or Gomorrahs. Spots like Rhayader and the Elan valley. The landscape round here is crisscrossed by monks’ trods, holy motorways of commerce and communication between mid-Wales abbeys like Strata Florida. Centuries on, you can see the attraction of the “Welsh Lake District”. Don’t come for mod cons or fleshpots. Come for reflective quiet and sublime natural beauty. Come for red kites. Though judging from the wholefood shops, organic farms and high per capita pub ratio hereabouts, it’s more craft beer spelt-eaters than spiritual gurus the valley’s attracting these days.

The case against Wet: bring gills. Converging trunk roads can turn Rhayader into Piccadilly Circus (ish).

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<p>It’s not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> You’ll often find me red-faced in <a href="http://ourhithergreen.com/tag/manor-house-gardens/">Manor House Gardens</a>, striding the circuit with a pushchair, shushing at any noise-emitting entity who dares come close. Hither Green is one of my prime get-the-kid-to‑sleep routes. It combines, in one handy neighbourhood, everything me and the nipper need: preprandial children’s library, postprandial ice-cream at the gardens’ cafe, an ace playground with that secret tree that all the kids climb, and an endless supply of fellow parents with whom to exchange sleep-deprived-but-knowing looks and emergency nappies, should the proverbial hit the hand drier. For, yes, there is a nice public loo, too. I am very much not alone. Hither Green is one of those plum breeding grounds for Londoners priced out of Peckham, gentrified out of Greenwich. Good schools; good train links; lovely parks; not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils; and ice-cream. Did I mention the ice-cream? It’s the little things, you see, that get parents through the day.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The neighbourhood is riven in two by the railway line, practically (there are few crossing points, hence bad traffic) and in spirit.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/03/lets-move-hither-green-south-east-london-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Hither Green, London: ‘Good schools, train links and parks’

Mar 3, 2017 16:29

It’s not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils

What’s going for it? You’ll often find me red-faced in Manor House Gardens, striding the circuit with a pushchair, shushing at any noise-emitting entity who dares come close. Hither Green is one of my prime get-the-kid-to‑sleep routes. It combines, in one handy neighbourhood, everything me and the nipper need: preprandial children’s library, postprandial ice-cream at the gardens’ cafe, an ace playground with that secret tree that all the kids climb, and an endless supply of fellow parents with whom to exchange sleep-deprived-but-knowing looks and emergency nappies, should the proverbial hit the hand drier. For, yes, there is a nice public loo, too. I am very much not alone. Hither Green is one of those plum breeding grounds for Londoners priced out of Peckham, gentrified out of Greenwich. Good schools; good train links; lovely parks; not cheap, but the lesser of all local property price evils; and ice-cream. Did I mention the ice-cream? It’s the little things, you see, that get parents through the day.

The case against The neighbourhood is riven in two by the railway line, practically (there are few crossing points, hence bad traffic) and in spirit.

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<p>These rolling hills, thatched pubs and gay towns are a long way from the nearest turmeric latte</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto. This is north Devon, <em>deeeeeep</em> Devon. Far, far, far from the nearest motorway. Far, far, far from the nearest turmeric latte. You need resilience out here. Survival skills. Your role model? <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarka_the_Otter">Tarka the Otter</a>. His creator, author Henry Williamson, moved here from London to track the tough lives of local otters. Poor old Tarka suffers endless iniquities (the loss of his mum, the death of his first mate, the trials of being a young dad, fleeing hunts and facing up to his old foe, Deadlock the dog) but nothing can break his spirit.</p><p>The Torridge valley is a little less harsh for the 21st-century human. Think lush hills, thatched pubs and gay towns, such as Great Torrington, bedecked in bunting. But you’ll still need your wits about you: with mod cons so distant, Torridge denizens have learned to be resourceful. This is one of the UK’s hot spots for volunteering and community fundraising, keeping the likes of the <a href="http://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/">Plough arts centre</a> and cinema going strong.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/24/lets-move-great-torrington-torridge-valley-devon">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to the Torridge valley, Devon: ‘It’s lush’

Feb 24, 2017 16:30

These rolling hills, thatched pubs and gay towns are a long way from the nearest turmeric latte

What’s going for it? We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto. This is north Devon, deeeeeep Devon. Far, far, far from the nearest motorway. Far, far, far from the nearest turmeric latte. You need resilience out here. Survival skills. Your role model? Tarka the Otter. His creator, author Henry Williamson, moved here from London to track the tough lives of local otters. Poor old Tarka suffers endless iniquities (the loss of his mum, the death of his first mate, the trials of being a young dad, fleeing hunts and facing up to his old foe, Deadlock the dog) but nothing can break his spirit.

The Torridge valley is a little less harsh for the 21st-century human. Think lush hills, thatched pubs and gay towns, such as Great Torrington, bedecked in bunting. But you’ll still need your wits about you: with mod cons so distant, Torridge denizens have learned to be resourceful. This is one of the UK’s hot spots for volunteering and community fundraising, keeping the likes of the Plough arts centre and cinema going strong.

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<p>It hums with independent shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, microbreweries, an eco-suburb and even a walking festival</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> As the isolated and only children know too well, when you have nobody else to talk to, you must make your own entertainment. Bishop’s Castle, all alone out near the Welsh border, has had centuries to perfect the art of entertaining yourself. This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm. There may be barely 2,000 souls here, but goodness they’re industrious. Bishop’s Castle hums with independent shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, B&amp;Bs, two (<em>two</em>!) microbreweries, museums of rural life <em>and</em> railways, a weekly market, an eco-suburb, and I&nbsp;haven’t even got on to sports and recreation, let alone the <a href="http://walkingfestival.co.uk/">walking festival</a>. The town has long attracted alternative types, as my granny called them: artists, writers, the long-haired and crafty, the kind who can whittle the Cutty Sark from a&nbsp;twig. There was a horrifying spate of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_bombing">yarn bombing</a> last autumn. If anyone asked them, I’m sure this lot could work out Brexit after a&nbsp;community meeting or five; but, keeping itself to itself, Bishop’s Castle instead makes a perfect spot to escape the world as it self-destructs, and indulge, perhaps, in a little <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/mar/12/modern-macrame-craft-interiors-portland-emily-katz">macramé</a>.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> No castle (well, a wall). No bishop. Say goodbye to metropolitan pleasures. Far, far from anything but <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/23/lets-move-to-church-stretton-shropshire-hills-tom-dyckhoff">Church Stretton</a>.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/17/lets-move-to-bishops-castle-shropshire-pretty-town-enthusiasm">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire: ‘This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm’

Feb 17, 2017 16:30

It hums with independent shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, microbreweries, an eco-suburb and even a walking festival

What’s going for it? As the isolated and only children know too well, when you have nobody else to talk to, you must make your own entertainment. Bishop’s Castle, all alone out near the Welsh border, has had centuries to perfect the art of entertaining yourself. This pretty town bursts with enthusiasm. There may be barely 2,000 souls here, but goodness they’re industrious. Bishop’s Castle hums with independent shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, B&Bs, two (two!) microbreweries, museums of rural life and railways, a weekly market, an eco-suburb, and I haven’t even got on to sports and recreation, let alone the walking festival. The town has long attracted alternative types, as my granny called them: artists, writers, the long-haired and crafty, the kind who can whittle the Cutty Sark from a twig. There was a horrifying spate of yarn bombing last autumn. If anyone asked them, I’m sure this lot could work out Brexit after a community meeting or five; but, keeping itself to itself, Bishop’s Castle instead makes a perfect spot to escape the world as it self-destructs, and indulge, perhaps, in a little macramé.

The case against No castle (well, a wall). No bishop. Say goodbye to metropolitan pleasures. Far, far from anything but Church Stretton.

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<p>Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> The Orkney islands are my Plan B (though I haven’t told my wife). When all hell is breaking loose at home and post-postmodern chaos engulfs the world, when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/cbeebies">CBeebies</a> is cranked up to 10 and I’m tripping over the Lego, I think of Orkney. I picture myself collecting seaweed on a beach on <a href="http://www.sanday.co.uk/">Sanday</a>, staring out at a startled sheep from a little stone cottage on <a href="http://www.hoyorkney.com/">Hoy</a>, clambering over the moors to a cairn, or dancing to folk jigs at a <a href="http://www.stromnessorkney.com/">Stromness</a> inn. Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental. The sea is everywhere. The sky is gigantic. The people fabulous and resourceful. And they have CBeebies, too. I’m still working on Plan C.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Remote, naturally. Better get used to wind, rain, more wind, more rain, then sunshine: the weather is wild and unpredictable. Life can be tough, and ferries and flights pricey.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/10/lets-move-to-kirkwall-and-orkney">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Kirkwall and Orkney: all sea, sky and peace

Feb 10, 2017 16:30

Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental

What’s going for it? The Orkney islands are my Plan B (though I haven’t told my wife). When all hell is breaking loose at home and post-postmodern chaos engulfs the world, when CBeebies is cranked up to 10 and I’m tripping over the Lego, I think of Orkney. I picture myself collecting seaweed on a beach on Sanday, staring out at a startled sheep from a little stone cottage on Hoy, clambering over the moors to a cairn, or dancing to folk jigs at a Stromness inn. Life on these isles is, if not simpler (have you tried getting from A to B on 70 islands?), then more elemental. The sea is everywhere. The sky is gigantic. The people fabulous and resourceful. And they have CBeebies, too. I’m still working on Plan C.

The case against Remote, naturally. Better get used to wind, rain, more wind, more rain, then sunshine: the weather is wild and unpredictable. Life can be tough, and ferries and flights pricey.

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<p>The two-day Royal Shrovetide football match is its annual blood-letting</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> I am not a football kind of chap. I barely know my Nobby Stiles from my Cristiano Ronaldo. But, if I were, <em>this</em> is the kind of footy I’d like to play. Ashbourne’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2016/feb/11/ashbournes-royal-shrovetide-football-match-photo-essay">Royal Shrovetide</a> match has been played every Shrove Tuesday for hundreds of years, and employs lots of elbows and a fair amount of handball, bunting, beer and clambering through the river. The whole town plays: the Up’ards (those living north of the river) versus the Down’ards. Ashbourne’s pretty, sloping, stone streets course for eight hours a day over two days with limbs, shouting and sweaty bodies. The point is to get the cork ball to one of two millstones at either end of town. But really, it’s the taking part. The event is an annual blood-letting for the town, which, soon after, reverts to normal – antique hunters peering through windows, pavements bustling with walkers off to the Tissington Trail, the whole surreal game just a dream for another 363 days.</p><p><strong>The case against…</strong> Very little. It’s a delightful town, though pretty sleepy outside Shrovetide. The outskirts are increasingly troubled with new developments, with mixed results.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/03/lets-move-to-ashbourne-derbyshire">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Ashbourne, Derbyshire: ‘A delightful town’

Feb 3, 2017 16:29

The two-day Royal Shrovetide football match is its annual blood-letting

What’s going for it? I am not a football kind of chap. I barely know my Nobby Stiles from my Cristiano Ronaldo. But, if I were, this is the kind of footy I’d like to play. Ashbourne’s Royal Shrovetide match has been played every Shrove Tuesday for hundreds of years, and employs lots of elbows and a fair amount of handball, bunting, beer and clambering through the river. The whole town plays: the Up’ards (those living north of the river) versus the Down’ards. Ashbourne’s pretty, sloping, stone streets course for eight hours a day over two days with limbs, shouting and sweaty bodies. The point is to get the cork ball to one of two millstones at either end of town. But really, it’s the taking part. The event is an annual blood-letting for the town, which, soon after, reverts to normal – antique hunters peering through windows, pavements bustling with walkers off to the Tissington Trail, the whole surreal game just a dream for another 363 days.

The case against… Very little. It’s a delightful town, though pretty sleepy outside Shrovetide. The outskirts are increasingly troubled with new developments, with mixed results.

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<p>There’s plenty to discover, with a vibrant arts centre, an exciting new restaurant and eccentric attractions</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> There are ups and downs to living on a small island. The ups? You have to really want to live on one, so spots like the Isle of Wight attract the intrepid and the eccentric. Like Queen Victoria, who came here to escape the hordes so she could play “normal life” at <a href="http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne/">Osborne</a>, her suburban house on steroids. The apparently ordinary on Wight is rarely that. Take its capital, Newport. On the face of it, this is a humdrum town of Prezzos and Carphone Warehouses, where the height of civic excitement is the opening this year of the new Asda. But its quaint alleys hide jewels like Robert Thompson’s <a href="http://www.robertthompson.co.uk/">new restaurant</a>, the fabulous <a href="http://www.quayarts.org/">Quay arts centre</a> (how many galleries hold kids events by Rob da Bank?) and the <a href="http://www.postalmuseum.co.uk/">Isle of Wight Postal Museum</a>, a&nbsp;collection of paraphernalia accumulated by one Wight eccentric, including “the infamous Rhyl station bracket box”. Be still, my beating heart.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Problems peculiar to islands, such as the cost and effort to get there, impact on local economics and services. See Newport’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/dec/15/bestival-leaving-isle-of-wight-2017-lulworth-estate-dorset">loss of Bestival to Dorset</a> this year, though the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/music/isle-of-wight-festival">Isle of Wight festival</a> still reigns.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/27/lets-move-newport-isle-of-wight">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Newport, Isle of Wight: ‘Its quaint alleys hide jewels’

Jan 27, 2017 16:30

There’s plenty to discover, with a vibrant arts centre, an exciting new restaurant and eccentric attractions

What’s going for it? There are ups and downs to living on a small island. The ups? You have to really want to live on one, so spots like the Isle of Wight attract the intrepid and the eccentric. Like Queen Victoria, who came here to escape the hordes so she could play “normal life” at Osborne, her suburban house on steroids. The apparently ordinary on Wight is rarely that. Take its capital, Newport. On the face of it, this is a humdrum town of Prezzos and Carphone Warehouses, where the height of civic excitement is the opening this year of the new Asda. But its quaint alleys hide jewels like Robert Thompson’s new restaurant, the fabulous Quay arts centre (how many galleries hold kids events by Rob da Bank?) and the Isle of Wight Postal Museum, a collection of paraphernalia accumulated by one Wight eccentric, including “the infamous Rhyl station bracket box”. Be still, my beating heart.

The case against Problems peculiar to islands, such as the cost and effort to get there, impact on local economics and services. See Newport’s loss of Bestival to Dorset this year, though the Isle of Wight festival still reigns.

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<p>It has it all – donkey rides, ice-cream sundaes, fish and chips, penny slots and a miniature railway</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> I’ll warn you: I’m saving Scarborough for me. It’s mine, all mine. You can keep your Costa Brava and all of that palaver. This, where seasiding began in the 17th century, has all I require in life balanced beautifully in the perfect resort recipe: one measure donkey rides to two parts ice-cream sundaes, a dash of kiss-me-quick, a sprinkling of eccentricity (those daily mini naval battles on the lake in <a href="http://peasholmpark.com/">Peasholm Park</a>, for starters), a generous helping of fish and chips (cooked in dripping, natch), penny slots, funiculars (I love a funicular) <em>and</em> a miniature railway, a dash (but only a dash) of decline. I could, believe me, go on. What could possibly improve it? Well the locals are giving it a try. The spa’s revived, the new <a href="http://www.alpamare.co.uk/">Alpamare waterpark</a> is one of the fanciest in the UK (with an infinity pool – in Scarborough!), and the newly reinvented 1930s open-air theatre welcomes <a href="http://www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com/2016/11/21/beach-boys-play-scarborough-open-air-theatre/">the Beach Boys</a> this summer. Back to their roots, you might say. Hope they wrap up warm. Next on the wish list? <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/wes-anderson">Wes Anderson</a> buys the <a href="https://www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/the-grand-hotel-scarborough/">Grand Hotel</a>. I can dream.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Out of the way. Even York’s a bit of a schlep. The mooted demolition of the fabulous <a href="http://www.futuristtheatre.co.uk/">Futurist Theatre</a> on the front: depressing.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/20/lets-move-scarborough-north-yorkshire-where-seasiding-began">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Scarborough, North Yorkshire: ‘Where seasiding began’

Jan 20, 2017 16:30

It has it all – donkey rides, ice-cream sundaes, fish and chips, penny slots and a miniature railway

What’s going for it? I’ll warn you: I’m saving Scarborough for me. It’s mine, all mine. You can keep your Costa Brava and all of that palaver. This, where seasiding began in the 17th century, has all I require in life balanced beautifully in the perfect resort recipe: one measure donkey rides to two parts ice-cream sundaes, a dash of kiss-me-quick, a sprinkling of eccentricity (those daily mini naval battles on the lake in Peasholm Park, for starters), a generous helping of fish and chips (cooked in dripping, natch), penny slots, funiculars (I love a funicular) and a miniature railway, a dash (but only a dash) of decline. I could, believe me, go on. What could possibly improve it? Well the locals are giving it a try. The spa’s revived, the new Alpamare waterpark is one of the fanciest in the UK (with an infinity pool – in Scarborough!), and the newly reinvented 1930s open-air theatre welcomes the Beach Boys this summer. Back to their roots, you might say. Hope they wrap up warm. Next on the wish list? Wes Anderson buys the Grand Hotel. I can dream.

The case against Out of the way. Even York’s a bit of a schlep. The mooted demolition of the fabulous Futurist Theatre on the front: depressing.

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<p>‘Huge efforts have been made to reverse the reputation for crime Streatham attracted in the 80s. It’s worked’</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Or the opposite of hype, whatever that is. Streatham has a reputation. But so what. The reality is amazing. In the 1930s (geographically challenged) people called it the “West End of south London”. Streatham was glam. The High Road is still lined with art deco mansion blocks, former department stores and cinemas from the era of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/dec/22/clark-gable-screen-legend">Clark Gable</a>. This was the main route to <a href="http://www.croydonairport.org.uk/The-Airport/The-History">London’s airport at Croydon</a> and, flying being an expensive affair back then, the glitterati purred through in their Wolseleys en route for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/mar/29/travel-tips-deauville-france-peak-district-brussels">Deauville</a>. You want more proof? <a href="http://www.waitrosememorystore.org.uk/page_id__329_path__0p3p38p466p.aspx">Waitrose opened its first supermarket here!</a> Huge efforts have been made to reverse the reputation for crime Streatham attracted in the 80s. It’s worked. The neighbourhood’s golden ages have left it with homes high on its hill that’d be the envy of Hampstead, but without the snobbery.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> It has rather a large road running through it, and we can’t do much about that. Let’s run with it. Turn it into a boulevard. Plant trees.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/13/lets-move-to-streatham-south-west-london">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Streatham, south-west London: forget what you know

Jan 13, 2017 16:30

‘Huge efforts have been made to reverse the reputation for crime Streatham attracted in the 80s. It’s worked’

What’s going for it? Don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Or the opposite of hype, whatever that is. Streatham has a reputation. But so what. The reality is amazing. In the 1930s (geographically challenged) people called it the “West End of south London”. Streatham was glam. The High Road is still lined with art deco mansion blocks, former department stores and cinemas from the era of Clark Gable. This was the main route to London’s airport at Croydon and, flying being an expensive affair back then, the glitterati purred through in their Wolseleys en route for Deauville. You want more proof? Waitrose opened its first supermarket here! Huge efforts have been made to reverse the reputation for crime Streatham attracted in the 80s. It’s worked. The neighbourhood’s golden ages have left it with homes high on its hill that’d be the envy of Hampstead, but without the snobbery.

The case against It has rather a large road running through it, and we can’t do much about that. Let’s run with it. Turn it into a boulevard. Plant trees.

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<p>We would not have bought the house had we known about the damaged roof, dry rot and crack in the masonry </p><p><strong>Q</strong> What should we do about costly problems that were not indicated on our Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) homebuyer report, or in our lender’s survey?</p><p>Namely, we have had to pay for a new roof, after a roofer found and photographed it in need of severe repair. The homebuyer report said it appeared in “adequate condition for its age” and gave it a green score. Similarly, our builder has uncovered significant dry rot that has rotted a lot of the joists. The costs to repair this run into the thousands. Our report noted a leaking drainpipe (not the cause) but made no mention of damp.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/16/who-should-we-complain-to-about-major-problems-not-mentioned-in-our-rics-survey">Continue reading...</a>

Our Rics survey missed major problems – can we get our money back?

Mar 16, 2017 7:00

We would not have bought the house had we known about the damaged roof, dry rot and crack in the masonry

Q What should we do about costly problems that were not indicated on our Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) homebuyer report, or in our lender’s survey?

Namely, we have had to pay for a new roof, after a roofer found and photographed it in need of severe repair. The homebuyer report said it appeared in “adequate condition for its age” and gave it a green score. Similarly, our builder has uncovered significant dry rot that has rotted a lot of the joists. The costs to repair this run into the thousands. Our report noted a leaking drainpipe (not the cause) but made no mention of damp.

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<p>We are buying a home for £305,000 in cash and want to know if it would be better to pay directly to the seller’s solicitor</p><p><strong>Q </strong>We are using a conveyancer to do our legal work when we buy a house for £305,000 in cash, but are concerned about the security of the funds for the purchase while they are with the firm before we complete the sale.<br>Is there a way we can send the funds directly to the seller’s solicitor to avoid this difficulty? I don’t like to ask the conveyancer as it might appear we don’t trust them. <strong>JH</strong></p><p><strong>A </strong>It’s not clear why you think your money will be safer with the seller’s solicitor than with your conveyancer. Like solicitors, licensed conveyancers – who are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) – are required to keep a client’s money safely and separately from their business’s money, typically in a specially designated client account at a bank or building society. That way, if the business were to go bust, the money in the client account would be off limits to any creditors of the business. In addition, licensed conveyancers – again like solicitors – are required to have professional indemnity in place to protect against possible losses. They are also required to pay into a compensation fund which would pay out, for example, if the conveyancer ran off with your cash or was negligent or dishonest in some other way.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/09/is-it-safe-to-pay-full-cash-amount-for-house-price-in-conveyancers-account">Continue reading...</a>

Should we hand all our house money to our conveyancer?

Mar 9, 2017 7:00

We are buying a home for £305,000 in cash and want to know if it would be better to pay directly to the seller’s solicitor

Q We are using a conveyancer to do our legal work when we buy a house for £305,000 in cash, but are concerned about the security of the funds for the purchase while they are with the firm before we complete the sale.
Is there a way we can send the funds directly to the seller’s solicitor to avoid this difficulty? I don’t like to ask the conveyancer as it might appear we don’t trust them. JH

A It’s not clear why you think your money will be safer with the seller’s solicitor than with your conveyancer. Like solicitors, licensed conveyancers – who are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) – are required to keep a client’s money safely and separately from their business’s money, typically in a specially designated client account at a bank or building society. That way, if the business were to go bust, the money in the client account would be off limits to any creditors of the business. In addition, licensed conveyancers – again like solicitors – are required to have professional indemnity in place to protect against possible losses. They are also required to pay into a compensation fund which would pay out, for example, if the conveyancer ran off with your cash or was negligent or dishonest in some other way.

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<p>I’ve heard that some firms drop the price they will pay for your house at the last minute</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I am relocating this year and it could be as early as April or May, so I will need to move at quite short notice. I have no plans to return to the area, so I am thinking about the best way to sell my house quickly. Do you have any advice for me please? </p><p>I am worried about being able to sell at short notice. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m left unable to move because of things going wrong with the house sale. Would I be best off approaching a company who buys houses quickly? How do I find a reputable one?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/02/should-i-use-a-quick-property-sale-company-to-speed-up-my-move">Continue reading...</a>

Should I use a quick-property-sale company to speed up my move?

Mar 2, 2017 7:00

I’ve heard that some firms drop the price they will pay for your house at the last minute

Q I am relocating this year and it could be as early as April or May, so I will need to move at quite short notice. I have no plans to return to the area, so I am thinking about the best way to sell my house quickly. Do you have any advice for me please?

I am worried about being able to sell at short notice. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m left unable to move because of things going wrong with the house sale. Would I be best off approaching a company who buys houses quickly? How do I find a reputable one?

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<p>My husband and I want to finance a new kitchen and don’t want a loan refusal to tarnish our future ability to borrow </p><p><strong>Q </strong>In 2013 we bought our house on a Scottish island for £229,500 on a 16-year mortgage. I am 51, my husband 56, so we now have a mortgage for the next 12 years. The house is big but the kitchen is tiny, and we have a large family. We are thinking about having a new kitchen built and there seem to be two options. We can either build one in our dining room for about £17,000, which would look lovely. Or we can go for broke and knock down the small extension that houses our existing kitchen and loo, and build an extension with kitchen-diner, utility room and office opening on to our large garden, which would cost around £50,000. <strong tabindex="-1"> </strong></p><p>We owe £96,500 on our mortgage and, as the house is valued at £275,000, we could remortgage to fund either option. The only problem is that our credit ratings aren’t perfect. My rating is good to excellent but my affordability score is poor. My husband’s is average. We do, however, have quite a lot of personal borrowing, and are asset-rich and cash-poor, largely as a result of funding three of our kids at university, which means that credit card usage is high.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/23/do-we-need-credit-check-find-out-whether-remortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Do we need a credit check to find out whether we can remortgage?

Feb 23, 2017 7:00

My husband and I want to finance a new kitchen and don’t want a loan refusal to tarnish our future ability to borrow

Q In 2013 we bought our house on a Scottish island for £229,500 on a 16-year mortgage. I am 51, my husband 56, so we now have a mortgage for the next 12 years. The house is big but the kitchen is tiny, and we have a large family. We are thinking about having a new kitchen built and there seem to be two options. We can either build one in our dining room for about £17,000, which would look lovely. Or we can go for broke and knock down the small extension that houses our existing kitchen and loo, and build an extension with kitchen-diner, utility room and office opening on to our large garden, which would cost around £50,000.

We owe £96,500 on our mortgage and, as the house is valued at £275,000, we could remortgage to fund either option. The only problem is that our credit ratings aren’t perfect. My rating is good to excellent but my affordability score is poor. My husband’s is average. We do, however, have quite a lot of personal borrowing, and are asset-rich and cash-poor, largely as a result of funding three of our kids at university, which means that credit card usage is high.

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<p>My partner and I already own homes, but want to purchase another to help our children later on<br></p><p><strong>Q </strong>My partner and I – we are not married – live in his house, which he owns outright in his sole name. I also have a house in my name only. There is a mortgage on this property, which will be rented out once it has been renovated. We are thinking about jointly buying another buy-to-let house but won’t need a mortgage to do that. The property we are looking at will cost £220,000. Will we have to pay extra stamp duty because it is a second home?<br tabindex="-1"></p><p>The main reason we’re buying this house is to provide security for our children when they need money later on in life for deposits or university fees. We also want it to help with our planned retirement in five years’ time. We are not buying the house to make money from a quick sale as any money we can get from it will not be touched until such time as it is needed. <strong>MB</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/16/pay-higher-stamp-duty-buy-to-let-property-help-children">Continue reading...</a>

Will we pay higher stamp duty on a buy-to-let property?

Feb 16, 2017 11:10

My partner and I already own homes, but want to purchase another to help our children later on

Q My partner and I – we are not married – live in his house, which he owns outright in his sole name. I also have a house in my name only. There is a mortgage on this property, which will be rented out once it has been renovated. We are thinking about jointly buying another buy-to-let house but won’t need a mortgage to do that. The property we are looking at will cost £220,000. Will we have to pay extra stamp duty because it is a second home?

The main reason we’re buying this house is to provide security for our children when they need money later on in life for deposits or university fees. We also want it to help with our planned retirement in five years’ time. We are not buying the house to make money from a quick sale as any money we can get from it will not be touched until such time as it is needed. MB

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<p>We are very concerned to find out whether the builders factored the neighbour’s trees into their work </p><p><strong>Q</strong> My husband and I are looking to move into a bigger house as our current two-bed, one-bath house has become too small for us.</p><p>We have found our dream home. It is a semi-detached property with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, which was rebuilt out of a rundown two-bed house in 2015. The previous owner extended the house to the side all the way up to the neighbour’s boundary wall. What worries me is that the neighbour has a line of very tall conifer trees running along this wall. I am afraid these trees could cause us a great deal of subsidence trouble in future – although there don’t currently seem to be any signs of subsidence in the house.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/09/our-dream-home-has-been-extended-near-trees-is-subsidence-a-risk">Continue reading...</a>

Our dream home has been extended near trees – is subsidence a risk?

Feb 9, 2017 7:00

We are very concerned to find out whether the builders factored the neighbour’s trees into their work

Q My husband and I are looking to move into a bigger house as our current two-bed, one-bath house has become too small for us.

We have found our dream home. It is a semi-detached property with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, which was rebuilt out of a rundown two-bed house in 2015. The previous owner extended the house to the side all the way up to the neighbour’s boundary wall. What worries me is that the neighbour has a line of very tall conifer trees running along this wall. I am afraid these trees could cause us a great deal of subsidence trouble in future – although there don’t currently seem to be any signs of subsidence in the house.

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<p>Help to Buy prevents borrowers from renting out their properties, so I want to increase my mortgage to pay off the loan </p><p><strong>Q</strong> Due to a change in circumstances I am looking to rent out my house. However, because I have an equity loan from the Help to Buy scheme, this is forbidden. As a result I’m looking to repay my Help to Buy equity loan but don’t know how to go about doing this. Do I contact the mortgage provider or a solicitor? Also, once my mortgage repayments increase does this mean the house is fully mine or is this not the case until its fully repaid? <strong>JD</strong></p><p><strong>A </strong>Even though you had help in the form of an equity loan from the Help to Buy scheme and a mortgage from your lender, the house is already fully yours, as you will be registered as the legal owner with 100% title to your home. Your mortgage lender and Help to Buy agent do not become joint owners with you. However, to protect the loans they make to you, your mortgage lender will take a first charge over the property and the Help to Buy agent will take a second charge over it to ensure that if the house is sold, they get enough of the sale proceeds needed to repay what you owe them.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/02/i-want-to-repay-my-help-to-buy-loan-in-order-to-let-my-house">Continue reading...</a>

I want to repay my Help to Buy loan in order to let my house

Feb 2, 2017 7:00

Help to Buy prevents borrowers from renting out their properties, so I want to increase my mortgage to pay off the loan

Q Due to a change in circumstances I am looking to rent out my house. However, because I have an equity loan from the Help to Buy scheme, this is forbidden. As a result I’m looking to repay my Help to Buy equity loan but don’t know how to go about doing this. Do I contact the mortgage provider or a solicitor? Also, once my mortgage repayments increase does this mean the house is fully mine or is this not the case until its fully repaid? JD

A Even though you had help in the form of an equity loan from the Help to Buy scheme and a mortgage from your lender, the house is already fully yours, as you will be registered as the legal owner with 100% title to your home. Your mortgage lender and Help to Buy agent do not become joint owners with you. However, to protect the loans they make to you, your mortgage lender will take a first charge over the property and the Help to Buy agent will take a second charge over it to ensure that if the house is sold, they get enough of the sale proceeds needed to repay what you owe them.

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<p>As an unmarried couple we want to protect our monies, but my partner is worried that if I pay for repairs her share will fall </p><p><strong>Q</strong> Two years ago my partner and I bought our first house together. Although the deposit we gathered was more mine than hers, we signed a deed of trust protecting our respective monies. It has since come to light that I am due to inherit some money. As there is still much to be done to the house, I had planned to spend around £20,000 putting in a new bathroom, double glazing and front door – all necessary improvements we could not otherwise afford. <br></p><p>My partner, however, has raised concerns that by putting more money into the property, I would subsequently be taking more out (and therefore depleting her share) were we to sell it and go our separate ways. What is the norm for unmarried people in this situation? She has suggested that she pay for half of the repairs, though at present she does not have the money to do so. Should I otherwise just pay for the cost myself and take the hit? Any advice would be most welcome. <strong>KM </strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/26/do-we-need-deed-of-trust-reflect-our-shares-house-purchase-">Continue reading...</a>

Do we need a deed of trust to reflect our shares in our house purchase?

Jan 26, 2017 11:12

As an unmarried couple we want to protect our monies, but my partner is worried that if I pay for repairs her share will fall

Q Two years ago my partner and I bought our first house together. Although the deposit we gathered was more mine than hers, we signed a deed of trust protecting our respective monies. It has since come to light that I am due to inherit some money. As there is still much to be done to the house, I had planned to spend around £20,000 putting in a new bathroom, double glazing and front door – all necessary improvements we could not otherwise afford.

My partner, however, has raised concerns that by putting more money into the property, I would subsequently be taking more out (and therefore depleting her share) were we to sell it and go our separate ways. What is the norm for unmarried people in this situation? She has suggested that she pay for half of the repairs, though at present she does not have the money to do so. Should I otherwise just pay for the cost myself and take the hit? Any advice would be most welcome. KM

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<p>Also, will I be able to get a mortgage after my individual voluntary arrangement ends? I don’t have a deposit though<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a few questions about whether I have any chance of buying a flat while I am on an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) and repaying my debts. As I am on an IVA, rather than bankrupt, are there any special options for me? And how many months after I finish my repayments will my credit score be OK for me to get a loan? I want to avoid paying a deposit as I have no savings so what are my options? My income is £24,000 a year so how big a loan I can apply for? <strong>PG</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> Brace yourself for answers you are not going to like. First, the chances of buying a flat while you are still paying off your debts through an IVA are, at best, incredibly slim. And no, there are no special options because you chose an IVA over being declared bankrupt – both are still forms of insolvency. An IVA is a formal agreement to repay your creditors at an amount you can afford. If your creditors agree to the IVA it becomes legally binding. As long as you keep to the IVA terms, your creditors will not contact you or increase the debt. When you have made the final payment, any unpaid debt is written off. <br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/19/buy-flat-paying-debts-iva-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Can I buy a flat while I'm paying off debts through an IVA?

Jan 19, 2017 7:00

Also, will I be able to get a mortgage after my individual voluntary arrangement ends? I don’t have a deposit though

Q I have a few questions about whether I have any chance of buying a flat while I am on an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) and repaying my debts. As I am on an IVA, rather than bankrupt, are there any special options for me? And how many months after I finish my repayments will my credit score be OK for me to get a loan? I want to avoid paying a deposit as I have no savings so what are my options? My income is £24,000 a year so how big a loan I can apply for? PG

A Brace yourself for answers you are not going to like. First, the chances of buying a flat while you are still paying off your debts through an IVA are, at best, incredibly slim. And no, there are no special options because you chose an IVA over being declared bankrupt – both are still forms of insolvency. An IVA is a formal agreement to repay your creditors at an amount you can afford. If your creditors agree to the IVA it becomes legally binding. As long as you keep to the IVA terms, your creditors will not contact you or increase the debt. When you have made the final payment, any unpaid debt is written off.

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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>Straight lines were anathema to architect Antti Lovag, and you will not find a single one in this complex of domes overlooking the Med being sold by the fashion designer</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/17/pierre-cardins-bubble-palace-near-cannes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Pierre Cardin's Bubble Palace near Cannes – in pictures

Mar 17, 2017 7:00

Straight lines were anathema to architect Antti Lovag, and you will not find a single one in this complex of domes overlooking the Med being sold by the fashion designer

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<p>Slip under the bubbles, from Colchester to the Loire</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/15/homes-with-hot-tubs-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with hot tubs – in pictures

Mar 15, 2017 8:00

Slip under the bubbles, from Colchester to the Loire

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<p>A geobiologist has built this complex of buildings out of eco-friendly materials around a wooden main house, with scope for tourist rentals </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/10/a-brittany-eco-home-with-extra-gite-and-yurt-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A Brittany eco-home with extra gîte and yurt – in pictures

Mar 10, 2017 7:00

A geobiologist has built this complex of buildings out of eco-friendly materials around a wooden main house, with scope for tourist rentals

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<p>Whether you’re a beauty or a beast (yes, we’re doing a film-themed gallery), perhaps there’s a castle out there where you could be more than a guest</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/08/castles-in-pictures-beauty-beast">Continue reading...</a>

Castles – in pictures

Mar 8, 2017 7:00

Whether you’re a beauty or a beast (yes, we’re doing a film-themed gallery), perhaps there’s a castle out there where you could be more than a guest

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<p>Wherefore art those properties perfect for acting out Romeo and Juliet? Why, in Chester, Hove and Morpeth … </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/03/homes-with-balconies-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes with balconies – in pictures

Mar 3, 2017 23:45

Wherefore art those properties perfect for acting out Romeo and Juliet? Why, in Chester, Hove and Morpeth …

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<p>You could drive a horse and cart into this west London property – and that’s exactly what the previous owners would have done</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/03/a-former-coach-house-one-room-wide-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A former coach house one room wide – in pictures

Mar 3, 2017 7:00

You could drive a horse and cart into this west London property – and that’s exactly what the previous owners would have done

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<p>Put yourself at the heart of the action with these properties in the City of London, Newcastle, Florence, Barcelona and Paris </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/mar/01/city-centre-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

City-centre homes – in pictures

Mar 1, 2017 11:04

Put yourself at the heart of the action with these properties in the City of London, Newcastle, Florence, Barcelona and Paris

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<p>Hundreds of years in the making, the garden at the grade I-listed Rymans in West Sussex is a marvel – particularly when it comes to tulips</p><p>A historic grade I-listed house and its garden is not for the faint-hearted, especially when both are in a serious state of decline. Although the garden at <a href="http://www.ngs.org.uk/Shared/Templates/Garden.aspx?page=20981&amp;id=4769">Rymans</a>, in the village of Apuldram, West Sussex, had near-perfect growing conditions, with its good, loamy soil and 600 years of cultivation, its potential was well-disguised when Suzanna Gayford moved in 21 years ago. The walled garden included a plantation of overgrown Christmas trees that had passed their harvest date, as well as a monstrous concrete fruit cage, described by Gayford as “the size of an elephant” and overrun with bindweed.</p><p>“You’ve never seen anything like it,” she says now. “The roots were like coils of rope – we’re still dealing with their offspring.” Before Gayford could use her creative architect’s eye to design a new garden, the entire area had to be cleared and taken back to bare earth.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/25/perfect-spring-garden-">Continue reading...</a>

Walk this way: inside the perfect spring garden

Mar 25, 2017 11:00

Hundreds of years in the making, the garden at the grade I-listed Rymans in West Sussex is a marvel – particularly when it comes to tulips

A historic grade I-listed house and its garden is not for the faint-hearted, especially when both are in a serious state of decline. Although the garden at Rymans, in the village of Apuldram, West Sussex, had near-perfect growing conditions, with its good, loamy soil and 600 years of cultivation, its potential was well-disguised when Suzanna Gayford moved in 21 years ago. The walled garden included a plantation of overgrown Christmas trees that had passed their harvest date, as well as a monstrous concrete fruit cage, described by Gayford as “the size of an elephant” and overrun with bindweed.

“You’ve never seen anything like it,” she says now. “The roots were like coils of rope – we’re still dealing with their offspring.” Before Gayford could use her creative architect’s eye to design a new garden, the entire area had to be cleared and taken back to bare earth.

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<p>Artichokes can be eaten young, tender and raw, sliced into salads. I love their bitter and nutty stems, too</p><p>In Italy, there is not just one globe artichoke variety or even two; there are many. Of course, there are many: there’s a variety for every region and a season that extends from early spring to early summer. Here, as in France and Greece, artichokes are often eaten young, tender and raw, sliced into salads. Or when they are the size of a walnut, they are briefly fried in olive oil. Then a little water goes in and they cook until just tender. These can be marinated, used in pasta sauces or enjoyed whole.</p><p>When artichokes are picked young, the stems are not hard or pithy and it’s possible to snap rather than cut them off the plant. Even the stems can be eaten by peeling off the stringy outsides and eating the soft, crisp insides with salt, like you might celery. It’s bitter and nutty. You’ll love it or think I’m mad.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/25/alys-fowler-how-to-grow-globe-artichokes">Continue reading...</a>

How to grow globe artichokes | Alys Fowler

Mar 25, 2017 10:59

Artichokes can be eaten young, tender and raw, sliced into salads. I love their bitter and nutty stems, too

In Italy, there is not just one globe artichoke variety or even two; there are many. Of course, there are many: there’s a variety for every region and a season that extends from early spring to early summer. Here, as in France and Greece, artichokes are often eaten young, tender and raw, sliced into salads. Or when they are the size of a walnut, they are briefly fried in olive oil. Then a little water goes in and they cook until just tender. These can be marinated, used in pasta sauces or enjoyed whole.

When artichokes are picked young, the stems are not hard or pithy and it’s possible to snap rather than cut them off the plant. Even the stems can be eaten by peeling off the stringy outsides and eating the soft, crisp insides with salt, like you might celery. It’s bitter and nutty. You’ll love it or think I’m mad.

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<p>Our gardening expert has the answer</p><p><strong>I have a north-facing riverside terrace. In winter, it is cold, damp and prone to wind; in summer, the sun is strong and relentless for most of the day. I’d love some year-round green for my tubs and troughs. What can you suggest?</strong></p><p>Escallonia has suffered in the past from being seen as rather common, but it is made for your spot. It doesn’t mind wind, damp or the sun beating down, though like anything grown in a container it will need watering daily in summer. It grows into a large shrub several metres high, so plant it in large containers.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/25/ask-alys-fowler-container-plants-windy-escallonia">Continue reading...</a>

Ask Alys: which container plants are best for a windy terrace? | Alys Fowler

Mar 25, 2017 10:59

Our gardening expert has the answer

I have a north-facing riverside terrace. In winter, it is cold, damp and prone to wind; in summer, the sun is strong and relentless for most of the day. I’d love some year-round green for my tubs and troughs. What can you suggest?

Escallonia has suffered in the past from being seen as rather common, but it is made for your spot. It doesn’t mind wind, damp or the sun beating down, though like anything grown in a container it will need watering daily in summer. It grows into a large shrub several metres high, so plant it in large containers.

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<p>From giving women at Yarl’s Wood a place to garden, to transforming a Glasgow community’s soft drinks habit, these projects are all seeking funds to expand</p><p>A year ago on this blog, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/profile/robbie-blackhall-miles">Robbie Blackhall-Miles</a> wrote a post entitled <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2016/mar/02/is-crowdfunding-the-future-of-horticulture">Is crowdfunding the future of horticulture?</a> </p><p>Judging by the number of garden-based crowdfunding calls I am getting these days, crowdfunding is certainly becoming an alternative way of getting difficult-to-fund but important projects off the ground. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2017/mar/23/five-garden-crowdfunding-projects-to-back-this-spring">Continue reading...</a>

Five garden crowdfunding projects to back this spring

Mar 23, 2017 18:01

From giving women at Yarl’s Wood a place to garden, to transforming a Glasgow community’s soft drinks habit, these projects are all seeking funds to expand

A year ago on this blog, Robbie Blackhall-Miles wrote a post entitled Is crowdfunding the future of horticulture?

Judging by the number of garden-based crowdfunding calls I am getting these days, crowdfunding is certainly becoming an alternative way of getting difficult-to-fund but important projects off the ground.

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<p><strong>21 March 1925</strong>: The war forcibly reminded us as a nation of the value, as well as the fun, of making something edible grow on unused land</p><p><strong>Editorial<br></strong>We are not, fortunately, so far ahead of Adam that we cannot take pride in a successful bit of digging. The war, indeed, has to its credit side the fact that it forcibly reminded us as a nation of the value, as well as the fun, of making something edible grow on unused land. </p><p>Many thousands of citizens whom the army did not want waged, in the days of potato queues, an unaccustomed campaign on neighbouring nettle-beds and turned the dull face of suburban waste land into nursery gardens. They did it as a matter of duty. They continue to do it because they find it profitable and enjoyable.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/21/safeguarding-allotments-parliament-1925">Continue reading...</a>

Safeguarding the allotment - archive, 21 March 1925

Mar 21, 2017 5:30

21 March 1925: The war forcibly reminded us as a nation of the value, as well as the fun, of making something edible grow on unused land

Editorial
We are not, fortunately, so far ahead of Adam that we cannot take pride in a successful bit of digging. The war, indeed, has to its credit side the fact that it forcibly reminded us as a nation of the value, as well as the fun, of making something edible grow on unused land.

Many thousands of citizens whom the army did not want waged, in the days of potato queues, an unaccustomed campaign on neighbouring nettle-beds and turned the dull face of suburban waste land into nursery gardens. They did it as a matter of duty. They continue to do it because they find it profitable and enjoyable.

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<p>Artist Rachel Ducker’s Oxford home is more like a cabinet of curiosities than a living space<br></p><p>“I warn you, it’s a bit of museum,” says artist <a href="http://www.rachel-ducker.co.uk/">Rachel Ducker</a>, leading the way down the narrow corridor of her Oxford flat, past teetering bookcases. It is hard to know where to look first. On walls and tabletops, birdcages jostle with antlers, Gothic mirrors vie with peacock feathers and every surface teems with offbeat objects, adding to the impression that you have stepped into a cabinet of curiosities. “I love finding stuff that other people overlook, in junk shops, markets and even skips,” says Ducker.</p><p>I love finding stuff other people overlook, in junk shops, markets and even skips</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/19/crowded-house-inside-a-sculptors-museum-home-rachel-ducker">Continue reading...</a>

Crowded house: inside a sculptor’s ‘museum’ home | Serena Fokschaner

Mar 19, 2017 6:00

Artist Rachel Ducker’s Oxford home is more like a cabinet of curiosities than a living space

“I warn you, it’s a bit of museum,” says artist Rachel Ducker, leading the way down the narrow corridor of her Oxford flat, past teetering bookcases. It is hard to know where to look first. On walls and tabletops, birdcages jostle with antlers, Gothic mirrors vie with peacock feathers and every surface teems with offbeat objects, adding to the impression that you have stepped into a cabinet of curiosities. “I love finding stuff that other people overlook, in junk shops, markets and even skips,” says Ducker.

I love finding stuff other people overlook, in junk shops, markets and even skips

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<p>Supermarket fails to convert carts in time, as warning comes of issues with parking meters and vending machines on Tuesday</p><p>Tesco is unlocking 100,000 of its coin-operated supermarket trolleys after the grocery giant failed to convert them in time for the launch of the <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/gallery/2017/mar/01/the-new-1-coin-in-pictures">12-sided £1 coin</a> on Tuesday.</p><p>A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re replacing the locks on our trolleys to accept old and new pound coins as well as existing trolley tokens. We will unlock all our trolleys while this process takes place so customers will not be affected by the changes.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/24/new-1-pound-coin-tesco-unlock-every-trolley-misses-deadline">Continue reading...</a>

New £1 coin: Tesco to unlock every trolley as it misses deadline

Mar 24, 2017 13:37

Supermarket fails to convert carts in time, as warning comes of issues with parking meters and vending machines on Tuesday

Tesco is unlocking 100,000 of its coin-operated supermarket trolleys after the grocery giant failed to convert them in time for the launch of the 12-sided £1 coin on Tuesday.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re replacing the locks on our trolleys to accept old and new pound coins as well as existing trolley tokens. We will unlock all our trolleys while this process takes place so customers will not be affected by the changes.”

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About 1.2m VWs, Audis, Skodas and&nbsp;Seats are affected by the most significant vehicle recall in history, but some motorists are complaining their cars are not performing after their return<p>Mysterious rattles, poor fuel consumption, difficulties in starting, low power, weak acceleration. It has emerged that many drivers who have been through the dealer “upgrade” following the Volkswagen scandal are complaining that their once-trusty vehicles are a shadow of their former selves.</p><p>So far almost 500,000 of the 1.2m affected VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda diesel cars have been returned as part of the official dealer recall. Most require a simple software upgrade, but some – those with the 1.6 litre diesel engine – have required major work.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/25/vw-volkswagen-audi-skoda-seat-emissions-fix-left-car-undriveable">Continue reading...</a>

Up in smoke: the VW emissions ‘fix’ has left our car undriveable

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

About 1.2m VWs, Audis, Skodas and Seats are affected by the most significant vehicle recall in history, but some motorists are complaining their cars are not performing after their return

Mysterious rattles, poor fuel consumption, difficulties in starting, low power, weak acceleration. It has emerged that many drivers who have been through the dealer “upgrade” following the Volkswagen scandal are complaining that their once-trusty vehicles are a shadow of their former selves.

So far almost 500,000 of the 1.2m affected VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda diesel cars have been returned as part of the official dealer recall. Most require a simple software upgrade, but some – those with the 1.6 litre diesel engine – have required major work.

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<p>Lenders now pay mortgage brokers ‘retention’ fees for simply rolling you over from one of their deals to another</p><p>We thought the “commission hungry salesman” had been consigned to the museum of financial horrors, next to the exhibits on Equitable Life and endowment mortgages. But are these relics in fact still alive and crawling back into the mainstream?</p><p>On the quiet the major mortgage lenders have begun making “retention” payouts to brokers, alongside the “procuration” fees they have long paid. If you have no idea what this means then that’s probably the idea – to keep you in the dark.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/mar/25/death-salesman-premature-mortgage-lenders-brokers-retention-fees">Continue reading...</a>

The death of the mortgage salesman is unfortunately premature

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

Lenders now pay mortgage brokers ‘retention’ fees for simply rolling you over from one of their deals to another

We thought the “commission hungry salesman” had been consigned to the museum of financial horrors, next to the exhibits on Equitable Life and endowment mortgages. But are these relics in fact still alive and crawling back into the mainstream?

On the quiet the major mortgage lenders have begun making “retention” payouts to brokers, alongside the “procuration” fees they have long paid. If you have no idea what this means then that’s probably the idea – to keep you in the dark.

Continue reading...

There are many Isa options open to savers these days, but the original tax-free vehicle is still worth a look<p>You only have until 5 April to take advantage of your £15,240 Isa allowance. So should you be investing your cash in an Isa? And if so, what type should go for – cash, investment or the more risky “innovative” option? Read on for the what, how, where and why of Isas…</p><p>Isas are accounts on which you will <strong>never have to pay tax</strong>. During the current tax year you can put £15,240 into an Isa and leave it there forever, and the interest or capital gains are free from tax. In extreme cases, some husband-and-wife couples have been able to build up £1m in Isas, with all the money they generate being tax-free.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/25/is-isa-best-home-nest-egg-shares-cash-doug-allan">Continue reading...</a>

Is an Isa the best home for your nest egg?

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

There are many Isa options open to savers these days, but the original tax-free vehicle is still worth a look

You only have until 5 April to take advantage of your £15,240 Isa allowance. So should you be investing your cash in an Isa? And if so, what type should go for – cash, investment or the more risky “innovative” option? Read on for the what, how, where and why of Isas…

Isas are accounts on which you will never have to pay tax. During the current tax year you can put £15,240 into an Isa and leave it there forever, and the interest or capital gains are free from tax. In extreme cases, some husband-and-wife couples have been able to build up £1m in Isas, with all the money they generate being tax-free.

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Our careers expert – and you the readers – help a traumatised whistleblower, and an ad exec seeking greater meaning<p><strong>Six years ago I was a whistleblower at my workplace. I worked there for three years, but from my first day I noticed daily cover-ups, misuse of position and daily cash fraud.&nbsp;</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/25/truly-terrible-story-not-uncommon-work-expert">Continue reading...</a>

‘A truly terrible story, and not uncommon’ – our work expert responds

Mar 25, 2017 6:59

Our careers expert – and you the readers – help a traumatised whistleblower, and an ad exec seeking greater meaning

Six years ago I was a whistleblower at my workplace. I worked there for three years, but from my first day I noticed daily cover-ups, misuse of position and daily cash fraud. 

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If I get one more lingerie ad I will scream<p><strong>Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.</strong></p><p><strong>This week’s question:</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/mar/25/is-there-email-fewer-targeted-ads-google-gmail">Continue reading...</a>

Is there an email I can use that has fewer targeted ads than Gmail?

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

If I get one more lingerie ad I will scream

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>Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and banking dynasty’s Jacob Rothschild have invested in ticket reselling company that snubbed MPs’ inquiry this week</p><p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2007/apr/27/consumernews.money">Eric Baker</a> is Viagogo’s charismatic but reclusive founder and chief executive. Born to a wealthy business dynasty in Los Angeles, he was educated at Harvard and Stanford, going on to co-found ticket resale business StubHub with classmate Jeff Fluhr.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/24/viagogo-who-runs-it-and-who-owns-it">Continue reading...</a>

Viagogo: who runs it and who owns it?

Mar 24, 2017 18:03

Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and banking dynasty’s Jacob Rothschild have invested in ticket reselling company that snubbed MPs’ inquiry this week

Eric Baker is Viagogo’s charismatic but reclusive founder and chief executive. Born to a wealthy business dynasty in Los Angeles, he was educated at Harvard and Stanford, going on to co-found ticket resale business StubHub with classmate Jeff Fluhr.

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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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The cap on call charges racked up by stolen phones is now set at £100 – but it came too late for a couple on holiday in Athens<p>Elizabeth and John Gilbert* were strolling the streets of Athens on a Sunday afternoon when they were ambushed. A knife was held to their throats while the two attackers seized their belongings before fleeing with their money and their mobiles. Unable to call anyone without phones or contact lists, they headed for the nearest police station to report the crime.</p><p>Early next morning they managed to ring their service provider, Vodafone, to inform it of the theft. A month later a phone bill arrived for £5,789.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/14/knife-point-attack-on-holiday-mobiles-stolen-bill-vodafone">Continue reading...</a>

A knife-point attack on holiday, mobiles stolen … then a £5,789 bill from Vodafone

Aug 14, 2016 7:00

The cap on call charges racked up by stolen phones is now set at £100 – but it came too late for a couple on holiday in Athens

Elizabeth and John Gilbert* were strolling the streets of Athens on a Sunday afternoon when they were ambushed. A knife was held to their throats while the two attackers seized their belongings before fleeing with their money and their mobiles. Unable to call anyone without phones or contact lists, they headed for the nearest police station to report the crime.

Early next morning they managed to ring their service provider, Vodafone, to inform it of the theft. A month later a phone bill arrived for £5,789.

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<p>Those aged around 40 should expect to work at least until the age of 68, with the future of the triple-lock also thrown into doubt</p><p>Millions of people in their late 30s and early 40s look set to have to work for an extra year after an official review recommended pushing up the state pension age (SPA) more quickly than previously planned.<br></p><p>The independent report said the SPA should rise to 68 by 2039 instead of 2046. It also recommended that the state pension “triple lock” is withdrawn in the next parliament.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/23/state-pension-age-rise-again-report-triple-lock-doubt">Continue reading...</a>

State pension age must rise again, says report

Mar 23, 2017 6:11

Those aged around 40 should expect to work at least until the age of 68, with the future of the triple-lock also thrown into doubt

Millions of people in their late 30s and early 40s look set to have to work for an extra year after an official review recommended pushing up the state pension age (SPA) more quickly than previously planned.

The independent report said the SPA should rise to 68 by 2039 instead of 2046. It also recommended that the state pension “triple lock” is withdrawn in the next parliament.

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A ‘basic account’ is just that …  but they aren’t well promoted probably because they don’t make money<p>There are almost 8m basic bank accounts open in the UK, and most of the big banks offer them, but they are arguably the&nbsp;Cinderella of the financial services world. You won’t find sports stars appearing in multimillion-pound TV adverts to plug them, or billboard posters extolling the virtues of these no-frills accounts. But perhaps that could be set to change.</p><p>In a report on tackling financial exclusion, a House of Lords committee says banks must be “much more proactive” in promoting their basic accounts. It claims that in some cases, even branch staff are unfamiliar with them, and recommends that the government should “require” banks to properly promote them, in branches and via advertising.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/25/banks-basic-account-promote-lords-report">Continue reading...</a>

Lords call for the banks to get back to basics

Mar 25, 2017 7:00

A ‘basic account’ is just that … but they aren’t well promoted probably because they don’t make money

There are almost 8m basic bank accounts open in the UK, and most of the big banks offer them, but they are arguably the Cinderella of the financial services world. You won’t find sports stars appearing in multimillion-pound TV adverts to plug them, or billboard posters extolling the virtues of these no-frills accounts. But perhaps that could be set to change.

In a report on tackling financial exclusion, a House of Lords committee says banks must be “much more proactive” in promoting their basic accounts. It claims that in some cases, even branch staff are unfamiliar with them, and recommends that the government should “require” banks to properly promote them, in branches and via advertising.

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<p>The new 12-sided £1 coin arrives in March, and you will only have six months to offload the old ones. It’s also just 10 weeks until paper £5 notes are history</p><p>It’s all change once again for the UK’s coins and notes. While millions of us are still getting used to the new “non-vegetarian” plastic £5 notes, it’s the £1 coin that is next to receive a makeover. The new 12-sided “bimetallic” (made of two metals) pound coin is being introduced on 28 March. Then in September it’s the turn of the tenner (see below).</p><p>The new £1, which resembles the old threepenny bit, will be “the most secure coin in the world”, <a href="http://www.thenewpoundcoin.com/">claims the Royal Mint</a>. Here’s everything you need to know about the new coin – and what’s going to happen to the old “round pounds”.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/feb/25/get-rid-of-1-pound-coins-new-12-sided-coin">Continue reading...</a>

Quids in: why it’s time to get rid of your £1 coins

Feb 26, 2017 11:40

The new 12-sided £1 coin arrives in March, and you will only have six months to offload the old ones. It’s also just 10 weeks until paper £5 notes are history

It’s all change once again for the UK’s coins and notes. While millions of us are still getting used to the new “non-vegetarian” plastic £5 notes, it’s the £1 coin that is next to receive a makeover. The new 12-sided “bimetallic” (made of two metals) pound coin is being introduced on 28 March. Then in September it’s the turn of the tenner (see below).

The new £1, which resembles the old threepenny bit, will be “the most secure coin in the world”, claims the Royal Mint. Here’s everything you need to know about the new coin – and what’s going to happen to the old “round pounds”.

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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>We have to stand in when managers leave at 5pm and when the living wage went up, we lost double pay for bank holidays </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 have worked as a team leader in a store for six years for a large retail company. In the past six months the job we are expected to do is getting beyond stressful. In addition to my job – that is, head of several departments and taking care of deliveries, merchandising, setting up sales, refits, daily recovery of departments and dealing with colleagues’ problems, we now also have to become duty managers. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/24/cuts-store-team-leader-job-beyond-stressful-how-can-i-carry-on">Continue reading...</a>

How can I carry on as a store team leader now it is beyond stressful?

Mar 24, 2017 7:00

We have to stand in when managers leave at 5pm and when the living wage went up, we lost double pay for bank holidays

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 have worked as a team leader in a store for six years for a large retail company. In the past six months the job we are expected to do is getting beyond stressful. In addition to my job – that is, head of several departments and taking care of deliveries, merchandising, setting up sales, refits, daily recovery of departments and dealing with colleagues’ problems, we now also have to become duty managers.

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<p>We compare UK construction standards to those abroad – and talk to buyers deeply disillusioned by their experiences</p><p>Weak mortar, faulty drainage,&nbsp;unfinished fittings … for many buyers of newly built properties in Britain, their dream home quickly turns into a nightmare.</p><p>Last week, it emerged that <a href="http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/fire-danger-forces-flat-owners-10974039" title="">residents had to move out of a recently completed Manchester apartment block</a>, Islington Wharf Mews, because it breaks fire safety rules.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/11/why-are-britains-new-homes-built-so-badly">Continue reading...</a>

Why are Britain’s new homes built so badly?

Mar 11, 2017 7:00

We compare UK construction standards to those abroad – and talk to buyers deeply disillusioned by their experiences

Weak mortar, faulty drainage, unfinished fittings … for many buyers of newly built properties in Britain, their dream home quickly turns into a nightmare.

Last week, it emerged that residents had to move out of a recently completed Manchester apartment block, Islington Wharf Mews, because it breaks fire safety rules.

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