<p>Milton Keynes, now 50 years old, identified as the best-performing new town for property price growth over last 30 years</p><p>House price growth in Britain’s new towns has outperformed the national average over the past decade, a report has found.</p><p>Milton Keynes, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/20/50-reasons-love-milton-keynes-concrete-cows-wd-40">which is celebrating its 50th birthday</a>, was identified as the best-performing new town for property price growth over the last 30 years. New towns generally have seen house prices go up by 32% over the last 10 years, increasing by just over £55,500, from £173,337 in 2006 to £228,902 in 2016.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/23/uks-new-towns-surpass-national-average-for-house-price-growth">Continue reading...</a>

UK's new towns surpass national average for house price growth

Jan 23, 2017 0:01

Milton Keynes, now 50 years old, identified as the best-performing new town for property price growth over last 30 years

House price growth in Britain’s new towns has outperformed the national average over the past decade, a report has found.

Milton Keynes, which is celebrating its 50th birthday, was identified as the best-performing new town for property price growth over the last 30 years. New towns generally have seen house prices go up by 32% over the last 10 years, increasing by just over £55,500, from £173,337 in 2006 to £228,902 in 2016.

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<p>This property in France is just the ticket for the environmentally conscious buyer<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/22/eco-home-france-buzz-about-it-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

An eco home with a real buzz about it – in pictures

Jan 22, 2017 7:00

This property in France is just the ticket for the environmentally conscious buyer

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Anyone have experience of one – surely it will end in stains and tears?<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/jan/21/would-a-white-carpet-be-a-disaster-stains">Continue reading...</a>

Would a white carpet be a disaster?

Jan 21, 2017 7:00

Anyone have experience of one – surely it will end in stains and tears?

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>Campaigners say growing instances of ‘No DSS’ are problematic</p><p>It used to be “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”, now it’s “No DSS, no pets, no children”. Check out the rental listings on websites such as Rightmove, or press your nose against the window of your local lettings agent, and you will often see “No DSS”. It means the landlord or agent won’t rent a property to someone on housing benefit or local housing allowance, though some younger readers might not even know what “DSS” stands for (it’s Department of Social Security, and was replaced by the Department for Work and Pensions 16 years ago).</p><p>The racist signs once seen in the windows of houses with rooms to rent have long been consigned to history, but what about their 21st-century equivalent? How common is it, and does refusing to let a property to someone on housing benefit amount to unlawful discrimination? Campaigners say it’s problematic. <a href="http://blog.shelter.org.uk/2015/06/no-children-no-dogs-no-dss-the-alternative-landlord-guide/" title="">In a blog</a>, housing charity Shelter said: “Rising rents and shrinking wages mean that being in work is no longer a guarantee you won’t need help with housing costs. But if you do receive this help, it’s guaranteed that you will be openly discriminated against.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/21/housing-benefit-claimants-shut-out-private-rental-no-dss">Continue reading...</a>

Housing benefit claimants increasingly shut out of private rental market

Jan 21, 2017 7:00

Campaigners say growing instances of ‘No DSS’ are problematic

It used to be “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”, now it’s “No DSS, no pets, no children”. Check out the rental listings on websites such as Rightmove, or press your nose against the window of your local lettings agent, and you will often see “No DSS”. It means the landlord or agent won’t rent a property to someone on housing benefit or local housing allowance, though some younger readers might not even know what “DSS” stands for (it’s Department of Social Security, and was replaced by the Department for Work and Pensions 16 years ago).

The racist signs once seen in the windows of houses with rooms to rent have long been consigned to history, but what about their 21st-century equivalent? How common is it, and does refusing to let a property to someone on housing benefit amount to unlawful discrimination? Campaigners say it’s problematic. In a blog, housing charity Shelter said: “Rising rents and shrinking wages mean that being in work is no longer a guarantee you won’t need help with housing costs. But if you do receive this help, it’s guaranteed that you will be openly discriminated against.”

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<p>The insurer is among a number of firms who turned down cover for a British family who bought a house for asylum seekers </p><p>A British family have spent more than £400,000 buying a house in Brighton for Syrian refugees in an extraordinary act of personal generosity – only to find that major UK insurers rejected them when they tried to buy buildings insurance.</p><p>Direct Line, one of the UK’s biggest home insurers, told the family that it would not agree to sell them a buildings policy because the Syrian refugees would be on benefits. “We were totally thrown by it,” says the donor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/21/direct-line-turned-down-insurance-homeowners-refugees">Continue reading...</a>

Direct Line turns its back on homeowners trying to help refugees

Jan 21, 2017 7:00

The insurer is among a number of firms who turned down cover for a British family who bought a house for asylum seekers

A British family have spent more than £400,000 buying a house in Brighton for Syrian refugees in an extraordinary act of personal generosity – only to find that major UK insurers rejected them when they tried to buy buildings insurance.

Direct Line, one of the UK’s biggest home insurers, told the family that it would not agree to sell them a buildings policy because the Syrian refugees would be on benefits. “We were totally thrown by it,” says the donor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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<p>These properties, from Suffolk to Scotland, are perfect for a change in lifestyle<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/20/homes-for-downsizers-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for downsizers – in pictures

Jan 20, 2017 23:00

These properties, from Suffolk to Scotland, are perfect for a change in lifestyle

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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&nbsp;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&nbsp;love a funicular) <em>and</em> a miniature railway, a dash (but only a dash) of decline. I&nbsp;could, believe me, go on. What could possibly improve it? Well the locals are giving it a try. The&nbsp;spa’s revived, the new <a href="http://www.alpamare.co.uk/">Alpamare waterpark</a> is&nbsp;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&nbsp;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>Also, homes in which to sit out the perils of 2017 and our Consumer Champions do battle with Thomson and Virgin Trains<br></p><p>Hello and welcome to this week’s Money Talks – a roundup of the week’s biggest stories and some things you may have missed.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/19/friday-afternoon-conveyancing-fraud-10-year-mortgages">Continue reading...</a>

Friday afternoon conveyancing fraud, plus the merits of 10-year mortgages

Jan 19, 2017 14:49

Also, homes in which to sit out the perils of 2017 and our Consumer Champions do battle with Thomson and Virgin Trains

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>Surveyors body Rics says market stuttered at end of 2016, with sharp fall in number expecting sales to rise in coming months</p><p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/housingmarket">Britain’s housing market</a> cooled in December as sales activity fell and estate agents were less optimistic about prospects in the coming months.</p><p>The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the market “stuttered” at the end of 2016 and had gotten off to a slow start in 2017.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/19/uk-housing-market-activity-decline-december-rics-surveyors-2016-sales">Continue reading...</a>

UK housing market falters as estate agents become less optimistic

Jan 19, 2017 9:07

Surveyors body Rics says market stuttered at end of 2016, with sharp fall in number expecting sales to rise in coming months

Britain’s housing market cooled in December as sales activity fell and estate agents were less optimistic about prospects in the coming months.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the market “stuttered” at the end of 2016 and had gotten off to a slow start in 2017.

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<p>Why not hunker in a bunker as the world winds to an end</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/18/homes-to-sit-out-the-perils-of-2017-bunker-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes in which to sit out the perils of 2017 – in pictures

Jan 18, 2017 7:00

Why not hunker in a bunker as the world winds to an end

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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.

Continue reading...

<p>As buildings go, Durham Cathedral is as good as it gets </p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Is it silly to move somewhere just because of one building? I think I could, you know. I’m an archi-geek, so perhaps more predisposed to being intoxicated by a smashing guildhall or a stately home. But still: <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/21/durham-cathedral-opens-hidden-treasures-and-spaces-to-public">Durham Cathedral</a>, what a place. As buildings go, this is as good as it gets, equal to the Alhambra, the Pantheon or the Parthenon. Walk in and you’re beamed back to a time of monks and border raids, when Durham was the heart of a rather different northern powerhouse. I could move my bed, desk and a Baby Belling into the north aisle this second, though I doubt the bishop (or my wife, or my kids) would approve. The cathedral does dominate the city. Without it, Durham would be a pleasant, undemanding market town, albeit beautifully sited on a wooded loop of the river Wear and with a fine university attached. With it, though... Wow! But madness, right? Right?</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> It’s a small city, constrained by its geography, so urbanites might get bored.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/06/lets-move-to-durham-county-durham">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Durham, County Durham

Jan 6, 2017 16:30

As buildings go, Durham Cathedral is as good as it gets

What’s going for it? Is it silly to move somewhere just because of one building? I think I could, you know. I’m an archi-geek, so perhaps more predisposed to being intoxicated by a smashing guildhall or a stately home. But still: Durham Cathedral, what a place. As buildings go, this is as good as it gets, equal to the Alhambra, the Pantheon or the Parthenon. Walk in and you’re beamed back to a time of monks and border raids, when Durham was the heart of a rather different northern powerhouse. I could move my bed, desk and a Baby Belling into the north aisle this second, though I doubt the bishop (or my wife, or my kids) would approve. The cathedral does dominate the city. Without it, Durham would be a pleasant, undemanding market town, albeit beautifully sited on a wooded loop of the river Wear and with a fine university attached. With it, though... Wow! But madness, right? Right?

The case against It’s a small city, constrained by its geography, so urbanites might get bored.

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<p>They’re remote, but that goes with the territory</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Those wily French! No sooner had <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2009/jul/15/archive-storming-bastille-france-1889">they stormed the Bastille</a> than they had designs on storming us. Again. <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/wales/entries/002ee4af-c847-3da1-9112-fdb206618b86">The last invasion of Britain</a> took place on 22 February 1797, just outside Fishguard, though it seems more omnishambles than shock and awe. Two of the three prongs of attack were scuppered by bad weather; the third was marred by a right old shower. Many opted to get drunk and loot farmhouses; the rest were seen off after a couple of days by reservists and locals, including folk heroine <a href="http://www.visitwales.com/explore/traditions-history/horrible-histories-wild-women">Jemima Nicholas</a> who, it’s reputed, rounded up a dozen Frenchies with nothing more than a pitchfork. That’s the spirit. After which Fishguard and its mini-me Newport returned to business as usual, catching herring and supping ale. Today, they’re rather idyllic, with their boats bobbing in the harbour, their wooded slopes and tranquil beaches, while tourists and downshifters hungry for the Pembrokeshire Experience invade Tenby and the south coast, armed with selfie sticks and demands for artisan ice-cream.</p><p><strong>The case against </strong>They’re remote, but that kind of goes with the territory.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/16/lets-move-to-fishguard-and-newport-pembrokeshire-wales-idyllic">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Fishguard and Newport, Pembrokeshire: ‘They’re rather idyllic’

Dec 16, 2016 16:30

They’re remote, but that goes with the territory

What’s going for it? Those wily French! No sooner had they stormed the Bastille than they had designs on storming us. Again. The last invasion of Britain took place on 22 February 1797, just outside Fishguard, though it seems more omnishambles than shock and awe. Two of the three prongs of attack were scuppered by bad weather; the third was marred by a right old shower. Many opted to get drunk and loot farmhouses; the rest were seen off after a couple of days by reservists and locals, including folk heroine Jemima Nicholas who, it’s reputed, rounded up a dozen Frenchies with nothing more than a pitchfork. That’s the spirit. After which Fishguard and its mini-me Newport returned to business as usual, catching herring and supping ale. Today, they’re rather idyllic, with their boats bobbing in the harbour, their wooded slopes and tranquil beaches, while tourists and downshifters hungry for the Pembrokeshire Experience invade Tenby and the south coast, armed with selfie sticks and demands for artisan ice-cream.

The case against They’re remote, but that kind of goes with the territory.

Continue reading...

<p>It needs attention, despite the famous white cliffs and some beautiful Regency terraces</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Britain’s gatehouse, thanks to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/eu-referendum">Brexit</a>, may be about to resume the role it has held for a millennium or two. The past few decades have not been kind to Dover: bombed to smithereens in the second world war, rebuilt – vigorously, if we’re being generous – in the 1960s and on its uppers since airports and the Channel tunnel snatched away its historic role. Maybe the future will be kinder. The hefty chunks of the past that have survived hint at a more prosperous incarnation: <a href="http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dover-castle/">the castle</a>, of course, none sturdier in the country, and the beautiful Regency terraces along the waterfront. Combined with its dramatic geography, squished into a cleft where the North Downs hammer into the sea, this should make for a spirited town, as impressive as its famous white cliffs, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/nov/07/carol-ann-duffy-white-cliffs-dover">our “glittering breastplate<em>”</em>, as Carol Ann Duffy called them</a>. What it needs is attention, money and a new confidence.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> An air of despondency from years of being overlooked. How will Dover respond to Brexit? Customs strikes and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/24/dover-port-delays-uk-home-office-reinforcements">14-hour queues this year</a> are a worrying augury. The waterfront needs serious work. Will the <a href="http://www.stjamesdover.co.uk/">St James retail park</a>, opening next year, liven things up?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/09/lets-move-dover-kent-on-its-uppers-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Dover, Kent: ‘It’s been overlooked for years’

Dec 9, 2016 16:30

It needs attention, despite the famous white cliffs and some beautiful Regency terraces

What’s going for it? Britain’s gatehouse, thanks to Brexit, may be about to resume the role it has held for a millennium or two. The past few decades have not been kind to Dover: bombed to smithereens in the second world war, rebuilt – vigorously, if we’re being generous – in the 1960s and on its uppers since airports and the Channel tunnel snatched away its historic role. Maybe the future will be kinder. The hefty chunks of the past that have survived hint at a more prosperous incarnation: the castle, of course, none sturdier in the country, and the beautiful Regency terraces along the waterfront. Combined with its dramatic geography, squished into a cleft where the North Downs hammer into the sea, this should make for a spirited town, as impressive as its famous white cliffs, our “glittering breastplate, as Carol Ann Duffy called them. What it needs is attention, money and a new confidence.

The case against An air of despondency from years of being overlooked. How will Dover respond to Brexit? Customs strikes and 14-hour queues this year are a worrying augury. The waterfront needs serious work. Will the St James retail park, opening next year, liven things up?

Continue reading...

<p>Even the annual deluge of summer tourists fails to dent its astonishing character</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> I have deeply etched childhood memories of Rye. We came here often, Mum and Dad perhaps harbouring fantasies of moving to its medieval streets when we won the pools. Now I come here often, accompanied by much the same vain hopes. In the intervening four decades, little has altered, bar the arrival of boutique hotels, boutique cinemas and better coffee. Rye, after all, has been around the block and seen it all before, even unruly, egocentric demagogues striding across the globe. (This was once a command centre against Napoleon’s potential invasion.) You’d think Rye’s prettiness would be its undoing. But no. Even the annual deluge of summer tourists fails to dent its astonishing character. This is a town, though, best approached in winter, hunkered down, hatches battened against the maritime gusts, with the sun low over Camber Sands and a flaming log or two in the fireplace at <a href="http://thegeorgeinrye.com/">the George</a>.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Read the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/27/my-highlight-mapp-and-lucia-tv-adaptation-ef-benson-nina-stibbe">Mapp &amp; Lucia</a> novels. Occasional tweeness. A few too many gift shops. Preserved, but when a place looks this good…</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/02/lets-move-rye-east-sussex-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Rye, East Sussex: ‘You’d think its prettiness would be its undoing’

Dec 2, 2016 16:30

Even the annual deluge of summer tourists fails to dent its astonishing character

What’s going for it? I have deeply etched childhood memories of Rye. We came here often, Mum and Dad perhaps harbouring fantasies of moving to its medieval streets when we won the pools. Now I come here often, accompanied by much the same vain hopes. In the intervening four decades, little has altered, bar the arrival of boutique hotels, boutique cinemas and better coffee. Rye, after all, has been around the block and seen it all before, even unruly, egocentric demagogues striding across the globe. (This was once a command centre against Napoleon’s potential invasion.) You’d think Rye’s prettiness would be its undoing. But no. Even the annual deluge of summer tourists fails to dent its astonishing character. This is a town, though, best approached in winter, hunkered down, hatches battened against the maritime gusts, with the sun low over Camber Sands and a flaming log or two in the fireplace at the George.

The case against Read the Mapp & Lucia novels. Occasional tweeness. A few too many gift shops. Preserved, but when a place looks this good…

Continue reading...

<p>This is where I began life in a starter home on a suburban cul-de-sac </p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> St Albans is a Goldilocks kind of place: it’s just right. Old (one of Britain’s oldest settlements), but not over-preserved. Not too frantic and urban, not too dull and commutery. Dense, but green and verdant. The city centre is a historical delight, high on a hill and folded into Verulamium park, bursting with Roman remains and ancient trees. Not too big, not too small. Technically speaking, it’s a city, with a ma-hoo-sive cathedral abbey (including England’s longest nave, trivia geeks) and the cultural heft of a city; its beer festival is a sight to behold. But you can walk to the city limits. It’s perfectly positioned not too far away from anywhere in particular, 20 minutes’ journey from central London, cupped by the M1 and the M25. Mum and Dad moved here in the mid-1960s; Let’s Move To… must be in the genes. This is where I began life in a starter home on a suburban cul-de-sac at the edge of town. Four decades on, though, there’s only one teeny tiny problem: the property prices. Just wrong.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Some people might call it Posh Watford. How dare they.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/25/lets-move-to-st-albans-hertfordshire">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to St Albans: its beer festival is a sight to behold

Nov 25, 2016 16:30

This is where I began life in a starter home on a suburban cul-de-sac

What’s going for it? St Albans is a Goldilocks kind of place: it’s just right. Old (one of Britain’s oldest settlements), but not over-preserved. Not too frantic and urban, not too dull and commutery. Dense, but green and verdant. The city centre is a historical delight, high on a hill and folded into Verulamium park, bursting with Roman remains and ancient trees. Not too big, not too small. Technically speaking, it’s a city, with a ma-hoo-sive cathedral abbey (including England’s longest nave, trivia geeks) and the cultural heft of a city; its beer festival is a sight to behold. But you can walk to the city limits. It’s perfectly positioned not too far away from anywhere in particular, 20 minutes’ journey from central London, cupped by the M1 and the M25. Mum and Dad moved here in the mid-1960s; Let’s Move To… must be in the genes. This is where I began life in a starter home on a suburban cul-de-sac at the edge of town. Four decades on, though, there’s only one teeny tiny problem: the property prices. Just wrong.

The case against Some people might call it Posh Watford. How dare they.

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<p>Not as affordable as it was, but it still has fantastic Turkish grocers, green spaces and sought-after town houses</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> Harringay was my introduction to London. It was an inauspicious start. I was hoping for Mayfair, or Islington, at a push. (What can I say? I was young and foolish.) I’d never live <em>here</em>, past Finsbury Park? But here I&nbsp;lived in a £60-a-week room on Hermitage Road. It had a carpeted toilet mat around the loo. Still, Harringay won me over. It&nbsp;was the cabbages that did it; those, the running track at Finsbury Park and regular baklavas. Green Lanes, its high street, is lined with incredible Turkish grocers selling cabbages the size of rugby balls and sweet treats that kept me going during the gruelling times, like when our flatmate moved in (Charles couldn’t afford an actual room, so slept in the living room on a timeshare basis). How London has changed. Two decades on, I couldn’t afford Harringay. It’s up and come, too far for me, though you could have a try. Its town houses are “sought-after”; the word “artisan” has been spotted. But those cabbages are still there.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Getting pricey. But isn’t everywhere in London?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/18/lets-move-to-harringay-north-london">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Harringay, north London: ‘It’s up and come’

Nov 18, 2016 16:30

Not as affordable as it was, but it still has fantastic Turkish grocers, green spaces and sought-after town houses

What’s going for it? Harringay was my introduction to London. It was an inauspicious start. I was hoping for Mayfair, or Islington, at a push. (What can I say? I was young and foolish.) I’d never live here, past Finsbury Park? But here I lived in a £60-a-week room on Hermitage Road. It had a carpeted toilet mat around the loo. Still, Harringay won me over. It was the cabbages that did it; those, the running track at Finsbury Park and regular baklavas. Green Lanes, its high street, is lined with incredible Turkish grocers selling cabbages the size of rugby balls and sweet treats that kept me going during the gruelling times, like when our flatmate moved in (Charles couldn’t afford an actual room, so slept in the living room on a timeshare basis). How London has changed. Two decades on, I couldn’t afford Harringay. It’s up and come, too far for me, though you could have a try. Its town houses are “sought-after”; the word “artisan” has been spotted. But those cabbages are still there.

The case against Getting pricey. But isn’t everywhere in London?

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<p>Nobody would find you on the edge of the edge</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> It’s not often we get to use the word “isthmus” on Let’s move to, but today, folks, is the day. For Stranraer sits on one. Google it, if you’re scratching your head trying to remember first-year geography classes. Because Stranraer’s isthmus defines the place. Here Britain narrows to a pinch – the isthmus – before stretching out as the Rhinns, a “broad headland” or “fat nose” – both Gaelic origins of Stranraer’s name. People used to schlep here for the ferry port. The isthmus was a gateway to other lands. But now that’s moved up the coast to Cairnryan the isthmus seems like more of a wall, lending a feeling of isolation to the low hills beyond, suspended in the ocean, as close in spirit and history to Ireland as to the British Isles. On the plus side this is a fabulous place to escape to. Nobody would find you on the edge of the edge about to drop off the mainland, accompanied only by kittiwakes and hunkered down amid old-fashioned shops like Fraser’s butchers and Chinese takeaways preserved from 1974.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Such isolation is not for everyone. It’s taken some hits since the ferry service moved. Regeneration is continuing, but it’ll be a long road. The glorious waterfront needs work. Stranraer can feel a tad drab.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/11/lets-move-to-stranraer-and-the-rhinns-dumfries-and-galloway">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Stranraer and the Rhinns, Dumfries and Galloway: escape here

Nov 11, 2016 16:29

Nobody would find you on the edge of the edge

What’s going for it? It’s not often we get to use the word “isthmus” on Let’s move to, but today, folks, is the day. For Stranraer sits on one. Google it, if you’re scratching your head trying to remember first-year geography classes. Because Stranraer’s isthmus defines the place. Here Britain narrows to a pinch – the isthmus – before stretching out as the Rhinns, a “broad headland” or “fat nose” – both Gaelic origins of Stranraer’s name. People used to schlep here for the ferry port. The isthmus was a gateway to other lands. But now that’s moved up the coast to Cairnryan the isthmus seems like more of a wall, lending a feeling of isolation to the low hills beyond, suspended in the ocean, as close in spirit and history to Ireland as to the British Isles. On the plus side this is a fabulous place to escape to. Nobody would find you on the edge of the edge about to drop off the mainland, accompanied only by kittiwakes and hunkered down amid old-fashioned shops like Fraser’s butchers and Chinese takeaways preserved from 1974.

The case against Such isolation is not for everyone. It’s taken some hits since the ferry service moved. Regeneration is continuing, but it’ll be a long road. The glorious waterfront needs work. Stranraer can feel a tad drab.

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<p>We can only applaud this plucky town</p><p>W<strong>hat’s going for it?</strong> “Tradition has it”: three words to strike terror into the souls of the sane. Tradition has it that on 5 November the people of Ottery St Mary shall run through the streets of the town carrying flaming 30kg barrels of tar above their heads. Why? Why not? Tradition has it. The West Country is full of fire and light festivals as autumn tumbles towards winter. No stranger, after all, than throwing effigies of catholics/Donald Trump on a bonfire. Some say Ottery St Mary’s Guy Fawkes night tradition was to cleanse the streets of evil, or maybe rats. Whatevs. These days it’s all about prowess. Only Ottery families born and bred can take part in the dozens of barrel runs around the town’s old streets from pub to pub. In these days of banned bonfires and ’elf and safety gawn mad, we can only applaud this plucky town. Indeed, Ottery is fond of its quaint customs. The parish church peals out the Ottery Song three times a day, and just wait till you hear what the townsfolk get up to with the bellringers on <a href="http://www.pixieday.org/Contents/Text/Index.asp?SiteId=944&amp;SiteExtra=4087085&amp;TopNavId=515&amp;NavSideId=13411">Pixie Day</a>.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> No butterfingers, please! There are hills in Ottery. A little <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/the-wicker-man">Wicker Man</a> from this end of the A303.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/04/lets-move-to-ottery-st-mary-quaint-customs">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Ottery St Mary, Devon: ‘It’s fond of its quaint customs’

Nov 4, 2016 15:30

We can only applaud this plucky town

What’s going for it? “Tradition has it”: three words to strike terror into the souls of the sane. Tradition has it that on 5 November the people of Ottery St Mary shall run through the streets of the town carrying flaming 30kg barrels of tar above their heads. Why? Why not? Tradition has it. The West Country is full of fire and light festivals as autumn tumbles towards winter. No stranger, after all, than throwing effigies of catholics/Donald Trump on a bonfire. Some say Ottery St Mary’s Guy Fawkes night tradition was to cleanse the streets of evil, or maybe rats. Whatevs. These days it’s all about prowess. Only Ottery families born and bred can take part in the dozens of barrel runs around the town’s old streets from pub to pub. In these days of banned bonfires and ’elf and safety gawn mad, we can only applaud this plucky town. Indeed, Ottery is fond of its quaint customs. The parish church peals out the Ottery Song three times a day, and just wait till you hear what the townsfolk get up to with the bellringers on Pixie Day.

The case against No butterfingers, please! There are hills in Ottery. A little Wicker Man from this end of the A303.

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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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<p>They have recommended an insurance policy that costs more than we can afford<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My husband and I are in the process of buying a property. We have agreed to get life cover for the money we feel we can afford, but have just received a recommendation from our mortgage adviser that is more than £120 higher than previously agreed.</p><p>Do we have to take the life insurance out with them? I know we have to buy their buildings insurance, but what about the life insurance? Please could you give me some advice on this. <strong tabindex="-1">MW</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/12/buy-life-cover-mortgage-adviser">Continue reading...</a>

Do we have to take out life cover through our mortgage adviser?

Jan 12, 2017 7:00

They have recommended an insurance policy that costs more than we can afford

Q My husband and I are in the process of buying a property. We have agreed to get life cover for the money we feel we can afford, but have just received a recommendation from our mortgage adviser that is more than £120 higher than previously agreed.

Do we have to take the life insurance out with them? I know we have to buy their buildings insurance, but what about the life insurance? Please could you give me some advice on this. MW

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<p>We are awaiting a full mining report and have had a structural survey, but know we risk insurance being far higher</p><p><strong>Q</strong> We are in the process of purchasing a property and have a report that states our property is within 50 metres of coalmining subsidence claims. We’ve had a full structural survey done, which says there is no evidence of current subsidence, but are awaiting a full mining report for the area.<br tabindex="-1"> <br tabindex="-1"> We want to know if this will affect the value of our future home. Also, if we go ahead with the purchase should we ask for a reduction in the sale price in view of the fact that it will cost us significantly more to insure?<br tabindex="-1"><strong tabindex="-1"> AF</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> Anyone buying property in a former or current coalmining area is strongly advised to do a coalmining search. Property near to both past and current mining activities can be at risk of subsidence because of being on unstable ground. If your solicitor doesn’t automatically do such a search, you can do it yourself using the <a draggable="true" href="https://www.groundstability.com/public/web/home.jspx">Coal Authority’s online search service</a>. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/05/should-we-buy-a-property-in-an-area-of-coalmining-subsidence">Continue reading...</a>

Should we buy a property in an area of coalmining subsidence?

Jan 5, 2017 7:00

We are awaiting a full mining report and have had a structural survey, but know we risk insurance being far higher

Q We are in the process of purchasing a property and have a report that states our property is within 50 metres of coalmining subsidence claims. We’ve had a full structural survey done, which says there is no evidence of current subsidence, but are awaiting a full mining report for the area.

We want to know if this will affect the value of our future home. Also, if we go ahead with the purchase should we ask for a reduction in the sale price in view of the fact that it will cost us significantly more to insure?
AF

A Anyone buying property in a former or current coalmining area is strongly advised to do a coalmining search. Property near to both past and current mining activities can be at risk of subsidence because of being on unstable ground. If your solicitor doesn’t automatically do such a search, you can do it yourself using the Coal Authority’s online search service.

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<p>We need to remortgage in a few months and wonder if it’s best to lower the amount we need to borrow <br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> We are looking to move up the housing ladder and have managed to save £60,000. However, we are struggling to find a house we like so it may be another year or two before we move. The issue is that we are coming out of our five-year fixed rate on our current mortgage in April and all the numbers suggest that it would be better to remortgage than stay on the lender’s standard rate. Is it best to use some of our savings (maybe £20,000-£30,000) to lower our remortgage or keep the money until we amend our mortgage for the new house?</p><p>I am just confused if lowering our current mortgage is the same as having more equity for our new house. My gut says lowering the current mortgage is best overall with the reduction in debt and interest paid, but I am worried I am mixing it up and all the other advice out there doesn’t seem to cover this area. <strong>SJ</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/22/dip-into-savings-reduce-mortgage">Continue reading...</a>

Should we dip into our savings to reduce our mortgage?

Dec 22, 2016 7:00

We need to remortgage in a few months and wonder if it’s best to lower the amount we need to borrow

Q We are looking to move up the housing ladder and have managed to save £60,000. However, we are struggling to find a house we like so it may be another year or two before we move. The issue is that we are coming out of our five-year fixed rate on our current mortgage in April and all the numbers suggest that it would be better to remortgage than stay on the lender’s standard rate. Is it best to use some of our savings (maybe £20,000-£30,000) to lower our remortgage or keep the money until we amend our mortgage for the new house?

I am just confused if lowering our current mortgage is the same as having more equity for our new house. My gut says lowering the current mortgage is best overall with the reduction in debt and interest paid, but I am worried I am mixing it up and all the other advice out there doesn’t seem to cover this area. SJ

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<p>She is concerned that if she pre-deceases me and I remarry, our children may not inherit our house<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a genuine problem which is causing a problem in my marriage. I married my wife over 20 years ago. When we met, she already had three children by a previous marriage, and we had one more together.</p><p>I have always treated them all the same, and my current will leaves everything to my wife, or in the event of her death, a straight four-way split between the kids. I have no intention, or plan, to revise this, my wife’s will is a mirror-image.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/15/my-wife-wants-to-protect-our-childrens-inheritance-if-i-remarry-after-her-death">Continue reading...</a>

My wife wants to protect our children's inheritance if I remarry after her death

Dec 15, 2016 7:00

She is concerned that if she pre-deceases me and I remarry, our children may not inherit our house

Q I have a genuine problem which is causing a problem in my marriage. I married my wife over 20 years ago. When we met, she already had three children by a previous marriage, and we had one more together.

I have always treated them all the same, and my current will leaves everything to my wife, or in the event of her death, a straight four-way split between the kids. I have no intention, or plan, to revise this, my wife’s will is a mirror-image.

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<p>I own a property but my husband does not, so if we got a divorce and he bought the property we think we could save thousands</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I was wondering if, under the new stamp duty laws for second properties, it would be worthwhile considering a divorce before purchasing? My husband does not own any property and we are considered purchasing a home together. I do, however, own property and intend to rent out our current home (which is solely in my name) when we move. Under the new laws, we would have to pay stamp duty of £25,800 each (£51,600 in total) on our new property.</p><p>I know that in any circumstance I am subject to the additional stamp duty, but I understand that if we were not married my husband would not be. Is it feasible to get a divorce if we are still cohabiting and in a relationship? I would appreciate your information – it seems that unmarried couples are at an advantage in this circumstance. <strong>RB</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/08/can-we-divorce-to-avoid-the-higher-stamp-duty-on-second-homes">Continue reading...</a>

Can we divorce to avoid the higher stamp duty on second homes?

Dec 8, 2016 7:00

I own a property but my husband does not, so if we got a divorce and he bought the property we think we could save thousands

Q I was wondering if, under the new stamp duty laws for second properties, it would be worthwhile considering a divorce before purchasing? My husband does not own any property and we are considered purchasing a home together. I do, however, own property and intend to rent out our current home (which is solely in my name) when we move. Under the new laws, we would have to pay stamp duty of £25,800 each (£51,600 in total) on our new property.

I know that in any circumstance I am subject to the additional stamp duty, but I understand that if we were not married my husband would not be. Is it feasible to get a divorce if we are still cohabiting and in a relationship? I would appreciate your information – it seems that unmarried couples are at an advantage in this circumstance. RB

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<p>I’m not sure whether lenders will allow me a buy-to-let mortgage as a first-time buyer and a student </p><p><strong>Q</strong> I’ve recently turned 20 years old and I’ve taken a year out from my degree course to get some industry experience, and I’ve also been saving up. I haven’t got enough to invest in an amazing property, but I do think my savings will go some way in helping me get my foot on the ladder.</p><p>I’ve always wanted to get into property development as something which I would do on top of the job I hope to have after I graduate. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/01/at-20-am-i-too-young-to-invest-in-buy-to-let-property">Continue reading...</a>

At 20, am I too young to invest in buy-to-let property?

Dec 1, 2016 7:00

I’m not sure whether lenders will allow me a buy-to-let mortgage as a first-time buyer and a student

Q I’ve recently turned 20 years old and I’ve taken a year out from my degree course to get some industry experience, and I’ve also been saving up. I haven’t got enough to invest in an amazing property, but I do think my savings will go some way in helping me get my foot on the ladder.

I’ve always wanted to get into property development as something which I would do on top of the job I hope to have after I graduate.

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<p>My partner’s CGT liabilities from selling his rented property plus divorce-related debt may leave us little for a new place – have I got the numbers right?<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I am writing in utter despair and I am hoping you can help. My partner owns a house that he has always rented out. He now needs to sell this property so we can buy our first house together as we are currently renting. He also needs to clear a debt of £50,000 from a messy divorce. </p><p>My partner bought his rental property in 1998 for £100,000; it has recently been valued at £370,000. He remortgaged the house to pay for a property with his ex-wife, which she was given as part of the divorce settlement. As a result, when he sells the rental property there will be a mortgage of £125,000 left for him to pay off.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/24/mortgage-costs-and-tax-are-complicating-our-move">Continue reading...</a>

Mortgage costs and tax are complicating our move

Nov 24, 2016 7:00

My partner’s CGT liabilities from selling his rented property plus divorce-related debt may leave us little for a new place – have I got the numbers right?

Q I am writing in utter despair and I am hoping you can help. My partner owns a house that he has always rented out. He now needs to sell this property so we can buy our first house together as we are currently renting. He also needs to clear a debt of £50,000 from a messy divorce.

My partner bought his rental property in 1998 for £100,000; it has recently been valued at £370,000. He remortgaged the house to pay for a property with his ex-wife, which she was given as part of the divorce settlement. As a result, when he sells the rental property there will be a mortgage of £125,000 left for him to pay off.

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<p>My girlfriend and I want to move to the continent and wonder if we need to get a buy-to-let deal when remortgaging<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> My girlfriend and I got our first mortgage of £205,000 on a house in February 2015. The mortgage has a 30-year term and an interest rate of 2.3%, making our monthly repayments £790. We have made great efforts to make overpayments so that we are in a better position when we remortgage early next year. </p><p>We are looking at a remortgage of £186,000 which – assuming the house is then worth £300,000 – will mean that the LTV (loan to value) should be just over 60%. We are hoping to find a mortgage with a rate of 1%.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/17/let-house-affect-remortgage-buy-to-let-deal">Continue reading...</a>

We may have to let our house next year – will that affect our remortgage?

Nov 17, 2016 7:00

My girlfriend and I want to move to the continent and wonder if we need to get a buy-to-let deal when remortgaging

Q My girlfriend and I got our first mortgage of £205,000 on a house in February 2015. The mortgage has a 30-year term and an interest rate of 2.3%, making our monthly repayments £790. We have made great efforts to make overpayments so that we are in a better position when we remortgage early next year.

We are looking at a remortgage of £186,000 which – assuming the house is then worth £300,000 – will mean that the LTV (loan to value) should be just over 60%. We are hoping to find a mortgage with a rate of 1%.

Continue reading...

<p>My boyfriend and I are both responsible for the mortgage and upkeep of the property, but keep arguing over what our shares are<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> In 2007, my boyfriend and I bought a house together for £257,000 plus fees. At the time, I put in around £66,400 and he put in £20,300. Our initial interest-only mortgage was £180,000 plus the arrangement fee of £781.88, which was added to the loan.</p><p>We would like to draw up an agreement that reflects our different shares in the property as I feel it is important to reflect money invested initially. However, there have also been further investments along the way – for example, I recently paid £45,000 for the loft to be converted – and we are having difficulty working out what counts and whether the time of contribution makes a difference.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/10/how-can-we-calculate-what-we-have-each-contributed-to-our-house">Continue reading...</a>

How can we calculate what we have each contributed to our house?

Nov 10, 2016 7:00

My boyfriend and I are both responsible for the mortgage and upkeep of the property, but keep arguing over what our shares are

Q In 2007, my boyfriend and I bought a house together for £257,000 plus fees. At the time, I put in around £66,400 and he put in £20,300. Our initial interest-only mortgage was £180,000 plus the arrangement fee of £781.88, which was added to the loan.

We would like to draw up an agreement that reflects our different shares in the property as I feel it is important to reflect money invested initially. However, there have also been further investments along the way – for example, I recently paid £45,000 for the loft to be converted – and we are having difficulty working out what counts and whether the time of contribution makes a difference.

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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>You won’t want for green spaces in these properties, from London to the Scottish Borders<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/13/homes-near-parks-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes near parks – in pictures

Jan 13, 2017 23:45

You won’t want for green spaces in these properties, from London to the Scottish Borders

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<p>Outside, there’s a heated pool, theatre, helipad and football pitch. Inside, you can amuse yourself in the cinema, billiards room, bar or wine cellar<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/13/stunning-villa-cote-dazur-france-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

A stunning villa on the Côte d’Azur – in pictures

Jan 13, 2017 7:00

Outside, there’s a heated pool, theatre, helipad and football pitch. Inside, you can amuse yourself in the cinema, billiards room, bar or wine cellar

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<p>Rein it in in style this January with a selection of properties that are all less than £145,000</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/11/homes-for-post-festive-belt-tightening-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for post-festive belt-tightening – in pictures

Jan 11, 2017 7:00

Rein it in in style this January with a selection of properties that are all less than £145,000

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<p>Rekindle your love affair with fireplaces and check out these Suffolk, Wiltshire and Essex properties</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/06/home-is-where-the-hearth-is-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Home is where the hearth is – in pictures

Jan 6, 2017 23:45

Rekindle your love affair with fireplaces and check out these Suffolk, Wiltshire and Essex properties

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<p>From Suffolk to Somerset and Surrey, these tiny spaces are small wonders</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2017/jan/04/miniature-homes-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Miniature homes – in pictures

Jan 4, 2017 7:00

From Suffolk to Somerset and Surrey, these tiny spaces are small wonders

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<p>Luxury timber pods connect to create a house that brings the outside in</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2016/dec/23/live-among-ancient-oak-trees-dorset-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Live among ancient oak trees in Dorset – in pictures

Dec 23, 2016 11:09

Luxury timber pods connect to create a house that brings the outside in

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<p>These properties, located from Pembrokeshire to Turkey, are well placed for burning off some of that festive feasting <br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2016/dec/21/homes-for-christmas-walks-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for Christmas walks – in pictures

Dec 21, 2016 7:00

These properties, located from Pembrokeshire to Turkey, are well placed for burning off some of that festive feasting

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<p>With careful planning, even an unpromising space can become a flat full of natural light</p><p>There’s little need to discuss the difficulties in getting on to the London property ladder. Even as gleaming blocks rise up in the most unlikely parts of the capital, many are priced out of the market. Those lucky enough to get a toehold can find themselves in fairly unpromising homes. That was how it was for Luke Pearson, in his mid-30s with a good career, yet still searching for somewhere to call home. It took a small inheritance following his father’s death to boost his deposit savings to a meaningful level.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/22/room-for-improvement-making-the-most-of-small-spaces">Continue reading...</a>

Rooms for improvement: how thoughtful design can transform a flat

Jan 22, 2017 6:00

With careful planning, even an unpromising space can become a flat full of natural light

There’s little need to discuss the difficulties in getting on to the London property ladder. Even as gleaming blocks rise up in the most unlikely parts of the capital, many are priced out of the market. Those lucky enough to get a toehold can find themselves in fairly unpromising homes. That was how it was for Luke Pearson, in his mid-30s with a good career, yet still searching for somewhere to call home. It took a small inheritance following his father’s death to boost his deposit savings to a meaningful level.

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<p>Leaves from gum trees, the Tasmanian pepper bush and the manuka tree can be used as herbs in your cooking – and may be just outside your back door</p><p>There is no beating the flavour of homegrown herbs. Yet include a couple of unusual, exotic choices in your plot alongside the parsley and thyme and you will be rewarded with flavours that you can’t buy in the supermarket. Nowhere is this more the case than among the weird and wonderful herbs of Australasia.</p><p>Though the region’s native flora still lies largely undiscovered to the foodie mainstream, the dry, Mediterranean-like climate zones of this continent are rich in species which have evolved a range of fragrant compounds. By an amazing stroke of good fortune three of the tastiest also happen to be common garden plants in the UK, meaning they may already be hiding incognito in your beds and borders.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/22/herbs-from-australasia-in-your-garden-gum-pepper-bush-manuka">Continue reading...</a>

By gum! The hidden scents in your garden

Jan 22, 2017 6:00

Leaves from gum trees, the Tasmanian pepper bush and the manuka tree can be used as herbs in your cooking – and may be just outside your back door

There is no beating the flavour of homegrown herbs. Yet include a couple of unusual, exotic choices in your plot alongside the parsley and thyme and you will be rewarded with flavours that you can’t buy in the supermarket. Nowhere is this more the case than among the weird and wonderful herbs of Australasia.

Though the region’s native flora still lies largely undiscovered to the foodie mainstream, the dry, Mediterranean-like climate zones of this continent are rich in species which have evolved a range of fragrant compounds. By an amazing stroke of good fortune three of the tastiest also happen to be common garden plants in the UK, meaning they may already be hiding incognito in your beds and borders.

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<p>Our gardening expert has the answer</p><p><strong>I was given a common myrtle bush in a pot about a year ago. It seems to be flourishing, but has not flowered. I put bubble wrap around its base last winter and kept it outside on the steps. </strong>Myrtle (<a href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=1305"><em>Myrtus communis</em></a>), hails from hot Mediterranean hillsides and woodlands, where it survives droughts and toughs it out over exposed windy winters – or at least that’s my experience of the wild myrtle I’ve seen in Ischia, Naples.</p><p>Like all Mediterranean types, it’s the wet and cold together, particularly around the feet, that are the problem. Cold clay soils are not going to work with this plant. Protecting your pot with bubble wrap is the thing to do, and the more sheltered in winter, the happier the plant will be. The leaves will get burned by frosts, too, so keeping it tucked beside the house makes sense.&nbsp;</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/21/ask-alys-potted-myrtle-flowered-gardening-advice">Continue reading...</a>

Ask Alys Fowler: why hasn’t my potted myrtle flowered?

Jan 21, 2017 11:00

Our gardening expert has the answer

I was given a common myrtle bush in a pot about a year ago. It seems to be flourishing, but has not flowered. I put bubble wrap around its base last winter and kept it outside on the steps. Myrtle (Myrtus communis), hails from hot Mediterranean hillsides and woodlands, where it survives droughts and toughs it out over exposed windy winters – or at least that’s my experience of the wild myrtle I’ve seen in Ischia, Naples.

Like all Mediterranean types, it’s the wet and cold together, particularly around the feet, that are the problem. Cold clay soils are not going to work with this plant. Protecting your pot with bubble wrap is the thing to do, and the more sheltered in winter, the happier the plant will be. The leaves will get burned by frosts, too, so keeping it tucked beside the house makes sense. 

Continue reading...

<p>Alys Fowler on what to read during January</p><p>It’s tempting to want to garden in January. The sun comes out, everything sparkles and you feel that pull. However, gardening now can be&nbsp;problematic.</p><p>If the weather has been wet, even walking back and forth over a bed can cause problems. Wet soil compacts easily. Digging will ruin the soil structure as it will smear any clay particles together. If you must do some work, lay down&nbsp;planks or boards over the soil to spread your weight.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/21/why-january-is-the-month-for-gardening-books">Continue reading...</a>

Why January is the month for gardening books | Alys Fowler

Jan 21, 2017 11:00

Alys Fowler on what to read during January

It’s tempting to want to garden in January. The sun comes out, everything sparkles and you feel that pull. However, gardening now can be problematic.

If the weather has been wet, even walking back and forth over a bed can cause problems. Wet soil compacts easily. Digging will ruin the soil structure as it will smear any clay particles together. If you must do some work, lay down planks or boards over the soil to spread your weight.

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<p>This year’s emerging stars are united by one thing: their love of colour</p><p>Ilori’s bright upcycled chairs are designed to be conversation starters. From the batik-printed cottons (known as Dutch wax fabrics) covering the seats that reference his Nigerian roots, to the paint on the legs and frame, each object has a narrative behind it. Take his installation Swimming Pool of Dreams, one of the biggest hits at last year’s London Design Week: six chairs, each inspired by a person he knew as a child from his parents’ Pentecostal church in London, and displayed on Ilori’s floor tiles.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/21/biggest-new-design-talents-of-2017">Continue reading...</a>

The future’s bright: 2017’s biggest new design talents

Jan 21, 2017 11:00

This year’s emerging stars are united by one thing: their love of colour

Ilori’s bright upcycled chairs are designed to be conversation starters. From the batik-printed cottons (known as Dutch wax fabrics) covering the seats that reference his Nigerian roots, to the paint on the legs and frame, each object has a narrative behind it. Take his installation Swimming Pool of Dreams, one of the biggest hits at last year’s London Design Week: six chairs, each inspired by a person he knew as a child from his parents’ Pentecostal church in London, and displayed on Ilori’s floor tiles.

Continue reading...

<p>When housework falls by the wayside, things can get out of control. God forbid someone comes round unexpectedly and sees how you really live</p><p>Some homes are charmingly eccentric; others seem more like dumps – and the change from one to the other can be sudden, as with my own. Often, the arrival of visitors can trigger this change. In they come, and then somehow I can see clearly that my home is a pigsty. Look at the globs of dirt clogging up the bottom of the radiators. The drips and blobs on the paintwork, the little blankets of dust along the top of the skirting boards, the trails of dog prints. Shame. I bet the visitors have all seen it and pretended not to notice.</p><p>As well as the public shame when this dirt shows up, there’s the private inner turmoil when it peaks – a feeling of self-loathing and complete loss of control, an end of desire to do anything at all because the clean-up job seems insurmountable. How has it got to this? What is wrong with me? Why do I not wipe, sweep and scrub surfaces regularly, like normal people?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/16/homes-hovels-shame-cleaning">Continue reading...</a>

Why do our homes suddenly turn into hovels? It puts us to shame | Michele Hanson

Jan 16, 2017 12:39

When housework falls by the wayside, things can get out of control. God forbid someone comes round unexpectedly and sees how you really live

Some homes are charmingly eccentric; others seem more like dumps – and the change from one to the other can be sudden, as with my own. Often, the arrival of visitors can trigger this change. In they come, and then somehow I can see clearly that my home is a pigsty. Look at the globs of dirt clogging up the bottom of the radiators. The drips and blobs on the paintwork, the little blankets of dust along the top of the skirting boards, the trails of dog prints. Shame. I bet the visitors have all seen it and pretended not to notice.

As well as the public shame when this dirt shows up, there’s the private inner turmoil when it peaks – a feeling of self-loathing and complete loss of control, an end of desire to do anything at all because the clean-up job seems insurmountable. How has it got to this? What is wrong with me? Why do I not wipe, sweep and scrub surfaces regularly, like normal people?

Continue reading...

<p>Viennese architect and furniture designer Josef Frank fled from the Nazis to Sweden – and began creating dizzyingly colourful fabrics</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/14/josef-frank-swedish-design-fabrics-furniture">Sweden’s bright spark: celebrating Josef Frank</a></li></ul> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/16/fabric-of-life-josef-franks-joyous-textile-designs-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Fabric of life: Josef Frank's joyous textile designs – in pictures

Jan 16, 2017 7:00

Viennese architect and furniture designer Josef Frank fled from the Nazis to Sweden – and began creating dizzyingly colourful fabrics

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Customers are getting caught up as banks de-risk due to money laundering laws, and the consequences can be disastrous<p>Last September Mohammad Rahman won a four-year battle for compensation for disabilities caused by clinical negligence. A court awarded him £500,000, which was paid into the current and savings accounts he held with Barclays. The victory was short-lived: when he withdrew £60,000 of the payout, Barclays froze both accounts.</p><p>In vain did Rahman (not his real name) supply evidence that the payment was legal. Two months later Barclays confiscated the remaining £440,000 and closed his accounts. It then charged him £24 in fees when, because of its actions, three payments failed. “I have been treated like a criminal,” says the 26-year-old from Manchester, who has spent more than 30 hours at his local branch trying to gain access to his money. “In all this time I have not received a single letter or phone call explaining what has happened.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/22/barclays-took-my-440000-customers-caught-up-banks-de-risking-money-laundering-laws">Continue reading...</a>

‘Barclays took my £440,000 and put me through hell’

Jan 22, 2017 7:00

Customers are getting caught up as banks de-risk due to money laundering laws, and the consequences can be disastrous

Last September Mohammad Rahman won a four-year battle for compensation for disabilities caused by clinical negligence. A court awarded him £500,000, which was paid into the current and savings accounts he held with Barclays. The victory was short-lived: when he withdrew £60,000 of the payout, Barclays froze both accounts.

In vain did Rahman (not his real name) supply evidence that the payment was legal. Two months later Barclays confiscated the remaining £440,000 and closed his accounts. It then charged him £24 in fees when, because of its actions, three payments failed. “I have been treated like a criminal,” says the 26-year-old from Manchester, who has spent more than 30 hours at his local branch trying to gain access to his money. “In all this time I have not received a single letter or phone call explaining what has happened.”

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<p>Alex Soojung-Kim Pang noticed that he got more done on sabbatical than at work. His latest book is about the benefits of rest and shorter working days</p><p><a href="https://mobile.twitter.com/askpang?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor" title="">Alex Soojung-Kim Pang</a> is a consultant in Silicon Valley and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He writes about&nbsp;technology and its cultural impact. His latest book, <a href="https://bookshop.theguardian.com/rest-470949.html" title=""><em>Rest: Why You&nbsp;Get More Done When You Work Less</em>,</a> is an empirical argument in favour&nbsp;of more limited working hours and greater understanding of the benefits of active rest as a means of raising creativity and productivity.</p><p><strong>What made you decide to write the&nbsp;book?</strong><br>I’ve been working as a technology forecaster and a consultant in Silicon Valley for about 15 years, and a few years ago, after lots of long projects and multitasking and travel, I started to feel the classic effects of burnout. My first response to this was to try to fit more into the day, to try to work harder. But when I was on sabbatical at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, I found that in three months I got an enormous amount of stuff done and did an awful lot of really serious thinking, which was a great luxury, but I also had what felt like an amazingly leisurely life. I didn’t feel the constant pressure to look busy or the stress that I had when I was consulting. And it made me think that maybe we had this idea about the relationship between working hours and productivity backward. And [we should] make more time in our lives for leisure in the classic Greek sense, not playing a&nbsp;lot of video games.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/22/alex-soojung-kim-pang-interview-rest-why-you-get-more-done-when-you-work-less">Continue reading...</a>

Why the secret to productivity isn’t longer hours

Jan 22, 2017 8:00

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang noticed that he got more done on sabbatical than at work. His latest book is about the benefits of rest and shorter working days

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a consultant in Silicon Valley and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He writes about technology and its cultural impact. His latest book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, is an empirical argument in favour of more limited working hours and greater understanding of the benefits of active rest as a means of raising creativity and productivity.

What made you decide to write the book?
I’ve been working as a technology forecaster and a consultant in Silicon Valley for about 15 years, and a few years ago, after lots of long projects and multitasking and travel, I started to feel the classic effects of burnout. My first response to this was to try to fit more into the day, to try to work harder. But when I was on sabbatical at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, I found that in three months I got an enormous amount of stuff done and did an awful lot of really serious thinking, which was a great luxury, but I also had what felt like an amazingly leisurely life. I didn’t feel the constant pressure to look busy or the stress that I had when I was consulting. And it made me think that maybe we had this idea about the relationship between working hours and productivity backward. And [we should] make more time in our lives for leisure in the classic Greek sense, not playing a lot of video games.

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<p>How can I move on without them thinking I just used them to get my qualification?<br></p><p><strong>Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming </strong><strong><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/series/dearjeremy">Dear Jeremy</a> </strong><strong>advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights.</strong></p><p>I’m studying towards my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) level three qualification, having previously been put through level two and an NVQ level two in business administration. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/23/employer-accountancy-course-quit">Continue reading...</a>

My employer is putting me through an accountancy course, but I want to quit

Jan 23, 2017 7:00

How can I move on without them thinking I just used them to get my qualification?

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’m studying towards my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) level three qualification, having previously been put through level two and an NVQ level two in business administration.

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<p>We paid the parking charge and got confirmation, but UK Parking Control won’t budge on the fine</p><p><strong>Can you help me with a £100 fine levied by UK Parking Control? In October my partner parked in Cheltenham and paid via the mobile app promoted by signs in the car park – Parkmobile. </strong></p><p><strong>She entered the registration of the hire car she was in, paid the £4.10 charge and received confirmation messages, leaving her confident that all was as it should be.</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/23/parkmobile-app-fine-car-registration-space-uk-parking-control">Continue reading...</a>

Car registration space on Parkmobile app cost me £100

Jan 23, 2017 7:00

We paid the parking charge and got confirmation, but UK Parking Control won’t budge on the fine

Can you help me with a £100 fine levied by UK Parking Control? In October my partner parked in Cheltenham and paid via the mobile app promoted by signs in the car park – Parkmobile.

She entered the registration of the hire car she was in, paid the £4.10 charge and received confirmation messages, leaving her confident that all was as it should be.

Continue reading...

<p>Thousands of customers will be compensated for excessive credit card charges thanks to dogged efforts of 59-year-old Nicholas Wilson<br></p><p>A lone whistleblower has won a 13-year “David and Goliath battle” against HSBC and Britain’s chief financial watchdog, resulting in a multimillion-pound compensation payout to thousands of people.<br></p><p>The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said HSBC had voluntarily agreed to <a href="https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/hsbc-voluntarily-agrees-provide-approximately-4m-redress-historical-debt">set up a £4m compensation scheme</a> for people who had lost out financially as a result of having to pay “unreasonable” debt collection charges imposed by two subsidiaries of the bank.<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/20/whistleblower-wins-13-year-campaign-hsbc-excessive-credit-card-charges-nicholas-wilson">Continue reading...</a>

Whistleblower wins 13-year campaign against HSBC

Jan 20, 2017 13:17

Thousands of customers will be compensated for excessive credit card charges thanks to dogged efforts of 59-year-old Nicholas Wilson

A lone whistleblower has won a 13-year “David and Goliath battle” against HSBC and Britain’s chief financial watchdog, resulting in a multimillion-pound compensation payout to thousands of people.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said HSBC had voluntarily agreed to set up a £4m compensation scheme for people who had lost out financially as a result of having to pay “unreasonable” debt collection charges imposed by two subsidiaries of the bank.

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<p>The ONS has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2015. Here are the 10 best paid jobs in the country, with tips on how to get one of them</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/31/highest-paid-jobs-2016-ons-annual-survey-hours-earnings">The highest paid jobs of 2016 in the UK</a><br></li></ul><p>Is your job is among the best paid in the UK? The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its <a href="http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ashe/annual-survey-of-hours-and-earnings/index.html">Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2015</a>, so we have gathered together top tips for anyone aspiring to do one of the top 10 highest paid jobs, and asked people who do them why they are worth their high salaries.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/oct/31/highest-paid-jobs-2016-ons-annual-survey-hours-earnings">What are the highest paid jobs of 2016 in the UK?</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/dec/02/highest-paid-jobs-2015">Continue reading...</a>

What are the UK's highest paid jobs of 2015?

Dec 2, 2015 8:27

The ONS has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2015. Here are the 10 best paid jobs in the country, with tips on how to get one of them

Is your job is among the best paid in the UK? The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2015, so we have gathered together top tips for anyone aspiring to do one of the top 10 highest paid jobs, and asked people who do them why they are worth their high salaries.

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

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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.

Continue reading...

<p>Round-up of the state of the property market in 2016 and the outlook for the year ahead</p><p>There have been two significant influences on the housing market in 2016: stamp duty and the EU referendum result. </p><p>Stamp duty changes introduced two years ago had already started to have an impact at the top of the market, where the upfront cost of buying a home had increased substantially. Another change, the introduction of a higher rate of duty on second homes, was introduced in April. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/26/housing-market-property-outlook-uk-2017">Continue reading...</a>

UK housing market: what to expect in 2017

Dec 26, 2016 16:11

Round-up of the state of the property market in 2016 and the outlook for the year ahead

There have been two significant influences on the housing market in 2016: stamp duty and the EU referendum result.

Stamp duty changes introduced two years ago had already started to have an impact at the top of the market, where the upfront cost of buying a home had increased substantially. Another change, the introduction of a higher rate of duty on second homes, was introduced in April.

Continue reading...

<p>Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/12/what-its-like-working-for-deliveroo">Share your experiences of working for Deliveroo</a></li></ul><p>It’s the simplicity that is so seductive. Thanks to apps such as <a href="https://get.uber.com/cl/uk/?utm_source=AdWords_Brand&amp;utm_campaign=search-google-brand_184_18_gb-london_d_txt_acq_cpc_en-gb_uber_kwd-169801042_93286108342_20876229502_e_c_track-feb03generalupdate_restructure&amp;cid=328152742&amp;adg_id=20876229502&amp;fi_id=&amp;match=e&amp;net=g&amp;dev=c&amp;dev_m=&amp;cre=93286108342&amp;kwid=kwd-169801042&amp;kw=uber&amp;placement=&amp;tar=&amp;gclid=COzCtfT2qc0CFTUo0wodGwEBMQ&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Uber</a> or <a href="https://www.handy.com/?utm_medium=CPC&amp;utm_source=Google&amp;utm_campaign=Branded&amp;utm_content=LON&amp;utm_term=handy&amp;disable_splash_screen=1%20&amp;disable_mobile_splash=1&amp;gclid=CJSr-P72qc0CFUE_GwodZ9sBkw">Handy</a>, in a few clicks you can be whisked home by a private driver, to a spotlessly cleaned flat, where your favourite meal is brought to your door. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Deliveroo, the company that delivers restaurant food to your door, is <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/06/05/deliveroo-revenue-to-hit-130m-this-year/">expecting to hit revenues of £130m this year</a>. While every week in London alone, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/27/how-uber-conquered-london">30,000 people download Uber and book a car for the first time</a>, the <a href="https://next.ft.com/content/3d65be7a-2e22-11e6-bf8d-26294ad519fc">firm now valued at $62.5bn</a>.</p><p>Supporters argue that this “on demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job. Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, points out: “Over two-thirds of new people signing up to drive with Uber have been referred by an existing partner-driver because they love the freedom and flexibility.” While Deliveroo say they have more than 3,000 riders in the UK – a number that is rising weekly.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jun/15/he-truth-about-working-for-deliveroo-uber-and-the-on-demand-economy">Continue reading...</a>

The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy

June 15, 2016 17:46

Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?

It’s the simplicity that is so seductive. Thanks to apps such as Uber or Handy, in a few clicks you can be whisked home by a private driver, to a spotlessly cleaned flat, where your favourite meal is brought to your door. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Deliveroo, the company that delivers restaurant food to your door, is expecting to hit revenues of £130m this year. While every week in London alone, 30,000 people download Uber and book a car for the first time, the firm now valued at $62.5bn.

Supporters argue that this “on demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job. Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, points out: “Over two-thirds of new people signing up to drive with Uber have been referred by an existing partner-driver because they love the freedom and flexibility.” While Deliveroo say they have more than 3,000 riders in the UK – a number that is rising weekly.

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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>It claimed we had used petrol instead if diesel but won’t provide any evidence</p><p><strong>Can you help me recover the £2,500 that car hire firm Green Motion has taken from my bank account? In January 2016 I hired a small car from the firm, but when I arrived at East Midlands airport I was told the one I had booked was not available. Instead, I was offered a Mercedes. </strong></p><p><strong>It was delivered with half a tank of diesel and I was told to return it half full. I refuelled once during the week-long rental, and four days later I returned it. It was signed in and accepted by Green Motion.</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/22/green-motion-car-rental-took-2500-fuel-mixup-no-evidence">Continue reading...</a>

Seeing red when Green Motion took £2,500 for a refuelling ‘mix-up’

Jan 22, 2017 7:00

It claimed we had used petrol instead if diesel but won’t provide any evidence

Can you help me recover the £2,500 that car hire firm Green Motion has taken from my bank account? In January 2016 I hired a small car from the firm, but when I arrived at East Midlands airport I was told the one I had booked was not available. Instead, I was offered a Mercedes.

It was delivered with half a tank of diesel and I was told to return it half full. I refuelled once during the week-long rental, and four days later I returned it. It was signed in and accepted by Green Motion.

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<p>The market is on a record rising run, it can’t go on for ever</p><p>Almost exactly a year ago, economists at Royal Bank of Scotland advised clients to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/12/sell-everything-ahead-of-stock-market-crash-say-rbs-economists" title="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/12/sell-everything-ahead-of-stock-market-crash-say-rbs-economists">sell everything ahead of a stock market crash</a>. They forecast a “cataclysmic” year with a 20% slump in shares and oil plunging to $16 a barrel. “Sell everything except high quality bonds,” they said. It turned into <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/12/sell-everything-ahead-of-stock-market-crash-say-rbs-economists" title="">one of the </a><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/29/brexit-trump-and-25-spoons-of-sugar-our-top-business-stories-of-2016" title="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/29/brexit-trump-and-25-spoons-of-sugar-our-top-business-stories-of-2016">best-read stories o</a>n the Guardian’s business pages – and RBS was hopelessly, gloriously wrong.</p><p>On 12 January 2016, at the time of RBS’s forecast, the FTSE 100 index stood at 5929. One year later, on 12 January 2017, the index was at 7337 – an all-time high. Rather than crashing by 20%, the market jumped by 24%. If a client with £100,000 had followed RBS’s advice, pouring all their money into quality corporate bonds, it would today be worth around £106,000 – and probably much less after paying transaction costs. If they had left it tracking the FTSE 100 it would be worth around £124,000.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/jan/21/is-ftse-heading-for-crash-2017">Continue reading...</a>

Is the FTSE heading for the crash of 2017?

Jan 21, 2017 7:00

The market is on a record rising run, it can’t go on for ever

Almost exactly a year ago, economists at Royal Bank of Scotland advised clients to sell everything ahead of a stock market crash. They forecast a “cataclysmic” year with a 20% slump in shares and oil plunging to $16 a barrel. “Sell everything except high quality bonds,” they said. It turned into one of the best-read stories on the Guardian’s business pages – and RBS was hopelessly, gloriously wrong.

On 12 January 2016, at the time of RBS’s forecast, the FTSE 100 index stood at 5929. One year later, on 12 January 2017, the index was at 7337 – an all-time high. Rather than crashing by 20%, the market jumped by 24%. If a client with £100,000 had followed RBS’s advice, pouring all their money into quality corporate bonds, it would today be worth around £106,000 – and probably much less after paying transaction costs. If they had left it tracking the FTSE 100 it would be worth around £124,000.

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What you can claim back in tax and what you can't<p><strong> </strong>You are limited in what you can offset against tax, but there are still a few useful "breaks", says Mike Warbur-ton, tax guru at accountants Grant Thornton, and one of the few people who admits to logging on to the HMRC website on Christmas day.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jan/12/self-assessment-10-things-you-can-claim-for">Continue reading...</a>

Self-assessment: 10 things you can claim for

Jan 12, 2013 7:01

What you can claim back in tax and what you can't

You are limited in what you can offset against tax, but there are still a few useful "breaks", says Mike Warbur-ton, tax guru at accountants Grant Thornton, and one of the few people who admits to logging on to the HMRC website on Christmas day.

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

How to get married for less than £1,000

June 27, 2015 7:00

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

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

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

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<p>Once only women got penalised for taking time out to look after children</p><p>Once it was simple. Men worked and most women stayed at home to raise the children. But as more women entered employment, balancing family and work life became a prime aspiration of modern mothers. An entire publishing industry sprang up, seemingly overnight, telling women how they could strike that balance.</p><p>The reality, though, was very different. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2016/nov/16/fancy-working-from-home-heres-how-to-request-flexible-working">Inflexible employers</a>, rising living costs and a society that penalised women financially for taking time out to have children led to what experts call the “motherhood penalty”. And, as the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/10/women-working-for-free-until-2017-equal-pay-gender-pay-gap-fawcett-society">Fawcett Society</a> explains, it meant women were “more likely to work part-time, to be in low-skilled jobs and [make up] two-thirds of the low-paid”.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jan/22/fatherhood-penalty-balance-work-family-life-millennial-men">Continue reading...</a>

Men and women struggle to get on at work and find time for their families

Jan 22, 2017 0:05

Once only women got penalised for taking time out to look after children

Once it was simple. Men worked and most women stayed at home to raise the children. But as more women entered employment, balancing family and work life became a prime aspiration of modern mothers. An entire publishing industry sprang up, seemingly overnight, telling women how they could strike that balance.

The reality, though, was very different. Inflexible employers, rising living costs and a society that penalised women financially for taking time out to have children led to what experts call the “motherhood penalty”. And, as the Fawcett Society explains, it meant women were “more likely to work part-time, to be in low-skilled jobs and [make up] two-thirds of the low-paid”.

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