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The TimesLondoners cash in for a very big house in the countryThe TimesThe highest proportions of cash purchases last year were in popular holiday destinations such as the southwest of England, where they accounted for 39% of transactions. ... The number of equity release mortgages taken out has soared in recent years.
The TimesLenders defy Bank with cheaper mortgages (as savers' pain goes on)The TimesBanks are cutting the cost of their best mortgage deals — despite the Bank of England having raised rates last month. Barclays, HSBC, Halifax, TSB and Coventry building society are among the big names to have reduced the cost of fixed-rate mortgages.
James Coney: We all face tax rises, so Starbucks' skinny bill is hard to swallowThe TimesWhat's worse is that the current tax system is an utter mess, whether it is savings interest reliefs, child benefit and tax credit restrictions, reductions in personal allowances, or pension contributions. It is nigh on impossible to plot your way ...
This is MoneyFrom choosing low-cost destinations to getting the right insurance: How to give your child the cheapest gap yearThis is MoneyCards can result in costly overseas fees. Creation Financial Services, Halifax and Santander charge no fee on some credit cards when used overseas. Starling Bank's mobile-only bank account debit card and Nationwide's FlexPlus debit card allow free cash ...
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Budget Reflections

This Budget felt very different.

Usually we spend the speech neither listening to what the government is saying
nor to the doom laden responses of the loyal opposition, but next day we rush to the
papers to look at the tables of comparison that tell us how much
better or worse off we might be if we are pensioners, borrowers, savers, parents, 

smoke, drink or drive a car.  All the technical stuff about government borrowing and national indebtedness, pass
us by, as most of us  live in the present rather than the longer term .

I asked a friend how he felt after Wednesday's Budget. His answer:  ' Oh a bit
better off, because I can save more in ISAs' .  He also liked the extension
of the stamp duty exemption on properties at the lower end of the market as youngsters
in  his family are trying to get on the housing ladder.  So he was
responding as you would expect, but then he said 'But I'm really concerned
about all this government borrowing because the payback, when it comes,

will affect everyone in my family, and their friends, as well as me, for
years and years to come.'

I wonder how many of us feel the same.  This Budget is like an iceberg
with a red flag on top. The red flag, taxing the rich at 50%, was a
distraction; the immediate changes to savings and house purchase and the
like, are the 10% of the iceberg above the water clear for all to see. But when you look at
the great mass, the 90% that's below the water line things really do
look very worrying  and the water looks very murky.

Buried deep, down there in all the detail, along with the
devil, comes something I spotted which will affect a lot of people in my part of the
country in East Anglia: the decision to scrap tax breaks and
concessions, that were introduced to encourage investment in self catering
holiday cottages and boost the tourism industry, after April 2011. Many
people will sell up and tourism, a cornerstone of many local economies and the UK economy,
will suffer at a time when it was thought that the the home grown holiday
trade would benefit as people stayed in the UK. Just one tiny detail from the depts.

So what else is lurking there as yet unnoticed by the majority of people, I wonder.

My friend's last comment was also pointed : ' Who on earth would be mad
enough to get themselves elected, when they have to sort all this lot out?
Who indeed!!'


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