Bargain Hunter: Energy savings mean Christmas lights don't have to come down

LED Hut has launched a new range of Lumilife LED Christmas lights for 2014, and Bargain Hunter readers can get an exclusive 25 per cent discount on them.

Mark Dampier: We're not all doomed and shares in British firms have fallen too far

The years following the financial crisis have been uneasy for investors and fund managers alike. Wider economic, or macro, concerns have dominated news flow. These issues can be worrying, yet the interpretation of macroeconomic events by many commentators has been wrong.

Questions of Cash: Punished by Northern Rock's tough new loan rules

Q. My wife and I took out a repayment mortgage with Northern Rock in 2003. In 2009 we requested that we be put, temporarily, on an interest-only arrangement. This was agreed, after which we both entered into an IVA (an individual voluntary arrangement).

Money Insider: A chance to donate to the Royal British Legion as you spend and save

Many people will have made donations in support of the Royal British Legion ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

Sean O'Grady: "I'm irrationally loyal to my bank. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong"

Most of us are creatures of habit. Consider, reading this as you are, newspapers and websites. Certainly, in the case of the former, readers are astonishingly loyal to a given title, and indeed their social and political outlook can be defined by the paper they read. They rarely switch.

Derek Pain: Will the festive season provide a boost for the stock market?

Could shares recover from their recent savage retreats and still manage to hit an all-time peak before the new year? Only last month many were banishing such thoughts, but there is now an outside chance that the perennial optimists, banking on the traditional festive run materialising, could after all emerge victorious.

Simon Read: If we want to shake up current accounts, we could go back to paying for them. Why not? Free banking is a myth

When I mentioned to my wife on Thursday morning that the Competition and Markets Authority had launched a full investigation into the current account market, she sighed:. "Another one?"

Simon Read: Switching and comparison sites and how to waste energy

The Big Deal energy-switching scheme claimed last month that comparison sites are misleading consumers by only showing them results from companies that pay huge commission.

First Utility promises to cut switching time

Government hopes to force gas and electricity firms to reduce switching time to just 24 hours

Doorstep crime getting worse as crooks target elderly and vulnerable people

Doorstep crime is getting worse. Older and vulnerable people in particular are being targeted by unscrupulous crooks who knock on their doors and pressure them into paying extortionate prices for unnecessary jobs or goods.

Fraudsters are using "number spoofing" to fool people into revealing their passwords

Criminals clone the phone number of the organisation they want to impersonate so it appears on the victim's caller ID display

Bargain Hunter: You don't have to burn too much cash on fireworks night with Aldi

If you're planning to light up the sky with a spectacular Guy Fawkes Night extravaganza from the comfort of your back garden, head to Aldi ( for some bargain fireworks.

The 10th birthday of broadband in Britain was marked with a projection in 2010. But the infrastructure is still being rolled out

Families pay the price of superfast broadband

Bills are going up for households around the UK as providers invest in better infrastructure. Emma Lunn explains why - and what to do

Mark Dampier: Investors will see stars if they stick with MFM Slater Growth

This week I return to a fund I highlighted in June last year – the MFM Slater Growth Fund which is managed by Mark Slater.

Questions of Cash: "I ordered a bedframe from Ikea and then the bad dream began"

Q. I visited Ikea's Belfast store a month ago and chose a bedframe that was too large to fit in my car. I spoke to two assistants and arranged that Ikea would phone me two days later to process an order, with delivery to my address in Derry. However, I did not receive a phone call.



It is expected that the tax, to be introduced in April, will raise £1.3bn over the next five years
State pension rise; Overdraft charges; Phone scammers; Credit broker crackdown; Video banking; the stories we noticed this week
For whom the Christmas bells toll? Shoppers should be wary of 'bargains' and 0 per cent deals on credit cards
The first website that allows travellers with pre-existing medical conditions planning a cruise to compare policies and buy cover has been launched at
Pension liberation schemes; Home loan wars; Credit card problems; Mortgage woes for those in their 30s and 40s; home delivery problems; the stories we noticed this week
Video: Simon Read offers some advice on ensuring you enjoy Christmas without the financial hangover
The LED Hut range could help you cut festive bills for years to come
Booming alternative finance; current account probe; payday loan ad banned; tax avoidance; energy bill woes: doorstep crime; the stories we noticed this week
Bergans is among the ski brands whose prices are going downhill
Gifts such as iPads have been used to tempt mortgage hunters, but the value should be in the home loan itself
Spooky homes; Junior Isas; your Section 75 credit rights; tax avoidance; tax deadline: help with energy bills; the stories we noticed this week
If you think that the kind of car dealer portrayed in Minder by Arthur Daley has been consigned to history, think again. If you can haggle on the forecourt, you can get massive discounts on a new car, reckons What Car? The magazine's mystery shoppers this month managed to negotiate a discount of 31 per cent - a saving of £18, 650 - off the price of a BMW 7 Series as it was about to be replaced by a newer model
See How to Train Your Dragon 2 cut-price at a Vue cinema
The Independent’s Personal Finance Editor Simon Read talks over the latest news with Luke Blackall
Struggling millennials, soaring energy bills, stock market woes and warnings of bank scams: the stories we noticed this week.
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    Independent Travel
    Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
    Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
    Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?