Bargain Basement

Birmingham Midshires is raising interest rates paid on its savings accounts by an average of 0.25 per cent. The increase brings its SmartStart children's account to a rate of 7.5 per cent gross on savings of pounds 500 or more. The Quantum Instant Plus Account, where returns are linked to transactions made, will rise by an average of 0.28 per cent, with a top rate of 6.25 per cent on balances above pounds 50,000. First Instant Access, the postal account, rises by 0.29 per cent. Details from branches.

Portman Building Society is launching an annual travel insurance scheme for families, costing pounds 99. The scheme offers cover for family holidays, winter sports and business travel and includes European motoring assistance. Individual cover on the same terms costs pounds 67 a year. Call 0870 6061212 for details.

Fleming Investment Trust Management is offering investors a discount of 40 per cent on the fees normally charged if they were to sell their Railtrack shares and reinvest the proceeds in one of the company's 19 investment trusts. The offer means a charge of pounds 7.50 on dealing costs, down from pounds 12.50, until 31 December. If more than one family member offers shares for exchange, the fee will remain the same. Call 0500 500161.

The Share Centre, the retail stockbroker, is offering buyers of shares in publicly quoted football clubs a dealing commission of 1 per cent on purchase, subject to a pounds 2.50 minimum. Buyers will be sent a "gift certificate" in the name of the person receiving the gift. Call 0800 800008.

Yorkshire Bank is offering a one-year fixed-term deposit account, Premium Term Bond, paying tiered rates of up to 7.55 per cent gross on deposits above pounds 45,000. Minimum deposits of pounds 2,000 will earn 7 per cent gross. Call 0113 2472410.

Paws, the pet insurance service, has added two new benefits to its cover for cats and dogs and for crossbreed pets. The provider now offers personal accident cover of up to pounds 250 in cash benefits if an owner has to take time off work after being bitten while caring for the pet following accident or illness. Paws now also offers a vet helpline. Bereavement counsellors will be available if a pet dies. Call 0121 6267891.

Pearl, the insurer, is offering free breakdown cover to drivers who take out its Drivewise Gold motor insurance. In addition to standard cover, Drivewise Gold also offers protection in Europe, including up to one hour's free roadside labour, free transport to a policyholder's destination, alternative overnight accommodation if the car cannot be repaired that day, a message service to friends or family and a 24-hour helpline. Call 0645 112255.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

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