Cashpoints: Halifax share swap

The 3.6 million shareholders in the Halifax will get 37 shares in the new slimline company for every 40 they have now, but they will also get a 62p cash payment for each current share on top of the dividend. The extra pay-out counts as a potential capital gain but there is no income tax to pay and dividends are expected to rise next year.

Chelsea fans will have to fork out pounds 285,000 for a three-bedroom terrace house within half a mile of the ground, making it by far the most expensive location for a football ground, according to a new league table created by insurer AXA, the FA Cup sponsor. Arsenal is in second place at pounds 230,000, and prices tail off to pounds 30,000 near the grounds of Everton and Blackburn. Call AXA Direct on 0800 747576 for a local quote.

Variable-rate mortgages are coming back into fashion after the recent mortgage rate cuts, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Variable- rate loans accounted for 56 per cent of new mortgages last month compared with 48 per cent in December. The average mortgage rate for new variable loans fell from 6.77 per cent to 6.52 per cent in January. The average fixed rate fell from 6.62 per cent to 6.49 per cent.

n Travellers wanting long-stay insurance for four months or more in the next year should buy before 1 April when policies become liable to insurance premium tax at 17.5 per cent.

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