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Midland customers get the Abbey cash habit

Midland and First Direct account holders can use Abbey National cash machines at no cost, and the arrangement will extend to Halifax cash machines. Likewise, Abbey National and Halifax account holders will be able to use Midland machines. The arrangement means that Midland and First Direct cards can be used at no cost in the following machines: NatWest, TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, Northern Bank, Abbey National, Halifax building society, Bank of Ireland and National Irish Bank. Some supermarkets, including Tesco and Safeway, also allow free cash withdrawals when you pay for your shopping with a debit card.

Beat the Burglar is a guide giving advice on house alarms and alarm installers. It is published by Hiscox Underwriting, a specialist insurer of higher-value homes. Phone 0171-423 4210.

Frizzell has some soberingthoughts for drink-drivers. As well as facing a ban from driving for at least a year, anyone convicted of drink-driving faces an increased premium when their insurance is reinstated. Increases of 75 to 300 per cent are not uncommon. In addition, the excess might go up and fully comprehensive insurance might be refused.

Tips for getting safe, legal and good value home improvements are covered in a free booklet from Birmingham Midshires building society. Your Step by Step Guide to Home Improvements is available at branches or by phoning 0500 250550.

Thousands of savers are unnecessarily paying tax on building society savings interest. The Building Societies Association has published a leaflet, Taxation of Building Society Interest 1996/7. Send an SAE to BSA/CML Bookshop, 3 Saville Row, London W1X 1AF.

Pensioners looking to boost their income by tapping the equity in their homes are being offered a guide by charity Age Concern. Using Your Home As Capital: a guide to raising cash from the value of your home outlines thefinancial options and explains the workings of home income plans. It is available from bookshops for pounds 4.95, or call 0181-679 8000.

Financial adviser Towry Law offers a guide to the records people need to keep under the new self-assessment tax system, which got under way on 6 April. Failure to retain proper records could result in a penalty of up to pounds 3,000. Phone 0800 521196.