OFT tells firms to stop using misleading 'helpline' names

Businesses offering credit services must not mislead customers into believing they are a charity or government body by using names such as "helpline" or "debtline", the trading watchdog said today.

Money Insider: Balance transfers can be wise – but tread carefully

With the UK economy barely out of recession and unemployment at a 17-year high, you'd expect credit card providers to be treading a more cautious line to prevent bad debts and write-offs from eating into their profit margins.

OFT sets out new code of conduct

New guidance from the Office of Fair Trading could herald the end of unwanted emails, texts and answer-machine messages offering debt management advice or credit-rating help.

Yes Loans' licence revoked

Payday loan firm Yes Loans has had its licence revoked after using "deceitful and oppressive business practices", the trading watchdog said today.

Watchdog to probe payday lenders

Britain's payday lenders are to be investigated by the consumer watchdog amid fears they are preying on those in financial trouble.

Pawnbroker to target the Rolex brigade

The UK's largest pawnbroker, H&T, is targeting upmarket customers who have fallen on hard times, and is eyeing shops in affluent areas.

Biggest pawnbroker targets the affluent

The UK's largest pawnbroker, H&T, is targeting upmarket customers who have fallen on hard times, and is eyeing shops in affluent areas.

Unsecured debt falls for third year in a row

British families are struggling under £8,000-worth of debt – even after three years’ of paying off loans and plastic cards.

Britons pay off debts as austerity bites

Austerity Britain dug into its savings to pay for Christmas as shoppers left the plastic alone and paid off debts at the fastest rate for nearly 20 years in December.

Bank of England figures point to extended squeeze on spending

The prospect that Britain can borrow its way back to growth dimmed yesterday with official new data showing that consumer credit was flat last month, as the money supply notched up a record monthly decline.

Government refuses to cut high charges

An official review of credit has given the green light to excessive interest.

An independent girls’ school:
when parents can’t pay the fees grandparents or the schools themselves can offer help

Even the wealthy can be hit by a debt disaster

What happens when the school fees and BMW repayments can't be met? Neasa MacErlean on the middle-class poor

David Prosser: Why your country needs you to spend

Outlook: Margaret Thatcher famously used to compare the Government's stewardship of the public finances to a housewife's careful marshalling of the family budget. It was as daft a comparison then as it is today: the fact that governments have such good access to credit is hugely useful since it allows them to run deficits during tough times, providing the economy with a stabiliser (the corollary, of course, is that they need to run a surplus when the environment improves). Households, by contrast, get into difficulty quickly and often disastrously if they continue to rack up borrowing when their finances are squeezed.

Banks tell 'at risk' borrowers to spend less or lose their homes

Mortgage payments should be top priority for customers, say lenders
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Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
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A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes