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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003