Mortgages approvals at 13-month high

The number of mortgage approvals in the UK hit a 13-month high last month, Bank of England figures showed today, but economists warned the market remains subdued.

Julian Knight: Finally, OFT to rein in debt management firms

Put the words "debt" and "free" into a search engine and you will come up with no fewer than 60,000 results most of which are are fee chargers. But from next year the debt management industry is going to find it a lot harder to suggest that its services are free in any respect.

How to find out what's happened to your cash

Where is your money going? How can you set up a budget? Rob Griffin asks financial advisers and debt counsellors for tips

House Doctor: 'Does having a secured loan mean we can't move house?'

Question: Does a secured loan we took out on our house mean we can't put it up for sale? We really need to move for extra space but are worried we'll have to stay put until the loan is paid off, which is in about three years' time according to our repayment schedule. Our mortgage is about £145,000 on a two-bed home and the secured loan (with a different lender) is around £12,000

Joy Eviston, Newport

No end in sight to mortgage drought

Further falls in house prices are predicted following more weak mortgage lending numbers from the Bank of England. The Bank yesterday reported that mortgage approvals for house purchases fell back to a four-month low of 45,166 in April after having edged slightly higher to 47,145 in March.

Citigroup records profit of $3bn

Citigroup, the banking giant that twice had to be bailed out by the US taxpayer, recorded a $3bn profit in the first three months of 2011, but only because it was able to release $3.3bn previously set aside to cover bad loans. The improving prospects for payback on consumer loans accounted for $2bn of that figure.

Former chief of failed Rok takes on new firm

The former chief executive of failed construction group Rok has taken on a new business, four months after the "nation's local builder" collapsed.

Lenders turn the screw on debtors

Lenders are increasingly using a little-known clause in consumer credit legislation to squeeze money out of debtors.

Money Insider: Changing banks is not like switching energy providers

I was surprised to learn that there is a lack of choice and competition in the retail banking sector, according to the latest findings of the Treasury Committee.

Brace yourself as Britain's big squeeze bites

Don't despair if tax changes and price rises are taking their toll, says Paul Bicknell, charities are on hand to help manage your problems

Melanie McDonagh: It's time to blow the cobwebs off the money box

There are times when the personal really is political, when the politics of nations seem to be replicated by what's happening in our own lives. Last week, Lord Wolfson, chairman of Next, warned his fellow British retailers that over the next few years they'll feel as if they're walking up the down escalator.

Next warns of £21bn squeeze on consumers

The chief executive of Next has warned that household budgets face a £21bn hit from soaring inflation this year, which is likely to lead to a further deterioration in consumer spending and leave retailers feeling like "walking up the down escalator".

Families 'struggling to repay debts'

Job losses and falling incomes look set to leave rising numbers of households unable to repay their debts, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service warns in a report today.

Consuming Issues: Call for curb on rip-off debt and loan firms

Dodgy debt-management firms and loan finders who prey on Britain's poorest families are the focus of the latest consumer super-complaint, lodged this week with the Office of Fair Trading by Citizens Advice. The charity says tens of thousands of borrowers who struggle to get credit at traditional lenders are being conned out of money by unscrupulous loan-finder and debt-management firms. Worse, the number will increase as the recession hits harder.

Banks write off 25% more debt

The amount of consumer debt banks wrote off soared by nearly 25% during the final quarter of 2010, figures showed today.

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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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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'
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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

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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
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

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