News

Up to 40 per cent have not made key checks on their credit rating or electoral roll entry

Insurers agree to limit amount of data exchanged within industry

Seven insurance companies and two IT software and service providers have provisionally agreed to limit the data they exchange between them after the Office of Fair Trading raised concerns over competition law.

Questions Of Cash: 'My disabled parents have lost out on scooter refund'

Q. My parents are both disabled and retired. They ordered two mobility scooters from Virgo Healthcare for £4,600 last March. They quickly discovered they were unable to use them, so they contacted Virgo Healthcare, which agree to a full refund and collected the scooters on 27 April. Since then, no refund has been supplied. KB, Hertfordshire.

Firms to share less information

Seven motor insurers have agreed to limit the amount of data they share with each other after the Office of Fair Trading warned their actions could reduce competition.

Keep your credit rating safe over the hols

Too much online shopping could result in black marks against your name, thanks to anti-fraud measures

David Prosser: Christmas sales melt away despite the thaw

Outlook The cost of the wintry weather of the past few weeks mounts by the day – a string of companies warned they had taken a hit yesterday, while M&S added its name to the list of businesses that now feel unable to commit to making deliveries in Scotland.

Retailers plan covert price hikes alongside VAT increase

UK companies could damage the fragile economic recovery by using next month's rise in VAT to "mask" hikes in prices as they seek to protect profits from rising costs, a leading firm of accountants warned yesterday.

Questions of Cash: Can the AA charge me £15 to send me a receipt?

Q. My wife and I are members of the AA and have been for many years. Part of our cover relates to driving for business purposes and part for private use. When I renewed my policy, I asked the AA to send us a receipt for our business accounts, along with the new membership cards. I was told that the AA would send this, but only on payment of a £15 fee! What made it worse was that the AA persuaded my wife on the phone to take on additional cover. Doesn't the AA have an obligation to provide free receipts? RH, Bucknell.

Councils 'waste £150m a year paying bills twice'

Councils could save almost £150 million a year if they made sure they did not pay bills twice, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles claimed today.

A tale of two housing markets: The North-South divide

One half of the country is awash with homes no one wants, while the other is swamped with houses few can afford. What’s going on?

Paul Vallely: Protests may differ but trouble is certain

In Ecuador they riot, in Ireland they block the gates to Parliament, and even the Tea Party is on the march. Where next?

Nick Clegg seeks to calm fears over spending cuts

Nick Clegg sought to calm public fears over deep spending cuts today but admitted the coalition was likely to suffer a bitter backlash.

Recovery will be choppy, warns Nick Clegg

Britain should be braced for a "choppy and uneven" recovery, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned today - as a survey predicted the north of England would fare worst under Government spending cuts.

Fraudulent credit applicants soar

The number of fraudulent applications received by financial services firms soared by a third during the first half of the year, according to the credit reference agency Experian.

Experian

On 11 August we ran an item about one person's experience obtaining a credit report ("How I became an innocent victim of the credit agency"). The credit reference agency concerned was wrongly identified as Experian: a mistake for which we apologise.

House Doctor: 'I'm struggling to remortgage though I have lots of equity. How can this be?'

Question: I can't seem to remortgage to move house for love nor money, having tried two lenders – with a third midway through application. It's very surprising as I've £48,000 in equity and £12,000 savings to put into the next property which should give me a healthy loan-to-value of roughly 75 per cent. The only downside that I can think of is a £2,000 overdraft that I don't often climb out of – and three unauthorised overdraft penalties in 12 months. But that's the only debt I have and I earn £30,000 a year. What am I doing wrong?

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

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Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us