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

High street feels the chill after worst January since 2005

The number of shoppers hitting the high street in January fell at its fastest rate for five years as the weather and the rise in VAT kept consumers away.

The strength of the pound shop

They are the ultimate value retailers. James Thompson reports on how the recession has been the catalyst for a dramatic increase in the number of pound shops on Britain's high streets

Seven tips for dealing with debt

Struggling with debt is one of life's most stressful experiences but the situation will only get worse unless you take positive steps. Here are seven tips for those dealing with debt.

Beginner's Guide To: Credit files

January is the month when many people look to sort out their finances and try and obtain the best deals, especially those who have debts to clear.

Upbeat start to the year sparks hopes of recovery

Manufacturing confidence reaches two-year high / Mortgage approvals continue to rise, says BoE

Shoppers rush for bargains before Friday's VAT rise

The post-Christmas surge of shoppers hitting the high street to hunt down bargains continued on Sunday, but the rush could end once value added tax (VAT) goes up from New Year's Day, this Friday.

Record-breaking sales frenzy continues

Millions of bargain-hunting shoppers once more hit the stores today as a record-breaking Christmas sales frenzy continued.

Boxing Day retail joy

Strong shopper turnout boosts hopes for 2010

David Prosser: Retailers face an unhappy new year

Outlook What is going on up and down the high streets of Britain? There are plenty of reasons to think that retailers are enjoying a much happier time in the run-up to Christmas than they would have dared to hope for even three months ago. The latest CBI distributive trades survey shows retailers maintained positive momentum during the first half of this month, while some of the short-term figures posted by stores such as John Lewis look spectacular, even allowing for weak 2009 comparables. London, in particular, seems to be performing well, with West End stores reporting buoyant trading.

Credit: Make sure a new year hangover is not on the cards

As the shopping festivities start, Chiara Cavaglieri shows how to stop your flexible friend from becoming a fiend

Questions Of Cash: 'We cannot afford an increase in our fuel bills'

Q. I have had a letter from Southern Electric saying that the "social care energy tariff" that we are on is being removed, so we shall have to pay more. We are classed as low fuel users, because we have been careful, efficient and have conserved energy – and because we can't afford to spend more than we do. Now that is being used against us. Southern Electric uses as its criteria the percentage of income used for fuel. We have phoned repeatedly to challenge this, without success. I would challenge this legally, but I can't afford to. I am 59 and disabled, and my husband is 62 and self- employed and we do not get any working tax credit or housing benefit. My disability allowance goes directly to pay for my motability car. I'm having sleepless nights worrying about how we will pay for the increased fuel costs. GR, Cambridge.

Meet cyberwoman, the battleground for the next election

Why is David Cameron spending an hour answering questions on a website for mothers? Because their votes could decide whether he ends up at No 10, says Andy McSmith

The Week Ahead: Falling inflation to dent Morrisons' sales

Morrisons is set to become the latest big grocer to post a slowdown in underlying sales resulting from falling inflation on Thursday. Morrisons is expected to unveil consensus underlying sales, excluding fuel and VAT, up by 4.5 per cent for the 13 weeks to 2 November, down from 7.8 per cent in the first half.

The Week Ahead: Whitbread is ready to show its resilience

The hospitality group Whitbread, the company behind the Premier Inn budget hotel chain, should confirm its resilient performance through the downturn when it issues results for the 26 weeks to 27 August tomorrow.

Don't get footprints all over your credit rating – select the right lender before you apply

Credit has never been so difficult to obtain and tight conditions have meant that many lenders are only willing to deal with an elite group of people who have almost perfect credit histories and an easily provable income stream.

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