Voices

Despite overwhelming evidence there is still continuing reluctance from politicians to accept just how useless short prison sentences are

Escape-proof policies keep profits secure

Endowment mortgages may be under fire at the moment but other with- profits investments do have their uses. If you are looking for a very long-term savings plan, and can find a way to avoid the high charges levied by insurance salespeople and financial advisers, an old-fashioned insurance company savings scheme might suit you, especially if you don't want to take too many risks.

`Personal Finance: The important thing for endowment holders is, as the FSA stressed this week: Don't panic'

LIKE SHOULDER-PADDED suits and Rick Astley, endowment mortgages were hugely popular in the 1980s but are now almost universally reviled. As interest rates and inflation have fallen to 30 year lows, there are fears that many endowment policies will not grow fast enough to pay off the home loans they are linked to.

Outlook: Judge opts for equitable solution

THE ROYAL Courts of Justice on the Strand are generally not noted for their common sense, but in deciding in favour of Equitable Life against a surprisingly determined, sprightly and vociferous bunch of aggrieved pensioners, the vice chancellor, Sir Richard Scott, has blown away the cobwebs and arrived at a judgement which seems to be right both in law and in principle.

Outlook: Sir David struggles with City sceptics

NATWEST'S PROPOSED pounds 10.7bn acquisition of Legal & General got a surprisingly lukewarm reception in the City yesterday for what, on the face of it, seems a logical and well thought out deal. Why is this?

BARGAINS OF THE WEEK: FINANCE

DEAL OF THE WEEK

Defiant IRA hints at an end to ceasefire

THE IRA issued a thinly veiled threat last night to end its ceasefire if the Unionists continue their demands for a "surrender" without delivering a share of power in Ulster to Sinn Fein.

The IRA Statement

"THE ARGUMENT that the present political process can deliver real and meaningful change has been significantly undermined by the course of events over the past 15 months.

Victim used life savings to fight case

PAMELA COUGHLAN used her life savings to fight the case and was granted legal aid only when they ran out. They were drawn mainly from the pounds 70,000 damages she was awarded after a car accident in 1971, which left her paralysed from the waist down.

DEAL OF THE WEEK

FINANCE

Dutch insurer Aegon mulls a bid for Scottish Widows

AEGON, THE giant Dutch insurer which owns Scottish Equitable is considering stepping in with a counter-bid for the pounds 7bn agreed for Lloyds TSB to take over Scottish Widows on Wednesday.

Lloyds plans more deals after Widows takeover

Chairman sets sights on further, bigger acquisitions Lloyds-TSB becomes UK's second- largest provider of long-term savings Scottish Widows policy holders to receive average pounds 6,000 windfalls

Parliament: The Sketch: Foxes lament official failure to make hen-houses secure

AS REBELLIONS go, it was a very courteous affair. Iain Duncan Smith, speaking to the guillotine motion that began proceedings (and which allowed Tories to indulge in the perverse satisfaction of taking up time complaining that they weren't being given enough time) had popped across the Channel to bring back an analogy for the skulduggery of the Government.

It's time to consider an unpopular option

Investment trusts are out of favour but good value, writes Tony Lyons

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