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

Briefing

BCCI man's appeal turned down
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform