We’ve all been there, wading through the endless phone menus, queues and scripted conversations

Centrica chief: Hostile bid will hold gas prices

Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive at Ftse 100 energy giant Centrica, has vowed that his £1.3bn hostile bid for North Sea oil and gas group Venture Production will stabilise prices for its 10 million households.

Batteries included: Are eco-friendly cars any good?

Politicians want British drivers to switch over to eco-friendly cars. They're silent and stylish – but are they any good? John Walsh puts pedal to the metal

Geoffrey Lean: We are one step closer to clean coal

The Government's decision to fit carbon-removing equipment will have a knock-on effect on all over the world

Go-ahead for carbon-capture power stations

The Government today signalled the go-ahead for a new generation of coal-fired power stations - but insisted they would be made to reduce their carbon emissions.

Ofgem orders energy companies to cut bills

Energy bills are set to fall for up to 10 million households after Ofgem demanded the Big Six suppliers end "unjustified pricing" for electricity and gas. The regulator said yesterday that the energy industry would have to justify all above-average charges on the basis of their costs, which should lower prices for prepayment and electricity customers.

Thrifty Living: It's a good time to make the switch

Britain’s energy suppliers have finally started to cut their prices over the past few weeks, reflecting the collapse in wholesale gas and oil prices that has taken place over the past eight months or so.

Questions of cash: Frozen out of a refund request

Q. My parents bought a freezer from Comet, which was delivered in December. The old freezer was removed by Comet’s delivery men. They were told to wait 24 hours before switching on the new freezer. They were confident that the food from the old freezer would not thaw by then. But when they went to switch it on they found that the freezer had been wedged in so close to the wall that they were unable to access the plug. Comet said someone would visit to help, but turned up at a time when my parents had said they would be out.

Final four energy firms to cut bills

Millions of households could be on track for lower energy bills as the last four of the big six suppliers pledged to follow the lead of British Gas and Scottish & Southern (SSE).

New boss of Scotsman publisher tackles £450m debt

John Fry, the recently installed chief executive of Johnston Press, which crashed out of the FTSE 250 last year, has made his first hack at The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post publisher's estimated £450m debt burden.

GDF Suez and Iberdrola team up to bid for nuclear power sites in the UK

GDF Suez and Iberdrola are the latest European energy giants to join forces in the hope of securing a slice of the UK's multibillion-pound nuclear renaissance.

Major blaze after freight train derails

Firefighters tackled an "intensive" blaze today after a freight train carrying fuel derailed and caught fire.

Miliband steps up nuclear drive

Crunch talks on the UK's nuclear rollout programme will take place on Tuesday.

Paul Gosling: Double the trouble as Abbey is called to account

Questions Of Cash

Energy giants clash with Brown over costs of saving fuel

Gordon Brown's £1bn package to help people cut soaring fuel bills ran into immediate controversy yesterday after electricity companies refused to rule out passing on the cost of the scheme to customers.

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Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor