Changes To UK Gas Safety Commercial Insurance is Vital

From April the Corgi Gas Register was replaced by the Gas Safe Register. The Health and Safety Executive hold the brand “Gas Safe Register TM” in trust to ensure that it remains the official mark for the gas safety register.

A spokesman for Staveley Head, one of the county’s leading commercial insurance brokers, said:

“The Corgi Gas Register in Great Britain ended on 31st March 2009. There has been an extensive publicity campaign to make those people working in the trade aware of the change and to encourage them to re-register with the Gas Safe Register in order for them to comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and be able to carry on work.”

The Health and Safety Executive has delegated to the Gas Safe Register the sole responsibility for collating and recording the registration details of all certified contractors who are registered to undertake gas work in Great Britain and the Isle of Man.

The Staveley Head spokesman went on to say “The majority of people working in the gas trade and holding commercial insurance policies will find that their commercial insurance companies will amend the policy wording in their documentation to accommodate this change either mid-term or at the latest when their renewal falls due. The policyholders do not need to do anything, other than advise their business insurance brokers if they have not yet registered for the Gas Safe Register.”

Staveley Head is one of the leading commercial business insurance brokers in the UK and will be pleased to give you all the advice and assistance you need regarding this matter, including a very competitive liability insurance quote.

For more information on any aspect of commercial property insurance or commercial building insurance contact Staveley Head on 0845 017 9991 or email

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If You’re Looking For A Good Deal On A Payday Loans, Quick Cash Advance And Personal Loan Then You Are In The Right Place!

Indiana Campaign Finance (ICF), expert providers of payday loan solutions, recently announced an expansion of their current offerings to include the Go Faxless Payday Loans service. Available online, the no fax payday loan option creates a seamless way for individuals to achieve their short term loan goals.

“The Go Faxless payday loan service is just one more way we help our clients reach their goals. Most applicants receive their cash within 24 hours of submitting the easy to use payday loan form”, ICF, CEO of Indiana Campaign Finance stated. See also Home Loans Online

The requirements for ICF’s Go Faxless Now are simple. Applicants are required to maintain a job or provide proof of stable income such as payments received through employment, social security, retirement, or state support. See Student Loans Now Applicants must also be 18 years of age or more and have an active savings or checking account. The checking and savings account information is used exclusively for the payday loan deposit. The ICF website gathers the required information through a secured online form which is then sent for review. Fast Personal Loans see also.

With the Go Faxless option, ICF lenders deposit the money approved applicants request directly into their checking accounts within hours of application submission. In return, the loan amount and any associated fees are repaid by ICF lenders through funds withdrawn from the same savings or checking account of the applicant. The loan repayment typically occurs 2 weeks after the applicant has received their funds, although loan repayment extensions and other loan terms may also be available. Mortgage Loan and Bad Credit Loan is ok!

The faxless payday loan service is available to consumers nationwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the ICF website. For more information or to submit a faxless loan application visit ICF online at our site.

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Unfair Blacklisting Due To Id Fraud Is Set To Boom Warns LV=

A new report* released by LV= shows that the number of Brits whose credit rating has been badly damaged by identity theft is likely to almost double within the next five years, with up to 240 people a day being affected.

The new research by home insurer LV= shows that nearly half of all Brits (46%), have experienced some sort of credit problem**, with 27% blaming mistaken identity, and 29% said they had no idea why they had encountered a problem.

LV= is warning people that if they believe they have been refused credit unreasonably, they should investigate it further. It could be a sign that they have become a victim of identity theft.

To help assist the growing number of people affected by this problem, LV= home insurance now offers customers free access to an Identity Fraud Helpline. The helpline is staffed by specially trained expert advisers who will explain what people can do if they think they have been a victim of identity fraud.

The LV= research, undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), includes views from over 6,000 adults who were questioned about their experiences in applying for credit cards and other services. The research shows that as many as half a million adults* have been ‘blacklisted’ as a result of being hit by identity fraudsters, with the figure predicted to rise by a further 440,000 over the next five years.

In the past decade identity fraud cases have rocketed, rising on average by 33% annually for the past eight years***. The research also reveals that victims of identity fraud face costs of over £2,100 to clear their name.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “In the last ten years we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of people targeted by fraudsters, illustrating the importance of vigilance in protecting personal information and monitoring for any problems that might prove to be a ‘symptom’ of identity theft.

“Our research shows that an unfair credit rating is a common problem for many and more worryingly, identity fraud is likely to rise sharply in the coming years. That’s why we’ve set up the LV= identity fraud helpline, free to all our home insurance customers, so that anyone who thinks they might have become a victim of identity theft has somewhere to go for help and support.”

* Opinium research indicates 2% of people have been a victim of identity fraud. UK adult population is 47.9 million (derived from the Labour Force Survey); CEBR predicts cases will rise by 440,000 cases in the next five years.
** Credit problems are defined to include being denied a loan (including mortgage), credit card, utility or service contract, being investigated by bailiffs, incorrectly receiving a court summons or unpaid bills.
*** CEBR analysis based on CIFAS data: in 1999 there were 9,000 reported cases of identity fraud, rising to 77,500 in 2007.

About LV= 
LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.2 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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Barclaycard Has Revealed That Spending On Mother’s Day Gifts Was Down In 2009 When Compared To The Year Previous

The data from Barclaycard Payment Acceptance, which enables retailers to accept payments from both debit and credit card, confirms that families across Britain are opting for less expensive gifts for Mother’s Day in the current economic climate.

Spend on flowers was down 15 per cent in the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day this year compared to the same period last year while spending on chocolates was up 23 per cent compared to last year, suggesting that people are managing the expense of special occasions by purchasing more economic gifts rather than expensive floral presents.

Restaurants and jewellery shops were the least affected with spending almost identical to last year. Treating mum to lunch remains a popular gift, with spending in restaurants up slightly (0.3 per cent) compared to last year. Jewellers saw a very small increase in spending in the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, with sales up 0.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2008.

Commenting on the data, Stewart Roberts, Business Development Director at Barclaycard said: “People don’t want to let special occasions pass them by without buying a present of some sort but what we are seeing is that children are opting for a less expensive gift rather than the more extravagant floral arrangements in these tough times.”

These figures are taken from Barclaycard Payment Acceptance data from March 2008 and March 2009. The figures relate to spending on certain products and services usually associated with Mother’s Day: The year-on-year comparison figures relate to spending in the two weeks prior to Mother’s Day 2009 and the corresponding period in 2008. The restaurant comparison covers Mother’s Day 2009 spending compared with 2008.

About Barclaycard:
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Global and Retail Commercial Banking division, is a leading global payment business which helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and accept payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit when needed.

The company is one of the pioneers of new forms of payments and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting edge forms of payment for the future. It also issues credit cards and charge cards to business banking customers and the UK Government. Barclaycard partners with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit. In addition to the UK, Barclaycard operates in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle and Far East.

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It May Still Be Some Time Before The Bank Of England See The Need To Raise Interest Rates, But With The Cost Of Funding Fixed Rates Pre-Empting Any Change In Bank Rate, There Are Already Signs That Fixed Rates Could Cost More

The cost to lenders to fund some fixed rates isnow higher than earlier this month despite the introduction of quantitative easing measures, which it was hoped would help reduce borrowing costs, and this has already had some knock on effects. Less than two weeks ago, the cheapest 5 year fixed rate was a fantastic 3.95%, one of the lowest 5 year fixed rate mortgages seen in the UK. However, today, the best you can achieve is 4.24%, still attractive but an increase that will cost a borrower with a £200,000 interest only mortgage an extra £2,900 over 5 yrs.

These headline grabbing rates are also usually reserved for borrowers who have at least 25%, and often 40% equity in their homes, and as house prices continue to fall, fewer homeowners will qualify.

Those borrowers that don’t qualify for the lowest rates face a very difficult decision. Do they take what is historically still a competitive fixed rate, or do they save money now and stay on their lenders standard variable rate (svr). If they opt for the svr they are likely to see their equity eroded further, and run the risk that fixed rates in the future could be considerably higher.

Many lenders will not lend to borrowers with less than a 15% stake in their home, so fixed rates are harder to find. Richard Morea from London & country Mortgages advises, ‘Whilst it’s unlikely that rates will climb steeply in the near future, a combination of any rise, and the continued erosion of equity mean that whichever rate you qualify for, now is the time to consider a fixed deal, and take action to secure it!’

For more information and no-fee advice, borrowers should call free on 0800 373300.

London & Country (L&C) is the UK’s leading no-fee mortgage broker. Based in Bath, it provides whole of market advice via telephone and post to clients nationwide. As well as residential mortgages, it also specialises in the Buy-to-Let and adverse-credit sectors.

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers. For more information, go to

L&C has won numerous awards including:

Best Mortgage IFA/Adviser of the Year – Money Marketing, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008
Best Technology Adviser – Money Marketing 2007
Best Mortgage Broker outside London – Mortgage Strategy, 2004 and 2005
Best National Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005, 2006 and 2007
Best Overall Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005
Overall broker of the year – Pink Home Loans, 2006 and 2007
Top 100 company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for 2004 and 2005
Business of the Year – The Bath Business Awards 2005
Growth Strategy of the Year – National Business Awards (Wales and West) 2008
Business Leader (Broker) – British Mortgage Awards – 2008
Online Mortgage IFA of the Year – Financial Adviser – 2008

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Stop Foreclosure On Your Home, Work With A Loan Modification Specialist

The HRP Office,, is open in Surfside Beach, South Carolina and ready to assist clients with their mortgage needs. The owner, Dr. Michael W. Cantrell, Sr. and his staff are experienced loan modification specialists. Their long time strong relationship with most major banking institutions enable them to work faster, smarter and less expensively than other loan modification companies. Clients of HRP, LLC quickly come to recognize them as the experts in helping them get their loans successfully modified.

What kinds of situations can the HRP Office,, help their clients with?

Homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments
Homes currently in foreclosure 
Homeowners have an ARM that has adjusted higher or will adjust higher in another month or two
Homeowners who have a legitimate hardship
Reduced income, reduced hours, pay cut, loss of job, relocation, demotion
Homeowners who went on Disability or Workers Compensation
Excessive medical bills
Back taxes that are currently being paid back 
Death of household provider
Failed business

The staff at HRP,, guarantees their services 100%; they are an industry leader in loan modifications. With a staff of licensed attorneys as well as experienced processors and negotiators, they work together to handle each and every case with the utmost care and concern. Lenders have very specific guidelines that must be met before they will agree to modify a loan. HRP knows what those guidelines are and how to get their clients the very best possible option available. They work for the homeowner, not the lender, so your best interests are their main concern.

What can the HRP Office,, do for their clients?

Pre Qualify a case at no cost to the homeowner
Provide the homeowner with access to their account online 24/7
Prepare a comprehensive modification package to best position each case for success
Engage in hard line negotiations with lenders to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients
Stop collection calls on overdue mortgage payments
Postpone imminent sale dates so the homeowner can breathe easier

Custom Analysis for Each Client
The staff of the HRP Office,, understands that everyone’s financial situation is unique, which is why they offer comprehensive, personalized, and proven modification programs that get results. The legal experts at HRP understand the importance of providing individual services that are tailor made to effectively meet the personal financial needs of their clients.

100% Guarantee
Dr. Michael Cantrell and his staff take pride in their level of service and client support and are committed to providing the most rewarding experience possible. HRP’s,, web-based software allows their clients to have access to their account 24 hours a day 7 days a week. People can check the status of their loan modification case at any time. Clients can also contact their HRP team members via email, fax or phone at any time. Dr. Cantrell had this to say about HRP “Our specialized attorneys, paralegals, negotiators, processors and customer service professionals are unmatched. We provide customized, personal attention to your individual situation and we emphasize customer support and long term solutions for you. Simply put, we strive to provide the best customer service in the industry, and our results-oriented negotiators take pride in consistently meeting and exceeding our client’s expectations. Ultimately, we provide clients with renewed financial optimism and a valuable savings of time and money. In addition, our company has the resources, banking relationships, ethical standards and legal expertise that other companies cannot offer which can translate into significant benefits for our clients.”

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The Importance of Keeping on Top of Mortgage Payments

Responding to the news that the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgage payments has risen by almost a third (31%) in the past year, debt consolidation company has emphasised the importance of keeping on top of mortgage payments, adding that a mortgage should be the top priority for any homeowner.

The company added that borrowers who are having difficulty with their mortgage payments should seek expert debt help as soon as the problem emerges.

The latest figures from the FSA (Financial Services Authority) showed that there were 377,000 borrowers in arrears on their mortgages at the end of 2008 – up 10% in the final quarter alone, and 31% higher than the same period in 2007.

The figures refer to mortgage accounts in arrears by 1.5% or more of the borrowed balance, roughly equivalent to arrears of at least three months.

The figures mean that 3.4% of all mortgages were in arrears at the end of 2008, compared with 2.3% at the end of 2007. Meanwhile, new repossessions increased by 60% compared with the same time period in 2007.

A spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct said: “We would expect an increase in the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgage debt in recent months, but these statistics show just how quickly it is occurring.

“Considering the economy is potentially about to enter a more severe stage of the recession, it’s very important that homeowners are careful with their finances and avoid falling behind on their debt repayments.

“In particular, a mortgage should be the number one priority for any homeowner. It is important that all debts are repaid on time, but a mortgage pays for the borrower’s home – and as such, failing to keep up on payments could eventually result in the home being repossessed.”

The spokesperson also said that if other debts are making it difficult to pay the mortgage, a professional debt adviser may be able to recommend a suitable debt solution that could make the borrower’s unsecured debts more manageable.

“There are few debt solutions that deal directly with mortgage repayments, although in some cases a debt adviser may be able to negotiate with mortgage lenders for a reduction in payments. However, a debt solution that deals with the borrower’s unsecured debts could reduce the homeowners monthly outgoings, and therefore make it easier for them to meet their mortgage payments.”

The Debt Advisers Direct spokesperson added that if the situation becomes more serious and the homeowner cannot see a way of repaying their debts in full, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) could help them avoid bankruptcy by paying off an agreed percentage of their debts, and therefore help them avoid losing their home.

“If the homeowner can agree a repayment plan for their mortgage arrears, then an IVA can be arranged around that, meaning both the homeowner’s mortgage and their unsecured debts are taken care of.”

However, the spokesperson was keen to emphasise the importance of speaking to a professional debt adviser before deciding on any debt solution.

“Different debt solutions are more appropriate for people in different situations, and equally they all have their drawbacks. An expert debt adviser can help to explain the pros and cons of each debt solution, to help the borrower in establishing which debt solution is best suited to their individual needs.”

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NS&I has announced the launch of a new issue of its Guaranteed Equity Bond

The new Guaranteed Equity Bond will offer a gross return that matches any growth in the FTSE 100 index over a 5-year term, up to a maximum of 35%, without any risk to investors’ capital. All NS&I GEBs are sold in limited issues, so investors are advised to move quickly if they want to secure a guaranteed investment return through these bonds.

While the returns paid on NS&I Guaranteed Equity Bonds are linked to the FTSE, NS&I does not invest the money in equities, so investments in the Guaranteed Equity Bond will not be eligible for dividends. Therefore investors may not get as high a return as they might through investing directly in the stock market. However, unlike investments in the stock market, any money invested is guaranteed 100% secure, backed by HM Treasury. NS&I are committed to banking and offer a great range of equity bondsincluding NS&I Guaranteed Growth Bonds.

The launch of the 17th Issue coincides with the maturity of Issue 7 of NS&I’s 5-year Guaranteed Equity Bond on 19 May 2009. Issue 7 went on sale in April 2004, offering a potential return of 110% of any FTSE growth over five years and a FTSE start level of 4435.80. NS&I has written to investors this month to inform them that their Bond is about to mature. As a consequence of market conditions and the falls in the FTSE 100, savers will receive their initial investment in Issue 7 of the Guaranteed Equity Bond back in full – in line with NS&I’s commitment to a 100% guarantee on the capital originally invested. They will also receive interest earned during the offer period – but with no further return. 

NS&I Guaranteed Equity Bond offer period
Issue 17 of the Guaranteed Equity Bond goes on sale for a limited period from 21 April to 1 June 2009. It may close earlier if fully subscribed so investors are encouraged to invest early. Investments will earn interest at 0.50% pa gross until the Bond’s investment term starts on 16 June 2009. This interest will be paid when the Bond matures. The minimum investment level for this Guaranteed Equity Bond remains at £1,000 and the maximum investment is £1 million per person or £2 million for a joint investment. 

1. Inflation may reduce the true value of the original capital over time.
2. NS&I has 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.
3. Further information and digital images are available from the NS&I Media Team.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers inflation-beating savings account guaranteed equity bonds, savings bonds easy access accounts and children’s bonus bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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One major cause of pensions gender gap is that many women take a career break to have children

According to new figures from the Prudential Class of 2009 retirement survey, UK women who plan to retire in 2009 can each expect to receive £6,642 a year less in their annual pensions than men, equivalent to a total income shortfall of more than £42 billion.

The 2.76 million women planning to retire in 2009 can expect to receive an average annual pension of just £13,671, while the 3.95 million men who plan to retire in 2009 will get £6,642 more, expecting an average pension of £20,313.

“It’s still a shock to see so many women retiring at such a disadvantage to their male colleagues, despite all we know about the causes of pension discrepancies between men and women,” said Karin Brown, Annuities Business Director at Prudential.

“The gender gap has become so firmly established because women have historically earned less than men, and still earn around 17% less. When women have children, their pension contributions reduce significantly or stop altogether, and their state pensions often take a hit as well.

“The underlying problem that many people have insufficient pensions is never going to go away unless men and women start their pension plan much earlier in life, ideally in their twenties or thirties,” Karin added. “Starting a pension at an early age will lessen the impact in later life of many women’s decision to take a career break to have children. It will also mean people can feel confident that they are going to have enough money to live off when they do come to retire, and this is vitally important for women who expect to receive smaller pensions than men.”

One major cause of pensions gender gap is that many women take a career break to have children, but it is possible to protect future pensions and maintain a pension during this time. Women could also consider trying to keep up any company pensions or private pension contributions even if they are on maternity leave or an extended career.

Other causes include:
Neglecting pension savings
– As many as 61% of retiring people doubt their pension and other savings will provide a sufficient income to enable them to enjoy a comfortable life in retirement.

Not saving enough
– A rule of thumb is for people to try and save half of their age as a percentage of their salary into a pension scheme, for example 12.5% at age 25 and so on.

Not taking advantage of company schemes
– Many employers offer pension schemes and agree to match any contributions made by employees. People should enquire about the pensions scheme offered by their employers.

Not shopping around
– People in retirement have a wide choice of annuities available to them and it is recommended that they shop around for the product which is most suitable for their needs.

The information contained in Prudential UK’s press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at

Survey conducted online by Research Plus among 1,000 UK adults aged 45+ between 10-18 November 2008. Figures based on Office of National Statistics 2007 which show 24,990,500 adults aged 45+ in the UK. For further information please contact the Prudential media department.

About Prudential
“Prudential” is a trading name of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, which is registered in England and Wales. This name is also used by other companies within the Prudential Group, which between them provide a range of financial products including life assurance, pensions, savings and investment products. Registered Office at Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH. Registered number 15454. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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Mortgage Debt: Comment On Housing Equity Injection

Responding to news that homeowners had injected a record £8 billion into housing equity in the final quarter of 2008, debt management company Gregory Pennington stressed that this reversal of a long-term trend was due to a combination of factors, rather than any single event.

“Prior to Q2 2008,” said Melanie Taylor, Head of Corporate Relations for Gregory Pennington, “the last time we saw homeowners injecting money into housing equity was in Q2 1998, when they injected £279 million – a mere 3.5% of the amount injected in the final quarter of 2008.”

In the decade following 1998, of course, the average house price virtually tripled, which obviously enabled millions of homeowners to turn many billions of housing equity into cash. The highpoint of this occurred in Q4 of 2003, when £17 billion of equity was withdrawn – a full 8.5% of post-tax income.

A full decade of rapid price rises meant that homeowners were both willing and able to keep on withdrawing equity for some time after the house price boom came to an end in 2007: it wasn’t until the second quarter of 2008 that equity injections began to outweigh withdrawals.

“Standing at £1.8 billion in Q2, quarterly equity injection rapidly soared to the record level of £8 billion by Q4 – thanks to a falling base rate and a faltering housing market, as well as worries about the recession in general.

“Plummeting from 5% to 2% in Q4 alone, the falling base rate had two crucial effects on the way homeowners treated their mortgage debt. First of all, it helped people find new deals with lower monthly payments, and enabled people with existing tracker and SVR mortgages to overpay their mortgages without spending more than they were used to. Second, it led the banks and building societies to drop the rates they were paying on savers’ accounts. Many people looking for the best return on their ‘spare’ money realised that overpaying their mortgage would be much more valuable in the long run than putting their money in a savings account.

“Looking beyond interest rates and house prices, the recession itself has prompted a more conservative attitude, particularly among people who’ve experienced recessions in the past. The news has been full of repossessions, redundancies, ‘awful’ economic conditions – and a succession of dire predictions from a wide range of respected bodies, making it clear that things were expected to get a lot worse before they got better.”

Whatever the reasons, overpaying the mortgage can deliver various benefits: “Aside from reducing the amount of interest they’ll pay over the lifetime of the mortgage, overpayments can also shorten the actual term of the mortgage, meaning the homeowner will own the property outright sooner than initially expected. There’s also the question of reducing their mortgage debt and increasing the equity in the home, which can give homeowners access to mortgage deals with much lower interest rates – something which many will be keen to do as soon as possible, before the base rate has a chance to start rising again.”

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The Importance Of Getting Debt Help At The First Sign Of Financial Difficulties

Debt management company Gregory Pennington has emphasised the importance of getting debt help at the first sign of financial difficulties, following research showing that the average UK worker spent the first 83 days of 2009 earning just enough to cover the interest on their debts. have said that March 25th was this year’s ‘Debt Freedom Day’ – a theoretical date on which the average UK worker’s earnings have covered the amount they will pay in interest on their debts (not including mortgages) over the course of the year.

The date came more than two weeks later than last year’s Debt Freedom Day, which fell on Ma rch 2nd 2008. This means that debt levels amongst people in the UK have risen, despite increased caution amongst lenders.’s figures showed that personal loans borrowed in 2008 amounted to £11.6bn in 2008 – up by more than £1.6bn on the previous year. Meanwhile, mortgage debt from equity release loans increased by £6.5 billion. Debt on credit cards, however, fell by £4.9bn.

A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington commented: “We can look at lending figures from recent years and see how much personal debt has risen, but the amount of time it can take to repay the interest on those debts may surprise some borrowers.

“It’s also worth remembering that this is before the borrower has started repaying the actual debt, which suggests that a lot of people may be spending a considerable proportion of their annual income repaying debts.”

Debt Freedom Day works on a similar basis to ‘Tax Freedom Day’, recorded by the Adam Smith Institute, an economic think tank. Last year’s Tax Freedom Day fell on June 2nd – meaning that if these figures are combined, the average UK worker spends almost three quarters of their annual income on tax and debt interest.

The Gregory Pennington spokesperson said that the figures not only show how much the average UK worker spends on debt interest each year – they also show how much better off they could be once those debts have been taken care of.

“Especially in difficult times for the economy, reducing debt can ensure that people are well-prepared for what the future may hold. If costs begin to rise sharply, or any other unexpected financial events occur, people who are in debt are more likely to struggle. If that results in the borrower missing debt repayments, the situation can become quite serious.

“The fact that interest rates have fallen sharply in recent months will help some people – particularly those who have experience a fall in their mortgage costs – but for situations that have become more serious, finding the right type of debt management could make a big difference.

“We advise anyone who is struggling to repay their debts to seek professional debt help at the first sign of difficulty. A debt adviser can discuss the borrower’s situation in confidence and, if necessary, recommend a suitable debt solution for their personal circumstances.”

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Sloppy Shed Security Is An Open Invitation To Thieves Warns M&S Home Insurance

A new survey by M&S home insurance has revealed that, with many people set to head out into the garden this Easter weekend, many shed owners may be under estimating the value of the contents of their shed and not taking appropriate steps to secure their property.

The survey by home insurance provider M&S Money found that the average shed contains a massive £888 worth of property. One survey respondent admitted to keeping £30,000 worth of goods in their shed.

However, almost a quarter of shed owners (24%) admitted failing to take steps to secure their shed, such as using a lock on the door.

The lack of security may help to explain why sheds are often targeted by thieves – 30% of shed owners know someone who has had property stolen from their shed.

Judith Roberts: Manager at M&S Insurance, said: “Sheds often contain a wealth of property, including tools or machinery which can cost thousands of pounds. Our survey reveals that many people fail to take even simple steps to secure their shed. It’s not surprising, therefore, that insurers receive many claims for theft from sheds.

“Householders should check whether their home insurance policy provides cover for theft from the shed, and whether there is a limit on that cover. Even if you do have insurance, unless you secure your shed, any claim may be invalid.”

The M&S home insurance policy provides unlimited cover for theft of property from a shed. Policyholders must take reasonable steps to ensure they have secured their shed.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1971 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 20th March 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About M&S Money
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance, pet insurance, car insurance and wedding insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 9,500 offices in 86 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,527 billion at 31 December 2008, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews

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Tracing Specialists Set Up Office in the City

Tracesmart Ltd, leading suppliers of people tracing services, electronic identity checks and data cleansing systems, have this week established a new London office in 30 St Mary Axe, widely known as ‘The Gherkin’. The Cardiff based company has procured an office in the City due to an exponential growth in the number of clients based in and around London.

The Gherkin is situated where The Baltic Exchange was previously located and at 180 metres tall is the second tallest building in the City of London. In 2005, following a survey of the world’s largest firms of architects, The Gherkin was voted the most admired new building in the world; this allure and presence in the City were part of the reason Tracesmart chose it as their secondary base of operations as Mike Trezise, Tracesmart’s Managing Director, explained,

“The Gherkin is one of the best known and most revered buildings in London and as such was the ideal choice for our new office. Its location also played a considerable part in our decision to locate there – we currently have a large number of City-based financial clients and having an office in the heart of London’s financial district will enable us to better interact with them and meet their needs.”

The ever growing number of London and South of England clients who employ the company’s Tracesmart Corporate suite of services, was, as Trezise noted, a key factor in the decision to set up a London base. These clients include financial institutions who call upon Tracesmart to locate dormant accounts with unclaimed assets, high profile pension sector companies that utilise the company’s pension tracing services and life assurance companies wishing to conduct existence checks. Commenting on Tracesmart’s prestigious new office Chris Rothwell, Sales Director for Tracesmart, highlighted the role it will play,

“My team and I currently travel across the length and breadth of the UK to meet clients, yet we’ve noticed that more and more were requesting meetings in London; as such the next logical step was to locate an office in the City. Our new office in The Gherkin is a key part of our business development strategy as it will enable us to reinforce our current client relationships and nurture new ones by offering a geographically preferable meeting spot for those in the South East.

Cardiff will remain the headquarters for Tracesmart and we will continue to hold many meetings there. Our current offices are always well received by clients; as well as giving them the opportunity to see the company in action, many people have commented on how pleasant a business environment our offices are with the spectacular views of Cardiff Bay.”

Tracesmart’s new London office is located at:

Floor 28
30 St Mary Axe
London EC3A 8BF
Tel: 020 7469 4204
Fax: 020 7469 4001

About Tracesmart:

  • Tracesmart Limited was formed in 1999 and supplies a diverse range of consumer data cleansing, identity check and tracing tools to a wide variety of industries. Their client base ranges from SME to Blue Chip, who are all recipients of bespoke solutions, built around their specific needs.
  • Mike Trezise is the founder and Managing Director of Tracesmart. With over 25 years tracing and fraud analysis experience, his unrivalled knowledge provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.
  • Chris Rothwell previously worked in both the financial markets and tracing industry. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Chris is well placed to head up Tracesmart’s corporate sales team.


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The New M&S Advantage Cash ISA Option Is Attracting Record Numbers Of Savers, With Over Twice As Many Accounts Opened Since Its Launch In January Compared With During The Whole Of 2008

Customer feedback indicates that many are basing their choice to save with M&S Money not only on the rate itself, but also on brand trust and security. Recent research reveals that for a third of people (34%) the most important factor when choosing a home for their money is a savings provider they can trust*.

As well as seeking a trustworthy provider, customers are looking for value in terms of pricing, quality and service**. M&S Advantage Cash ISA is currently one of the most competitive in the market. Fixed rate options are also available, and customers can split their annual Cash ISA allowance between variable and fixed rates, using one simple application form.

Colin Kersley, M&S Money Chief Executive, commented; “Financial stability is a priority for savers in these uncertain times, with trust and value becoming key factors for customers when choosing a savings provider. Record numbers of savers are applying for new Cash ISAs with M&S Money or transferring from other providers, and they tell us it’s because they have trust in the brand.”

All cash savings with M&S Money are protected under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so the first £50,000 per customer of any cash savings are 100% guaranteed. M&S Money is part of HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Advantage Cash ISA option
Minimum deposit £100 lump sum, or £25 by monthly direct debit, up to Cash ISA allowance of £3,600 per tax year, transfers from other ISA providers allowed. The Advantage Cash ISA interest rate of 3.10% includes a 1% bonus until 21st April 2010, after which the rate will revert to 2.10% AER/tax-free variable.

Fixed Rate Savings
Within an ISA – minimum deposit £500 up to Cash ISA allowance of £3,600 per tax year, transfers from other ISA providers allowed. Outside an ISA – minimum deposit £500, maximum £1 million.

This is a strictly limited offer and is available both inside and outside an ISA. Early withdrawals are permitted during the term but will be charged at a fixed flat withdrawal charge (£50 for 1 year term, £75 for 2 year term, £100 for 3 year term). The charge may mean a customer gets back less than they originally deposited if they withdraw their savings before the term end date. Partial withdrawals are not permitted.

* Research carried out on behalf of M&S Money by YouGov 9th – 11th January 2009, among 2,120 people aged 18 and over.
** YouGov and the Credit Crunch, 21st November 2008 – key factors in consumer choice (savings), c.35% safety/security/confidence/reputation, c.25% price-related factors (interest rate).

About M&S Money
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the secondlargest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance, wedding insurance and pet insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

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M&S Money Survey Finds Two-Thirds Of Householders Have Failed To Check If Their Plants, Bushes, Trees And Shrubs Are Covered By Insurance, Despite The Fact That The Average Garden Contains £721 Worth Of Greenery

As householders head into the garden this spring, the survey from home insurance provider M&S Money reveals that many people have been targeted by green-fingered criminals.

The M&S Home Insurance survey found that 17% of people with a garden know someone who has had plants, bushes, trees or shrubs stolen from their garden. The problem is particularly serious in northern England, where almost a quarter (24%) of adults with a garden knows someone who has had greenery stolen.

Plants are also a favourite target of vandals – 10% of people have had plants, bushes, trees or shrubs in their garden maliciously damaged. Gardens in Wales are most likely to be targeted by vandals, with 17% of Welsh respondents reporting they have had plants damaged.

Despite the apparent extent of the problem, 67% of people have not checked whether their plants are covered by home insurance.

Judith Roberts, M&S Insurance Manager, said: “Householders often spend thousands of pounds securing their home to protect their family and property. However, despite the huge amount of time and money invested in many gardens, security levels are often very poor, making them an attractive target for thieves and vandals.

“Householders can take simple steps to reduce the risk of becoming a garden crime victim. It is also wise to check whether your home insurance policy provides cover for property in the garden.”

The M&S home insurance policy covers for loss or damage to plants, bushes, shrubs and trees in the garden.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1971 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 20th March 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About M&S Money
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including wedding insurance, home insurance, pet insurance and car insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

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M&S Money, Pet Insurance Provider, Warns Pet Owners Who Cut Back On Regular Treatments For Their Animals Will Increase The Risk Of Expensive Vet Bills In The Long-Term

As Spring arrives, M&S Money is highlighting that animal lovers can reduce the risk of their pets suffering from common conditions, such as dental disease and worms, by investing in regular, affordable treatments. For example, a single treatment to reduce the risk of fleas in household pets costs around £4. A vet bill to treat fleas can reach as much as £2,000 in severe cases.

Judith Roberts, M&S Insurance Manager, said: “Responsible pet owners know that regular treatments can help to reduce the likelihood of their pets suffering from common conditions. However, purchasing all the recommended medication can be expensive, particularly at this time. M&S Pet Insurance customers are turning to Bestpet to reduce the cost of these treatments and ensure their pets remain happy and healthy.”

M&S Pet Insurance has joined with the online pharmacy,, which already sells pet medication costing up to 50% less than buying at the vets, to help reduce the costs for pet-owners, with a further 5% discount on prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as pet foods.

Pet owners are also reminded that most insurance policies will not cover the cost of treating any illness that their pet should have been vaccinated against.

John Darlington of Bestpet Pharmacy said: “Even if a pet is insured they need to be treated regularly to prevent suffering and avoid potential claims as well as possible premium increases. Simple worming and flea treatment regimes can protect the pet from infestation. We are now approaching the high season for these ailments.”


M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance and wedding insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

With a market capitalisation of US$190 billion (as at 7 October 2008), the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest financial services organisations. Over 100 million customers worldwide entrust HSBC with US$1.2 trillion in deposits. With a tier one capital ratio of 8.8% and a loan to deposit ratio of 90% as at 30 June 2008, the Group remains one of the most strongly capitalised and liquid banks in the world.

M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

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Cardiff Based Suppliers Of Data Cleansing And People Tracing, Tracesmart, Have Launched A New Online Service To Combat Money Laundering

Tracesmart are renowned for their tracing expertise as they currently help reunite unclaimed assets with their rightful owners and offer a variety of pension tracing services. However the company also offers a host of other provisions via its Tracesmart Corporate division, not least of which is their electronic identity verification facility, ID. Identity checks are an essential part of current anti-money laundering (AML) legislation and as such, ID is currently used by a vast range of businesses as part of their AML measures.

Previously, Tracesmart customers using ID, needed to select multiple tabs and verification criteria to conduct an identity check as part of AML procedures. This is no longer the case, as Paul Weathersby, Technical Director for Tracesmart explained, It was noticed by our technical team that to conduct a thorough AML search using ID meant that multiple search tabs had to be utilised and what Tracesmart’s customers really needed was the means by which multiple tabs could quickly be searched simultaneously. As such, we have developed AML – allowing users to swiftly and confidently verify client identity. We have also created an improved interface to make this an easy and straight forward task.

Money laundering is considered to have a massive negative financial impact upon the UK economy and the addition of Tracesmart’s new AML service is another means of combating the problem, fighting those who use the money to fund criminal activities.

Speaking about the new service, Mike Trezise, Managing Director for Tracesmart, added, Our new AML service is further proof of our commitment as a company to product development, improved customer service and most importantly, confirmation of our responsibilities as a data company that we continue to fight any form of identity related crime. We strive to improve our services so that we can protect our customers, and in turn, their customers, f r o m the negative impact of identity fraud.  

    • Tracesmart Ltd was formed in 1999 and supplies a diverse range of consumer data cleansing, identity check and tracing tools to a wide variety of industries. Their client base ranges f r o m SME to blue chip companies; allrecipients of bespoke solutions, built around their specific needs.
    • Paul Weathersby – Tracesmart’s Technical Director, Weathersby is the driving force behind the development and production of Tracesmart’s suite of web-based services, and manages and directs their experienced IT team.
    • Mike Trezise is the founder and Managing Director of Tracesmart. With over 25 years tracing and fraud analysis experience, his unrivalled knowledge provides the company with a distinct competitive advantage.


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    Fulfill Your Insurance Continuing Education Requirements For Only A $1 Per Credit In Most States

    If you have been frustrated with the options available to fulfill your credit requirements for continuing insurance education, you life may have just got a lot easier. began offering insurance education courses last month for only $1 per credit in most states. Instead of paying over $10 per credit hour to take them in a class. We had an insurance agent take several of their courses to review their site and service.

    The feedback was that it was the ugliest site she had ever seen. That being said, the courses were delivered with out issues, payment was easy, and she really liked the part about not paying until she passed the exam. In all she said she didn’t care if the site was ugly. It was by far the best Insurance CE solution that she had seen.

    We would suggest the same, go check out the site, laugh at how ugly it is, then fall in love with its simplicity. To visit their site. Go to

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    The Latest LV= Home Insurance Survey Reveals Addresses In Britain Are Being Devalued By A Total Of £71 Billion* As A Result Of Eyesores In The Local Neighbourhood

    Of those questioned, 44% Brits live close to a dilapidated home which experts say typically knocks up to 10%** (£15,675) off the average house value of neighbouring properties.

    Common ‘neighbouring problems’ which can affect a property’s value include overgrown or unkempt front gardens (22%), peeling paintwork (19%) and dumped furniture or mattresses left outside the property (10%). Persistent noise pollution such as invasive music from a house next door (11%) can also reduce the value of a typical property by an average of £18,000.

    Analysis commissioned by LV= home insurance, reveals that would-be homebuyers assume that these problems indicate a ‘neighbour from hell’ which reduces the price they are prepared to pay and in many cases completely deters buyers from making offers.

    Currently 11% of UK adults live next to a rundown property and generally the closer the proximity of a neglected or noisy home, the greater the effect on a property’s value, according to chartered surveyors Zennor Consultants.

    In the present market downturn, valuation surveyors are also more likely to down-value a property where they can see that the tone of the area is negatively affected by evidence of anti-social behaviour, or by a significant lack of maintenance on adjoining properties. Conversely, when property prices are booming, they are often more willing to overlook even significant defects.

    Poor maintenance of the house next door can also have other serious consequences. 33% of Brits have had their homes damaged by an adjacent property. Frequent problems include flooding or damp (11%), pest infestations (11%) and adjoining fence damage (9%), which overall costs the average homeowner £1,600 to repair. Just 19% of the next door properties’ owners covered such costs – either from their own pocket or by claiming on insurance.

    John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “This research shows that the financial price of living near to an untidy neighbour could have dire consequences, not only on your lifestyle but also on a home’s value and maintenance costs.

    “People living near these properties need to ensure they have suitable home insurance in place so that if the worst does happen they can claim for any damage to their home. Our research also found that unkempt properties have caused seven per cent of homeowners to fall out with their neighbours, so ensuring a good relation is always sensible – that way unpleasant situations can often be prevented.”


    Research carried out on behalf of LV= by Opinium Research and Zennor Consultants.

    * According to DCLG there are 25,754,000 UK households. 44% adults live near untidy property. Average UK house price £156,756 (Land Registry March 2009). Average reduction in value for an untidy street property = 4%. £6,270 x 0.44 x 25,754,000 = £71,050,135,200
    ** According to Zennor Consultants in March 2009.

    About LV= 
    LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.

    LV= insurance offers pet, home, travel and car insurance direct to consumers by telephone from its UK call centres in Bournemouth and Croydon and online from its website. LV= has been awarded the Defaqto five star rating for home insurance and car insurance. LV= insures over 1.6 million cars and 480,000 households in the UK.

    LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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    For the very latest in currency reporting, check out the brand new Best Currency Performance Tables on Currency UK

    Foreign Exchange specialists Currency UK are today launching their Best Currency Performance Tables, which reveal the strength of worldwide currencies and act as a comparison tool to show how each currency is performing against another…

    For the very latest in currency reporting, check out the brand new Best Currency Performance Tables on Currency UK.

    The simple to use tables not only show how well a currency is performing in its own right, but also compares each one against other global currencies to see how they stack up.

    The best and worst performing currency over the last month, six months and year is also clearly shown. This invaluable information makes for essential reading for all would be investors as it sets out which currency has been the best to invest in over the past year.

    The Tables show that the New Zealand dollar was by far the best performing currency over the last 28 days, up 15 per cent against the US dollar and a whopping 17 per cent against the Japanese Yen. The New Zealand dollar increased against every other currency included on the list, rising 10.3 per cent on average.

    Other strong performers were the Swedish Krona, which rose on average 6.28 per cent against other currencies. The Australian dollar rose 3.67 on average against other currencies, rising by 10 per cent against the Japanese Yen.

    After a strong showing over the last year, the Japanese Yen was the worst performing currency over the last 28 days, falling an average of 7.15 per cent against each other currency. The Yen’s biggest fall was 14 per cent against the New Zealand dollar. It also fell 9.6 per cent against the Australian dollar and 6.5 per cent against the Euro.

    Other weak performers were the British Pound, which fell on average 4.37 per cent against the other currencies, falling by four per cent against the Euro and 12 per cent against the New Zealand dollar.

    Adrian Jacob, Senior Account Manager at Currency UK said, “The Japanese Yen is doing particularly badly at the moment due to the once strong trade surplus turning into a trade deficit.

    “This is likely to remain the case for at least the next six months and, as Japan is no longer unique in its low interest rates, investors have been losing interest which has obviously affected the Yen.

    “In terms of performance by other currencies, the British pound has been struggling due to quantitative easing and a lack of risk appetite and the Australian dollar has been doing well as it is no longer a plaything for investors as it is no longer tied to risk appetite,” added Mr Jacob.

    Currency UK is a one stop shop for all your currency needs. Other features on the site include 13 individual currency pages, each giving a detailed description of a specific currency, along with advice and rankings.

    There is also a ‘buy currency’ page on which you can buy and sell Sterling, Euros, Dollars and all other major currencies commission free at exceptional rates not available on the high street.

    The currency conversion page reveals the latest rates, historic charts and tables for all of the major currencies and the Regular Payment Service allows you to benefit from the best rates and low charges when sending regular foreign currency payments.

    Visit Currency UK, one of the UK’s leading currency brokers, to view the Best Performance tables or call 020 7738 0777 for more information or to talk to a currency advisor.

    Notes to editors:

    Founded in 2000, Currency UK is a foreign exchange and international funds transfer specialist. One of the UK’s leading currency brokers, Currency UK has helped thousands of customers move hundreds of millions of pounds around the globe.

    As Currency UK doesn’t have the large overheads of the major banks, it is able to pass the savings on to customers by providing better value for money on foreign exchange services.

    Currency UK Ltd is a member of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) and is the preferred foreign exchange partner of The Offshore Financial Trade Association (OFTA).

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