We continue to hear complaints from readers about being fobbed off and given misleading information by DWP staff over state pension delays. A service meltdown has seen pensioners face phone logjams, empty promises of help by staff when they do get through, and in the worst cases hardship or hunger while trying to get payments started.
GRACE ON THE CASE: I can no longer afford to keep chipping away at my £13k Dartford Crossing debt for using it 64 times without paying...
I received charges of more than £13k to a debt collection agency called Cder Group after forgetting to pay the Dart Charge. I am being charged for a total of 64 crossings of which I have paid £8,424 so far in monthly instalments of £150. However, there is still an outstanding balance of £4,772.35 left to pay for 25 crossings left. Is there anything I can do?
Mergers take gaming industry to next level: After Call of Duty maker is snapped up in a £50bn deal, insiders bet on a wave of takeovers
The £50.6bn acquisition by Microsoft of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard has sent shockwaves through the computer games industry. Shares in Japanese conglomerate Sony plunged by over 12% in Tokyo amid fears the deal could threaten its dominance of the sector. However, shares in other firms surged on hopes they could ride the wave of consolidation either as buyers or targets.
Will you be next for the 'Mum and Dad scam'? WhatsApp crooks target parents with messages pretending to be their children pleading for cash
Santander reported a 532% surge in 'mum and dad' or 'friend in need' scams - where fraudsters impersonate their victims' loved ones - between August and November last year. Ex-headmistress Elizabeth Baker (pictured, left, with partner Hugh) - came close to losing more than £500 after a scammer pretended to be her daughter. Meanwhile a conman tricked the father of Cally Beaton (pictured, right) out of £1,800.
Is it time to put supermarket and retail shares in your basket again? Inflation is hurting shoppers but Tesco, M&S and rivals report bumper Christmas sales
Sainsbury's boss Simon Roberts hailed the supermarket's 'biggest ever' New Year, as it joined competitors Tesco and Marks & Spencer in hiking its profit expectations. Meanwhile, High Street retailers Next and JD Sports also reported a plush end to 2021, confounding initial predictions of a tough year.
Even as bills soar, energy firms are sending in debt collectors... but those facing demands - including a 93-year-old widow - often don't owe a penny
Power firms are unleashing heavy-handed debt collectors over bills that have often been issued in error. Customers of one firm have had unexpected demands after the supplier sold debts to a third party. The debt-purchasing company is represented by a law firm which two watchdogs have received complaints about.
How to get your finances sorted at 40: What you need to think about to reach your goals around that age (and a look back at Britain in 1982) on the This is Money podcast
Turning 40 is a milestone birthday - and perhaps the one that gets people thinking most about where they are at in life. But what do you need to think about in terms of your finances, from pensions, to property, investing and saving? This special birthday podcast looks at people's financial life around 40 - and includes plenty of tips relevant to those who are much younger or older. Plus we look back at what economic life was like 40 years ago.
Is a 'nudge' enough? Trial automatic appointments with Pension Wise for those looking to access pots from age 55, MPs tell the Government
Too many people are confused by pensions and at risk of scams, and need more help in the run-up to retirement, according to MPs. They call on the Government to 'end their timidity' and trial automatic appointments with free guidance service Pension Wise, claiming current plans to 'nudge' people into it will not be enough. MPs also suggest investigating the 'decoupling' of the 25% tax-free lump sum from the rest of a pension pot - potentially allowing people take that cash and leave the other 75% in their work schemes for longer.
What should I do about the gaps in my state pension record that the official website says it is still 'checking'? Steve Webb replies
I've been on the Government gateway site for a few years now, to check my state pension. I have a few years that say 'you didn't pay enough National Insurance this year, we are checking to see if this year will qualify' but this message never changes. Why? And will they check? Our agony uncle Steve Webb explains when it might be worth filling gaps in your National Insurance record.
Mondeo man moves to the Far East: Ford unveils its new Mondeo but it will only be sold in CHINA as long-running family favourite is axed from the UK
Ford has taken the covers off the new Mondeo at its China Design Centre in Shanghai on Monday. Mondeo has been sold in China since 2002, almost a decade after it hit UK showrooms and five years after it was famously used as a campaign tool by Tony Blair and New Labour to secure swing voters in its landslide victory to take power in 1997. Bosses describe the next-generation car as a 'sporty coupe-style sedan brimming with technology and showcasing Ford's bold new design language for China'. The new model comes as the manufacturer prepares to kill-off the long-running saloon from UK and European showrooms from March.
Burberry on track to beat profit forecasts amid strong sales of leather and outerwear goods as Asian and European trade improves
Luxury fashion house Burberry claims it is on track to beat its full year profit forecasts, amid strong sales in leather and outwear goods, and improved trading levels across Asia and Europe. The British-based retailer reported third quarter revenue of £723million, up by five per cent compared to same period last year. Store sales slipped 3 per cent over the period. The group said its adjusted operating profit for the year to 3 April would rise by around 35 per cent at constant exchange rates. Analysts had forecast a rise of 19 per cent to £472million.
Property market off to record start in 2022: Potential sellers ask for 44% more valuations than last year and typical asking price reaches £340,000
Rightmove recorded a surge in sellers looking to come to market at the start of the new year, which could mean more supply and less frenzied competition for buyers. Data from the property website showed January kicked off with a 44 per cent jump in valuation requests from the same time last year. It also showed a 15 per cent increase from last year in the number of buyers inquiring about homes. Prices have soared throughout the pandemic and the continuing shortage of available properties has pushed prices even higher. Estate agents on average have only 12 homes to sell, a record low, according to Rightmove.
The investments to beat inflation: These six shares and five investment trusts can keep rising - even when prices take off
Many of the companies that we invest in are facing price squeezes, thanks to ballooning raw material costs, expensive supply chains and rising wages. This affects their bottom line - and ultimately the value of your investment portfolio. But some companies are better able to deal with inflation than others because they are able to pass on rising costs to their customers. They may offer a product or service that customers will pay for even if prices increase, or have inflation-linked increases built into their contracts. Here are stocks, and four funds, that investment experts think could thrive despite rising inflation.
Safest new cars REVEALED: These are the five models that aced crash tests over the last 12 months - and those that scored poorly
Want to know which of the latest cars to hit the market will offer the best protection to you and your family? UK safety and security experts Thatcham Research has revealed which models demonstrated impressive safety credentials when being slammed into walls and poles during rigorous crash test assessments in the last 12 months - with the five standout models it selected are all in the running to win the 2022 What Car? Safety Award, which will be announced later this week. And while this handful of motors represents the cream of the crop when it comes to protecting occupants and other road users, This is Money will also tell you which three new cars scored the lowest ratings when been scrutinised by safety experts. We list the reasons why each model impressed (or failed to impress) across various judging criteria in 2021, including how well they performed in Euro NCAP's crash tests.
Vastly expensive roll-out of smart energy meters described as a 'waste of money' - because equipment will become obsolete
Smart meters currently rely on outgoing 2G and 3G mobile signals to operate. But mobile operators plan to pull the plug on them. When they are turned off, the meters will become 'dumb' and be no better than the traditional devices they replaced. Smart meters cannot handle 4G or 5G communication technology. The only remedy will be the installation of new smart meters or replacing a part of existing ones - at huge extra cost. Alex Henney, a former Government adviser who worked with Secretary of State for Energy, Cecil Parkinson, in the late 1980s on energy privatisation, described the meters as 'obsolete equipment at a ludicrously high cost'.
From the stiff collar 60s to Thatcher's 80s boom, the credit crunch and the Brexit years: As he retires, City veteran DAVID BUIK looks back on the past six decades
David Buik, a veteran of the City, is retiring after almost 60 years working in Britain's financial industry. He looks back on his working life and how things have changed since he took his first job in 1962, when dress and haircuts were very conventional and you addressed people older than you as 'Sir' or 'Mrs.'
The most expensive cars sold at auction in 2021: Feast your eyes on 10 ultra-exclusive motors that collectors forked out more than £60m on last year
The pandemic has done very little to quell the demand for classic cars in the last couple of year, with auction sales continuing to hit record levels despite the global impact of Covid-19 on economies and wealth. The emergence of new dedicated sites for a raft of collectible models, such as Collecting Cars and The Market, means petrol heads have increased opportunity to buy and sell vehicles of all generations and value, while data show that appetite remains high at the premium end of the market where motors sell for millions. We asked classic car insurer and value tracker, Hagerty, to tell us which were the priciest of last year. Here, we exclusively list the 10 cars that went under the hammer across the globe in 2021 and sold for the highest figures...
One digit wrong in a sort code... and £2,000 vanished - but neither RBS nor Lloyds can find my cash: TONY HETHERINGTON investigates
I sent £2,000 from my Lloyds account to an account at the Royal Bank of Scotland, but I mistyped one digit of the RBS sort code. I realised this the next day and informed Lloyds, and after I contacted the Ombudsman, Lloyds tried to recover my money. However, RBS responded months later, saying the RBS account had been closed since 2015 so it had returned the money to Lloyds. Despite this, Lloyds says my money is still with RBS. We need this money badly.
Choosing the right DIY platform is crucial but a wealth of choice and a variety of charges can leave investors scratching their heads. We pick some of the best. We pick some of the best. We also highlight why investing in an Isa makes sense, as it should protect your hopefully growing investments from tax forever.
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