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Homeowners 'must prepare for interest rate rise'

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Homeowners must prepare now for an inevitable interest rate rise, the Money Advice Trust has warned.

One in 14 (7%) people said that they would be in serious financial trouble if mortgage rates and repayments changed as they expect over the next three years, while a further one in five (20%) said this would cause them slight financial problems.

Around 39% of those surveyed said they will be forced to cut spending on holidays and eating out to cope with rate rises, while one-fifth plan to reduce spending on essentials such as clothing and food.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: "After all these years, mortgage-payers are in for a big financial shock when interest rates begin to rise. For many, that shock will be too much to absorb - and there is a real risk that we will see a surge in unmanageable debt problems as a result.

"Our message to borrowers is clear - interest rates will rise and that day is coming soon, so now is the time to prepare. Draw up a budget, speak to your lender, and if you do find yourself struggling to repay, seek free debt advice as early as possible."

Pubs and restaurants cut prices in tax cut campaign

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More than 15,000 pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK will cut the price of food and drink by 7.5% today as part of a campaign to reduce VAT.

Campaigner Jacques Borel called on the hospitality industry to make Tax Equality Day their busiest day of the year to highlight the benefit of a VAT reduction.

Prices will be reduced for one day to show the benefits to consumers of a VAT cut from 20%.

Mr Borel has achieved VAT cuts in a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Finland.

He said: "I am confident that Tax Equality Day will be a great success and that the price reductions will be welcomed by customers.

"At present all food and drink in pubs is subject to 20% VAT, compared to supermarkets which benefit from a zero VAT rate.

Our message is clear - a reduction in the level of VAT on a long-term basis will generate growth and create jobs in the important leisure and hospitality sector."

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One-in-four homeowners 'fear interest rate rise'

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

One in four mortgage holders fear they will be in financial trouble when interest rates start to rise, research has found.

Some 27% of those surveyed for the Building Societies Association (BSA) and charity the Money Advice Trust think they will be in difficulty when the base rate eventually moves off its historic 0.5% low.

One in 14 (7%) people said that they would be in serious financial trouble if mortgage rates and repayments changed as they expect over the next three years, while a further one in five (20%) said this would cause them slight financial problems.

Around 39% of those surveyed said they will be forced to cut spending on holidays and eating out to cope with rate rises, while one-fifth plan to reduce spending on essentials such as clothing and food.

ChildLine receiving 'far fewer calls from boys'

Figures from ChildLine have showed a big gap between the number of boys and girls who call to ask for help.

In 2012-13:

  • Some 278,886 children called the hotline.
  • The number one issue was depression and unhappiness.
  • The number of girls who called was 19,054 opposed to the 5,208 boys.
  • Self-harming was the fourth most reported issue, with 12,643 girls calling in opposed to only 856 boys.

Australian terror suspect had passport axed

A man shot dead after he stabbed two Australian police officers had his passport cancelled on national security grounds, it has emerged.

An Australian Federal Police officer and a Victoria state officer who were part of a Joint Counter Terrorism Team had asked the 18 year old to come to a police station in south-east Melbourne to answer questions after first drawing their attention three months ago, Victoria police chief, commissioner Ken Lay, said.

The trio exchanged handshakes before the man began stabbing the two officers. One of the officers shot the man dead.

Hammond: UK intelligence closing in on 'Jihadi John'

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul. Credit: Reuters

UK security and intelligence agencies are "getting warm" in the hunt to identify the British militant seen in Islamic State's beheading videos defence secretary Phillip Hammond has said.

It comes as the United States and Arab allies begun bombing parts of Syria where IS have gained a foothold, reportedly including the city of Raqqa where it is thought the former Salford taxi driver is being held.

Mr Hammond told American network CNN the investigation into the masked killer, dubbed Jihadi John and thought to be British, was closing the net.

Speaking to Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer at the United Nations summit in New York, he said: "We are getting warm, we are working on all the leads. There's a big investigation and we are getting warm.

"We are narrowing down the field but I don't want to say any more at this stage."

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Many diabetes patients 'not obese'

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One in every 10 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is a normal weight, new figures show.

The figures from charity Diabetes UK show that 11.3% of people diagnosed with the condition are deemed to have a normal weight.

And a small number - 0.4% - are even underweight.

The figures show that being overweight is not the only risk factor for the condition, the charity said.

People can be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they have a family history of the condition or if they are from a black, South Asian or Chinese background. A person's risk also increases as they get older, Diabetes UK said.

India's low-cost mission to Mars arrives in orbit

ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft seen prior to launch. Credit: ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission

The Indian space agency's low-cost mission to Mars has successfully entered the red planet's orbit on Wednesday, making India the first country to carry out such a project in its maiden attempt.

The success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, praised for its relatively low price tag of $74 million (£45 million), will boost India's 50-year-old space programme that newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to expand with better infrastructure and technology.

Teenage boys with mental health problems 'on the rise'

The number of teenage boys suffering from mental health problems is on the rise, with more boys suffering from anorexia, a top head teacher has warned.

Male pupils are developing mental health issues because they are under pressure to achieve academically, experts warned. Credit: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Bernard Trafford, who runs Newcastle's Royal Grammar School, warned the number of male pupils suffering from an anxiety-related condition has risen as they are under pressure to achieve academically.

Childline figures from 2012 - 2013 suggest 278,886 calls to their hotline were made by young people regarding mental health issues, with 5,208 made by boys about image issues.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 443 children under 13 were treated for an eating disorder by the NHS in 2010-11, including 79 under 10.

Mr Trafford explained: "One in 10 children will suffer from a mental health disorder at some stage of their school career, that's two of three in every class and it's getting worse."

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