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Cold callers could be hit with fines of up to £500,000

Cold callers could soon be hit with hefty fines. Credit: PA

Firms who bombard people with nuisance calls and texts could be fined up to £500,000 under new government proposals.

The law currently requires the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to prove a company caused ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’ by their conduct.

But the Government wants to reduce this to causing ‘annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety’.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Being called day after day may not be ‘substantially distressing’, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

"I want to make it easier for companies to face the consequences of ignoring the law and subjecting us to calls or texts we have said we don’t want."

Driving licence fees to be slashed by 32%

Credit: PA

Driving fees will be slashed by 32% from October 31, the government has announced.

Under the new rules the cost of a provisional driving licence online will drop from £50 to £34.

And online licence renewals due every 10 years will fall from £20 to £14.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said the move was designed to "give savings back to the taxpayer".

The fee for driver tachograph cards - used by businesses to record how far their staff are driving - have also been cut from £38 to £32.

It is expected to save drivers and businesses £150 million over the next 10 years.

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Firms expect pay to only rise 2% over the next year

Most workers are unlikely to get a wage rise that matches inflation in 2015, according to new analysis.

A survey of 280 companies found that firms expect wages to rise only 2% over the next year, with one in 14 firms likely to freeze wages.

Firms do not expect wages to rise in line with inflation next year. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

But pay analysts XpertHR said some companies said they would give a pay rise to workers they thought were likely to look for a new job or those who taken on extra duties.

Fake goats cheese made from sheep's milk found on sale in supermarkets

Fake goats cheese has been found to be on sale Credit: PA Wire

Fake goats cheese made from sheep's milk has been found on sale in supermarkets following a shortage of milk from the animals.

Consumer group Which? commissioned tests on 76 goats cheese samples from supermarkets, delis and markets sold at eight UK locations.

In six cases, half or more of the product was found to be sheep's cheese.

Three of these contained more than 80% sheep's cheese, three contained more than 50%, while three other cheeses contained smaller amounts - around 5%.

Which? said it would be following up its findings with the companies involved and the Food Standards Agency.

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Concerns over loan shark customers

One in three people turned down for a payday loan considered using an illegal loan shark, research suggests Credit: PA Wire

One in three people turned down for a payday loan following the introduction of tighter lending rules considered using an illegal loan shark instead, according to research.

Someone turned away by a payday lender is twice as likely to go a loan shark as they are to seek help from a credit union, a survey carried out for The Consumer Finance Association found.

The Consumer Finance Association (CFA) represents short-term lenders including the Money Shop, Cash Converters, Quick Quid, Peachy and Sunny.

A poll of 720 people who had been turned down for a payday loan by a member of the CFA following the new rules found a third had thought about going to an illegal lender after they were declined.

One in 25 (4%) said they had used an illegal lender, which is double the proportion who said they had gone to a credit union.

Shoppers 'buying little and often'

Shoppers are using convenience stores more, according to a report. Credit: PA Wire

People are shopping "little and often" and spending more in convenience stores, according to research.

So-called "time poor" shoppers are grocery shopping at least twice as often as they were five years ago, according to a report by Waitrose.

More people are using convenience stores with 25% of consumers visiting one every day, according to figures from a poll of 1,000 people carried out for the supermarket.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: "The twin pillars of convenience and technology mean that people shop more often, and in ways that suit them."

Jennifer Garner: De la Renta 'let the woman be the star'

Garner (right) wearing a de la Renta dress at the 2008 Oscars. Credit: Reuters

Actress Jennifer Garner says Oscar de la Renta was a "gentleman" whose love of women was reflected in the dresses he created.

Garner - who wore a de la Renta dress at the 2008 Oscars, among other occasions - said: "You saw it in every design that he did - he honoured women's features, he honoured our bodies.

He wasn't afraid to pull back and let the woman be the star of the look. I was just lucky to get to wear his designs and get to know him a little bit - just the tiniest bit - as a person.

– Jennifer Garner on Oscar de la Renta
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