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Thames Water settles council tax bills after flooding

Thames Water, through their Loss Adjuster, have confirmed their undertaking to pay council tax bills for the flooded properties in Normandy Crescent until displaced residents are able to move back into their homes. The company’s Loss Adjuster informed the City Council that payments will be made directly to the Council’s Revenues and Benefits service to cover council tax liabilities for all affected properties from 22 September until 1 January 2015.

This position will be reviewed at the end of this year and further payments will be made, if required. For residents who have moved into temporary accommodation with higher council tax bills than the sum that they are liable for in respect of their main residence in Normandy Crescent, Thames Water will settle the difference.

Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, says: “The past couple of weeks will have been a traumatic experience for everyone affected by flooding. “We welcome the confirmation by Thames Water through their insurer that they will settle council tax liability for the period of non-occupation of the Normandy Crescent dwellings.”

Stuart White, Thames Water spokesman, says: “There is no way customers should be paying their council tax bill twice in these circumstances, so having worked closely with the Council we are pleased to have now covered off this significant expense until they are each able to move back home."

New career for TV journalist found sleeping on a bench

Seven years ago, Ed Mitchell was sleeping on bench on Hove seafront. The former newscaster, who had enjoyed a glittering career, brought to his knees by drink and debt.

Yet he was discovered by a journalist and sparked a media frenzy, becoming front page news and even staring in his own documentary, writing a book about his experiences.

After continuing his battle with addiction, he's now preparing a new career as a radio DJ - offering financial advice. Andy Dickenson reports.

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  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Future of Ebbsfleet under discussion

Architects, investors and political leaders attended a planning summit today to discuss multi-billion pound schemes set to transform north Kent.

First and foremost - the creation of a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, where the first homes are now under construction. Then there is Paramount Park, the vast entertainment resort proposed for the Swanscombe Peninsula between Gravesend and Dartford.

Also - the prospect of a second Thames crossing. And the possibility of Crossrail being extended to Ebbsfleet. David Johns reports.

He spoke to design expert Chris Lamb; architect Sir Terry Farrell; and Councillor Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council.

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Brighton homes open for eco tourists

Are your heating bills too high? Do you wonder why there's always a draught blowing round the house? Well perhaps you could pick up some inspiration from a series of "eco buildings" that are open to the public in Brighton and Hove tomorrow and next weekend. This from David Johns.

He speaks to home owner (and architect) Mark Pellant; project organiser Caroline Schofield; and Interior Designer Claire Potter.

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Step Change: people reluctant to seek help

Debt charity Step Change says people with money problems are often very reluctant to seek help.

The daughter of a man who took his own life after getting into debt, wants the government to do more to stop situations like his.

ITV Meridian's Fred Dinenage has been speaking to Frances Walker from Step Change and asked her what Ian Jordan from Botley should have done when he realised he was in financial trouble:

Advice on what you can do if you are in debt

Debt charity Step Change and the government's Money Advice Service offer a range of information on what options are available to people in debt.

  • Debt management plan - helps individuals or households manage their debts, when they can’t afford their contractual payments. Some companies charge, come charities provide service for free.
  • Individual voluntary arrangement - a legally binding arrangement where you make reduced payments over 5 or 6 years. At the end of this time your debts are written off.
  • Debt relief order - can help you to write off debt that you’re unable to repay in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Bankruptcy - can help you to write off debt that would otherwise take many years to clear.
  • Equity release - accessing some of the money tied up in the home, without the need to move. You can release a tax free cash lump sum or setup access to a flexible borrowing facility.
  • Debt consolidation - usually involves taking out new credit to pay off existing credit. Most people do this to reduce the interest rate on their debt, to bring down their monthly payment amount or to reduce the number of companies they owe money to.

Calls for change after Botley man's suicide over debts

A woman whose father took his own life when he got into thousands of pounds worth of debt is calling for more to be done to help stop families falling into money troubles.

Ian Jordan from Botley owed around £20,000 to more than a dozen loan companies over the course of a year. His daughter Samantha says authorities need to do more to stop situations like that from happening:

The charity Step Change offers free advice for anyone with concerns about debts.

Average cost of wedding day in region is £15,000

It's often described as one of the biggest days of your life, and is certainly one of the most expensive.

Couples are spending thousands on their wedding day. In fact, the average cost of a wedding in the Meridian region is £14,980 - a little higher than the national average of £14,441.

Lauren Hall has been to the National Wedding Show to find out why tying the knot means untying those purse strings.

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