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  1. National

Osborne: 'Free and impartial advice' over pensions

Chancellor George Osborne has said that "free and impartial advice" on pensions will be delivered by the Government using organisations like Citizen's Advice Bureau and Age UK.

Mr Osborne said the steps meant people could "make the right choices" and know that they are getting "good, independent guidance that is right for them".

  1. National

'Impartial' pensions guidance 'a real game-changer'

Millions of people will get free, impartial advice on how to make the most of their retirement savings under George Osborne's radical shake-up of the pension system. Pensions expert Ros Altmann, the Government's older workers' business champion, said:

The decision that guidance must be impartial and separate from the industry is a real game-changer and will help equip people to make the right decisions for them.

The challenge is now firmly with the industry to develop the products that people need, rather than simply the products they wish to sell.

– Ros Altmann, Pensions expert

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Minster says "right decision will be made" on Thames Crossing.

It's a route used by more than a hundred thousand drivers a day. The Dartford Crossing is one of the biggest pinch-points for the south-east road network. Today the Government said it will do a detailed study of two final options for a new crossing over the Thames.

But some debate whether it's needed. David Johns reports, speaking to Roads Minister Robert Goodwill and Thurrock Council leader John Kent (Lab).

Engagement ring stolen at wedding subject of £1,000 reward

The family of a bride who's engagement ring was stolen on her wedding day are offering a £1000 reward to try and get it back before the couple return from honeymoon.

The ring was in a handbag taken from the lobby of St Peter ad Vincula Church in Wisborough Green, Sussex. The theft understandably put a dampener on the couple's special day - who then tried to track it down with a mobile phone.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to the groom's father Mervyn Granshaw.

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  1. National

House prices rise for 13 months in a row

Nationwide report showing property prices have risen by 11.1% over the last year also marks the second month in a row where annual growth in property values has hit double digits, following a 10.9% year-on-year uplift in April.

House prices have leapt by 11.1% over the last year in the strongest annual growth seen since June 2007, Nationwide has reported. Credit: PA

But on a monthly basis, prices rose by 0.7% in May, which represents a slowdown compared with the 1.2% monthly increase seen in April.

Property values have now been edging up for 13 months in a row on a month-on-month basis. Across the UK, average house prices now stand at £186,512.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said it is "too early" to say whether the housing market is seeing the start of a cooling trend.

Mr Gardner said some signs of a slowdown may partly be due to toughened mortgage lending rules introduced in April, "which may take a few months to bed down".

Seaside homes get property price boost

On average, property prices in seaside towns have grown by 42% in the last 10 years to reach £196,826, according to Halifax.

But the typical price tag on a seaside home is still over £42,000 cheaper than the average house price across Britain, at £239,518.

Craig McKinlay, mortgage director at Halifax, said: "Seaside towns provide a unique lifestyle opportunity and remain popular places for people to live, while also attracting those looking for second homes or holiday properties which can place additional upward pressure on house prices.

Here are the 10 most expensive seaside towns according to Halifax, with the average house price:

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  • 1. Salcombe, South West, £615,344.
  • 2. Sandbanks, South West, £574,089.
  • 3. Aldeburgh, East Anglia, £446,576
  • 4. Padstow, South West, £381,812.
  • 5. Dartmouth, South West, £373,173.
  • 6. Wadebridge, South West, £371,670.
  • 7. Lymington, South East, £359,802.
  • 8. Budleigh Salterton, South West, £356,172.
  • 9. Mawes, South West, £329,998.
  • 10. Lyme Regis, South West, £326,813

Charity warns that risk of home repossession is high in the South West

Homes under threat Credit: ITV news

More than 13,000 homes in the South West are at risk of eviction or repossession, the equivalent of 253 households threatened every week, according to new figures released today by Shelter.

The housing charity has revealed the hotspots across the South West where people are most likely to face losing their home, showing Gloucester at the top of the list, followed by City of Bristol, Weymouth and Portland and Bournemouth.

Shelter is warning that despite the economic recovery, growing numbers of families are still set to struggle in the future. It predicts that with the majority of families already struggling month to month with their housing costs and interest rates set to rise, many could soon hit danger levels.

The charity is stressing that people must get advice as soon as possible to prevent arrears from spiralling out of control, and start preparing for future mortgage or rent rises.

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