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Standard Life planning 'transfer' in event of a Yes

Standard Life, which has its headquarters in Edinburgh, has announced contingency plans to relocate parts of its business to England in the event of a Yes vote.

A statement on the Standard Life website said:

In view of the uncertainty around Scotland's constitutional future, we have put in place precautionary measures which would help enable us to provide customers with continuity. This includes planning for new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so.

This transfer of our business could potentially include pensions, investments and other long-term savings held by UK customers...

We will continue to serve our customers in Scotland and will consider what additional measures we may need to take on their behalf as a consequence of constitutional change once further clarity and certainty is received.

– statement by David Nish, chief executive, standard life

Energy UK urges 'come forward and make a claim'

The energy watchdog has urged customers who believe they may have money left in their former accounts to "come forward and make a claim."

Customers who think they haven't left a forwarding address or a final meter reading when they moved or switched should contact their old supplier.

The web site myenergycredit.com will help you do this.

Inevitably, there will be some former customers who will not be found and so the major suppliers are announcing what will happen to credit balances from now on.

In future, after two years, the credit balance will be used to help vulnerable customers - and suppliers will make it very clear what is happening.

– Energy UK's chief executive Angela Knight

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Move to reclaim money left in energy accounts

The Big Six energy suppliers have launched a campaign to reunite former customers with money left in their accounts.

The MyEnergyCredit campaign will encourage customers who have switched suppliers or moved home without leaving a forwarding address to get in touch with their old company if they think they have left money behind.

The Big Six energy suppliers have launched a campaign to reunite former customers with money left in their accounts. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

Energy UK said £153 million in unclaimed credit had accumulated over the last six years, with the average balance at around £50.

The trade association said that from now on, after two years any unclaimed credit would be put towards funds to help the fuel poor and vulnerable, which would amount to at least £65 million over five years.

Currency union 'incompatible' with Scottish sovereignty

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has said a currency union between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK would be "incompatible" with Scottish sovereignty.

Mark Carney says currency union would be Credit: ITV News

Answering a question about Scottish independence at the TUC Congress, he talked about elements needed for a successful currency union.

He said there would have to be cross-border agreements on tax and spending as well as on banking rules. He also noted the opposition of Britain's three main political parties to a currency union with Scotland.

He concluded that within this context, a currency union would not be possible.

Gary Barlow apologises over tax row on Twitter

Take That singer Gary Barlow has taken to Twitter to apologise over claims that he was involved in a tax avoidance scheme.

The musician also revealed he had a "new team of accountants" and was now looking to settle matters as quickly as possible.

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Surge in problems with payday loan debt

There has been a big rise in the number of people struggling to pay back payday loan debts, according to a leading debt charity.

StepChange said they dealt with 43,716 people in the first six months of this year, compared with 30,762 for the same period last year.

StepChange reported a big rise in payday loan debt in the last year. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A clampdown by financial regulators on the payday loan industry is due to come into effect in January of next year.

It includes cap on fees and interest charges to try to protect vulnerable people from getting mired in debt.

The proposals should mean those who have taken out a loan should never end up paying back more in charges than the amount they borrowed.

StepChange said that while the new measures were a "crucial step forward" there needed to be even stricter rules to stop people getting into difficulty.

Bank overdraft fees 'too high or unfair', customers say

About 2.5m people used an unauthorised overdraft in the last year, with over two thirds saying charges on them are too high or unfair.

The poll for consumer magazine Which? found over a third of people (36%) were surprised at how high their charges were, with 68% saying they were too high.

Many bank customers say fees for unauthorised overdrafts are too high. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Which? said 25,000 people had now signed up to a campaign called 'Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges' aimed at misleading or overly high fees.

'No living wage' for many part-time working women

Women working part-time are typically earning less than the living wage in many parts of Britain, a new study claims.

Female employees earning below the living wage is the 'norm' in Britain, the TUC says. Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA

The TUC says most part-time women workers were earning below the living wage in over 50 local authority areas, including three out of four in West Lancashire and two-thirds in West Somerset.

The living wage is currently set at £7.65 an hour across Britain, apart from in London where it stands at £8.80.

The union has called on the Government to ensure companies awarded contracts pay their staff the living wage.

Government: Housing most affordable since 2007

Home ownership is at its most affordable since 2007, the government has claimed.

Responding to research from Shelter indicating many families are cutting back on food to cover housing costs, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said repossessions were currently at their lowest since 2007 and down almost a third since last year.

He added that record low interest rates had made owning a home more affordable, while adding that "private rent levels are falling in real times".

On top of this, we've got Britain building, with nearly half a million new homes delivered since 2010, including nearly 200,000 affordable homes, and almost 40,000 new home owners have been created through the Help to Buy schemes.

– Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister
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