Live updates

Rail electrification could cost 'up to £2.8bn'

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The boss of Network Rail (NR) has admitted the cost of electrifying the Great Western railway line between South Wales and London could reach £2.8 billion.

Previous estimates for the project were £874 million in January 2013 and £1.6 billion in September last year.

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne told MPs the latest figure is £2.5-2.8 billion, based on 2012 prices.

The company issued a statement which described the project as "an extremely complex task that is being delivered whilst continuing to run an operational railway".

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee is due to issue its report into the electrification project by the end of the year.


Switching energy suppliers could save '£200 or more'

More than half a million Welsh households could save £200 or more by switching gas and electricity suppliers, new government figures suggest.

Credit: PA

But a recent poll found that only 6% of people in Wales realised they could save that amount by switching, with around one quarter estimating they would save £50 or less.

"With winter almost upon us, many consumers will be dreading higher energy bills... I'd urge consumers to take control of their energy bills before the cold weather starts to bite."

– Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch

Cybercrime 'poses huge challenge'

Credit: Boris Roessler/DPA/PA Images

A report by Cardiff University is highlighting the scale of cybercrime.

It says 106,681 fraud-related incidents were reported by individuals and businesses in the last three months of last year. A third related to banking and credit industry fraud.

Losses totalled £217.4m in 2014

The introduction of sophisticated technology has brought about a step-change in the way economic crime is committed – enabling frauds to be perpetrated at scale, at great speed, and at a distance, with no physical contact necessary between criminal and victim.

This type of crime challenges conventional policing models which are focused on detection and investigation because it represents a paradigm shift in the way such crimes can be committed. Policing – both in the UK and around the world – therefore faces many challenges in adapting and responding to these evolving patterns of crime.

– Dr Mike Levi, Professor of Criminology at Cardiff University

The cost of raising a child in Wales 'is £76,600'

Credit: Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/PA Images

The Halifax says the cost of raising a child in Wales to the age of 11 now stands at £76,600.

Across the UK childcare is by far the biggest outlay, costing parents £3,840 a year on average. This is eating into households budgets, with prices rising by 3% or more than £100 compared with a year ago.

Other major expenditures include food (£960), holidays (£748) and schooling (£511).

As a result of rising costs, half of parents surveyed by Halifax have had to cut back on going out to socialise with friends, while just under half have reduced the number of times they eat out.

A further two in five said they have had to spend less on holidays and a third have cut back on ordering in takeaways, clothing, and other luxury items since having children.


Debt tips for young people from Citizens Advice

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images
  • Work out a basic budget, including rent, gas, electricity, travel and food
  • Prioritise the most important bills. The consequences for not paying some debts, like rent or council tax, can be much more serious than for others, so paying these first is important. Once you have done that, you can look at your budget and work out how much can go towards other debts
  • Make the most of the offers available to young people. Under 25s can often get discounts on travel and you may not have to pay council tax if you are in full-time education or on an apprenticeship. Check for more information

Citizens Advice: Young people's average debt is £12,215

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

A new generation of young people are burdening themselves with "stifling" levels of debt, Citizens Advice has warned, after seeing the number of requests for help from this age group surge by a fifth in a year.

Across Wales and England people aged 17 to 24 have asked the charity for help with 102,296 debt issues in the last year - a figure 21% higher than the previous year.

Citizens Advice also said its analysis of official data, covering the UK as a whole, found that young people have £12,215 of "unsecured" (non-mortgage) debt on average, more than three times the average £3,988 debt just before the financial downturn between 2006 and 2008.

There have also been changes in the types of loans they are shouldering.The charity said that while much of the debt rise is due to student loans, there has also been an increase in "formal" loans such as bank or payday lending, as well as borrowing from friends and family.

Many young people already face challenges getting on the career and housing ladders - doing this while saddled with huge unsecured debts makes it an uphill struggle.

– Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice
Load more updates