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House prices 'rise in Wales'

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House prices have risen across Wales for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

In October, over a quarter more chartered surveyors saw house prices rise rather than fall across Wales, up from a balance of 15% in September.

It is hard to get away from the issue of supply when it comes to the current state of the housing market in Wales and across the UK. The legacy of the drop in new build following the onset of the global financial crisis is now really hitting home with both the sales and letting markets continuing to show demand outstripping supply on a month by month basis.

– Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist


Rail electrification could cost 'up to £2.8bn'

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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.

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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'

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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'

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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.

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