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'Save £200 by switching suppliers'

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

The UK Government says 650,000 households across Wales are missing out on their share of £130 million by sticking with their energy company.

It says by shopping around and taking advantage of the best energy deals on the market, millions of people can save around £200 - and some can save even more.

The ‘Power to Switch’ campaign, launched today, encourages people to switch supplier and save money by visiting www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com

There are 26 energy companies on the market and some fixed deals are £100 cheaper than they were a year ago.

We need to shout loud about the benefits of switching tariff. Too many people think energy firms are ‘all the same’. That’s far from true, there are huge differences on both price and customer service.

The worry is that news of recent price cuts, even though they were paltry, will have given many false confidence that they’re on a decent deal. Examine the figures and the ugly truth is very different.

– Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert

Wales sees biggest fall in shopper numbers

Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium says Wales has seen the highest decline in shopper numbers across the UK.

In January they fell by 4.6% compared to a year ago. The biggest decline was at shopping centres followed by the High Street and out-of-town sites.

Meanwhile the number of empty shops was also up on the previous three months.

Our report ‘Welsh Retail: An Economic and Social Contribution’, which was launched this week, highlights the importance of the retail industry to communities across Wales and today’s figures will no doubt be of concern to many.

With almost 130,000 employees and 8,000 businesses Welsh retail is key to the wellbeing of our economy and we need be doing all we can to encourage investment by retailers and consumers alike.

We welcome the Minister’s recent comments around business rates and the potential for radical reform in the medium to long term. Retailers want to be at the heart of these discussions.

– Sara Jones, Head of Policy & External Affairs, WRC

Stamp duty reform 'boosts housing market'

The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey says more properties are coming on to the Welsh housing market, and the potential of stamp duty reform is continuing to provide a boost.

Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

In Wales, 16% more chartered surveyors have reported a rise in newly agreed sales and have also seen a slight increase in properties coming onto their books in January.

The rise in supply, and continued demand, have kept prices and price expectations in the region positive.

18% more chartered surveyors have seen a rise in the past three months, and respondents are predicting a sustained market in the next three months.

"There was an unexpected slow start to the year after the Christmas break although in the last week of January activity increased and the market seems to be resuming with buyers and new listings...There are mixed message of activity across Wales from chartered surveyors and it would appear that many vendors anticipating marketing have been busy ‘dressing’ their homes in January...We anticipate an increase of new instructions across all price ranges in the coming months."

– Tony Filice RICS Spokesperson for RICS Wales Residential

Wales' biggest building society announces annual results

The Principality Group is announcing its results for 2014, saying it had a strong year, with profits up.

They also say number of first time buyers getting on the property ladder has risen by more than a quarter in the past year.

Credit: ITV Wales News

The Society reported a pre-tax profit of £53.5m. Last year it announced mortgage lending was up by ten percent to more than a billion pounds. It also said its first time buyer market grew to a record high.

Competition in the mortgage market has meant that interest rates for borrowers have been forced downwards and as a direct result of this savings rates have also been reducing.

We do recognise the plight of savers in an environment of continuing low interest rates and we have implemented a number of initiatives to help alleviate this.

In 2014, we have built on our core principles of providing a safe home for our customers' savings and helping people to buy their homes, whilst continuing to deliver strong customer service.

– Graeme Yorston, Principality Group Chief Executive

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Cardiff one of UK's most 'energy savvy' cities

37% surveyed in Cardiff said they'd like to make energy saving a priority - the highest percentage recorded outside London Credit: PA

People from Cardiff are among the most energy savvy in Britain, according to the latest research from British Gas.

Over half of those surveyed said they try to save energy in their home, with 87% saying they would change their energy habits if it meant making savings on their bills.

The poll also showed people in the capital are taking more steps to save their energy, with over a third knowing about smart meters - more than 15,000 of which have already been installed in the city.

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