Investing in property has always been considered a sound move, but new research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that investors have the most confidence in a property pension to generate the best return.

The figures reveal that property is considered the second safest way to save for retirement, plus more than twice as many believe it will generate more money than any other form of saving or investment.

However, they do not expect their investment to provide an income when they stop working.

The ONS found that most people believe workplace pensions to be a financial haven for their savings, with 38% of over 40s choosing a workplace pension with their employer as their method of saving for retirement. Property came second with 29% of insurers.

But when asked which investment was likely to generate the best return, property soared to the top of the list with 49% of the vote, compared with just 20% having confidence in workplace pensions.

The rest was split between personal pensions, savings, ISAs and other investments.

The percentage of people identifying property as their best return on investment increased between July 2010 and December 2016, said an ONS spokesperson.

“In contrast, the popularity of ISAs and savings accounts has been decreasing, possibly reflecting low interest rates over this period affecting people’s attitudes towards these types of investments.”

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We’re a nation of DIY fanatics, but there are definitely occasions when a job calls for a professional. Faulty wiring can cause little annoyances to real dangers, including exposed live wires and electrical fires.

Old style fuse-boxes are a good indication that a property hasn’t been rewired for some time, but what about the warning signs that these wires are not only old, but ineffective? InsureEsy lists six scenarios where it would be wise to call on an electrician.

  1. Your lights have a mind of their own
    A wiring imbalance can cause power surges and dips, making your lights brighten or dim. Unless someone is having fun with a smart home system app, it’s time to have them checked out.


  1. Your laptop is going on the blink
    You know when you’re in the middle of something really important on your laptop, like you’ve just waded through IKEAs entire online catalogue and your monitor goes black? It’s annoying but could be part of a bigger problem. Listen out for your fan slowing down before you lose power.


  1. You can smell burning
    The smell of burning plastic is pretty distinctive. Sometimes it’s clarification that the spatula you thought was heatproof is not. Other times it’s when wires have gotten too hot and melted into their plastic casing. Hot plug sockets are also a warning sign.


  1. You can hear buzzing
    When wires become damaged or wet, they can cause buzzing signs. This is the cause of these sounds 5% of the time. Mostly it’s a fault with an appliance, which you can easily check by plugging it in elsewhere.


  1. You’re left in the dark
    Even if all the above signals are ignored, loss of power can’t go unnoticed. Sometimes, if one or more of your appliances aren’t working, it might be that the fuse has tripped, or something has chewed through the wire.


If you’re ever unsure, get in touch with your electrician. Ignore bad wiring and it could cause a fire, and it might not be covered on your insurance if you’ve not taken steps to get it sorted.

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Squatters can claim possession of a building they’re occupying
True: Someone who is occupying a property without the owners’ permission can become the registered owner with the help of a conveyancer or solicitor.

To do so, they would have to prove that they or their predecessors occupied the property for 10 years (or 12 if the property is not registered), that they acted as owners of the property for the entire time, and that they didn’t have the owner’s permission.

The owner would have 65 days to object to any application, which would be automatically rejected as a result.

Subsequent applications could be made after two years of a previous attempt if the owner has made no attempt to remove the occupant.


Squatting is illegal
True: Occupying a residential building without the owners’ permission is against the law and carries a fine of £5000, a six-month prison sentence or both.

And false: Occupying a commercial property is, in itself, not against the law. Causing damage to the property, however, is, as is refusing to leave when asked by:

  • the owner
  • the police
  • the council
  • a repossession order

Police may take other action against the unlawful occupant if they commit offences such as damage or theft, using gas and electricity without permission or fly tipping.


A tenant that doesn’t pay rent is a squatter
 Anyone who has originally had permission to live in a property is not classed as a squatter. They can still be evicted, and landlords’ insurance provides the financial means to start proceeding to do so. Speak to Insure Easy for more details.

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Nothing is going to dash your post-holiday inner contentment than the discovery of a kicked in door, smashed windows and stolen valuables.

Take the precautions below and you can be confident that a break-in, while you’re enjoying your holiday, will be much less likely.

  1. Don’t broadcast your trip – It’s natural that we want to share our excitement when a trip away is on the horizon, but there’s such a thing as over-sharing, thanks to social media. If your Facebook profile is open to everyone, then everyone, including someone looking for empty properties will know when you’re away. Check-ins will also give them an idea of your neighbourhood – all they then have to look for is the house that has all the telltale signs of absent occupants. 
  2. The “at-home” façade – An unkempt lawn and no lights are two such tell-tale signs.  Outdoor security lights can be activated by movement or come on automatically at intermittent periods. Home automation systems allow you to control your indoor lights remotely using your smartphone so you can switch them on and off at certain times of the day.
  3. Keep spare keys secure – Think the backdoor key under the pebble is hidden enough? It’s probably not. If a thief is willing to go to the effort of breaking down your door or coming in through the window, searching around for a spare key outside your property isn’t going to be much of a challenge. If you want people other than yourself to have keys, put them somewhere safe, like a mini outdoor key safe which is locked by a code, or deliver them directly.
  4. Fake it – Not a dog person? You can still scare off would-be intruders with a dog alarm, or make them think twice with a security sign.
  5. Keep watch – If you really want to keep an eye on your home yourself, there are smartphone connected security devices which feature cameras and motion detectors, so you can tune in to what’s happening at home, and be alerted of any suspicious activity with live footage. This allows you to respond to threats on your home as they happen, rather than when it’s too late to do anything about it.
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Google has left consumers without a “genuine choice” in their shopping service, according to Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner. This is the conclusion drawn after seven years of investigation into the San-Francisco based search engine, which has been penalised with an anti-trust fine to the tune of €2.42bn.

“Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results and demoting those of competitors. What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager explained.


What is abuse of a dominant position?
A company, such as Google, may have a dominant position in their marketplace. This in itself isn’t illegal, but when a company uses this advantage to further disadvantage their competitors, this is tantamount to abuse of position.

Examples of abuse might include:

  • Charging prices which are too high or too low – too high and the company is exploiting the consumers, too low and they could be cutting out competitors by subsidising unrealistic offers.
  • Conditional purchase – Two items may go brilliantly together, but the consumer should always have the final say, and shouldn’t be forced into purchasing one product to acquire another. This does not include limited edition free gifts.
  • Obstruction – A business might intercept their competitors’ customers by offering them no choice but to use their product or service.


Is my company in a dominant position?
Defining your company as dominant is as cut and dry as measuring market share, although having 50% is normally a good indication. That said, some companies with only 40% market share can still be dominant.


Why is it illegal?
Competitive pressure among businesses breeds innovation, offers choice to consumers, and makes previously unattainable products or services more affordable. By taking away the competition, companies are having a negative impact on trading which can affect all of these benefits – to the detriment of consumers, competitors and potentially the marketplace as a whole.




No matter how many times we welcome warmer temperature, only to blast it when it lingers in the twenties for five consecutive days, we never seem to be prepared.

We’re more likely to keep an umbrella to hand than a personal fan, but keeping your cool when all about you are losing theirs is easy if you know how. You may even turn a few heads while doing it.

  1. Face mist – A portable solution can be yours for under a fiver, with canned hydration to keep you fresh-faced. Start adding in vitamins, toners and the like into the mix and you can expect to pay ten times that amount.
  2. Hot curry – The heat compound capsaicin found in chillis stimulates sweat production. Sweating leads to heat loss as your perspiration evaporates, so while your mouth might be on fire, your body will be cooled.
  3. Thermos flask – Well-designed flasks do just as good a job at keeping drinks hot as they do keeping them cold. Pack a drink with some ice and you won’t need that pricey iced smoothie.
  4. Pulse points – Keep gel packs in the fridge and place them on your pulse points when you feel like you’re overheating. These are on your neck, wrists, the inside or your elbows, knees and thighs, by your ankle bone and on your temple. These areas are where your blood vessels are closest to the surface of your skin, and so can easily be cooled to bring down your overall body temperature.
  5. Phone fan – Whatever happened to those little portable fans? They’ve been usurped by the more convenient phone-integrated version. Micro USB fans can plug into your smartphone to be used anywhere, whether you’re at a cricket match or taking the tube home. And the best part is, they run off your phone’s power, so you don’t need to worry about replacing the batteries.
  6. Umbrella – Victorian parasols could be due a comeback. Well, sort of. The Fanbrella is an umbrella with, you guessed it, an integrated fan so you can cool off at the flip of a switch while staying dry. The reinvention doesn’t stop there, as the fan is powered by solar energy.
  7. Beer cooler – Nothing draws attention to drinking in a public place like a brown paper bag, but given that you’ll be enjoying a cold beverage from the Bum Bag Drinks Cooler, which is waterproof, tearproof, and foil lined, you probably won’t care.



What happened?

In May 2017, the UK’s National Health Service was brought to a halt by malicious software which locked up its computer systems.

At least 16 local NHS services around the company were affected. As a result, patients were turned away from appointments, emergency patients had to be diverted to other hospitals, and in some cases surgeries had to be postponed, with GPs resorting to pen and paper.

What sort of attack was it?

Known as WannaCry, or WanaCrypt0r2.0, it was a ransomware attack which simultaneously affected large companies in over 150 countries. The bug worked by locking up all the files on an infected PC and encrypting them, meaning they could not be accessed.

A message demanded bitcoins, a type of online currency, in return for the files, and threatened permanent deletion.

How did hackers access systems?

This virus exploits a vulnerability in a Microsoft operating system. A patch had actually been released to fix the weakness in March, but it was not installed on all PCs, possibly due to outdated computers and funding issues. Once it had infected a single PC, it spread between computers using local networks.

What can my business do to prevent similar attacks?

Prevention is the best form of defence. If all your information is backed up daily, the threat of deleted files shouldn’t worry you too much. If you only have one copy, however, you may be in trouble. Make sure you back up all your files regularly.

As in the case of WannaCry, the infected PCs had not been updated. Don’t ignore those pesky pop-ups telling you to update your computer, as they often contain patches to fix known issues.

Finally, be wary of opening emails and links from unknown or unusual-looking senders. If you become the victim of a ransomware attack, official advice is not to pay up, as there is no guarantee you will receive your files back. Advanced anti-virus software can remove the virus, as can putting a PC into “safe mode” and removing infected files. Talk to your broker about dedicated cyber liability insurance, which can help your business recover from a cyber attack or data loss.


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