Weekly roundup of the news headlines affecting your finances – 5th March 2011

2 min Read Published: 05 Mar 2011

I’ve trawled the news and highlighted the headlines that could affect your finances. Click on a headline to be taken to the full story.

Water bills to rise by 4.6%

Water bills will rise by 4.6% next year, water regulator Ofwat has announced.

Earn 5% on your cash Isa savings with Skipton

5-year bond from Skipton Building Society easily tops fixed-term cash Isa tables.

The seven best cash Isas for 2011

With the Isa investment window about to close on 5 April 2011, Which? brings you a rundown of the seven best tax-free accounts that will help you get the most from your money.

ECJ bans gender-based underwriting from Dec 2012

The ECJ has outlawed the use of gender in underwriting, which is likely to lead to a fall in annuity rates for men and increased costs for all.

BoE: Mortgage lending up by £1.8bn

Mortgage lending increased by £1.8bn in January, the highest amount since February last year, the Bank of England has reported.

Gold price hits record high on Libya unrest

The price of gold has hit a record high on concerns about unrest in the Middle East and contagion risk from Libya, while oil has topped the $116 a barrel mark.

Tax for exceeding annual allowance must be paid immediately

The Treasury says people exceeding the annual allowance (AA) on pension savings must meet their tax charges as soon as they arise.

Govt tells insurers use ‘solid evidence’ for age discrimination

The government is proposing to make it illegal to discriminate against older people, which would ban insurers using age to judge risk unless they have "solid evidence" it would make a difference.

Lottery bill-paying move blocked

National Lottery operator Camelot is refused permission to allow consumers to use its terminals to pay bills or top up mobile phones.

Oil prices go up as tensions rise

Oil prices move closer to their recent highs as the conflict intensifies in an oil-producing area in Libya.

Growth in UK service sector slows

UK service sector growth slowed by more than expected in February, a survey indicates, reducing prospects of an early rate rise.

Rents on an 'upward trajectory'

The cost of renting a home rose at a rapid rate in the three months to January, a poll of surveyors has found.

Rollover phone contracts may end

Landline telephone contracts that are automatically renewed and tie in customers to long-term deals

Global food prices hit new record

Global food prices have hit record highs, and could rise even further, the United Nations' food agency warns.

'February dip' for house prices

UK house prices fell by 0.9% in February compared with the previous month, cancelling out a rise in January, the Halifax says.

King: we will hit inflation target but timetable is uncertain

Mervyn King is confident the Bank of England will hit its 2% inflation target, although the timescale in uncertain and he warned the crisis in the Middle East could throw the plan off track.

Skandia: workplace pensions may escape ECJ gender ruling

Workplace pensions and drawdown contracts may escape the European Court of Justice ban on gender based pricing, according to Skandia.

European Central Bank signals euro rate rise

The European Central Bank (ECB) has signalled a rate rise for the euro as early as next month.

George Osborne to clamp down on internet VAT dodge in budget

George Osborne is expected to use this month's budget to announce a crackdown on a ballooning internet VAT dodge on the sale of CDs, DVDs, memory cards, vitamin pills and contact lenses, involving some of the biggest names in British retailing.

Plan to raise women's state retirement age condemned by thinktank

Pensions Policy Institute, which is rarely critical of government policy, says proposal to set joint retirement age at 66 by 2020 gives women 'insufficient notice'.

1p fuel duty rise dropped

Prospect of pump price protest leads Cameron to show concern for motorists, while Treasury considers stabiliser scheme.