Money blog: Victorian island forts - complete with helipads and nightclubs - up for sale (2024)

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  • 100,000 reportedly due to remortgage onto higher rates before election - here's what you need to know
  • Does Wetherspoons buy lose to out-of-date beer?
  • Rents fall in some big cities
  • Victorian island forts - complete with nightclub - up for sale
  • How much a last-minute Taylor Swift ticket will set you back
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  • Why you should consider swapping chicken breasts out of your shopping basket
  • How brands get you to buy more, more, more
  • Ed Conway:Claim of £2k tax rise under Labour is over four years - same maths suggests Tories have raised taxes by £13k in last four years
  • How much are student loans, when do you start paying back and what is the interest?
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Victorian island forts - complete with helipads and nightclubs - up for sale

Ever wanted to own your own Victorian island fort?

Well now you can - with two being listed with a guide price of £1m.

Spitbank Fort in Hampshire and No Man's Land Fort off the Isle of Wight have been listed for auction and can be bought separately - or as a pair if you can't pick between the two.

During the Second World War, the forts were used to defend the Portsmouth dockyards.

No Man's Fort is substantially bigger and probably presents itself more as a business opportunity, but Spitbank offers nine large bedroom suites across three floors and could potentially work as a private home to the right buyer.

No Man's Fort has its own traditional English pub, a nightclub, and a helipad, while Spitbank Fort naturally boasts a wine cave plus a swimming pool and spa complex.

"Throughout my career as an auctioneer I've seen several sea forts hit the market that have achieved impressive prices as buyers have sought to pursue these trophy assets," said Robin Howeson, head of Savills Auctions.

"Having been carefully restored by the current owners, No Man's and Spitbank Fort represent exceptional market value, each guided at £1m.

"Both offer an opportunity like no other; a waterfront location, up to 99,000sq ft of space and a chance to champion the heritage and legacy of these iconic maritime structures."

The auction takes place on 18 June.


How much a last-minute Taylor Swift ticket will set you back

If you missed out on the general sales but want to bag yourself a last-minute ticket to Taylor Swift's show in Edinburgh tonight, it could set you back a whopping £4,000.

Not to fear, however, as it is currently possible to land yourself a ticket for as little as £271 - if you settle for a somewhat restricted view.

We've checked resale giant Viagogo for the latest prices, accurate as of 10.30am.

As is often the case with popular tours listed on resale sites, many of the tickets are sold individually - so if you're happy to go alone tonight, you're more likely to get a ticket.

For context, a ticket at general sale cost somewherebetween £80-£160 depending on where you sit/stand.

As it stands, the cheapest seat with an unrestricted view of the stage is currently up for sale at £323.

Just one ticket is up for £271, but has a "restricted view".

Bringing a crowd

If you're looking to take someone with you, the cheapest pair of tickets without any restricted view will cost you a combined £1,706.

However, if you're happy with a restricted or limited view, you can pay the cheaper price of £538 for the pair (£269 each).

You can buy up to four tickets in the same area for £303 each (£1,212 together) for a restricted view, or £555 each (£2,220 together) for an unobstructed view of the stage.

Getting closer to the action

Standing tickets are much sought after given their proximity to the stage.

As alluded to at the top of this post, one frankly optimistic reseller has listed four general admission tickets for a staggering £4,256 each (in the "floor" section shown in the map below).

However, you can get even closer - with one ticket remaining in the separate section to the left of the stage at £651 and another to the right at £559.

A word of caution

Ticket resale sites, including Viagogo, have previously been accused of "ripping off" consumers amid concerns customers could be turned away at venues because of restrictions on some resold tickets.

The company was told in 2019 that it was required to make a number of changes to the way it collects and presents information about tickets on its site.

It has since pledged to be compliant with UK watchdogs and now offers a "100% order guarantee [which] covers both buyers and sellers".

If you're happy paying over the odds for last-minute tickets, make sure you're buying through a site with such a guarantee and always beware of scams!


Major lender says house prices have dropped - but by less than analysts thought

House prices in the UK dropped by 0.1% between April and May, data from mortgage lender Halifax shows.

Analysts had expected a drop of around 0.2%, while last week, rival lender Nationwide said its measure of house prices rose in May after falling in the previous two months.

In the 12 months to May, prices rose by 1.5%, Halifax said - faster than the median forecast in a Reuters news agency poll for an annual increase of 1.2%.

"Market activity remained resilient throughout the spring months, supported by strong nominal wage growth and some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook," Halifax's head of mortgages, Amanda Bryden, said.

The stable picture for property prices over the last three months was likely to give more confidence to buyers and sellers, she added.


'As useful as a chocolate teapot': Business leaders react to Labour pledge

Sir Keir Starmer will shortly promise to get more young people on the housing ladder as Labour announces its "freedom to buy" policy.

We've now got some reaction from business leaders, who've been speaking to Newspage.

Justin Moy,managing directoratEHF Mortgages, was not impressed.

"Freedom to buy looks great on the first read, but then you realise it’s actually been in place since 2021 and many lenders don't use it anyway," he said.

"Labour are effectively promoting something that already exists and isn't used," he added.

Andrew Montlake,managing directoratCoreco, disagreed, saying it marked a "promising" first offering from Labour.

"This can allow lenders to take a longer-term approach in their offerings and ensure that competitive products are continually available for those with lower deposits.

"Whilst it doesn't solve the long-term housing issues overnight, Labour have at least shown they understand them and have already shown they are willing to speak and engage with those on the front lines, which is more promising for the housing market as a whole should the next government be a red one."

However, many more had a negative outlook.

Lewis Shaw, owner of Shaw Financial Services, was scathing in his assessment, saying: "This policy is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

"Prior to the pandemic, 95% loan-to-value mortgage lending was the norm.

"It happened without any political interference or putting the taxpayer on the hook - has everyone forgotten that?

"If Labour really wants to help young people buy a home, then do the things that we all know are needed: Tax the super-rich, reduce wealth inequality and build more houses. It's not rocket science."

Katy Eatenton,mortgage and protection specialistatLifetime Wealth Management, said it was"yet another scheme with no real substance", which was echoed by Stephen Perkins, managing directoratYellow Brick Mortgages.

"This policy will not hugely impact the property market," he said.


Labour to offer 'freedom to buy' for young people with mortgage guarantee scheme

Shortly, we're expecting Sir Keir Starmer to promise to get more young people on the housing ladder as Labour announces its "freedom to buy".

He's set to speak in the coming hours.

The party will pledge to make the existingmortgage guarantee scheme- which sees the government act as a guarantor for people unable to save big deposits - into a permanent fixture if it wins the election on 4 July.

Sir Keir will also commit to an overhaul of the planning system, including reintroducing housing targets, claiming his measures will see 1.5 million more homes built over the next five years.

Among the planning changes, the party will promise to tax foreign buyers "pricing out young people" from the housing market in order to pay for new planning officers, which it claims will help increase projects being signed off.

It will bring back house-build targets -scrapped by the Tories in 2022- as well as fast-track permissions to build on brownfield sites, and reform compulsory purchase orders to "stop speculators frustrating housebuilding".

They will also promise to offer "first dibs" on new developments to local people looking for a home and reiterate their pledge to create "the next generation" of new towns.

Read more in our dedicated Politics Hub:


GAME to end rewards programme from 31 July

GAME are set to end their long-running rewards programme on 31 July and have urged customers to use their remaining credit whilst they still can.

Both the company's standard GAME Reward scheme and their Elite membership tier will cease to exist, while no further reward points will be earned from purchases made in store or online after July 15.

You can currently redeem 400 reward points for £1 off of a purchase. The end of GAME Elite will mean the end of its monthly offers and prize draws. Any outstanding paid Elite membership months will be eligible for a refund.

"We would strongly urge you to redeem your GAME reward points prior to the closure date on purchases in store or online to avoid disappointment," said GAME.

"After the closure date, GAME reward points will be reset to zero and the GAME reward account will be closed, you will no longer be able to access it and you will no longer be able to redeem your GAME reward points."

The end of GAME's reward programme is the latest move from the company to make changes to their business model.

The chain has already closed several of their own bespoke high street stores and instead taken up residence within Sports Direct and other Fraser Group outlets.


How have the markets reacted to interest rate cuts?

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire, business reporter

We've now had the first interest rate cut in the UK, US and EU for years.

Yesterday the European Central Bank (ECB) brought down the cost of borrowing in the countries using the euro - the first reduction since 2019.

Sterling stayed roughly where it has been against the euro for the last two weeks - one pound buys more euro than it has done for most of the last year, €1.1740.

Oil prices have ticked up through the week but are still just below $80 a barrel for Brent crude, the benchmark price.

That's cheaper than the vast majority of this year and good news for motorists.

Signs of stabilisation can be seen in the housing market with the news that house prices fell just 0.1% in May, equivalent to a £170 drop in the average house, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

But renting is still becoming more expensive, just at a slightly slower rate than before, according to property portal Zoopla.

The average rent costs £80 more a month compared with a year earlier.

Higher housing costs have also shown through in a market update from British homebuilder Bellway, which said it expects to sell houses at a higher price point than it previously thought.

The company is a constituent of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 250 index of 101st to 350th most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange which is down 0.22% this morning.


Does Wetherspoons buy close to out-of-date beer?

Wetherspoons pubs are known for their cheap pints.

But how is the chain able to keep prices so low?

Many punters will have heard that this is because the pubs buy short-dated beer from breweries just a couple of months from expiry date - but the owner of the business now says this is not true.

Sir Tim Martin told The Sun: "I've never hung outside the brewery gate waiting for it to go out of date. It would be impossible."

Asked then how the chain is able to keep prices so low, he said that the vast quantities allowed greater profits.

"There's no real secret, we sell a lot of beer," he said.

He also explained the reason he named the chain Wetherspoons - dispelling the myth that it was named after a teacher who said that he would never make it.

Sir Tim said: "This is a story that got twisted and a bit out of hand. I named it after Mr Wetherspoon, who was a very nice man, but couldn't control his class because at the time I couldn't control my punters."


Why you should consider swapping chicken breasts out of your shopping basket

It can be hard to balance the demands of eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value - and have enlisted the help ofSunna Van Kampen, founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don't try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

Today we're looking at chicken.

"When it comes to healthy eating, the first thing that often springs to mind is chicken breast," Sunna says.

That's mainly because it is lean, versatile, and packed with protein, making it a staple in many health-conscious kitchens.

"But what if we told you there are even better options for your wallet and your health?" Sunna says.

Cost savings

Chicken breast fillets can be pricey - sitting at an average of around £8.33 per kilogram.

In contrast, chicken thighs usually come in at about £3.30 per kilogram.

"That's under half the price," Sunna says.

"To put that into perspective - over the course of a year this can save you over £261.56, assuming you consume 1kg per week in your household. Well worth the saving."

Nutritional value

Many people gravitate towards chicken breasts for their lean protein, but chicken thighs have their own set of nutritional benefits.

"While they have more fat, it's important to note that they contain more healthy monounsaturated fats, which are good for heart health," Sunna explains.

"Plus, they're richer in iron, zinc and B12 by at least double."

These are essential minerals that help boost your energy and general wellbeing.

Much of this goodness is down to thighs having more joint cartilage and tendons - which naturally boost the collagen content of the chicken - helping to feed your hair, skin and nails.

"Chicken thighs are not only nutritious but also renowned for their flavour," Sunna points out.

"When slow cooking chicken thighs with bones, you are also getting the benefits of bone broth in the stew which is a great source of collagen, calcium, and magnesium, as well as glycine, arginine and proline which are anti-inflammatory amino acids."

A hidden gem

If you've got the stomach for it, there is one cut of chicken that is ultra affordable and is officially one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

"Chicken livers are one of the most economical protein and nutrient sources out there," Sunna says.

"At £3.42 per kilo, they're a similar price to thighs but pack a more powerful nutrient punch."

Chicken livers should really be touted as a superfood due to their high nutrient density, in Sunna's view.

"They are an exceptional source of vitamin A, which is crucial for vision, immune function, and skin health.

"They also boast high levels of B vitamins, particularly B12, which is vital for brain health and energy production.

"Additionally, chicken livers are rich in folate and iron."

While you might be hesitant about the taste or texture of chicken livers, they are incredibly versatile and can be prepared in ways that make them more palatable.

Sunna's go to is to simply fry the livers quickly with onions, mushrooms and a spicy sauce like a peri-peri.

"Swapping chicken breasts for thighs or livers isn't just a cost-saving measure; it's a health upgrade.

"By embracing these underrated parts of the bird, you'll enjoy richer flavours, diverse nutrients, and significant savings."

A note on organic

"The health of the bird and its quality of life will directly affect the nutrition and quality of the meat you consume, and as such, if you can afford it, always opt for free range or organic chicken."

The nutritionist's view - fromNichola Ludlam-Raine, dietitian

"When it comes to budget-friendly eating, chicken thighs significantly outshine chicken breasts.

"While chicken breasts are renowned for their lean (ie low in calorie and low in fat) protein content, chicken thighs do indeed offer great nutritional benefits such as the presence of more connective tissue in thighs boosts collagen intake, which is beneficial for skin, hair, and joint health.

"As I dietitian I would recommend skipping the skin though, to lower intake of saturated fat - as the preferred type of fat for health is unsaturated, which is found in higher levels in plant foods such as olives, nuts, seeds and avocados.

"Chicken livers are high in vitamin A, essential for vision, immune function and skin health, and also boast significant levels of B vitamins, iron, and folate, supporting brain health and energy production.

"Due to its vitamin A content though, liver, as well as pate, should be avoided during pregnancy (note that plant-derived vitamin A i.e. beta-carotene, does not need to be avoided).

"When it comes to diet, balance and variety is key, and while including richer sources of meat such as chicken thigh and liver may be a good idea from time to time, I would recommend including other cheaper and leaner protein sources too including lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, eggs as well as tinned oily fish - the latter for their omega 3 fatty acid content too."

Read more from this series...


100,000 reportedly due to remortgage onto higher rate before election - here's what you need to know

Every Friday we get an overview of the mortgage market with the help of industry experts. This week we have spoken to David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages, and RachelSpringall, finance expert at

New research this week - commissioned by the Lib Dems - suggested about 100,000 households will be renewing onto higher rates before the 4 July election. They'll face an average increase of £240 a month.

Ms Springall said: "Those borrowers looking to remortgage this year on a longer-term fixed deal will find the average overall five-year fixed rate is much higher than it was back in June 2019, when it was 2.85%.

"Week on week, the overall average two and five-year fixed rates rose to 5.95% and 5.51%."

These are the lowest rates on offer...

Moneyfacts advises people looking to avoid upfront costs, legal fees etc to look at Best Buys as well as the deals with the lowest rates...

Good news on the horizon?

Arguably the big news for mortgages this week didn't directly impact UK households - it came yesterday when the European Central Bank went first, ahead of the UK and US, in cutting rates, potentially signalling the beginning of the end of an era of high rates.

The Bank of England and US Federal Reserve are forecast to wait a little longer - markets are currently expecting a September cut in the UK.

It's a waiting game - and that's been reflected in a relatively quiet period for rates movements among UK lenders.

Mr Hollingworth said the flurry of repricing announcements - shifting rates upwards - that followed news of inflation falling less than expected in April had "eased back".

According to Moneyfacts,HSBC increased selected fixed deals by up to 0.26% this week, while Cambridge Building Society pulled its two and five-year fixed mortgages at 90% loan-to-value.

Mr Hollingworth said: "Once lenders start to shift rates it can quickly knock onto others.

"As one deal withdraws the next lender will come under pressure, either from a rate perspective or also to protect service levels. That can cause a snowball effect of rate withdrawals."

He is advising people due to renew to "lock in" - knowing you can "review the situation before completing and take advantage of any better rates if they drop back again".

Also of note to Mr Hollingworth has been UK Finance's Household Finance Review, which highlighted that many are taking mortgages over longer terms, with 35 to 40-year mortgages more common.

"That does help to reduce the monthly payments on a repayment mortgage but will increase the total interest over the life of the mortgage substantially," he said.

"It's therefore important for borrowers to keep reviewing the term as their circ*mstances change or to make overpayments if possible. That will help to cut the mortgage back more quickly and could save thousands in interest."

Money blog: Victorian island forts - complete with helipads and nightclubs - up for sale (2024)


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