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In last weekend's Independent On Sunday, I spoke to five experts from think tanks, charities and pressure groups to discover what they believe the Chancellor should announce in his Autumn Statement in a month's time.

© Independent On Sunday
© Independent On Sunday


I was fortunate to recieve comment from Baroness Stroud of the Centre for Social Justice; Julia Unwin of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Angus Hanton of the Intergenerational Foundation; Campbell Robb of the housing charity Shelter; and Stephanie Lis from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The months leading up to Christmas are rich pickings for fraudsters. Far more shopping is done online, often in a hurry, and many people are desperate for some extra cash. People like Ann-Marie Deaton, a single mother of four children aged between 9 and 13.

She took on what she thought was extra work to earn some money to spend on her kids, only to find herself owing PayPal more than £3,000 instead.

The bin is no place for your food, so how do you stop it spoiling? Mum of two Felicity Hannah goes to war with food waste to see what she can save.

We waste a lot of food in this country, about seven million tonnes a year according to the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign.

And while it can't all be my house, as a family with two children we are undeniably food waste culprits - a household in our demographic typically wastes a hefty £700 a year-worth of edible food.

Dramatic increases in house prices have locked out younger buyers. Does the baby boomer generation now enjoy an unfair level of property wealth?

Life has changed a lot since fledgling homeowners took their first steps on the property ladder in 1969. Back then, the average first home cost £4,000, according to data from the Office for National Statistics – and you would typically have been able to buy it at the tender age of 25.

'The weakest now bear the heaviest burden' - the Tory party just took food, clothes and homes away from Britain's poorest children for daring to be born.

"This is a budget for working people," thundered the Chancellor as he delivered the first pure-Tory Budget for close to 20 years. Unfortunately for Britain's children they don't work or pay taxes, and they have little say in whether their parents do either.

So perhaps it's no surprise the Government has taken steps to limit welfare support to kids, as well as hacking at the safety net for young adults. Today's Budget was bad news for families and especially bad news for Britain's most vulnerable kids. Here's what Osborne announced...

Immigrants have made a "substantial" contribution to the UK, so why do so many of us think the opposite?

Immigrants to the UK have made a net contribution to public finances of around £25 billion since the year 2000.

That's what a detailed study from University College London's migration research unit found. It's also shown that migrants have been far less likely to claim benefits or use social housing than people already living in the UK.

As the UK braces itself for the election, I asked industry experts what the next government might mean for voters' pockets.

As my first tenants move out, I reflect on what I've learned...

It's two and a half years since I became an accidental landlord. We needed a bigger house but we were unwilling to sell our first home, which had lost around £30,000 in value thanks to the housing market crash, which I wrote about in Should I get a buy-to-let mortgage.

This week our first tenants left, and we've been back inside the property repairing and cleaning ready for the next couple who move in on Monday. It's been a bit of a wrench seeing my former home looking so shabby, and it's made me reflect on what I've learned as a landlord, that I wish someone had told me at the start.

Could food banks be contributing to the problem of poverty?

It's no secret that food banks are on the rise, with more than 400 outlets across the UK. In the last 12 months, the Trussell Trust says its banks fed 913,138 people. Of those, 330,205 were children.

Feeding hungry children can only be good, but I am concerned that food banks are causing problems. I am worried that they are enabling us to accept food poverty when we need to be furiously demanding government action.