Royal Dutch Shell planning £20bn sell-off of assets to create leaner oil giant after £47bn swoop for rival BG Group

Shell has snapped up BG to expand its liquefied natural gas business and Brazilian deepwater wells but the deal also creates a sprawling £200bn behemoth that will need to be cut down to size. The Anglo-Dutch giant is expected to slash jobs and spending and confirmed the deal will enable £670m of operational savings, £1bn of exploration savings and a total cut in spending to less than £27bn.

British Gas investors who bought shares in 1980s 'Tell Sid' campaign set for windfall thanks to BG Group takeover

British Gas advertising campaign 'Tell Sid' dated back from the 1980's.
Remember Sid? He was the ordinary bloke charged with persuading ordinary people to buy shares in the privatisation of British Gas.
The campaign worked like a dream and shares were snapped up.

Investors who bought British Gas shares in the 1980s after the Tell Sid promotion, pictured, have seen the value of their investments soar thanks to a takeover of oil company BG Group.

A sports car, a hot tub, a cruise on the Queen Mary: Two days into pensions revolution we ask savers what they plan to do with their nest eggs

From Lamborghinis to paying off mortgages or handing cash to children, the new pension freedoms herald a brave - if potentially hazardous - new world. Pension Wise, a new free Government-backed advice service, has already taken 3,600 calls from people booking telephone interviews and organising face-to-face sessions with the Citizens Advice service. We got unique access to see what people are asking.

Betrayal of the prudent classes: New rule means more families will have to sell home to fund care

Families who have saved for a comfortable retirement fear they will not now be able to apply for council-run schemes that allow those in care to put off selling their home until after they have died.

Investment clinic: A Fortress Bond seems to be paying up to 4.5%. What is this and is my money protected?

I have seen a Fortress Bond paying interest of up to 4.5 per cent advertised by Castle Trust. What is this? And is my money protected?

Nationwide Building Society cuts rates for loyal savers as the new tax year kicks off

The interest paid to savers who've been with the society for 15 years on the closed easy-access Loyalty Saver account is now 0.96 per cent after tax.

How fraudster's £800 phone debts wrecked my remortgage application and cost me £900 a year in loan payments

Mark Westby's experience exposes the difficulties in getting a mistake removed from the UK's credit agencies - and how innocent consumers suffer the consequences in the meantime.



MARKET REPORT: Global mergers and acquisition activity reached £2.25 trillion last year but 2015 could improve on that

More than £595bn worth of global deals were transacted in the first-quarter of this year and corporate financiers must be ecstatic to see the deal-crazing trend continue. Coming hard on the heels of US parcels giant FedEx's£3.2bn bid for Dutch-based rival TNT Express and Permira's agreed £3.5bn offer for American software group Informatica, the largest private equity deal of the year so far, dealers had their socks blown off by the agreed £47bn cash and shares bid by Royal Dutch Shell for BG Group.

ALEX BRUMMER: Shell sounds starting gun for more mergers in big oil which has been largely stagnant sector in the UK since 1999

The need for some agglomeration in the energy sector has been underlined by the recent framework deal between the West and Iran on limiting nuclear development.

Tesco and Sainsbury's continue to lose market share this year despite rising sales, industry figures show

Both companies saw their market share fall amid stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as upmarket Waitrose.

Sales of new cars hit highest level so far this century as economic recovery gathers pace

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said a total of 492,774 new cars were registered in March - up 6 per cent on a year ago and the highest monthly figure since August 1998.

Social media giant Twitter preparing to fend off takeover interest from industry giants thought to include Facebook and Google

Wall Street shares in the messaging site have surged in recent days after reports it has taken on the services of Goldman Sachs to see off any unwanted deal-making.

Why Britain needs long term thinking: L&G; boss struggles to fathom how main parties plan to forge change

Nigel Wilson is a tireless advocate of 'slow money', or very long-term investment, which he sees as the antidote to the quick profits mentality that held sway before the financial crisis.

ASK TONY: BA left us stranded for 24 hours - and gave us just £30 compensation

My flight from Phoenix to London was cancelled. We were told a part had to be flown in from LA. A 14-seater mini-bus was used to ferry at least 200 passengers to a hotel. There were no BA staff at the hotel, and I reached my room at 1.45am. At 5.30am, I was woken up by refurbishing work. We then returned to the airport and waited again before finally flying at 8pm. I applied for compensation, but all I got was High Life shop vouchers.

BT overcharged me for an extra account - and then threatened me with debt collectors

A woman with a pile of bills

BT overcharged one reader to the tune of £166.87 - but still threatened debt collectors claiming the reader owed £26.

Why did it take my mobile phone provider a year to cancel my contract?

B28JCK An elderly man getting frustrated trying to text or use the mobile phone with the small buttons and numbers.. Image shot 07/2008. Exact date unknown.

A reader asks why Orange failed to cancel his contract when he requested - however there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

Half now use current account as a home for their savings in bid to beat lousy rates offered via traditional accounts

Businessman shaking a piggy bank

There has been a notable shift in the way savers are putting away money for a rainy day according to new research from a comparison website. Rates on traditional savings accounts have tumbled in recent years leaving millions of savers scrambling to find a return that would have been able to get before.

Savers left earning a paltry 1% as cash Isa washout continues into new tax year

A new tax year usually heralds a burst of generous offers for savers eager to exploit new tax-free Isa allowances - but this April is fast turning into a washout.

Experian pays out over insurance 'perk' with nearly a third of complainants receiving compensation

The credit rating agency offers a service called Credit Expert, which allows customers to manage their credit file and check their score when applying for loans and credit cards.

As pensions revolution unlocks billions... How the new silver spenders can help make us all rich

Investors willing to take a punt on companies set to cash in on the over-55s' retirement bonanza could also reap the rewards.

SAM DUNN: No revolution can ever take place without casualties - but early signs for pensions looking good

It is already clear just how crucial Pension Wise is going to be. This new, independent, free guidance service is going to be the crucial first step for millions to take control of their future.

Couple face £25k bill after Capita posted £1.5million of share certificates by second class post - and they never arrived

Deryn and Derek Hemment were told by Capita they must buy an 'indemnity' against their lost Compass share certificates being used fraudulently - though they are innocent of mislaying the documents or of any wrongdoing. The pair can't trade their shares in the FTSE 100-listed catering giant until they get replacement share certificates, but they are being refused them until the indemnity issue is sorted. The Hemments insist Capita should foot the indemnity bill, because the loss of their certificates was down to the firm posting such valuable documents second class.

Bank of England vows to 'monitor buy-to-let market closely' after recent rise in mortgages to landlords 

Exterior of Bank of England, Threadneedle Street  - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alex Barrett

Minutes from the March 24 meeting of the Bank's Financial Policy Committee said members had 'noted the increasing share of interest-only mortgages in buy-to-let mortgage lending.

Lawnmowers, mobility scooters and golf buggies could need costly motor insurance thanks to a new EU directive

If an EU court case decision is applied to UK law, gardeners, golfers and those with mobility scooters may have to fork out for motor insurance.

Does the savings tax cut mean I should ditch cash Isas and put my money in interest-paying current accounts instead?

I've always found moving my cash around within Isas to be slow and labour-intensive and for hardly any extra benefit in the interest rate. With savings tax being all but removed current accounts that pay interest look far more attractive. Or am I missing something?

Our savings picks: This is Money's five favourite best buy cash Isas for 2015

"No smoking" sign on a wall --- Image by © Christopher Stevenson/Corbis

We pick our five favourite cash Isas for savers. This is essential Isa reading and is kept up-to-date throughout the year

Two small providers launch fixed-rate cash Isas which fire to top of best buy tables just as new financial year starts

Two smaller savings providers have launched cash Isa deals which see them fire straight to the top of the independent This is Money savings tables just as the 2015/16 financial year begins.

Are we becoming a nation of renters? Fewer young people are saving for a deposit amid high prices and low income

The proportion of people aged between 20 and 45 putting money aside to buy a house has dropped from 57 per cent last year to 43 per cent this year, according to the latest Generation Rent report by mortgage provider Halifax. Among the biggest barriers are the size of the deposit, high property prices and low income, with London having the highest proportion of young people who worry they will never own a home.

Millions of parents whose children's savings have been stuck in poor-paying child trust funds can finally move their money to Junior Isas

New legislation means parents of more than six million youngsters with money in a child trust fund can now get much better rates of interest and choose from a far wider range of accounts.

Where should you live when you get older? UK cities with the highest - and lowest - standard of living for over-50s revealed

Alamy Live News. EBFJA7 Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. 30th November, 2014. 
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Edinburgh beat the UK's nine other biggest cities in the run for the city offering the highest standard of living for over 50s, according to a new survey.

EU meddling could cost us thousands every year, warn UK's online sewing and craft entrepreneurs fighting the VAT mess

Julia Bremble 041.JPG

A new law, aimed at making internet giants pay more tax, has backfired and hurt small firms selling abroad. 'That could cost me thousands a year,' says sewing pattern-seller Julia Bremble.

Pension freedom is here: Half a million people can spend, save or invest money as they wish - but beware of tax traps and fraud

Do YOU want one? Pensions Minister Steve Webb said he is relaxed about people buying one of these sports cars with their pension savings, because he thinks people should be trusted with their own money

The huge overhaul allows older savers unrestricted access to their whole pension pots, and removes the need to buy an annuity to provide guaranteed income for life. But pension experts warn freedom reforms bring big and serious risks, like fraudsters stealing people's life savings, baffled retirees paying far too much tax, and the possibility of some treating their savings like a cash windfall and blowing them too fast.

One in five Britons at risk of identity fraud because they get post sent to more than one address - and a million have already fallen victim

Mail falling through letterbox,  and a pile forming against door. A pile of post un-opened

Eleven million Britons are registered at previous addresses as well as their own, which means they are missing out on vital communications and are at risk of identity fraud.

Which party do investors do better under? How the stock market fared under 45 years of Labour and Conservative government

The stock market has performed twice as well under a Conservative government as it has under Labour, according to performance statistics dating back to 1970. But the facts behind the raw numbers suggest events taking place on the global stage are far more important to the UK stock market than the next resident of Number 10, Downing Street.

MARKET REPORT: Cash-rich Chinese investors expected to hoover up billions of pounds worth of hotel assets this year

Sales of US hotels to the Chinese have soared since 2009 as they mop up trophy assets in primary destinations. One of the most recent transactions was China's Anbang Insurance Group's purchase last October of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria in New York for £1.31bn, which set a new record for a single hotel deal in the US. It followed a loosening of controls on outbound investment by China's Ministry of Commerce. Deals above £67.4m now no longer require its approval.

Pay-TV giant Sky could face £28bn takeover by French media conglomerate Vivendi

A takeover of Sky is one of several options to expand the reach of Vivendi's own TV group Canal Plus, three sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Bank of England warns UK's £98bn current account deficit could trigger panic in markets if economy deteriorates

Minutes of the Bank's Financial Policy Committee meeting held on March 24 showed that its members discussed the danger posed by the deficit.

Lloyds faces mis-selling battle with care home operator

Guardian Care Homes has launched a claim seeking more than £8m from the state-backed lender. The company is hoping to repeat the success of its lawsuit against Barclays over similar allegations.

Serious Fraud Office under fire for turning a deaf ear to whistleblowers as it launches just 12 investigations last year despite 2,500 reports of corruption

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Corporate management listening.
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The figures, which are for the year ending June 2014, have raised fresh concerns that the SFO does not have enough money to do its job properly.

Demand for mortgages falling at fastest pace since crisis as affordability concerns mean home buyers are staying away

The Bank of England's Credit Conditions showed a balance of -40.8 per cent of lenders said demand had fallen between January and March.

Britain's recovering economy 'moves up a gear', boosting Conservatives ahead of next month's General Election

Research group Markit said the economy looks to have grown by 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 following expansion of 0.6 per cent in the final three months of last year.

ITV 'close to buying' US production company behind The King's Speech in £600m deal


A successful move to buy the division from The Weinstein Company would bolster ITV's bid to be a major producer of hit shows.

Kellogg's urged to come clean as it emerges it effectively paid no corporation tax in the UK in 2013

Kelloggs Variety Pack of cereals.

Tax experts said the complex web of companies it uses to do business in the UK generates 'significant opacity' which makes it hard to tell if it is paying its fair share of tax in the UK.

ALEX BRUMMER: We must let the Conservatives finish repairing the economy - but they must give capitalism a better name

The Tory-led coalition has delivered on growth and jobs and pressed on with the detailed work of reforming the financial system and the City. It also has sliced the budget deficit in half, having failed to achieve its original purpose of producing a balanced budget in five years. It would be bonkers for the country to change direction at present.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Frustration not freedom will rule as many are thwarted from taking pension cash

Easter Monday marks the start of the new tax year and more importantly the introduction of brand new rules governing how we access our pensions.

TONY HETHERINGTON: The divorce order that's not worth the paper it's written on

I was to pay £3k and my wife would take over responsibility for our overdraft. But she has defaulted and debt collectors want me to assume responsibility.

SIMON WATKINS: Financial markets are under-pricing political risk as election campaign gets underway

Some economists have been warning that the uncertainty of a hung parliament with a minority government of whatever persuasion will cause markets to gyrate.

'We won £300,000 in our bank's Superdraw': Do you feel lucky...? Then it's time to 'play' a raft of accounts where you can scoop big prizes - but without the risk

Mixing saving with gambling seems like a recipe for financial disaster. But some experts now believe the chance for savers to win a cash prize is a great way to encourage more people to take up the savings habit at a time when interest rates have hit rock bottom. Spurred on by the popularity of Premium Bonds and the tax-free prizes that holders can win every month, a number of financial institutions led by Halifax are offering savers the opportunity to win cash prizes. Raymond and Catherine Sutton (pictured), who have banked with Halifax for more than three decades, struck lucky.

The Investing Show: How to hunt for dividends, what next for rates, pensions freedom and getting investors a fair deal

This is Money has teamed up with TipTV to produce a new series aimed at helping investors get ahead, with investing news, ideas and debate. Topics on the agenda this week include how to invest for income, the dividend safety of some big FTSE 100 names, and the arrival of pensions freedom.

The fund that would have made you a 1,500% return since Isa investing began - and the six duds you would have lost money on

The best performer of the last 16 years has delivered a 1,516 per cent return but Chelsea Financial Services unearthed six dud funds that you would be down on.

MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: City toasts Marston's move to push beer brands and pubs upmarket

Marston's has added two more ales to its stable as part of a £25 million deal to buy the beer division of North-West brewer and pub chain Daniel Thwaites.

MONKS INVESTMENT TRUST: Old managers ousted and half the portfolio jettisoned in new drive for growth

Edinburgh-based Monks Investment Trust has just undergone an overhaul to boost returns for shareholders - and new boss Charles Plowden has taken the helm.

MIDAS SHARE TIPS: Car seller Lookers earns its loyal following by ditching the spivs and focusing on John Lewis-style service

Motor group Lookers is trying to make its staff less like Del Boy and Rodney, and more like John Lewis partners. The company's shares are 145½p and should head upwards.

Preparing for unemployment? Top Gear stars James May and Richard Hammond sell off £66k worth of their classic motorbikes

Two star presenters of popular BBC show Top Gear are selling off a dozen bikes in their classic motor cycle collections - as they tease about becoming 'unemployed'. Motoring pundit James May - dubbed 'Captain Slow' - is putting eight of his two-wheeled treasures under the hammer, while co-presenter Richard Hammond, known as 'The Hamster' is doing the same with four of his.

Petrol prices reach highest level this year as suppliers remain under investigation for price-fixing 

Petrol prices have reached their highest level this year at 112p a litre, according to Government figures, confounding predictions that the price would soon drop below £1.

Top ten UK property hotspots: Sutton, Cambridge and Watford are most sought-after areas while Bristol's popularity soars

Nine out of the ten areas in the UK where demand for property was highest last month are in the South East, new research shows. With commuters put off by sky-high London property prices, potential buyers are flocking to the likes of Guildford (pictured above) and Reading, online estate agent eMoov reveals. Eight out of 10 of the highest climbers in terms of housing demand since December 2014 are located in the North.

Got the keys to your new pad? Now here's how to trim back all those household bills

Glenn Day, pictured, decided he needed to cut back costs so he shopped around for a cheaper insurance deal - and saved himself £150 a year.

Put down 10% when buying a home: Scraping together a bigger deposit will open door to much better mortgage deals

First-time buyer Derek McGair, pictured with son Lewis, saved hard to put down a bigger deposit - and get a better mortgage rate - when he bought his home.

Secret diary of a first-time buyer: How the property market brings out the darker sides of human nature...

spt_house swap.jpg

There's a house we've got our eye on - but the previous tenant was ripped off to the tune of £115,000'. Our aspiring first-time buyer shares her experiences.

I'm not afraid to give things a go': How to boost the value of your home - and avoid a botch job - when tackling DIY

Stefanie Danevoy went on the Goodlife Centre one-day DIY course last month after deciding she did not want to pay others to tackle basic DIY tasks around her new home.

Don't get caught in the pensions tax trap: Follow our smart tips to ensure you don't lose half of your life savings

Pensioners who take large lump sums from their pension face a tax trap that could leave them having 45 per cent docked from their nest egg - even though they are basic rate taxpayers. This is because of a quirk of the tax system which means that if you take £15,000 from your pot one month to last you through the year, you are likely to be taxed as though you were going to do this every month of the year. In essence, this means that the taxman assumes you are going to take £180,000 from your pension in a year. As such, even if you have no other income, you'll face a top rate of tax of 45 per cent.

Make the most of the pensions revolution: Despite Chancellor's announcements, here's why you still may need an annuity

MONEY MAIL The Pensions Revolution part 5 final AW.jpg

'No one will have to buy an annuity,' George Osborne said last March. But despite the freedoms he went on to unveil, the annuity (which turns a pension in to an income for life) is far from dead.

Get ready for the pensions of the future and get clued up on tax relief now

What a remarkable year it has been for savers. Little more than 12 months ago Money Mail was campaigning fiercely for insurers to give retirees a fairer deal on annuity payouts.

Annuities, buy-to-let, equity release or income funds? The best ways to boost retirement income...

Gold Communion Goblet from San Daniele del Friuli

For anyone who wants to keep their money invested and take an income, there is a range of alternatives that have begun to hit the market.

Wondering how to invest your pension pot to get capital growth as well as income? Here's what the experts would do...

C90J4A Golden egg in egg cup. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

Investing in a selection of funds which produce income and provide an opportunity to grow your capital should be a relatively safe way to create steady flow of cash over the years.

British firms 'aren't ready' for new shared parental leave rules, experts warn 

British firms are unprepared for a 'sea change' in working patterns with the introduction of shared parental leave rules today and could face costly discrimination claims as a result, experts warn. Law firm Irwin Mitchell found that half of UK couples believed they would be better off financially if they shared parental leave, and two thirds of men would be happy to be a 'stay-at-home dad'. Nine out of ten couples where the woman is the main breadwinner said they worried how they would cope financially if the mother were to take her full maternity leave.

Boutique chocolate makers grow faster with help from thousands of small investors

Some 2,549 peer-to-peer investors have lent £166,000 to artisan chocolatiers in the past year using Funding Circle, with 5,293 lending £391,000 since 2012.

Rosé outlook for Naked Wines as sales soar 37 per cent year-on-year in week before Easter

Naked Wines.jpg

The company, which funds winemakers through customers who put up money every month in return for wholesale prices, also saw a rise in demand for Champagne and prosecco.

Thousands of firms stymied by new digital VAT rules aimed at stopping multi-nationals from undercutting rivals

Campaigners are demanding the EU reviews new VAT rules which they say could kill off thousands of microbusinesses that sell digital products.

Business with Sugar is sweet for back-packing Aussie who won latest Apprentice series (without ever having seen it)

Embargoed to 2200 Sunday December 21 The winner of the latest series of the BBC programme The Apprentice Mark Wright, 24, celebrates with Lord Sugar in London.

Mark Wright reveals he has already turned a small profit, but says, 'Lord Sugar is the type of businessman who when you say you made a £10 profit, he wants to know why it's not £20'.

50 ways to save money: Simple steps to cut what you spend that could clear your debts or seriously boost your savings

50 ways to save money: How to cut what you spend and put more in your savings

To clear the average national household debt of £13,000 at 6% interest with a monthly repayment of £100 will take around 17 years. There are, however, plenty of simple ways to make significant savings on your regular spending that could clear your debt - or boost your savings - in less than a year. This is Money's top 50 - updated - money-saving tips may appear light-hearted but are deadly serious.

How to choose the best (and cheapest) DIY investing Isa - and our pick of the platforms

DIY investing: How to pick the best platform for you.

Choosing the right DIY platform is crucial but a wealth of choice and changes to charges have left many investors scratching their heads. We pick some of the best. We also highlight why investing in an Isa makes sense, as it should protect your hopefully growing investments from tax forever.

Revealed: The world's cheapest and most expensive stock markets - and where the UK stands

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We highlight the world's cheapest and most expensive stock markets, measured on three popular valuation tools and where the UK sits.

INVESTING TIPS: Fund and trust ideas for beginner and cautious investors

Starting out: Fund tips for beginner or cautious investors

If you are new to investing then the huge number of funds and investment trusts on offer can be confusing. Fortunately, This is Money's experts have some ideas to get you started.

INVESTING TIPS: Top fund and trust ideas for income investors

Income investing: Dividends can deliver both a healthy boost to long-term growth and a way to earn from your investments.

Income investing can let you draw on your portfolio or reinvest dividends to build solid growth over time. Our experts give their fund and investment trust recommendations.

INVESTING TIPS: Top fund and trust ideas for emerging markets

On the up: Emerging markets such as Brazil are where much of the world's growth is expected to be over future years.

If you're looking to add some flair to your investing Isa with emerging markets, This is Money's experts have some ideas to get you started

When will interest rates rise? The only way is up, hints Carney, even with inflation down to 0% and heading for negative territory

The next move for interest rates is still expected to be up, says Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, despite suggestions of a cut to beat low inflation. That followed the news earlier this week that inflation had fallen to 0 per cent - noflation or flatflation, as some commentators have tried to label it

Our savings picks: This is Money's five favourite best buy cash Isas for 2015

"No smoking" sign on a wall --- Image by © Christopher Stevenson/Corbis

We pick our five favourite cash Isas for savers. This is essential Isa reading and is kept up-to-date throughout the year

What next for house prices? Buyers offered a chance to negotiate and save money as sellers cut asking prices


The traditional pre-Christmas drop in asking prices has been far more pronounced than usual, according to Rightmove. We look at the outlook for house prices.

Looking for a better bank? This is Money's five of the best current accounts

Best five: which current accounts offer the best perks?

How hard does your bank account work for you? Here's our pick of the best accounts to make your money work harder, cut down on fees, or get free stuff.

What next for mortgage rates? Fixed rates tumble to as low as 1.29% as lenders keep on cutting

Lock in a five-year fix now: The bank rate could rise as early as next year, which would send mortgage rates up

Homeowners can fix for two years at just 1.29 per cent and up to ten years at less than 3 per cent. We highlight the best mortgage deals and look at whether it is time to fix.

Ten tips for buy-to-let: the essential advice for property investors

For many buy-to-let looks an attractive income investment in a time of low rates and stock market volatility. Climbing house prices, rising rents and improving mortgage deals are tempting investors - although they will need a big deposit. Read This is Money's top ten buy-to-let tips

Best paid UK jobs 2014: Compare your pay to the national average in the league table of salaries across 350 trades and professions

The influence of financial services on the economy is spelled out again as City brokers steal top spot in this year's official list of highest earners. According to the detailed 2014 annual salaries survey, brokers pocketed around 40 times more this year than those at the bottom of the list - the people responsible for keeping children safe on the way to school. Lollipop crossing patrols earned around £3,400.

Premium Bonds winners

April 2015
Prize value Winning bond No. Area
£1,000,000 55DM417553 Wiltshire
£1,000,000 115SG511998 Suffolk
£100,000 80MH293690 Devon
£100,000 5ZX425829 Devon
£100,000 2VQ611480 Surrey
£100,000 231CK511061 Birmingham
£50,000 53KX083995 Nottinghamshire
£50,000 35VF197037 West Midlands
£50,000 240RM142522 West Midlands
£50,000 185NT214902 Birmingham
£50,000 168WQ372604 South Gloucestershire
More Premium Bonds winners


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