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A round-up of the top money and personal finance headlines.

Money news round-up

Just a week left until the big day. Hopefully you’ve bought all the presents, stocked up on food and are ready to enjoy a relaxed Christmas. If not there are still a few shopping days left. But before you dash out for some last-minute shopping, or heat up the mulled wine, take a moment to catch up on the top money and personal finance news.

1. Drip-down

Water bills in England and Wales are set to fall by £15 to £25 between 2020 and 2025, according to Ofwat. A price review carried out by the regulator will restrict the ability of water companies to recover the cost of debt from customers.

2. Saving sooner

Younger workers could soon start taking advantage of workplace pensions. The government hopes to extend automatic enrolment to 18-year-olds, from the current age of 22. At the moment, anyone under 22 must ask to become part of the pension scheme, rather than being automatically enrolled. 

3. Pampered pets

Will you be giving the family pet a gift on Christmas Day? Well, according to Direct Line, the average pet owner spends nearly £50 on a gift for their cat or dog, for a grand total of over £1 billion across the UK. One in ten pet owners also buy their furry friend an advent calendar. 

4. A helping hand

A new anti-fraud system has saved would-be victims £9.1 million in its first year of operation. The Banking Protocol system allows bank staff to call the police if they suspect someone is being scammed. Those saved by the scheme include a man about to spend £10,000 on a fictitious Rolls-Royce. 

5. Last minute

There’s just a week left until the big day and if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, you’re running out of time. But don’t worry, while you might not be able to get the best deals, there’s still some easy ways to save.

6. Financial worries

It’s natural to worry about money, but two fifths of people in the UK are worried about their financial future. Research from Aldermore’s 2017 Annual Savings Tracker found Londoners and younger people were the most worries about their finances.

And finally…

Most of us enjoy a tipple at Christmas, but if minimum pricing was introduced, it could get a lot more expensive. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found it would not just be cheap, strong drinks affected, but most lagers and ciders would see significant price increases. 

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