This England

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No luxuries

Ian O'Reilly and his wife Sallyann found that their disposable income was diminishing even before yesterday's announcement.

Mrs O'Reilly, 42, said that she, her husband, who is chief executive of a software company, and two children are having to curtail their social life and cut back on luxuries.

Yesterday's interest-rate rise added £50 to their monthly mortgage repayments, wiping out most of the £77 saving they made last year when they remortgaged their five-bedroomed detached house in Coppenhall, Staffordshire.

"I have just booked next year's holiday to Florida for all of us and I am wondering just where the money will come from," she said.

Daily Telegraph
(David Candler)

Silence is golden

They had their peculiarities, such as conducting their business on mobile phones from the bottom of the garden, but, as one resident said: "They keep a very low profile. If it weren't for the sound of the front door being kicked down by the police from time to time, they would be pretty good neighbours."

Guardian
(Harvey Cole)

This article first appeared in the 21 August 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Al-Qaeda: Britain in its sights