Keep an eye on your cash

The latest inflation figure has crept up again, but interest rates haven’t followed. Between December 2015 and January 2016, overall prices as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell by 0.8%. However, prices normally fall between Christmas and the New Year as the sales get under way and the festive travel price hikes are […]

Another mixed year for world stock markets

There were mixed results from the world’s main share markets in 2015, with the US and UK very little changed. Index 2015 Change FTSE 100 -4.9% FTSE All-Share -2.5% Dow Jones Industrial -2.2% Standard & Poor’s 500 -0.7% Nikkei 225 +9.1% Euro Stoxx 50 (€) +3.9% Hang Seng -7.2% MSCI Emerging Markets (£) -12.2% Drilling […]

US interest rates: we have lift off

A long-awaited event happened in mid-December. The mid-December front pages of the national press were pre-occupied with the launch of a rocket from Kazakhstan containing Tim Peake, the UK’s first European Space Agency astronaut. At virtually the same time, the business pages were pre-occupied with another fanfare-laden lift off: a rise in US interest rates. […]

The 65+ Guaranteed Bond matures

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has announced reinvestment terms for the 65+ bonds that were so popular a year ago. In his March 2014 Budget, the Chancellor promised that in January 2015 NS&I would launch “market-leading savings bonds for people aged 65 and over” When the rates were eventually confirmed, they were indeed market-leading – […]

Another non-allowance for personal savings

More details have emerged about the forthcoming personal savings allowance. Draft clauses of the Finance Bill 2016 were issued in December, helping to keep tax aficionados amused over the festive season. They were accompanied by a raft of explanatory material, but there were still plenty of questions left unanswered. One change to tax from 6 […]

Last month’s Autumn Statement marked another future tax increase for buy-to-let. “Frankly, people buying a home to let should not be squeezing out families who can’t afford a home to buy.” Those words from Chancellor George Osborne heralded the announcement in the Autumn Statement of an increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for the […]

State pension increases and non-increases

The basic state pension will rise by nearly 3% next April. The Autumn Statement confirmed that the basic state pension will rise by £3.35 a week to £119.30 a week from next April. The increase of 2.9% is the result of the ‘triple lock’, which requires the basic state pension to increase each April by […]

Auto-enrolment: the first deferral

The Autumn Statement revealed more evidence that the government is counting the cost of tax relief on pension contributions. When auto-enrolment into workplace pensions started in October 2012, the legislative intention was that the level of contributions as a percentage of qualifying earnings (those between £5,824 and £42,385 in 2015/16) should rise from the current […]

And the winner for retirement savings is…

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been looking at attitudes to private savings. Which one of the options below do you think would be the safest way to save for retirement? Paying into an employer pension scheme Paying into a personal pension scheme Investing in the stock market by buying stocks or shares Investing […]

Super Thursday for the Bank of England

The first Thursday in November – coincidentally Guy Fawkes’ Day – was a “Super Thursday” for the Bank of England. These now occur once every three months and see an avalanche of information emerging from the Bank. The Monetary Policy Committee’s decision on interest rates is accompanied by both the meetings’ minutes and the Bank’s […]

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