Record 22% housing market share for first-time buyers

First-time buyers took a record 22% share of the housing market in the fourth quarter of 2016, the highest since records began in 2007. A press release from the Bank of England published on the 14th of March shows that the percentage of first-time buyers is rising, with figures set to go even higher later in the year. The fourth quarter of 2016 saw £62.8 billion of new residential loans taken out, which was a 2.6% decrease compared to the previous three months. Adrian Anderson, the director of property finance specialist ...

Digital tax overhaul will require five returns per year

The upcoming digitisation of the tax reporting system could mean that millions have to file five tax returns a year. The overhaul, called ‘Making Tax Digital’ starts its pilot trial in the 2017/18 tax year, with people being gradually drawn into the system over the following two years. Why is tax going digital? In the ‘Making Tax Digital’ Policy Paper, H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) states that the new system will save businesses and the self-employed time and money by keeping track of information and fixing any errors in real-time. This ...

New account launched by National Savings & Investments

After being announced in last year’s budget, the new National Savings & Investments (NS&I) Investment Guaranteed Growth Bond has finally been launched. The bond is a fixed rate product, offering 2.2% gross/AER. The Treasury announced it in November 2016 as a ‘market leading’ savings bond, but whilst it does offer the highest interest rate, it arrives at a time when inflation is high and expected to rise. What exactly is it? Contrary to what the name suggests, the new NS&I bond isn’t an investment product, but a savings bond with no element of ...

FCA hit by fake email scammers yet again

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is being troubled by fake emails again for the second time in three months. In a statement issued on the 21st of March 2017, the FCA warn of a security breach that has caused emails to be sent out from the three following addresses: 1.fca.updates@fca.org.uk 2.webmaster@fca.org.uk 3.press.office@fca.org.uk Whilst these are official sender accounts, any email with ‘FCA Regulation 2017’ as its subject title has been sent without the knowledge or consent of the financial ...

Shock National Insurance U-turn

In a shock move, that will come as a pleasant mid-week surprise to many, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that the government will not proceed with the increase in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. The main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions, applicable to the self-employed, was to be increased from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and then to 11% in April 2019. The pressure being applied to the government during the last week has clearly had some effect, with many saying that the increase directly broke the Conservatives’ 2015 ...

Budget 2017: Were you a winner or a loser?

Budget 2017 Winners and Losers 150px Will you be better or worse off as a result of today’s Budget? Our summary will tell you, read on to find out. Budget 2014: WinnersWinners Some small business owners It was positive news for small businesses owners, with the introduction of business rate cap of no more than £50 per month for those leaving the small business rate relief tax. Don’t get too excited though, many small business owners will be hit by rises ...

Budget 2017: Everything you need to know

Budget 2017 Everything you need to know 150pxThe Chancellor, Philip Hammond, started his first Budget in a bullish mood, listing the ways the economy had exceeded expectations. He also reported that on International Women’s Day, that there is now a higher proportion of women in work than ever before. It wasn’t all good news though, he went on to explain “that our job is not done” highlighting, amongst other things, the issues young people have when they leave education, high levels of debt and low productivity. In a moment of self-deprecation, Mr Hammond ...

NS&I slashes Premium Bond prizes and savings rates

Millions of savers were dealt another blow earlier this month as NS&I announced rate cuts across their range, with even Premium Bonds affected. National Savings and Investments (NS&I) was set up to provide a relatively cheap source of government borrowing. It offered security, simplicity and dependable returns and has remained a favourite for savers. As a state owned savings bank, it has never set out to deliver market leading returns, and actually has rules in place to prevent it offering products that would stifle competition. However, despite moderate returns, a combination of a ...

Savings: Compensation limit set to rise

Compensation limit set to riseFrom next week, savers will receive a boost to the level of protection they get if their bank or building society goes bust. Currently, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects up to £75,000 of savings per person, per institution. However, this will rise to £85,000 from 30th January. The limit is changing because of the falling pound, with the value of protection pegged broadly to 100,000 Euros. The new level of protection means that savers can deposit an additional £10,000 with each institution and be guaranteed to ...

How will the unexpected rise in inflation affect you?

How will the unexpected rise in inflation affect you?New figures show that UK inflation is now at its highest rate since November 2014. The data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 1.6% in December, up sharply from 1.2% in November. The Retail Prices Index (RPI), which includes housing costs, rose from 2.2% to 2.5%. Rising air fares and food prices contributed to the unexpectedly sharp rise, as the effects of the falling pound start to be felt. Reacting to the figures, Mike Prestwood ...
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