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Wednesday 29 April 2015

Devolution popular among English businesses

More than 4 in 10 businesses in England are in favour of greater devolution of decision making to the local level, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Click here.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Mortgage applicants change spending habits

Prospective homeowners are changing their spending habits in order to make their mortgage applications more successful, research by MoneySuperMarket has found. Click here.

Monday 27 April 2015

Medium-sized business owners plan exit strategies

A third of medium-sized business owners are planning to sell their business, a report by law firm Mills & Reeve has found. Click here.

Friday 24 April 2015

Annuity rates hit record low

Average rates of standard annuities have fallen to a record low just 3 weeks after the government's pension reforms were introduced, research by Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts has found. Click here.

Thursday 23 April 2015

SMEs risk breaking insurance law

Many SMEs misunderstand their legal insurance obligations and risk breaking the law, a survey by Aviva has found. Click here.

Young people not saving for retirement

More than half of 18-35 year-olds haven't started saving for retirement, research by NOW: Pensions has shown. Click here.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

HMRC underestimates EU VAT impact

HMRC miscalculated the number small firms affected by the new EU VAT rules by more than 10,000%, according to a report by Enterprise Nation. Click here.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Adults get savings boost living with parents

Almost three quarters of parents still have children aged over 18 living with them, according to research by TopCashback. Click here.

Monday 20 April 2015

Freelance earnings outstrip employee salaries

Freelancers' average earnings have outperformed the average employee salary so far this year, according to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE). Click here.

Friday 17 April 2015

Divorcees face reduced retirement income

Divorcees planning to retire in 2015 can expect to have an average of £2,100 less a year from their expected retirement income than those that stay married, research by Prudential suggests. Click here.

Employers see benefits of corporate volunteering

Half of all employers allow their staff to participate in voluntary activities in order to develop their skills, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Skills and Development (CIPD). Click here.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Household bills continue to rise above inflation

Household bills have risen by more than double the rate of inflation over the past decade, according to research by Santander. Click here.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Inflation rate remains at zero in March

The UK inflation rate remained at 0% in March 2015, according to official figures. Click here.

Pensioners at risk from scammers

Fraudulent pension schemes, employer impersonation and fake financial advice are some of the tactics used to defraud pensioners, according to Citizens Advice. Click here.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Auto-enrolment exemptions introduced

Employers will not have to auto-enrol employees in certain circumstances because of changes to government legislation. Click here.

Upcoming election reveals credit rating risks

Young people across the country are harming their credit rating by not registering to vote in the upcoming election, a study by has found. Click here.

Businesses hold back on capital investment

Almost two thirds of UK businesses generated a cash surplus this year, according to research by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Click here.

Consumers reveal concerns about pension freedoms

Consumers are concerned about the potential risks of taking their pension as cash, a survey by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has shown. Click here.

Friday 10 April 2015

Auto-enrolment could slow business growth

Auto-enrolment costs could stall the growth of small and micro businesses, according to a survey commissioned by Enrolsme. Click here.

Shared parental leave changes give more flexibility

New rules regarding shared parental leave have come into effect, allowing parents and adopters more flexibility in how they care for their child during its first year of life. Read more.

Pension changes come into effect

Rules on how savers can access their defined contribution pensions from age 55 have changed.
The new rules are designed to give savers greater freedom and flexibility over how they access their pension savings.
The main changes from 6 April 2015 are:

Lump sum payments

Savers can access up to 25% of their pension pot tax-free. This money can be taken as a one-off payment or in multiple amounts.

Flexi-access drawdown

There are now no rules of how much you can take from a drawdown fund each year. All drawdown payments are taxed as income.

Capped drawdown

No new capped drawdown or flexible drawdown funds can be set up from 6 April. Savers already in capped drawdown schemes can continue with their arrangement or convert their fund into a flexi-access drawdown fund.
Dr Yvonne Braun, director of long term savings strategy at the Association of British Insurers, said:
"Don't panic, don't rush and don't be tempted to dash for the cash without carefully considering your options.
"With the new pensions freedoms and flexibility comes responsibility, so the only sensible advice is to contact the free, impartial Pension Wise service who can explain what the changes could mean for you, and your options."

Tax changes from 6 April

The start of the new tax year on 6 April saw new tax and regulatory changes come into effect. 
Here are the headline measures affecting businesses and individuals:

Personal allowance

The income tax personal allowance will rise from £10,000 to £10,600. The personal allowance will continue increasing incrementally until it reaches £11,000 in 2017/18.

Marriage Allowance

From 6 April, spouses and civil partners will be able to transfer up to £1,060 of their personal allowance to their partner. More than 4 million eligible married couples and 15,000 civil partners will be able to save £212 a year.

Savings tax

As announced during Budget 2014, the interest tax on savings up to £5,000 will be abolished. This will mean that from 6 April, people earning less than £15,600 each year will no longer have to pay the 10% tax.
The government estimates that this will remove tax on savings for 1.5 million people.

Tax on inherited pensions

The 55% tax charge on inherited pensions will be abolished meaning that unused pension contributions can be passed to the beneficiary free of tax.

National insurance

National insurance contributions (NICs) for under-21s will no longer be mandatory. Employers hiring care and support workers can claim NIC deductions of up to £2,000.


The annual ISA allowance will increase from £15,000 to £15,240 and the threshold for Junior ISAs and child trust funds will rise from £4,000 to £4,080.

Capital gains tax

The CGT annual exemption is rising from £11,000 to £11,100.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Homebuyers benefit from stamp duty reforms

More than two thirds of homebuyers stand to benefit from the stamp duty (SDLT) reforms introduced after the 2014 Autumn Statement, according to research by Nationwide. Read more.

Low inflation provides savings boost to over-55s

The falling cost of living is allowing over-55s to increase their savings and pay off debts, a survey by Aviva has found. Read more.

Tax changes from 1 April

A host of new tax changes affecting businesses and individuals have come into effect on 1 April. Here is a quick breakdown of the changes and how they may affect you.

Corporation tax

All companies will now pay a main rate of corporation tax of 20% on profits of £300,000 and under. Corporation tax will effectively become a single rate as the main rate is reduced to the current small companies rate of 20%. Tax on the next £1.2 million of profits will also reduce from 23.75% to 21.25%.


The threshold for compulsory VAT registration is increasing from £81,000 to £82,000. The turnover limit for when businesses can deregister from VAT also is rising from £79,000 to £80,000.

Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

The Land Buildings and Transaction Tax (LBTT) will replace stamp duty in Scotland and is likely to apply to most property transactions. The obligation for collecting this tax has moved from HMRC to the new tax authority Revenue Scotland.
The 2015/16 residential and commercial rates:
Up to £145,000 0%Up to £150,000 0% 
£145,001 to £250,000 2% £150,001 to £350,000 3% 
£250,001 to £325,000 5% Over £350,000 4.5% 
£325,001 to £750,000 10% N/A N/A 
Over £750,000 12% N/A N/A 

Air passenger duty

The 2 most expensive bands of air passenger duty (APD) have been abolished. Band C (for people travelling over 4,000 miles) and band D (over 6,000 miles) are being merged into band B. All passengers travelling over 2,000 miles will now pay £71 in APD. This compares to the £85 charge for band C and £97 charge for band D in the 2014/15 tax year.

Diverted profits tax

There is also a new tax on diverted profits that will see multinationals charged 25% on all profits artificially diverted overseas. The government hopes that this tax will help to limit the large-scale tax evasion that some high profile companies are currently undertaking with regards to their UK operations.

SME owners work 15 months a year

SME owners work the equivalent of an extra 3 months in a year, according to a survey by the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA). Read more.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Small Business Act becomes law

A range of measures aimed at supporting the UK's small business sector have become law as the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act gained royal assent. Click here.

Retirees provide financial support to families

More than a third of people retiring this year are currently supporting their families financially, according to survey by Prudential. Click here.

SMEs lack qualified financial staff

More than a third of SMEs do not have a qualified person in charge of finances, research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has found. Click here.

Charitable donations popular among estate planners

Almost a fifth of people plan to leave money to charity when they die, according to research by the AA. Click here.