University fees could be in for another shake-up if the government adopts controversial proposals in a new report.

A government-commissioned report has proposed significant changes to the funding of university tuition fees in England.  Students resident in England (different rules apply in other parts of the UK) pay a maximum university tuition fee of £9,250 per year, financed by a student loan. Further loans to cover maintenance plus interest at RPI+3% mean that…

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Widely regarded as most unpopular tax, IHT is under scrutiny from both government and opposition. Is it time it was scrapped for a gifts tax?

A paper presented to the Labour Party has suggested the abolition of inheritance tax (IHT).  Labour Party proposals to kill off inheritance tax (IHT) and replace it with a gifts tax were reported across several newspapers last month. The coverage was somewhat creative, as the idea was plucked from a paper prepared for the Labour…

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The recent trials of the Woodford fund highlight the importance of personal advice on your investments..]

The recent problems with the suspension of dealings in a heavily promoted UK equity income fund have exposed the blurred line between advice and guidance.  According to the Investment Association (IA), there are around 3,500 funds on sale in the UK. The IA sorts these into over 30 individual investment sectors, although about 10% are…

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Free TV license row highlights the cost of an ageing population

The BBC’s decision to scrap universal free TV licences for the over-75s is part of the larger debate about our growing ageing population.  Free TV licences for the over-75s were introduced by Gordon Brown in his 2000 Budget. It was a classic rabbit-out-the-hat Budget measure, designed to please at a relatively modest initial cost.  Wind…

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Buoyant stock markets have defied analysts' prediction so far this year.

The world’s stock markets had a buoyant first six months. The final few months of 2018 were a dark time for the world’s stock markets, with concerns about US trade policies and the backwash from the Brexit uncertainty leaving many markets posting an overall loss for the year. The prospects for 2019 did not look…

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Probate fees are to be changed

A survey by HMRC published in May concluded that the public have a relatively poor knowledge of inheritance tax (IHT) rules and lack of confidence in what they do know.  HMRC recently commissioned a surveyof 947 people who had made gifts in the last two years. To assess knowledge of the IHT system among these…

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