automatic enrolment

The next steps in automatic enrolment

By Richard Jackson | 13th January 2018

The government has published a review on automatic enrolment in workplace pensions which makes important proposals for employers. Automatic enrolment of employees in workplace pensions has been a greater success than many predicted when it was introduced in October 2012. To date over nine million employees have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and…


HMRC v Airbnb – rent-a-room relief in the spotlight

By Richard Jackson | 13th January 2018

An HMRC paper promised in the Budget could be bad news if you use Airbnb. The government has set out a call for evidence relating to rent-a-room relief in response to the rise in short term rentals facilitated by Airbnb and its competitors. Rent-a-room relief is typical of some of the neglected parts of the…

New Scottish Income Tax

Scottish income tax unveiled in Caledonian budget

By Richard Jackson | 10th January 2018

Last month saw another Budget – for Scotland, this time.  The Scottish Budget in the middle of December contained potential omens for the whole of the UK. The budget proposed changes to income tax bands and thresholds. In the foreword to the main Budget document, Derek Mackay, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the…

National Savings

Better returns from National Savings

By Richard Jackson | 27th December 2017

Fancy your chances at 1 in 24,500? National Savings & Investments have increased their interest rates – and boosted a chance of winning. National Savings & Investments (NS&I) beat many of its banking competitors by announcing a 0.25% increase in its variable rate products. These took effect from 1 December and are shown in the table…

Venture Capital Schemes

Venture capital schemes and the Budget

By Richard Jackson | 22nd December 2017

The Autumn Budget included a raft of measures focused on venture capital schemes. The writing was always on the wall after a Treasury consultation issued in August posed the leading question, “Are there areas where the cost effectiveness of current tax reliefs could be improved, for example reducing lower risk ‘capital preservation’ investments in the…

Quiet increases in national insurance contributions

By Richard Jackson | 18th December 2017

The first Budget of 2017 in March hit a serious obstacle when the Chancellor attempted to raise national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed. This time around he was subtler in his approach. When Mr Hammond announced an increase to Class 4 NICs in the spring Budget, partly to offset the end of Class 2…

Interest rates rise – after 3,773 days…

By Richard Jackson | 13th December 2017

November marked the first rise in the Bank of England Base Rate in over ten years. At the start of November, the Bank of England raised its base rate for the first time since 5 July 2007. Just over a decade ago, the previous increase was 0.25%, from 5.5% to 5.75%. This time around the…

The buy-to-let Budget headline you didn’t see

By Richard Jackson | 10th December 2017

The Autumn Budget contained more bad news for many buy-to-let investors which went largely unnoticed.  April 2018 will see the next step down in mortgage interest relief for investors in buy-to-let (BTL) residential properties. The amount of interest that can be offset against rental income drops from 75% to 50%, with a corresponding increase to…


Abenomics – a different ending for Japan’s election gamble

By Richard Jackson | 23rd November 2017

Abenomics to continue? Not all snap elections turn out the same way… A right of centre Prime Minister calls an election before the end of the government’s term to take advantage of rising poll numbers and seeming disarray amongst the opposition parties. What could possibly go wrong? In the UK, the answer was close to…

UK share dividends rise

By Richard Jackson | 21st November 2017

UK share dividends rising rapidly Has your income risen by 14.3% over the past year?  Statistics show that from UK share dividends are still rising rapidly. The latest quarterly ‘UK Dividend Monitor’ from Capita Asset Services paints a rosy picture for income-seeking investors in UK shares. As Capita noted, “Companies are very cash-generative, which is strongly…

State pension rise in 2018 is no cause to celebrate

State pension rise 2018 – no cause to celebrate

By Richard Jackson | 20th November 2017

The state pensions will rise by 3% next April, but it’s not all strictly good news. On the day that a CPI inflation rate of 3% was announced, the BBC website covering the rise had a picture of pensioners “dancing for joy”. The supposed reason for their jollity was that the 3% September inflation figure…

Rise in popularity for venture capital trusts

By Richard Jackson | 15th November 2017

New figures from HMRC show a large jump in investments in venture capital trusts in 2016/17.  In September HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issued updated statistics on the funds raised by venture capital trusts (VCTs). These showed that investment during last tax year reached £570m, an increase of over 28% on 2015/16. This was the…

First interest rate rise in the UK for a decade.

Inflation level triggers interest rate rise

By Richard Jackson | 9th November 2017

September inflation was just low enough to spare Mark Carney writing to the Chancellor. And helped spur the first interest rate rise in a decade. Each year the Chancellor of the day gives the Bank of England an inflation target to meet. Ever since Gordon Brown changed the inflation index used to the Consumer Prices…

Stock markets rise in the third quarter of 2017

Stock markets rise in Q3

By Richard Jackson | 22nd October 2017

Stock markets rise against the grain in Q3 The third quarter of 2017 has ended and despite the heavy political news, investment returns were generally positive. Index Change 30 June – 29 September FTSE 100 +0.8% FTSE All-Share +1.2% Dow Jones Industrial +4.9% Standard & Poor’s 500  +4.0% Nikkei 225 +7.7% Euro Stoxx 50 (€)…

Changes ahead for venture capital schemes?

Changes ahead for venture capital schemes?

By Richard Jackson | 20th October 2017

A consultation paper issued in August could mean changes to venture capital schemes. At the start of the holiday season the Treasury issued an open consultation paper entitled “Financing growth in innovative firms”. Its focus was on what has become known as ‘patient capital’, which the Treasury defined as “long-term investment in innovative firms led…

Taking the medicine – gearing up for the Autumn Budget

By Richard Jackson | 15th October 2017

The Chancellor has announced the date of his first Autumn Budget as Wednesday 22 November. The second Budget of 2017 will be both Mr Hammond’s first Autumn Budget and the first Budget after the general election. Traditionally, the first Budget of a new parliament is the chance for a Chancellor to administer the “medicine” of…

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