UK economy to return to growth? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 9:27:00 AM Categories: Economy

The UK's economy will rebound in the second half of the year, the Ernst and Young Item Club's latest report says. However, its quarterly forecast, which is produced using the same model as the UK Treasury, still predicts that the economy will contract by 0.2% over the year as a whole.

The forecast is more optimistic than the International Monetary Fund's assessment released last week, which predicted that the UK economy would shrink by 0.4% this year.

The Item Club says economic growth will be 1.2% next year and 2.4% in 2014 and 2015, fuelled by higher consumer spending as a result of falling inflation and a better jobs market.

It says these improvements will be boosted by a recovery in the mortgage and housing markets next spring.

Capital Allowances - Have you heard the news? 

Monday, October 08, 2012 11:22:00 AM Categories: Tax

According to our research, more and more commercial property owners have become aware of the tax advantages of making a capital allowances claim. However there are still tens of thousands who have not made a claim because they have never been made aware that they can.

We have looked at Capital Allowaces before but to refresh your memories, they are a form of tax relief available to anyone incurring capital expenditure buying, building or making adjustments to commercial property. While accountants will claim on more obvious items such as shutters and curtains, fire extinguishers and carpets, generally they will not drill down to the items where the far more significant costs to a business lie. These might include air conditioning or heating systems, lighting and security systems, plant and machinery items.

Our partner in this area can provide a free consultation to check if you could benefit. We have already used this for our own property and have received back a rebate so we know it works!

For more information you ca look at the following article or give us a call!

Auto-enrolment arrives! 

Monday, October 01, 2012 4:40:00 PM Categories: Auto-enrolment

Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension, which starts for some today, will affect millions of people. The aim is to ensure that low and middle earners are provided with an addition to the state pension. However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says some who might have saved more may stick to the minimum level.

For many workers, this will be the first time their employer has contributed to their pension savings. The pension employees derive from automatic enrolment is designed to complement both the state pension and any private pension saving.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: "The huge gap that we are trying to fill is [in] long-term pension saving. We have got half the workforce building up no pension beyond the state pension, and that is why this system is such a positive thing. You don't have all the hassle and complexity of choosing a pension. The firm chooses it for you, they put money in, you put money in, and then the only hassle is if you want to opt out," he told the BBC.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this affects you please get in touch.

Eurozone problems continue to provide market volatility 

Thursday, September 27, 2012 2:44:00 PM Categories: Europe

Spain is due to set out its austerity budget for 2013 later, against a backdrop of a deteriorating economy and 25% unemployment rate. Madrid is expected to outline 39bn euros ($50bn; £31bn) worth of savings, tax rises, and structural reforms. It comes amid further protests this week, and growing expectations that Spain will seek a bailout from its eurozone partners.

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, as markets were rattled by violent protests in Madrid and Athens, as well as a statement from the Spanish central bank that the country's economy had continued to shrink in the third quarter of the year.

However, the more optimistic sentiment was boosted on Thursday when the Greek finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, said that a "basic agreement" had been reached with lenders on the austerity measures required for the release of Greece's next tranche of bailout money.

Income levels on the rise? 

Monday, September 17, 2012 2:49:00 PM Categories: Economy

UK households will see a rise in real income levels next year for the first time since the onset of the financial crisis, a study suggests. Taking inflation into account, incomes are set to rise by 0.5% in 2013, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). But they will drop by 0.2% this year, the group said.

The CEBR said real levels of income would start to pick up as inflation fell further, with middle and low-income families benefiting the most.

If you need to discuss generating extra income why not get in touch today.

Taxing the wealthy 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:39:00 PM Categories: Tax

An extra £500m has been squeezed out of the UK's 5,000 wealthiest taxpayers, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Its special unit, set up to deal with the tax affairs of the very rich three and a half years ago, has exceeded its targets, HMRC said. It had hoped to raise an extra £300m in that time, but has raised £200m more.

The head of the High Net Worth Unit said some of those taxed had clearly been trying to dodge tax. "The tax affairs of the richest people in the country are, by their nature, complex, and that's why we have focused resources on getting their tax right," said the unit's head, Martin Randall. "The majority of the wealthiest taxpayers play by the rules, paying the right tax at the right time, but we take action against the minority who don't."

If you would like to discuss your own tax situation please get in touch.

Moody's lowers EU rating outlook to 'negative' 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:40:00 AM Categories: Economy Europe

Moody's has lowered its outlook for the European Union's AAA credit rating to "negative" and warned that the bloc's rating could be downgraded. It said the move reflected the negative outlook for the ratings of the EU's key budget contributors.

Earlier this year, Moody's put ratings of Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK on a negative outlook. It said that these nations were all exposed to the region's debt crisis, hurting their creditworthiness.

The ratings agency said that in case of "extreme stress", the AAA-rated member states were more likely to service their own debt obligations rather than "prioritise their commitment to backstop the EU debt obligations".

Nick Clegg - The new Robin Hood? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 11:43:00 AM Categories: Economy Tax

Nick Clegg has suggested the UK's wealthiest people could be asked to pay more tax for a limited period. The deputy prime minister said that "to remain cohesive and prosperous as a society" those of "very considerable" wealth should contribute more.

Mr Clegg called for a "time-limited contribution" from the richest in society beyond his party's current policy for a "mansion tax" - taxes on properties above a certain value. "In addition to our standing policy on things like the mansion tax, is there a time-limited contribution you can ask in some way or another from people of considerable wealth so they feel they are making a contribution to the national effort?" he said.

If you have any concerns about this or would like to discuss your situation with your adviser please get in touch.

UK public borrowing more than expected 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:08:00 AM Categories: Economy

The UK government borrowed more than expected in July, traditionally a good month for tax receipts, official figures have shown. Net borrowing was £600m, an increase of £3.4bn on the same month a year earlier when it made a repayment of £2.8bn. Analysts blamed disappointing corporation tax receipts.

The Office for National Statistics said net debt - the sum of all borrowing - was £1.032bn, or 65.7% of GDP.

July is usually a good month for tax receipts because it is the month that quarterly corporation tax payments are made and individuals' tax self-assessment returns are recorded.

Repossessions drop to 18-month low 

Monday, August 13, 2012 1:20:00 PM Categories: Mortgages

The number of homes being repossessed in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since the end of 2010, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). There were just 8,500 repossessions in the second quarter of the year, down from 9,600 in the first quarter.

The drop has come despite the economy falling into recession and the high level of unemployment.

The CML said repossessions were being suppressed by low interest rates and help for unemployed mortgage borrowers.

As always, if you have any concerns or would like to discuss your options please get in touch.

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