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.

UK housing market is 'still in the doldrums' 

Monday, August 06, 2012 1:15:00 PM Categories: Mortgages

The UK housing market is still in the doldrums, figures from the Halifax show. Its latest monthly survey shows that prices fell by 0.6% in July compared with June, to leave the average house price across the country at £161,094.

This means that average prices are also 0.6% lower than a year ago.

The Halifax predicted that there would be little change in the remainder of this year, unless the recession becomes worse.

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

The UK recession deepens 

Monday, July 30, 2012 2:38:00 PM Categories: Economy

The UK recession has deepened, latest official figures have shown, after the output of the economy fell by 0.7% between April and June. The contraction was much bigger than expected and follows a 0.3% drop in the first three months of the year.

The Office for National Statistics said the fall was largely due to a sharp slowdown in the construction sector. It said it was not yet sure of the size of the effect of the poor weather and the extra June bank holiday.

This means that these figures, which are the first estimate for what happened in the economy between April and June, are more uncertain than usual.

Markets react to ongoing Spainish issues 

Monday, July 23, 2012 12:22:00 PM Categories: Europe

European and global markets have fallen on fears Spain's indebted regional governments will push the country into seeking a bailout.

On Friday, Valencia, one of the country's 17 regions, asked the central government for a financial lifeline, and on Sunday, the Murcia region said it was considering following suit. There is speculation that other regions are also considering seeking assistance.

There was more bad news for Spain today when the Bank of Spain said the country's economy contracted by 0.4% in the three months to the end of June, having shrunk by 0.3% in the previous quarter.

European stock markets fell on Monday morning, with Spain's main Ibex share index down more than 5%.

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