Tag Archives: budget

Budget 2017 – how will it affect you?

Chancellor Philip Hammond has just announced the final Spring Budget, and in it we saw investment in education (some controversial), money allocated towards the crisis in social care, increased NI on the self-employed and much more.

What you said
budget-twitter-poll-2017-400On Monday 6th March we asked our Twitter users to decide which of our choices they thought were the most important factors in the Budget – almost half our 4,265 respondents (47%) said social care, NHS and benefits were, with 25% saying national living wage and 22% income tax rates.

Among the most popular topics mentioned in ‘other’ were the state pension, defence and clamping down on tax havens, while by and large people accepted that tax rises would be needed as long as they could be ring-fenced for NHS and social care. Anyway, here’s a summary of what he said….

Personal taxes

  • The national living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour in April.
  • Personal allowance (how much you can earn in a year before being taxed) will rise to £11,500 – the seventh consecutive annual rise, with a rise to £12,500 the target by 2020.
  • Higher tax rate threshold will rise too from £43,000 to £45,000 (except in Scotland), with the aim being to reach £50,000 by 2020.
  • However, there is more tax on the self-employed – an extra £145m to be raised by 2021-22
  • National Insurance rises for the self-employed: class 4 NICs will increase to 10% in 2018, with a further 1% increase in 2019. Some experts say this goes contrary to the Government’s 2015 manifesto.  

Continue reading

How could recent inflation rises affect us?

Small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down costs Did you know inflation in the UK reached a two-year high in December 2016? We look at how this could affect all of us.

With the weaker pound pushing up air fares and food prices, the cost of weekly shopping and jaunts abroad is on the up, not matter what your budget.

The  Office For National Statistics estimates that a basket of goods and services that cost £100 in December 2015 would have cost £101.60 in December 2016.  They put the rise down to “Price movements for the majority of the broad groups of goods and services.”

*Did you know: the most recent figures show that in 2014 the average food shop was £58.80, which would have meant an extra 50p a week in 2016 with these rises.* Continue reading

Would a missed gym membership payment affect my credit report?

Gym membership and your credit reportIt’s no surprise that gym memberships rocket in January. Resolutions to shed the pounds in the new year are not uncommon, and gyms and fitness centres know full well that a high number of new members will find it hard to keep up their commitment beyond the end of the month, let alone the full year.

Even with introductory offers, gym membership can still be costly if you’re committed for a year upfront and are loathe to cancel.

Spending some time balancing out your income against your outgoings can be beneficial in the long run, and can also make you feel like you’re in control of your finances.  And the start of the year is often a good time to think about if there are any costs you can do without – outgoings you may no longer need or use.   

Besides gym membership, it might be satellite TV channels you never watch.  An extended warranty you didn’t really need to buy. It can all add up! A budget calculator may help you work out if you could live without it.

Would a missed gym membership payment affect my credit report?

Neil Stone from our Social support team says:  We’ve recently been contacted by a worried customer who was being chased by a debt collection agency over a missed gym membership payment and were concerned that it would impact their credit report. Continue reading

2016: the money year in review

New Year is loading nowHere we take a look back at 2016 and some of the more significant things that may have affected our finances.

January  We focused on our Millennial Me report, which found that 45% of Millennials manage to save at least a quarter of their disposable income each month, compared to just a third (34%) of 35-54 year olds.

February  With a busy year of voting ahead, we focused on National Voter Registration Drive (1-7 Feb), which not only encourages young people to register to vote to increase their voice, but also to help boost their credit profile – as lenders use the information on your credit report to help confirm your identity which could help you when you apply for credit.

March  March saw George Osborne’s final Budget  as chancellor (though he didn’t know it at the time) , and the main points we focused on included changes to the personal allowance, spending cuts, changes to savings and infrastructure projects.

April Continue reading

Autumn Statement 2016: a summary

The Chancellor announced his first (and last) Autumn Statement on 23 November, and some of the main focuses were in housing, allowances and infrastructure.

We went into the streets to ask what people would do if they were chancellor. Watch the video to find out!

The main headlines – a brief summary

Housing

A £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund is to unlock land for housing, which in doing so is set to create 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.  There’s also a further £1.4bn to build 40,000 affordable home, as well as a new venture that aims to give the Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

Continue reading

How does the drop in interest rates affect you?

Yesterday, one month later than most experts had predicted, the Bank of England announced a historic change in interest rates, the first change since 2009 – and rather than the upward rise that had been widely predicted for the past few years, it fell from 0.5% to 0.25%.

 So what does this mean in practical terms?

Mortgages – For those on a tracker mortgage, as long as your lender passes on the cut to its own base mortgage rate (or if it is linked directly to the BoE base rate), your rate (and monthly payment) should go down.  In all, there are about 1.5 million trackers in the UK.

However, some banks and building societies have a ‘tracker floor’, which means there is a limit to how low the percentage can go above the Bank of England base rate. In this case, your rate (and mortgage payment) would be unlikely to change.

If you have a fixed rate mortgage, you wouldn’t be affected if the rates went down during your fixed period, but when the time comes to re-mortgage – or if you’re a new homebuyer – , the options open to you could potentially be more favourable, with some experts suggesting long-term fixes even going below 2%.

Savers – In the event of an interest rates cut, it may depend if banks chose to pass on the cut to savings accounts. Some savers may decide to switch to bonds or shares, which could have the effect of driving those prices higher.

For pension savers who are using an annuity, a rate cut could make annuity rates fall by putting pressure on the long-term. This could have a potential negative effect on employee pension schemes too.

Needing currency for holidays – While interest rate cuts can often mean a weakening of the pound, it may well be the case that the currency markets will have been factoring in a cut for some time already – hence there may be little change if it does eventually happen.  Interest rate cuts can be done sometimes to provide an economic stimulus – to encourage people to spend rather than to save – so perhaps this could help improve consumer confidence and boost the pound.

But what about when it does rise? - Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has warned against expecting interest rates to stay low forever in these uncertain times, and suggested that homeowners would do well to prepare their finances to be ready for a potential rise of up to 3% in the coming years.

Many homeowners, particularly those who’ve joined the market in the past seven years, will have never been faced with an interest rate rise, and tighter borrowing conditions in the future could make it harder to cope with a rise.

How your credit score could help –  Having a higher credit score could mean you get better deals or lower interest rates on credit, loans and mortgages. The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your Experian Credit Report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now.

It can also help you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better rates.

(original post 14 July 2016, updated 5 August 2016)

5 key takeouts from Budget 2016

tax-hat-300How will #Budget2016 affect you?  The Chancellor said “we have to act now so we don’t have to pay later”, and we’ve heard proposals for cuts, funding and changes that could affect all of us around the country in different ways.

We’ve picked out 5 key areas from #Budget2016.

-          Changes to income tax - As promised in last year’s summer budget, tax-free personal allowance will rise from £10,600 in 2015/16 to £11,000 from April. It will then go up a further £500 in April 2017 to make it £11,500 that you can earn before you have to start paying income tax.

The 40p tax threshold rises from £42,385 to £43,000, with a further increase to £45,000 in April 2017 as the Chancellor speeds up attempts to increase it £50,000 by 2020. Continue reading

Budget 2016 preview – what’ll it bring?

How will the Budget impact you?

How will the Budget impact you?

The Chancellor’s spring budget arrives on Wednesday 16 March. It’s the last one before the nation goes to the polls for the referendum on EU membership, so it will be interesting to see what emerges.

Many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from income tax to benefits, from housing to savings. What have the experts been predicting for the Budget 2016 headlines?

Income tax
As promised in last year’s summer budget, personal allowance (how much you can earn tax-free before you start paying income tax) will rise from £10,600 in 2015/16 to £11,000 from April, while the 40p tax threshold rises from £42,385 to £43,000.   Continue reading

How could the Spending Review affect you?

budget-family-350The Chancellor today (25 Nov) announced his Autumn Statement and Spending Review, and many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from tax to benefits, from housing to local amenities.

Some of the headlines are:

Tax Credits/Welfare –  The planned £4.4bn cuts to working tax credits as part of plans to reduce the welfare bill by £12billion, has now been abandoned and tax credits will now remain unchanged.

The Chancellor said the £12bn of welfare savings will be “delivered in a way that helps families as we make the progression to a national living wage

The Chancellor also says that ”more than a million” more jobs will be created over the next five years.

Council Tax – It’s been confirmed that local councils have the freedom to increase council tax bills by more than 2 per cent, to help pay for social care funding.

Childcare – 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds from 2017, to parents working more than 16 hours and earning less than £100,000.

Pensions - The basic state pension will increase by £3.35 a week next year, taking the weekly ‘single tier’ total up to £155.65 for new pensioners.

Housing -  £2bn has been set aside for more than 400,000 “affordable homes” to be built in England, to buy and to rent. Stamp duty for Buy To Let homes will be 3% higher than for regular stamp duty.

Right-to-buy is being extended to housing association tenants starting with a new pilot in five housing associations from midnight.

Help To Buy will be a shared ownership venture aimed at allowing people to get equity loans to help buy a home. London Help to Buy gives a 40% interest-free loan to first-time buyers.

Find out more about the Help to Buy ISA here

Arts & sport: Arts Council funding will be increased so as to keep free museum entry. UK sport budget will increase by 29% “so we go for gold in Rio and in Tokyo”.

How could the Summer Budget affect you?

How will the Budget impact you?

How will the Budget impact you?

Now that the Chancellor has announced his first Budget since May’s General Election, a few things have become clear. And many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from income tax to benefits, from housing to savings.

Some of the headlines from Summer Budget 2015 were:

Inheritance Tax
From 2017, couples can expect to see their inheritance tax threshold increase to £1 million, from the previous £650,000.  It comes as part of a new ‘family home allowance’ of £175,000 added to the present £325,000 tax-free allowance, which means that if you die and leave assets worth up to £500,000, your estate won’t be charged any inheritance tax. Continue reading