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Company pension schemes still a real benefit to employees - 20th June 2017

With the closure of appealing benefit schemes (1) and with the tax-breaks being reduced (2) it would be understandable to assume that the attractions to employees of company pension schemes are fading.

Far from it. The evidence from research shows that good company pension schemes are valued more highly as a benefit than private medical insurance, extra holidays or child care vouchers.

The general election aftermath: What now for the economy and household finances? - 11th June 2017

The UK has been living through a period of chronic economic uncertainty since the Brexit vote in June last year. Now the uncertainties about the prospects for the economy have deepened as a result of the unexpected outcome of last week’s general election. What will the coming months bring and how will households be affected?

Let’s settle social care funding once and for all - 31st May 2017

Branding it a “dementia tax” was inspired – opponents of the Conservative Party’s election manifesto railed against its fundamentally unfair proposals for dealing with the social care costs of increasing numbers of old people with dementia. Theresa May’s U-turn took less than a long weekend. But there is still massive unfairness in the provision of care for those no longer able to look after themselves.

New regulations on pay day lending come into force - 26th May 2017

Further new regulations on pay day lending have come into force as the crack down on this controversial sector of the financial services industry continues. From 26 May online pay day lenders have to advertise their products on at least one price comparison site. Additionally the lenders have to provide a prominently displayed link on their own sites to a price comparison site.

The end in sight for the triple-lock on state pensions? - 19th May 2017

The Conservative’s general election manifesto includes the plan to end the triple-lock on the annual increases in state pensions from 2020. This news comes as no great surprise as the proposal has been mooted for some time. But with both Labour and the Liberal Democrats pledging to keep the triple-lock there is clearly some opposition to a move that could adversely impact pensioners.

The squeeze on real incomes seems set to continue - 15th May 2017

A survey of over 1000 firms published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) forecasts that pay rises for employees in the coming year will only average close to 1%. With price inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), currently running at 2.3% and set to rise further in the coming months the very real prospect is that a large proportion of workers will see their real earnings fall again in the coming year.

How would a cap on energy prices work and is it a good idea? - 9th May 2017

The Conservative Party has announced plans to place a cap on energy prices if it retains power after the forthcoming general election on 8th June. This policy proposal, which is similar to one proposed by the Labour Party in the 2015 general election campaign, would protect those households on standard variable tariffs who comprise circa 70 per cent of energy users.

But how would such a cap work and how much money would it save households?

Mind the gap! Triennial review of company pension funds to reveal increased deficits - 2nd May 2017

Bad news is forecast when many major UK companies revalue their pension schemes this year. Companies are required to revalue their schemes every three years and the expectation is that the collective scale of the deficits for FTSE-100 companies will have increased further when the results of the latest revaluations are revealed.

House prices dipping as economic pressures and uncertainties hit the property market - 28th April 2017

The latest house price news from the Nationwide Building Society confirms the news provided by other surveys in recent months about the weakening housing market. The Nationwide survey found that average house prices fell for the second month in a row in April. The 0.4% reduction in average prices has taken the annual rate of house price inflation down to 2.6% - its lowest rate for four years.

A number of factors are combining to create this weakness in the property market.

Car finance fuels the consumer credit boom - 20th April 2017

Have you noticed the increasing numbers of new - and large - cars when parking at the supermarket? Many if not most of these cars would have been acquired via special car finance products, including the product that is growing in popularity amongst dealerships and consumers – Personal Contract Payments (PCP). But this growth in car finance, which now accounts for circa 90% of new car sales in some dealerships, is concerning both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England.

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