The Autumn Statement arrives next week and the rumour mill has gone into overdrive. The idea of it being a simple update on the economy seems to have been abandoned and instead there is talk of an ISA overhaul, tax changes, and even inheritance tax being cut from 40% to 20%. But if you were Chancellor for the day, what would you do? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert look at what could be on the cards as Jeremy Hunt stands up and delivers his Autumn Statement next week. On their agenda: Stealth tax - will the income tax thresholds freeze end? Inheritance tax - will the rate be cut to 20%? ISAs - will the allowance be boosted and the system improved? Savings - could the personal savings allowance get a rise?
It’s been called the most hated tax in Britain - but only 4% of people pay it. You could be forgiven for thinking inheritance tax is something only the super-rich need to worry about. But thanks to rising house prices and an increasing desire to transfer wealth between generations, more and more people are being drawn into the net. It happens not only when someone is left property or other assets from someone's estate, but also when they accept a gift from someone who passes away before the 'seven year rule' tax exemption kicks in. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that that 4% could become 12% within a decade. And many of those who will never pay inheritance tax still hate the idea that the Government is taking a big cut of the wealth people have worked hard to build up over their lifetime. So it might come as welcome news that Rishi Sunak is reported to be considering cutting the tax, or even scrapping it altogether, as a potential vote-winner ahead of the next election. What’s wrong with inheritance tax, how could it be made fairer - and could the Government really just get rid of it? Simon Lambert, Helen Crane and Georgie Frost discuss. That’s not the only plan the Government is said to be hatching for our finances. It’s also reported that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt wants to increase the £20,000 annual allowance for saving into an ISA - but only for those who use it to invest money into companies listed on the ailing London Stock Exchange. The team consider what puts people off stocks and shares ISAs, whether the rules are too restrictive for the way we manage our money today, and whether encouraging people to pour money into a market which has had a bit of a tough time of late is a good idea. Plus, it’s a year since the disastrous mini-Budget which rocked the mortgage market. With a raft of reductions from big lenders this week, could rates on home loans finally be turning a corner now the base rate has been put on ice? And finally, we discuss whether the time might finally have come to commit to a fixed rate on your energy bills.
Almost five times as many people will soon be paying 40% tax than in the early 1990s, when it was seen as a tax bracket reserved for the rich, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned this week. It said that fiscal drag triggered by freezing the higher rate tax threshold would pull 7.8 million people into its net by 2027. The study suggested that the threshold would have to be almost doubled from its current level, at £50,271, to almost £100,000 to return the tax band to the level intended for it. Alongside the report, came the IFS’s warning that 40% tax had stopped being the preserve of high-earning professionals and was now hitting electricians, plumbers, teachers, nurses and more. The taxman nabbing 40p of every pound earned from a pay rise rather than 20p comes at a time when workers are running to stand still, with inflation at just above 10%. So, is it time the government stopped taxing by stealth and using tools like fiscal drag – instead raising thresholds with inflation or wages? And is it time to hike the higher rate threshold and pull people back down to basic rate tax? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the thorny issue of tax and who counts as wealthy. The debate moves on to inheritance tax – another levy designed for the very rich but now hitting the wealthy middle classes. Why is IHT so unpopular when most don’t pay it and does it need reform? Plus, how much have you lost to inflation, will you get Nationwide’s new £100 Fairer Share bung, and finally, would you buy food two years past its best before date for big savings?
Tumultuous is a word that doesn't really do 2022 justice. Most people were looking forward to a year of calm as the Covid pandemic faded, but instead got turmoil and the cost of living crisis. In the UK, we mixed the global unrest dealt by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the inflation spike, with our own dose of political instability. A year in which you get through three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors is no ordinary one and the mini-Budget chaos led to the UK's own little self-inflicted financial crisis. That was dealt with by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and new PM Rishi Sunak reversing all of Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss's giveaways and adding some tax hikes on top for good measure. So, where do we stand at the end of a year of double digit inflation, rapidly rising interest rates and a general sense of gloominess? Will next year be better? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert take a look back at the big financial events of 2022 and look forward to 2023 on this special year end podcast.
This week, a new in-depth report from the Wealth Tax Commission recommended a one-off 'wealth tax' on the richest households rather than hiking taxes for the masses. It comes as the national debt has spiralled this year as the Government spent more than £280billion tackling the pandemic and its financial fallout, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak claiming the 'economic emergency' has only just begun. How would it work, could it be a good idea and how unpopular would it prove? Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost take a look. Elsewhere, millions of mortgage payment holidays have been handed out since March - an agreement with lenders to help homeowners during the coronavirus crisis. But for one couple who extended the payment holiday, it turned into a credit report headache when they looked to downsize. In the property market, a new report suggests that stamp duty savings are now being wiped out by house price gains in recent months. Should investors run to the hills if one of the companies that you are invested in or are tempted by has a big pension scheme? And lastly, we give yet another update on the port fiasco in Britain, with the perfect storm of coronavirus, Brexit and Christmas.
While the world worries about coronavirus, there is another decade-defining event going on – the US election. Will Donald Trump win a second term as US President and have the world dance to his tune for four more years, or will Joe Biden take charge – and what on earth would that mean for people? There is less than a month to go until the US election and under normal circumstances you would expect all the focus of stock market commentators to be on that. It’s not normal circumstances though. The second wave of coronavirus and renewed lockdowns have the world’s attention and the election, if not a sideshow, is definitely not as centre stage as we would usually expect. So, does that mean it doesn’t matter for investors, or should be thinking about it and positioning themselves for the outcome? Does it even matter if Trump or Biden wins, as long as the Fed keeps printing and stimulus keeps coming, and would any decisive win be better than a disputed result? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Sarah Davidson, discuss the US election and what it could mean for our money over here in the UK. And if two septuagenarians arguing about who is going to be the boss of the free world isn’t your thing, what about investing in the future beyond that? Keeping on the investment tip, the team dive into the world of green money and how to invest to back improving the world, or even get a green mortgage or current account.
After a great deal of fuss about air bridges and people being able to go on summer holiday, things suddenly changed last weekend. A swift about turn saw a 14 day quarantine period imposed for those arriving in the UK from Spain at just six hours’ notice, hitting tens of thousands of holidaymakers who are there already, those with trips booked and leaving Britons hoping for some Spanish sunshine stuck in travel limbo… again. So is this the end of summer holidays for 2020? Are holidays to Spain off the cards for some time, and can you go to France, Italy, Greece or anywhere else safe in the knowledge you can come home and not have to take an extra fortnight off work? On this week’s podcast Georgie Frost – in Spain and facing a 14 day quarantine if she can get back – is joined by Simon Lambert and Grace Gausden to talk holidays, travel insurance, refunds, air bridges and whether even a staycation is safe. Plus, as savings rates take another tumble should you lock your money away for five years at 1.1 per cent just to protect against further falls? And finally, is buy-to-let back? A stamp duty cut, low rates and a weaker property market has got property investors interested again but are they saving money now just to lose it in future?
The showstopper was a big stamp duty cut, the important element was about keeping jobs afloat, and the rabbit out of the hat was a great British meal deal. But the question is, was Rishi Sunak splashing the cash in the summer statement enough to get the nation’s confidence back in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, or will real recovery require more down the line? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce, and Georgie Frost run the rule over the Chancellor’s performance (spoiler alert, he’s good) and the substance of his speech (you’ll have to listen to the show for the verdict on that). They also ask the awkward question of how are we going to pay for all this – and does that even matter right now? Plus, was that a killer blow for the ‘bad tax’ that is stamp duty; will a £1,000 bung be enough for a company to keep someone in work; how badly will the hospitality industry be hit; and just how crazy would you have called someone who forecast at the start of the year that by summer we’d have an official Eat Out to Help Out scheme? Listen to the podcast to hear the team’s verdict on all this and more.
The Chancellor’s coronavirus rescue plan for the British economy has been bold and big, but one important part of the workforce feels somewhat hard done by. A chunk of the self-employed have been excluded from Rishi Sunak’s support in a way that employees have not. More than 9million employees are having 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month paid by the taxpayer under the furlough scheme, with no limits barring high earners from help. In contrast, anyone who is self-employed and has made more than £50,000 in recent years gets no help whatsoever. Those hit by the £50,000 cap are not the limited company directors who can pay themselves in dividends, they are sole traders paying national insurance and income tax in full on their earnings. At a time when the government is throwing hundreds of billions of pounds at the coronavirus crash to support people and boost the chances of recovery, is it fair to exclude this group of the self-employed? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Tanya Jefferies look at how this has happened and whether there is any hope left for those affected that things might change. Tanya also updates listeners on her ground-breaking investigations into widows underpaid state pension, which have seen her win tens of thousands of pounds back for those who got less than they should have. Simon reveals the best and worst performing funds of the year so far and tries to tackle the question of whether the US stock market can just keep on trucking. And finally, recent podcasts have featured how Britain has gone mad for hot tubs in lockdown but there is a new hot property in town – the awfully-named ‘shoffice’.
A This is Money investigation has revealed a string of women who have been underpaid their state pension, but are they just the tip of an iceberg? On this week’s podcast, our pensions agony uncle Steve Webb and pension and investing editor Tanya Jefferies tell the stories of the women paid thousands less in state pension over the years than they should have been - and discuss their probe into the matter. Steve estimates that there could be tens of thousands of women who have been underpaid state pension. This is Money has called for a full review, but the Department of Work and Pensions is reluctant to act other than on a case-by-case basis. Should more be done?
Also, on this week’s podcast Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss the reopening of the property market, who might be brave enough to buy and sell now, and what the forecasts are for sales and house prices. Estate agents Knight Frank predict a 7 per cent drop, while the Bank of England says property prices may fall 16 per cent, but agents claim that lockdown has created pent-up demand. And, as the furlough scheme is extended, we look at the implications of 7.5million people having 80 per cent of their wages picked up by the state and how Britain weans itself off that.
Thousands of programmes covering politics, economics, philosophy and entertainment, plus unlimited online radio including some great folk music (instrumental) - all free of charge, and practically no ads!
to listen to our online radio channel, Share Radio;
to receive our weekly newsletter with details of our latest talk programmes, weekly comment and podcasts; and
for access to our huge audio podcast library containing thousands of programmes covering politics, economics, philosophy and entertainment.
It's all free of charge, and practically no ads!
If you like what you hear, please tell your friends and family about it and ask them to sign up too.
Finally, please note that your receipt of our weekly newsletter is an integral part of our streaming and podcast service,
but your personal data will only be held for your Share Radio relationship: it will not be shared with any other parties