MPs warn ‘too few’ understand new State Pension

The Government has failed to make it clear that many individuals retiring on the new State Pension will not receive the maximum rate, MPs have suggested.

Data contained within a new Work and Pensions Committee report on the matter revealed that just 13% of savers reaching State Pension age will receive the full amount of £155.65 per week in the first year.

Some 32% of retirees are expected to receive more than this, while 55% will receive less, possibly due to ‘contracting out’ periods or gaps in contributions.

The Committee has argued that ‘failures of communication mean that too few people understand [the new State Pension]’.

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It is now calling for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to write to those who will ultimately receive less. It has also urged for a telephone hotline to be set up to answer any questions that savers may have regarding the new State Pension.

Frank Field MP, chair of the Committee, said: ‘The new State Pension will ultimately be a welcome simplification of an over-complicated system.

‘The oversimplified message about the flat-rate amount has left many people unprepared and confused.’

However, the DWP has stated that it is committed to creating a simpler system that is easier to understand.

‘Millions stand to gain from the changes, including women and the self-employed, who so often have lost out in the past,’ said a DWP spokesperson.

From 6 April, eligible retirees will be able to claim the new State Pension if:

  • they are a man born on or after 6 April 1951
  • they are a woman born on or after 6 April 1953.

Those who reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016 will receive the current State Pension.

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Buy-to-let landlords could face tougher borrowing tests under new proposals

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has recommended that new limits should be placed on lending to buy-to-let landlords, to help safeguard the UK economy against future shocks.

In a new consultation paper, the PRA – a part of the Bank of England – suggests that banks and building societies should apply stricter criteria when granting mortgages to landlords.

It argues that rather than considering only rental income, lenders should take account of a landlord’s wider financial situation, including all the costs they might have to pay when renting out a property, any additional income being used to support the borrowing, the landlord’s personal tax liabilities and any tax liabilities associated with the property.

The PRA also proposes that lenders should apply a stricter ‘stress test’ to measure whether the landlord could afford repayments in the event of interest rate rises over a five-year period from the start of the mortgage.

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The Bank of England has previously warned that the potential for mass-selling by landlords in the event of a financial crash is a threat to Britain’s economic stability. The PRA claims that the new standards would ‘curtail inappropriate lending, and the potential for excessive credit losses’ and could reduce lending to landlords by up to 20% over the next three years.

However, the proposals have been criticised by some experts. Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: ‘This is a classic case of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted. The changes the Chancellor has made to mortgage interest tax relief and higher stamp duty for landlords will have enough of an impact on buy-to-let without the need for further interference from the Bank of England.’

The PRA consultation will continue until 29 June 2016.

NUNN HAYWARD Accountants in BUCKINGHAMSHIRE release this brand new App that’s free for clients and our friends looking to achieve more on the move.

The Brand new App from NUNN HAYWARD

 App Promo Image

As a firm we are constantly looking for ways we can improve the service we offer our customers and we are proud to announce the launch of our brand new NUNN HAYWARD App.  It’s completely free of charge to download and it’s available for iPhone, iPads and Android phones and devices.

So the next time you need to look up a tax rate or work out a VAT calculation, our new App can help.  It provides you with up to date, important accountancy data at your fingertips.  PLUS:

Photo Receipt Management, Email and Store

Never lose a receipt again! Using the latest app you can track receipts and expenses literally at the touch of a button. With minimal effort you can take a picture of any receipt and save it to your App. Any additional information can be added later and receipts stored by amount, category, and date.

It can help you track all your expenses with ease and enable us to interact electronically with you.

GPS Mileage Tracking and Management tool | iOS only

When it comes to mileage half the battle is keeping an accurate tab on your journeys. Using the built-in GPS in your device, it will automatically help you to track mileage helping you to record every single trip at the touch of a button. Plus it also manages trips as well, storing them and allowing them to view, edit or email with complete ease.

Keeping in touch via ‘push notifications’

As a firm we are committed to finding ways to communicate and interact with clients in the most efficient possible way.  The new App enables us to send push notifications to all App users.  We will be using this feature to share with you important news, deadline reminders and financial updates.

It’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and it’s available free of charge today.

Enjoy

Rate of inflation remains unchanged

The UK’s inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained unchanged at a level of 0.3% during February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

The CPI rate was expected to rise to 0.4% this February.

Transport costs fell, but food prices experienced a rise, according to ONS data. Inflation is expected to remain below 1% this year.

The Bank of England’s target is for annual inflation to rise no higher than 2%.

The Bank has stated that inflation levels must rise before it will consider raising interest rates. At a meeting earlier in the year, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep these rates at 0.5% – a record-low figure at which interest rates have now remained for the last seven years.

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Additionally, core inflation also remained at its rate of 1.2%, the ONS reported. This type of inflation excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco costs.

Within its fiscal outlook published alongside Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) downgraded UK economic growth for 2016 to a level of 2.0% from an anticipated rate of 2.4%.

Growth for the next two years has also been reduced by 0.3 percentage points.

Nunn Hayward recruiting a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper. 

Nunn Hayward LLP is a firm of accountants based in Gerrards Cross where an exciting opportunity has arisen for a Bookkeeping professional to work in our expanding Business Services department and join the team.

The purpose of the role is to provide an outstanding service to clients as well as developing and building effective relationships including visiting client’s onsite.

Skills:

  • Comfortable working to achieve targets and meet deadlines
  • Team worker
  • Ability to communicate effectively and professionally with clients, in writing and in person
  • Experience of Sage/Xero Bookkeeping software
  • Ability to ensure accurate and timely information
  • A comprehensive understanding of VAT and the preparation of quarterly returns
  • Ability to respond to bookkeeping queries in a timely, professional manner
  • High standards and timeliness of work
  • Ability to operate independently when required

Previous experience within a similar role is essential. You must have knowledge of computerised bookkeeping/accounting.

This role will suit you if you have the initiative to work on your own but also the ability to be a key team member.

The successful candidate will be friendly, confident and enthusiastic with good organisational and communication skills.  They should be somebody who is computer literate, with a good working knowledge of Microsoft packages, Sage and Xero accounts package (including IRIS but not essential).

Salary range according to experience

The successful candidate would be based at our Gerrards Cross offices but there may be travel to clients as necessary.

Please send your CV and covering letter to Clare Weston at cweston@nhllp.com

MPs call for action to be taken on ‘motherhood penalty’

MPs have called on the Government to combat a ‘motherhood penalty’ that has left women being paid less than men.

A new report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee revealed that the Government has failed to reduce the gender pay gap.

The report also suggested that new policies were required to tackle issues such as low part-time wages being paid to women and their ‘disproportionate responsibility’ for taking care of children.

It suggested that providing support to both women and men so that both genders can take equal responsibility for childcare ‘is one of the most effective policy levers in reducing the gender pay gap’.

pay gap

Furthermore, the document also warned that the UK economy has suffered as a result of the failure to minimise the gender pay gap. It estimated that a failure to utilise women’s skills was costing the UK £36 billion a year – which amounts to 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The difference between the amounts that are paid to men and women currently stands at 19.2%, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Maria Miller, chair of the Committee, stated: ‘The gender pay gap is holding back women and that isn’t going to change unless the Government changes its policies now.

‘The pay gap represents a massive loss to the UK’s economy and we must address it in the face of an ageing workforce, a skills crisis and the need for a more competitive economy.’

SNP says that Scotland would not adopt new 40p threshold rate

Scottish First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland will not adopt the UK Government’s plans to increase the starting point at which workers pay the 40p tax rate, if her party wins the Holyrood election on 5 May.

In April 2017, the Scottish Parliament will receive new powers to set bands and rates which will apply to Scotland alone. Amongst other things, this would allow the Scottish Government to diverge from the plans announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget to increase the threshold for 40p taxpayers to £45,000 in 2017.

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Of the four main parties in Scotland, the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats all oppose the threshold increase, with only the Scottish Conservatives in favour.

However, although Ms Sturgeon clearly stated that she would reject the Chancellor’s plans, she did say that the 40p threshold would still rise by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate, taking it from £43,000 to £43,387.

She said: ‘By adopting a different path to the UK Government we could generate more than £1 billion of additional revenues, enabling us to protect the public services we all rely on. We believe that this proposal is reasonable, it is balanced and it is fair.’

The SNP is not proposing to increase the basic rate, the higher rate or the additional rate (for those earning £150,000 or more) from their current rates of 20p, 40p or 45p in the next Parliament. The party also plans to set a zero tax rate, which will mean that, by 2021/22, no one pays tax on the first £12,750 of their income.