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National Savings hold off on rate cuts

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has cancelled planned rate cuts on a number of its variable rate accounts, including its popular Premium Bonds, to help savers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially NS&I had planned to cut the prize ‘rate’ on Premium bonds from 1.4% to 1.3% in May.  Proposed rate cuts have also been cancelled on its Direct saver account (which will continue to pay interest at 1%), its Investment account (0.8%), and its Income bonds (1.16%). 

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Tax rises on the way?

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

The fallout from Covid-19 has created a large bill for the Government…which ultimately means the taxpayer.

When the Chancellor launched the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, he commented that “it is now much harder to justify the inconsistent contributions between people of different employment statuses”.  The comment was widely seen as a hint that the self-employed could soon face higher national insurance contributions (NICs), bringing the amount they pay closer to the level paid by employees.

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The kids are alright…

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

The first Child Trust Funds (CTFs) will mature in September, when the holders celebrate their 18th birthdays.

The Chancellor has more than doubled, to £9,000, the amount that can now be saved into a CTF and its replacement, the Junior ISA (JISA) for the 2020/21 tax year, creating the opportunity to make more substantial savings towards younger family members’ nest eggs.

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Can you afford to leave protection to chance?

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

The social security system has come under intense scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting some of the most serious gaps.

There is nothing quite like a crisis to show where societies are vulnerable. In the UK, the immediate concern of the coronavirus pandemic was the resilience of the NHS, which initially appeared at risk of being overwhelmed by demand for intensive care beds. Then, like many other countries, the UK was forced to provide extra financial support for people who suddenly found themselves out of work in these unforeseen circumstances.

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Time to review your drawdown plans?

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

Many people may need to reduce the income they are taking from their drawdown pension funds in light of the effect of the Covid-19 crisis.

The dramatic initial falls in equity markets were followed by some recovery and were by no means fully reflected in portfolios that were diversified into bonds and other assets. But there may, of course, be further fluctuations ahead.

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It will happen to you…

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided an awkward reminder for many people of things they prefer to ignore.

Key workers have become much more prominent during the coronavirus crisis. Surprisingly – until you stop to think about it ­– this list also included solicitors “acting in connection with the execution of wills”.

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Planning towards your century

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

The extraordinary fundraising achievements of the 100 year old Captain Tom Moore have highlighted both how long some of us will continue to lead active and fruitful lives, and also how much the quality of such a long life will depend on how well we’ve planned for it.

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Holding your nerve with your investments

Posted: Jul 03, 2020

Hard as it feels, now is the time to try and stay calm.

There is no disputing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite previous coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, such as SARS in 2002, on this occasion it’s different. Time now seems to be divided into ‘before and after’:  the old normal and the new socially distanced reality we are now coming to terms with. These two eras are clearly visible in the global stock markets, most of which fell sharply in March as the virus spread globally, closely followed by lockdowns and economic contraction.

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Keep going well…? Shell’s historic dividend cut

Posted: Jun 15, 2020

When a 75-year run is broken, something significant has probably happened.

If you are of a certain age, ‘Keep going well…’ could have you instantly remembering the rhyming counterpart; ‘Keep going Shell’. At the end of April 2020 that 1960s advertising slogan suddenly looked particularly jarring to many investors.

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Missing in inaction: calculating inflation under lockdown

Posted: Jun 15, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has created problems for the statisticians who calculate the rate of inflation.

Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), fell sharply in April to just 0.9% against 1.5% in the previous month. The main reason for the drop was energy costs:

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