Mortgage approvals hit a two-year high

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The Bank of England has shown that UK mortgage approvals hit a two-year high in January with a suggestion that property sales could continue to rise in the coming months.

The figures show that in January the number of new mortgages approved for house buyers increased by 7% to 58,728. This was the highest monthly figure since December 2009 and is a huge 30% increase on the figure last January. This figure is believed to have been elevated by some buyers ...

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Pension scheme popularity continues to fall

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A report by the Office of National Statistics has found that the number of employees saving into a workplace pension has fallen to a low of 48%. These figures will be of great concern to the government who are already worried by the decline in those saving for the future.

The published figures show the overall membership of workplace pension schemes currently stands at 48%, which is down from 55% in 1997.  However only a third of private sector workers are ...

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Office of Fair Trading set to investigate payday lenders

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) are set to visit over 50 major payday lenders over recent concerns that  some companies are taking advantage of vulnerable people. However critics are stating that more needs to be done in preventing people falling into those “debt traps.”

Payday lenders have traditionally offered short-term loans with very high rates of interest which can reach as much as 16,000%. Lenders have been accused of targeting low-income borrowers who often end up rolling over their borrowing ...

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Pension holders cautioned over releasing funds early

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The Pensions Regulator has warned that those who choose to release cash from their pension fund before the age of 55 could be in danger of losing the majority. With rising unemployment in this difficult economic climate many people as resorting the releasing funds to pay the bills.

The regulator has uncovered a growing number of unauthorised firms that are offering so-called ‘pension liberation’ schemes. These schemes are generally run by firms abroad and as a result tax charges and unregulated ...

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Liberal Democrats propose further tax cuts

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A proposal is to be made to the Treasury shortly to consider £16 billion worth of tax rises on the wealthy to pay for the bulk of an income tax exemption for anyone on the minimum wage.

The proposal known as the Liberal Democrat policy includes ending pension reliefs, shutting stamp-duty loopholes and imposing a mansion tax on properties worth £2 million or more. This has sparked recent tension between the coalition parties and the changes are likely to fast-track the ...

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Revised rules to improve retirement

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The Association of British Insurers are on the verge of approving a new mandatory code of conduct for pension companies that sell pension income or annuities. This proposed code of conduct will ensure people will get the highest possible income in return for their pension pot.

The draft document outlines a requirement for pension providers to ask their policyholders a series of questions to calculate the best type of annuity for them. This series of questions should highlight whether they may ...

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Companies urged to offer 'defined ambition' pensions

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As a result of the rapid disappearance of final salary schemes and the increasing number of people failing to save for their retirement, ministers will start to encourage companies to offer a new Dutch-style pension to their employees. Minister for Pensions Steve Webb, will campaign for the adoption of Dutch-style schemes that aim to offer more assurance over the size of retirement payouts than ‘defined contribution’ pensions.

Last month Oil firm Shell became the last of the FTSE 100 companies to close ...

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Pay deals for officials that reduce tax liability need to stop

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Head of the union representing senior civil servants has said that pay deals for officials that could reduce their tax liability need to stop and are widespread across Whitehall, especially in commercially orientated wings of government departments.

The statement was made in the aftermath of the Guardian newspaper revealing that 25 senior members of the Department of Health have had their salaries paid into limited companies.

General secretary of the First Division Association, Jonathan Baume said, “We now need to be very ...

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Level of inflation continues to fall

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It has been reported that the level of inflation has continued to fall for the forth consecutive month. Inflation as measured by the government’s favoured index, CPI, fell from 5.2% in September 2011 to 3.6% in January 2012.

The continued decrease in the level of inflation means that rates paid on some tax-free ISA accounts are high enough to protect savers’ money from being eroded by inflation. However Andrew Hagger of Moneynet has stated that since December 2009 no savings account ...

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The UK is 'stronger and richer together'

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The prime minister will deliver a speech in Edinburgh as part of a launch that he calls a “positive” vision for the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. David Cameron will fight that the current United Kingdom makes all its nations stronger, safer and richer.

David Cameron will state, “Together we’re actually stronger. I think we have a fairer country, a better country, a richer country with all of us together.”

This speech will follow a recent round of ...

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