/ Weekly Bulletin

Weekly News Bulletin - 21/03/2022


Tax year end: How to pay less tax this April - 13 changes to make now

George Thomas, a wealth planner at Succession Wealth, has come up with 13 ways Britons might be able to save money and pay less capital gains and inheritance tax to HMRC. When it comes to capital gains tax he reminded people to make the most of this year’s allowance and offset any losses against gains. The financial expert also urged people to check their on the right tax code. Other ways to make the most of tax loopholes include setting up a junior ISA, maximising pension contributions and regularly reviewing one’s will. He also urged Britons to make the most of ISA allowances of £20,000 for the 2021 to 2022 tax year. Maximising pension contributions could also free up another £40,000 in tax free allowances. Daily Express

National Insurance: Britons could legally avoid April increase with unique tip

The April increase will affect all workers earning over £9,880 per year, with a 1.25 percent increase which will see many paying 13.25 percent. Salary sacrifice could be a saving grace for many as it lowers their taxable income and enables them to retain ownership of their money. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the plan to increase National Insurance last year in order to cover the costs of the Government’s social care plans ahead of the Health and Social Care levy. The NI increase is expected to be temporary, only lasting until April 2023 when it will then be transformed into the new levy, a first of its kind which will be taxed on working pensioners as well. Salary sacrifice generally involves a company pension scheme, essentially adding more of one’s salary into their pension pot and lowering their taxable earnings and tax burden. Essentially, salary sacrifice is an agreement that one has with their employer to take a lower salary every month with the difference between their original salary and current earnings going directly into their company pension scheme. Daily Express


Petrol prices are soaring – here’s how you can save money on running a car

The AA reckons pump prices will continue to go up in the next few days, and some experts expect diesel prices to rise at a faster rate, as the UK reportedly gets 15-20% of its supplies from Russia. A few filling stations have already breached the £2 a litre of diesel barrier. How to save money. Drive more efficiently - This includes things such as driving smoothly, avoiding excessive braking and acceleration, changing up a gear early, and sticking to the speed limit. Fill up at the supermarket - A litre of petrol at supermarkets typically costs a few pence less than fuel at other forecourts. Sign up to a petrol station loyalty scheme. Use a cashback debit or credit card. Shop around. If you are driving to visit family – it’s probably a no-brainer to fill up when you arrive at your destination. Check your tyres - The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel a car will use. Use a satnav. Empty the boot. Drive less. Cut the cost of insurance. As well as reducing your petrol consumption, you should check you are getting the best deal on insurance when it is time to renew your policy. The Guardian

Readers share their best money-saving tips amid the cost of living crisis

The Manchester Evening News asked our readers to tell us their top money-saving tips. More than 1,200 people responded to our post on Facebook with savvy suggestions. Margaret Litchfield offered some of her best tips and said closing the curtains has helped to keep the house warm. "Turn the heating down by 1 degree and close curtains to stop heat escaping", she commented. "Wear extra layers and shorten the length of time your heating is on at higher temperatures. Also, if you're going out for a length of time turn the heating right down. "I try and look for reduced items, most can either be frozen or cooked. Many are only best before and therefore perfectly fine." Nikki Taylor has also found a way to cut the price of her heating bill. She wrote: "I turned off the underfloor heating in my small bathroom, saved me £50 last month and it wasn’t even off for the full month! Manchester Evening News

Rail fare hike: 7 foolproof tips to help you save money on your train travel

Train tickets have now grown in value by 3.8 percent, adding further pressure to the cost of living crisis for UK residents. The figure represents the biggest price hike since 2013, and will cover around half of all tickets - including season passes on most commuter routes. Residents travelling all year round by train will now have to pay hundreds more on expenses, but there are some ways you can save a few pennies. 1) Split your tickets Many commuters won’t be familiar with the term ‘split ticketing’, but it can help to save up to 40 percent on your train tickets. 2) Buy in advance Buying a ticket well in advance of your travel date can save you up to 61 percent, according to Trainline. 3) Always choose e-tickets. 4) Shop around for better deals Most train operators sell tickets through their own websites, and it can sometimes be better to go direct to them, as opposed to national operators. 5) Consider going first class for the free food, drinks and Wi-Fi. 6) Set-up a season ticket through your work. 7) Check out the Commuter Club Daily Express

What does UK interest rate rise mean for savers and borrowers?

The Bank of England has increased interest rates to 0.75% in an attempt to tackle rising inflation in the UK. What does it mean for UK savers and borrowers? Will my mortgage go up? Only if you have a variable rate mortgage – typically a tracker that follows the base rate, or a loan on a lender’s standard variable rate. Some lenders move borrowers on to rates explicitly linked to the base rate when their fixed-rates come to an end. Santander, for example, has what it calls a follow-on-rate that borrowers who took out deals since 23 January 2018 move to at the end of their special offer. At the start of this month it went from 3.50% to 3.75% following February’s base rate rise, and it is now set to hit 4%. This means since the start of December the monthly repayments on a £150,000 mortgage over 20 years have gone up from £858 to £909. What about new mortgages? The sub-1% mortgage rates that made the headlines last summer are a thing of the past, but new lending is still being done at rates that are historically low. However, some commentators think this will end soon. What about my other borrowing? Most personal loans are taken on fixed rates, as is most car financing, so if you have unsecured borrowing you should continue to repay it as agreed. What about my savings? Account providers are at liberty to do what they want with rates, so Thursday’s announcement will not necessarily translate to rises across the board. The Guardian


Pension warning: Britons face penalty for drawing retirement fund - avoid being caught out

People wishing to draw money from their pension fund must be aware of the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA). Failing to take heed of the age threshold could lead to financial consequences. The NMPA sets the earliest age someone can access their retirement funds. It works in the same way as the state pension age, which restricts when Britons can start getting their state pension. The NMPA is currently set at age 55. Anyone who breaches the NMPA could face an unauthorised payment charge. The NMPA’s presence is designed to discourage people from accessing their pension fund too soon. From April 6, 2028, the NMPA will rise. At this time, it will be increased by two years to age 57. Who is affected? Those who are hoping to retire before reaching state pension age, or who were planning to rely on their pension to supplement their income, could be impacted by the NMPA increase. People who will reach age 55 before April 6, 2028 should still be able to draw from their pension at this time, meaning they will not be as affected by the changes. Daily Express

Sunak under pressure on triple lock decision - calls to ‘reconsider’ at Spring Statement

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to make his Spring Statement next week, and speculation is rife as to what will be announced. The controversial decision to suspend the state pension triple lock is still at the forefront of many people’s minds. The state pension triple lock is a policy which was introduced to ensure pensioners can maintain their spending power over time by increasing the state pension every year by the higher of: - Inflation - Average earnings growth - 2.5 percent. However, the Government decided to temporarily suspend the triple lock for the 2022/23 tax year, as average earnings growth had ballooned to more than eight percent. In doing so, the Government broke a manifesto pledge and drastically reduced the increase pensioners would receive to their state pension, down to 3.1 percent. The subsequent 3.1 percent increase reflects the rate of inflation as of September last year. But since the lower increase was confirmed, inflation has risen higher and higher, up to a 30-year high of 5.5 percent. This means inflation is currently outpacing the state pension increase pensioners are set to receive. They are therefore still losing money in real terms. Daily Express


House price boom: The 10 UK areas where sold prices have skyrocketed - do you live in one?

According to Rightmove, there are 10 key locations where annual price growth has risen by over 20 percent. And one, in particular, has come out on top as the number one "hotspot" for the "biggest annual rise in asking prices" 1. Brixham Devon, Average asking price in February 2022: £329,699, Annual price growth: 25 percent. 2. Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, Average asking price in February 2022: £361,564, Annual price growth: 23 percent. 3. Farnham, Surrey, Average asking price in February 2022: £728,413, Annual price growth: 22 percent. 4. Raunds, Northamptonshire, Average asking price in February 2022: £281,279, Annual price growth: 21 percent. 5. Gedling, Nottinghamshire, Average asking price in February 2022: £256,897, Annual price growth: 21 percent. 6. Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside. 7. Cowes, Isle Of Wight. 8. Heysham, Lancashire. 9. Childwall, Merseyside. 10. North Walsham, Norfolk. Daily Express

Homes for Ukraine: what do I need to do to host refugees in the UK?

What do Britons who want to host a refugee have to do now? You can host a refugee family if you live in the UK – regardless of your nationality. Non-Britons must have at least six months’ leave to remain in the UK. The first step is to apply through the government website, which almost 90,000 people have already done. Hosts will receive £350 a month tax free for up to 12 months, with one payment made per address, not per individual. How will Ukrainians be matched with a British family? The government will not be matching British hosts with Ukrainians. Those who are approved as hosts will need to identify the Ukrainians they intend to host and then they will make a visa application naming their intended hosts. What will Ukrainians need to do to enter the country? Once hosts are approved and they are in touch with a Ukrainian individual or family you wish to sponsor, they can fill in a visa application. That process is not yet open – it will start on 18 March. The Guardian

All the facts and figures presented are accurate at the time of posting.

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