Tomorrow (22nd November 2017) is the day Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer will be announcing the budget. So we have created everything you need to know in preparation for this event. He will be announcing the government’s plans for tax and spending for the next year.
When is it?
The budget is on Wednesday, 22nd November at 12.30pm after the Primes Ministers Question time in the houses of commons, and usually lasting for around an hour.
What will be in the budget?
Days before the budget, there are usually some announcements as to what will be spoken in the budget. This year there are going to be talks about housing, as there have been two announcements. One being on changing the rules to encourage more social housing and the other on the thousands more homes being built each year.
For this speech there are no expected major changes to income tax and the national insurance. However, this has not been confirmed.
Many will be watching closely is whether Philip will be announcing any changes to the two key planks of austerity, being public sector pay and benefit levels. The working age benefits are nearly half way through a four-year freeze. Including jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance, some housing benefits and child benefits.
Any changes in duties will come into force at the end of the day tomorrow with immediate effect. For example, the beer duty was increased by 2p a pint in the budget last year.
For more information on any industry news or the budget, then take a look at our news page. We continuously update our page to give you the most up to date and relevant news which is happening in the world today.
The Bank of England believe that up to 75,000 jobs in the financial services sector could be lost due to the exit of Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit). However, this number is just an estimate, and could go down due to the trading deal that the UK and the EU make. Yet the bank still expects a substantial amount of job loses whatever the trading deal turns out to be.
Many jobs are expected to move to the continent. This could be a huge change for not only the Bank of England but for the whole financial department.
It has been suggested that Brexit will create job opportunities. Such as developing bespoke financial services for emerging market economies across the Middle East and Asia, including places like China and India.
What happens if the UK is denied access to Europe’s single market?
It is all speculation around the amount of job losses and gains when talking about Brexit and Europe’s single market. However, it is said that around 10,000 finance jobs would be moved out of Britain and created overseas. With the most popular destination being Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, Brussels and Madrid.
How far is Brexit from happening?
In 17 months, Britain will be exiting the EU. However, the slow pace of negotiations may leave Britain with no trade deal. Therefore, the pressure has stepped up, and the British government have been forced to make some key decisions about the dates of meetings etc. This should move things along with the British government and the EU negotiators.
The Brexit secretary; David Davis, is expected to take the lead in the cabinet talks on the withdrawal. However, the government are hoping that the meeting in December will start off the trade talks again. Yet this is not for definite.
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The competition and markets authority (CMA) are concerned about the way hotel comparison websites are processing their sites. They are concerned that instead of helping consumers make a choice, they are actually misleading them. However, no specific sites have yet been confirmed.
Out of the people last year who booked a holiday, 70% booked from a hotel comparison website. Showing the influence these sites have on consumers. The CMA say they are concerned about the clarity, accuracy and presentation on the sites. As most hotels pay a 15% commission to these sites. However, it is believed that some hotels are paying more so that these hotel booking sites can be shown at the top of search results instead of consumer preferences. Meaning they are showing hotels based on commercial consideration rather than consumer preference.
What are they going to investigate?
The watchdog say they are concerned about how the hotel comparison websites present the clarity, accuracy and presentation of the hotels. Therefore, they are going to investigate areas such as hidden charges, search results and discount claims and pressure selling.
The CMA will investigate the hidden charges within the site. This will include charges such as taxes and booking fees. The CMA believe that this is not shown clearly on the site, and as such may confuse consumers. Any additional charges should be shown clearly and be made known to the consumer.
Pressure selling is becoming more prominent to the hotel booking sites. These sites are showing consumers how many rooms are left in a hotel, and how many have looked at this hotel/room in the past 24hours.
Creating a false impression of room availability and therefore ‘rushing’ consumers into booking. The CMA believe this is pressuring consumers to purchase quickly. They would also like to know how the booking sites gather this information, and whether it is being done ethically or not.
The watchdog are ultimately investigating whether these sites are breaking consumer law and to make sure they are helping consumers decisions not hindering them. Keep up to date with our news to see whether these sites are operating correctly.
During the 2016/17 tax year, an additional £474m in corporate tax was collected from SMEs in the UK. This data was collected by an accountancy group, UHY Hacker Young. The focus on targeting SMEs has meant that the HMRC have increased the amount of cash they received by 5% comparing to the previous tax year of 2015/16.
However, as there has been more targeting on SMEs, many believe this is an unfair targeting on self-employed and the HMRC should be focusing on the larger firms. A spokesperson for the UHY has said that small businesses have been put under the spotlight due to them being an easy target compared to many of the larger firms.
This singling out of the SMEs may be due to the fact that they are not bringing in enough tax, and therefore are going after easy companies to try and close the ‘tax-gap’.
Therefore, this being said, SMEs are being warned to make sure their accounts are up to date, and taking important steps to improve record keeping and research into new laws and regulations.
What is an SME?
SME stands for ‘small and medium sized enterprise’. In order to declare yourself as an SME to the government, you will have to ensure you fit in the guidelines. Below is the official benchmark set out by the EU.
Size Employee number
Micro business less than 10
Small business Between 11 and 50
Medium business Between 51 and 250
Large business Between 251 and 1000
Enterprise More than 1000
Size Turnover in one year
Micro business less than £1,400,000
Small business Between £1,400,000 and £7,000,000
Medium business Between £7,000,000 and £36,000,000
Large business More than £36,000,000
As long as your business fits in these criteria’s, you will be able to declare yourself as an SME.
For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
In December 2012, the EU created a law which states that insurers cannot base car insurance premiums based on gender. Insurers took into account the gender of a person, and moved the premium to suit. Men came out worse off. As they are deemed more risk to accidents on the road as opposed to women. However, in 2012, the EU tried to stop this and put a ban on discrimination of gender by insurers.
This did not just affect men’s premiums, but also women’s. On average, for young men, the insurance dropped around 10%. However, for young women, it increased around 30% to try and even out the differences.
Although this law has been in effect for 5 years, there is still a discrimination against male drivers, with them still paying more. With research showing that the gender discrimination ban has had little effect. On average the pay gap has widened between genders in the past 5 years.
Between June and August of 2017, the average policy for men was £821 and women was £649. Showing this discrimination is still present in the car insurance world.
The way insurers can get around this law, is with the loop hole of a person’s job, states Stephen McDonald, an economist from Newcastle University. Dependant on what job you are in, will depend on your insurance premium. As some jobs are deemed riskier than others. However, insurers state that gender discrimination is not the case and premiums are based on a number of factors, yet not including your gender.
Stephen McDonald looked across six professions, 2 male dominated professions (Civil engineers and plasters). 2 female dominated professions (dental nurse and social workers). And finally 2 gender neutral jobs (solicitors and leisure assistant). Finding that the male dominant professions are at a higher premium than the females.
For more insurance news, click on our ‘latest news’ section for business and industry news.
A recent study has found that on average, female managers earn £11,606 less than their male colleagues, showing that the pay gap is dramatically wide. This study is based on 118,000 employees from 423 organisations and conducted by the Charted Management institute (CMI). It is based on salaries, bonuses and additional extras including car allowance and commissions.
Last year the pay gap was 23.1%, which is still too high yet this year it has increased to 26.8%. This research has also stated that male chief executives are earning around £89,230 compared to female CEOs who are earning £14,945.
In April this year, the government set out a new gender pay transparency regulation. Under these new rules companies with over 250 employees must publically disclose their gender pay gap by April 2018. However, only 77 out of 7,850 companies have provided the data so far.
Why the gender pay gap needs to be decreased
By implementing equal pay gap, it will add billions of pounds to the economy, states counter less studies. Due to women feeling equal and treated fairly, they will tend to work harder and therefore boost the economy.
Another reason, is that it won’t stop itself, and therefore, something needs to be done soon so it doesn’t get out of control.
Nearly one in four drivers are still using their phone illegally while at the wheel, either making or receiving calls. In March 2017, the government cracked down on this and doubled the points you would receive if you were caught using your phone whilst at the wheel. This dangerous driving has increased the amount of points you receive to 6 points on your licence and a £200 fine.
The amount of people using their phone while driving has decreased. However, still 23% of drivers asked admitted to illegally making or receiving calls. This dropped from 31% in 2016, showing a significant impact on the tougher penalties.
40% of the people asked, said they still check their phone for texts, emails and social media when sat in traffic, even though this is still the same penalty as if you were caught using your phone to make calls. “The fact that you are sat in traffic makes you feel safer, as nothing is moving.” Yet this is still classed as illegal so beware.
Only 1 in 10 people knew about the harsher penalties that were brought into place in March 2017. Of the people who did know about this new law and still continue to use it (As we call them the ‘hard-core’ law breakers), 57% of them were men. They said they do it because they know they can get away with it.
How to overcome this dangerous driving
In order to overcome this issue, make sure you have a proper hands-free unit installed in your car. This will ensure you are not breaking the law and no fines will be issued.
Becoming a landlord can be stressful, and thinking about insurance may not be at the top of your priority list, but it should be. Saying this, the is no legal obligation that you need to have buy to let insurance. However, most buy to let mortgages come with the condition that you need it.
Buy to let insurance is so important, it will cover you for eventualities which may occur within the house. For example, it will cover you for items such as vandalism, fire, flood and an injury placed within the house if it is your fault. Therefore, it will give you peace of mind that you are covered for all eventualities.
Will it cover contents insurance?
Often buy to let insurance does not cover contents insurance. So if you are renting the house with the furniture included; whether it is free standing white goods such as fridges or washing machines, then you will most likely have to open a separate policy. Replacing these items after a flood for example may cost a lot. Which is why contents insurance will give the landlord peace of mind.
The importance of buy to let insurance
Landlord insurance will protect you from the situations which may be difficult to resolve without this type of insurance. For example, if you ever find that a tenant doesn’t pay the rent, then buy to let insurance will cover you from this.
Buy to let insurance gives you the peace of mind, so click here for more information.
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On the 25th August 2017, the government announced that they were introducing a £8.1m trial of partially driverless lorries on the roads within the UK. The trails are expected to take place at the end of next year.
Research has suggested that over 10 years of automated lorries, it could cost the industry nearly £34billion. This includes the cost of labour, fuel, insurance and vehicle utilisation. There needs to be more money spent into the project at first if the plan goes ahead. This will include building new roads on the motorway built only for these driverless lorries.
The trials will involve a process called platooning, this is where 3 HGVs are linked together through the new and advanced technology. The lead vehicle is controlling the acceleration and braking for all three vehicles. However, in this test, all vehicles have drivers ready to take control at any time.
If the test works, then it will cut insurance rates dramatically. As only one insurance will be needed for the 3 lorries. Therefore, cutting insurance costs for businesses by nearly two thirds.
However, this strategy does have its negatives, there are worries that the technology could get hacked. This could cause huge damage on the roads and to drivers not only in the lorries but around them too.
If you own a business, then keeping your data secure is vital to protect you from any security breaches. This could be anything from financial records and marketing materials to your customers banking and staff details. It can be difficult to keep this data secure, so we have created these 5 simple steps to help you safeguard your online assets and help keep your business data secure.
#1 Protect your network
Your network needs to be protected from malicious malware software. This can cause damage without you knowing. It could hack into your system taking all of the information on your system.
Make sure you have a firewall as well; this goes further to protect your internet system. It will protect your system against hacking, identity theft and suspicious websites.
Buying a cyber liability insurance package will help your business be protected from hackers into your software. As your company will use IT software and it may have customers’ information, cyber liability insurance will decrease the risk of threat.
#2 Do not use public Wi-Fi
If you are wanting to work on the go or in a café with public Wi-Fi, then don’t! This is one of the easiest ways hackers can hack into your system. Where possible, use secured access, pre-paid data like dongles or wait until you know the Wi-Fi.
#3 Don’t ignore BYOD
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is increasing in the workplace. This is where employees use their own devices to work on, whether it be their mobiles to read emails on or their own laptops to do some extra work on.
Most of the time many businesses don’t include or take note of this rising risk. Businesses need to make sure they include sufficient measures to prevent an attack or loss of information. In order to tackle this issue, the business could introduce an ‘at work use policy’ as it is difficult to stop mobile use within the business.
Therefore, there are several options to use for mobile security, the business could offer a security app which every employee has to download, or by giving each employee a work mobile to ensure only work related calls, emails and texts are being used.
#4 Turn off your Bluetooth
When you are not using Bluetooth, make sure you turn it off. Hackers can easily hack into your mobile and access your phone through this feature.
If you implement these steps into your business, it will hopefully make it much difficult for hacks to gain access to important information. Make sure you retell this new information to your staff. As it will be no benefit if some are not co-operating with the new rules.
#5 Password protect your device
This seems like an obvious statement. However, research has shown that 33% of Android users do not have a password on their phone. Additionally, the most popular laptop password is either ‘123456’ or ‘password’.
For more information on cyber liability insurance click here,
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