In the past 11 years, government borrowing has fell to its lowest amount according to the latest official figures. Borrowing fell to £42.6bn in the 2017/18 financial year. Which is a £3.5bn decrease from the last financial year.
Borrowing has narrowed to 2.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, which is down 10% from 2010.
The previous chancellor, George Osborne was set to decrease the gap between borrowing and spending. Although the current chancellor – Phillip Hammond is on the same mission to do so, he has eased off on the pace of cut backs.
We are at a point in the economy now where the debt is starting to fall and people’s wages are rising. Helping build an economy which works for everyone and one where the borrowing is falling year on year.
A downward stock market trend
Is this a good thing for the economy?
Many do not believe this is a turning point for the economy, with Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics agreeing with this. He stated that the falling public borrowing reflects the sharp fall in spending which is not reviving the economy.
What is happening to interest rates
This year, the Bank of England is looking to increase the interest rates twice. Yet any increase here will be gradual. Looking to normalise the monetary policy, and the EY ITEM club’s prediction expects an increase in growth for GDP being 1.6% this year and 1.7% in 2019.
However, this is a worry to some, as many believe that by having two increases will exert unnecessary pressure on consumers.
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Setting up a small business can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. But don’t worry, we are here to help provide advise so your security and privacy of your small business is up to date and secure.
Most businesses these days will be using some sort of computer and IT system. Whether it is an essential part of your business or not, you will be most likely using some sort of IT system. Therefore, it is a way into your business for hackers. Accessing all information on the site and potentially damaging your business. Ultimately, one way to help protect your business is to make sure you have an anti-virus software installed on your IT system and any devices connected to the business.
Hackers can steal your companies’ data, from client information to business accounts. Hackers can also block files and introduce ransomware, meaning they will give you back your data when you provide the money requested.
Strong password policy
As your business grows, you will likely hire more employees. There will be more accounts added to the business all with passwords needed. Therefore, it is essential you keep all passwords in a safe place and update them regularly. Make sure all your passwords are different for each account, making it harder for a hacker for the unfortunate case they do get into your IT system.
It is essential that you keep a back-up of your information and data. Make sure you do this regularly to ensure that if you do unfortunately encounter any data breaches so you have the latest back up of your information. Ensuring as little damage as possible
Small business insurance is essential for your company to stay protected. Whatever industry you are going into; it is crucial that you have the peace of mind that you are protected. Here at Todd & Cue, we offer great small business insurance for all types of businesses.
For more information on any of the topics we have discussed, then get in contact with us. We are happy to help! Or take a look at our small business insurance page for information of which insurance would be best suited for you.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has released his Spring Statement, predicting falling inflation and borrowing. In his statement he stated that the UK economy has reached a turning point and there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
He did however, rule out an end to austerity as of yet, though he did hint at a possible spending rise in the future.
Hammond stated that in his Autumn statement, he would set an overall path for public spending for 2020 and beyond, with a full detail spending review in 2019.
For this year’s forecast, the chancellor stated that growth is to be 1.5%, which is up from 1.4% prediction which was set by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) in November. Yet even with all this growth the chancellor has stated that the forecast will remain unchanged for 2019/2020 at 1.3%.
OBR chief Robert Chote stated that the UK overall was borrowing less than forecasted this year due to more tax coming from self-employed workers, with revenues £2.9bn higher than predicted.
How will it affect Brexit?
The OBR has calculated that the UK will still continue to pay contributions into the EU budget until 2064. Which will be 45 years after the official date the UK plans to leave the EU. The total withdrawal bill the UK will have to pay amounts to £37.1 bn.
With Hammond suggesting that business confidence is growing throughout the Brexit negotiation process. However, the UK beat the forecast in 2017, and hoping to beat it again in 2018.
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The Siberian snow storm has hit Britain’s roads with one of the worst snow storms the UK has seen in years. This snow storm named Storm Emma has doubled the number of car claims made within the past week.
Within 4 days, from storm ‘Emma’ appearing – or ‘the beast from the east’ as it is nicknamed, more that £17 million worth of claims were reported. Crash damages doubled compared to a regular week. With 13,100 collisions in the first 4 days according to the AA.
The most common claim for drivers was skidding out and hitting objects on the side of the road. Therefore, drivers were urged to only drive if necessary to keep accidents to a minimum and injuries as low as possible.
Breakdown calls are 80% higher than normal last week due to the snow, leaving recovery firms struggling to make it to everyone who is stuck in the snow.
Michael Lloyd, the AA’s director of insurance stated that insurers will pay out and meet the claims for collisions in these weather conditions, however they will not pay if the car is stolen and left unattended on a drive for instance when the car is warming up.
Other modes of transport
Additionally, to the cars on the ground not being able to make it due to the wintery conditions, but also the flights got cancelled. In one-day last week, more than 2000 flights alone got cancelled across Europe within 1 day. However, unlike car insurance, with most airline companies you are not entitled to money back due to severe weather conditions like ice, snow or fog.
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Theresa May has stated that the English education system is one of the most expensive in the world and has announced that she will provide an independent review of fees and student finance on Monday.
This review will be a yearlong event, and will warn that the system has failed to deliver competition within the Market. This is due to most courses charging students the maximum amount they can do, which is £9,250 per year.
The Labour party believe that all tuition fees should be scrapped, and they believe that the tuition fee system is unsustainable and therefore they should be banned.
The tuition fee
Universities can charge up to £9,250. But do not have to charge this full amount if they wish not to. The students do not have to pay this upfront, but can borrow this from Student Finance. However, you do not have to pay these loans off until you are earning £21,000.
If you have not paid off your loan after 30 years from graduating, then the unpaid debts are written off. Once you do borrow a loan out, then you will be charged 6.1% of interest. This interest is building up while students are still at university, making it an average of £5,000 before they have even left.
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Most landlords insist that there cannot be any pets within the property. At the moment, tenants can request to have a pet staying in the house. However, the majority of landlords do not accept. This leads in an abandonment of pets or the tenants leaving a property.
According to the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, a landlord can refuse permission if it is a reasonable ground to do so. This could include, pet size, the damage it could cause and the impact on future rentals to properties.
The Labour party have stated that they wish to strengthen the rights for tenants. Ensuring that pets within a rented property will have a ‘default right’ to stay.
The Labour party stated that they want to see hard evidence that the animal would be a nuisance when renting.
Labour and animals
Labour have taken a big stance against cruelty to animals and the welfare of them. Other ideas which the Labour party have took a stance on is a suggested ban on foie gras imports and an end of exports to the live animals for slaughter.
The conservatives have stated that Labour are “belatedly playing catch up” with their own announcements on animal welfare. The conservative party are also placing laws on animal cruelty. Michael Gove – Environment Secretary proposed an increase in the maximum sentence for serious animal cruelty, wanting to change it to 5 years in jail.
Gove also published a draft legislation which would ensure the government treated all animals as ‘sentient beings’. When making future laws regarding animals.
If you are a landlord, then make sure you have the correct insurance put in place. It is essential to make sure your property is protected. Here at Todd & Cue, we offer Property and Landlord insurance, so make sure you get the right policy for your property.
In January, the house price growth picked up according to the Nationwide Building Society. From December 2017, to January 2018, it went up 6%, from 2.6% to 3.2% respectively. These figures were surprising due to the consumer confidence and activity within the UK.
In addition, in December mortgage approvals were at their weakest in 3 years. With only 61,000 granted, yet compared to the past 12 months with the average being 67,000 approvals.
However, analysts have stated that this rise in growth does not change the fundamental state of the UK housing market. And that consumer confidence is still low and is not due to increase anytime soon, unless dramatic changes are made.
The average price of a house reached to £211,756 last month, according to the building society’s month survey. This meant that property values were up 0.6% from December, however the annual growth rate increased, which is the highest since March 2017 (which was 3.5%).
How has this affected home ownership?
Home ownership is still at a 30-year low. In the latest survey (2016/17), out of 22.8 million houses in the UK, only 14.4 million (62.6%) were owner occupiers. This was down again since 2015/16, with a percentage of 62.9% for home ownership.
Of this recent survey, young adults (aged 25 to 34), were of the lowest who owned their own property. With only 37% of young adults owned their home.
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Starting on Monday, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA customers will not be able to purchase Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies on their credit card. However, they will still be able to purchase the currency on their debit card.
Lloyds are concerned that their customers would not be able to afford the bill and therefore the banks would have to pay for unpaid debts. The price of bitcoins is falling, so if it continues, banks are worried customers will not be able to pay for it. Which is why the sudden stopping of credit card payments.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to come about, it is a form of digital money that used encryption to secure transactions and control the creation of new units.
The reason bitcoin first came about was because people wanted a currency which was not controlled by government or businesses, and a currency which you could trade freely between countries without any costs or any identities being shown.
They are not like the change in your purse or wallet, you cannot see them or physically touch them. They are a line of code in which you purchase and exchange, in some cases you can buy goods and services with this type of currency.
Why is Bitcoin a concern?
Bitcoin can be a dangerous game to play, it is a currency based online and so cyber criminals can work better through this form of payment process. With the currency also being untraceable, it means that it is a great form of transaction for people like drug dealers and people who are money laundering.
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As reported last year, inflation rate rose to 3.1% in November 2017. Which was a 6 year high for the UK’s economy. This meant that Mark Carney – the governor of the Bank of England will be writing a public letter to the Chancellor of the exchequer (Phillip Hammond) to state why it exceeded 1% more than the 2% national target. He will be doing this in his next budget, which will be February 2018.
However, in December 2017, the inflation rate dipped back to 3%. The Office of National Statistics stated that this happened due to the fall in prices on toys and games. It was also the contribution that the air fares rose last month. However it did not have a great impact on the economy and inflation rate.
The Bank of England have stated that it believes the inflation rates will carry on decreasing and will eventually hit the 2% target by the end of this year.
Last January, the rate of inflation was at the target of 2%, yet continuously increased to 3.1% throughout the year. The reason for this dramatic increase over the past year was partly due to the Brexit result. As the value of the pound dropped because of the result, it pushed the cost of imported goods, and therefore increasing the inflation rate.
What has happened to the wage growth?
The drop in inflation won’t have much effect on the ease of spending for households. This is due to the wages still rising by less than the rate of inflation. It has also been stated that most firms are reluctant to increase their wages as most firms want to keep their total costs down to a minimum as we are in such an uncertain time.
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Cold calling is a big issue and is continuously growing in 2018. Which is why many want it to come to an end, helping those who are in a vulnerable situation. Last year, scammers and claims firms sent an average of 6 million calls and texts out per day. Which equates to an average of 4,200 calls or texts every minute of 2017.
The targeted audience which these firms and scammers go after is those who are aged over 65, states Aviva.
MPs are set to debate this topic on whether it is acceptable to cold call these vulnerable. The bill proposes the creation of a single financial guidance body that would consider the impact of cold calling on consumers.
Aviva have asked MPs to ban this cold calling on issues such as pensions, PPI and insurance claim where there was no established relationship between the insurer and the consumer. They have stated that a survey which they recently conducted shows an 85% support on the ban, proving to the MPs that this ban would be beneficial to consumers.
Last year, a bill was announced by MPs, stating that mortgage cold calling was banned. This included emails and texts. If companies contact consumers who they have had no prior connection with then they could face fines up to £500,000.
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