Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are receiving intense media coverage, prompting many investors to wonder whether these new types of electronic money deserve a place in their portfolios. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin emerged only in the past decade. Unlike traditional money, no paper notes or metal coins are involved. No central bank issues the currency, and no regulator or nation state stands behind it. Instead, cryptocurrencies are a form of code made by computers and
The first Budget of 2017 in March hit a serious obstacle when the Chancellor attempted to raise national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed. This time around he was subtler in his approach. When Mr Hammond announced an increase to Class 4 NICs in the spring Budget, partly to offset the end of Class 2 contributions from April 2018, it nearly cost him his job. His backbenchers and the popular press rose up against this new imposition on white van man and his i
The Autumn Budget included a raft of measures focused on venture capital schemes. The writing was always on the wall after a Treasury consultation issued in August posed the leading question, “Are there areas where the cost effectiveness of current tax reliefs could be improved, for example reducing lower risk ‘capital preservation’ investments in the venture capital schemes?” The Autumn Budget gave the expected answer ‘yes’ by revealing a new “risk to capital” condition. Bro
The real problem with university costs
Writing in the Financial Times, money saving expert Martin Lewis says: “With higher inflation, bizarrely the biggest practical problem with student loans is that the debt isn’t big enough.
It’s time to change the debate. The cost of living crisis is the problem, and even cutting tuition fees to nothing wouldn’t solve it.” His point is that the tuition fees are covered by loans, but students living costs aren’t – what they get depe
The Autumn Budget contained more bad news for many buy-to-let investors which went largely unnoticed. April 2018 will see the next step down in mortgage interest relief for investors in buy-to-let (BTL) residential properties. The amount of interest that can be offset against rental income drops from 75% to 50%, with a corresponding increase to 50% in the element that qualifies for a 20% tax credit. If you pay tax at more than basic rate, that means more interest on which you