The news that the amount you can put away in a tax-free individual savings account will rise to £15,000 from July is, perhaps, the most obvious point to take from George Osborne's self-termed "Budget for Savers". But the surprise announcement about pension liberation was the most dramatic change the Chancellor announced.
With the Government’s Help to Buy scheme igniting the first-time buyer mortgage market, credit card firms falling over themselves to get new borrowers signing on the dotted line and best-buy personal loan rates that are so cheaply priced they barely keep pace with inflation, things have clearly changed. So are we on the cusp of a new credit bubble – are consumers partying like its 2007?
When David Frost died on board the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth recently he was on board as a guest speaker. I recently started this too – marking a new experience for my tax career. Talking about tax is routine, but doing so on a cruise ship was a bit different – especially the day it was hard to keep my footing!
I worked in Germany from 1966 to 1974, contributing to my 'rentenversicherung' (pension insurance). This was taken directly from my pay. I recently sought to apply for my pension from the German government. It has refused to make any payment to me, claiming that a refund was issued to me in 1976. I never received any such refund. They have failed to provide any proof that the money was refunded. TT
In August 2011, I took out a 24-month mobile phone contract with Three, at a cost of £28 a month. I will be travelling from January next year for five or six months. I knew this when I signed my contract and the salesman informed me that I would be able to downgrade my contract to a £15-a-month tariff for that period with no penalties, as I will not be using my phone at all whilst away. But when I phoned Three to discuss this, the call handler told me its policy of accepting contract downgrades expired in December 2011.
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