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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Thursday, March 06, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, March 06, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

David Cameron promises 2015 election tax cuts for low-income workers, funded by hikes for higher earners and budget cuts
The tax cut, first advocated by the Liberal Democrats, is targeted at the low-income households who will decide the outcome in marginal seats at next year’s general election. However, the Chancellor George Osborne has funded his cuts by lowering the threshold for the 40p higher rate of tax, forcing more workers into the higher band. Around 5 million workers are expected to pay 40 per cent tax in 2015/16, up from 2 million in 1997. The Prime Minister also promises to further reduce the size of the state. Mr Cameron’s speech is the latest sign that the Conservatives will attempt to fight the next election on a tax cutting platform. That plan has started a row within the Conservative Party, as MPs demand more help for the growing number of middle-class professionals being dragged into the 40p tax band. TELEGRAPH

Lloyds bank boss handed £900,000 in shares to sidestep EU bonus cap
Controversy over the EU bonus cap escalated on Wednesday when bailed out Lloyds Banking Group handed its chief executive £900,000 in extra shares to sidestep the attempted clampdown on pay and Barclays prepared to do the same for its boss. António Horta-Osório – whose total pay in 2013 was £7.5m – is receiving the shares on top of his £1.1m a year salary to ensure he does not suffer a fall in his earnings as a result of the cap, which restricts bonuses to 100% of salary, or 200% if shareholders approve. Other executive members of the board are also receiving the extra allowances of shares, along with up to 75 other top staff. The government owns 33% of Lloyds shares. GUARDIAN

Tax property millionaires more heavily to cut the average household's council tax bill by £280 a year, says think-tank
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggested replacing the current outdated system with a new progressive national property tax that would see the wealthiest households pay a higher share. The move would mean 63 per cent of households would see bills fall by more than ten per cent, while just 22 per cent would see a hike in their rates. Kathleen Kelly, policy and research manager at JRF, said: ‘Politicians need to start planning for the long-term replacement of council tax. Council tax was a hasty replacement for the hated poll tax 25 years ago’. The current council tax structure is based on a banding system, founded on the value of properties in April 1991 in England and Scotland and April 2003 in Wales. However the banding values are seen by some as outdated, as house prices have risen at different rates across the country. Kelly added:  ‘The design of the council tax means it taxes a higher proportion from cheaper properties than expensive ones, so is regarded as being both unfair and inconsistent, and certainly in need of long-term reform.’ DAILY MAIL

Bank of England employee suspended amid £3tn forex rigging investigation
The Bank of England suspended a member of staff in connection with its own review of the £3tn a day forex market and began a formal inquiry into whether its staff knew about potential market rigging. The Bank took the unusual step of releasing minutes of meetings held over six years between Bank officials and a group of foreign exchange traders. The meetings were held at restaurants across the City and attended by the major foreign exchange traders from 10 or so major banks. At one meeting in April 2012 a senior trader had made notes showing that Bank of England officials did not believe it was improper to share customer orders. London accounts for 40% of the trade in the foreign exchange market. GUARDIAN

Bank of England's new plans mean reckless bankers could be stripped of bonuses even after they have cashed them in
Under current rules, banks can only claw back deferred bonuses which have been awarded but not yet been cashed in. Once the cash or share bonuses have been pocketed, they are beyond reach. If the proposals are adopted, banks will be forced to swiftly re-write their pay rules. Governor Mark Carney said the regulator will also consider proposals from the banking commission to force bankers to wait up to a decade to receive their deferred bonuses, rather than a typical period of three years. Mark Garnier, Conservative MP and member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: ‘The longer the bonuses are deferred the more skin bank bosses have in the game – this is the only way to get them to behave. DAILY MAIL

Claims Management Firms pocket £5bn of PPI victims' compensation
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: "Consumers have lost out on billions of pounds worth of compensation because banks were too slow to get a grip on the PPI scandal. By banks originally dragging their feet and providing inadequate redress, claims management companies seized an opportunity to take up to 25% of people's compensation for admin work that consumers can do themselves for free.” Template letters that people can use to complain are widely available online. Citizens Advice carried out consumer research suggesting that nearly one third (28pc) of people who have used a claims management firm felt under pressure to pursue a claim. Nearly two-fifths (39pc) of people who had used a claim firm said they were not aware they could have made the claim themselves, according to a survey of more than 5,000 Britons. Meanwhile, almost half (47pc) of people who used a claim firm said if they had known about the free help available they would not have used the firm. TELEGRAPH

70,000 job seekers' benefits withdrawn unfairly, says right-wing thinktank
Nearly 70,000 job seekers have had their benefits withdrawn unfairly, making them reliant on food banks, the right-of-centre thinktank Policy Exchange has said . The intervention is the first by a respected rightwing voice claiming that something has gone wrong with the administration of benefits. The report suggests: "With some 874,000 adverse decisions being made between October 2012 and September 2013, and over 146,000 of them being successfully appealed or reconsidered it is clear that the possibility of wrongly applied sanctions, and what their effects might be, is an important one. With some estimates suggesting that 43% of those referred to food banks are there due to benefit stoppage or being refused a crisis loan, it is clear that there is not currently an adequate safety net for those who are wrongly sanctioned". GUARDIAN

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