The Great Debate UK

Why not scrap the Child Trust Fund?

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-Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The Child Trust Fund is set to become one of the victims of the new UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s emergency budget.

The LibDems want to scrap it entirely; the Tories want to pull it from high earners. Currently, predictions are that there will be some sort of half way house, the official line being “the parties agree that reductions can be made to the Child Trust Fund and tax credits for higher earners.”

I have a one-year-old daughter who received her first Child Trust Fund payment a few weeks after she was born, which we then put into an account with the Children’s Mutual.

New UK coalition deserves 7 out of 10

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– Hugo Dixon is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The new UK coalition deserves 7 out of 10. The pact between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, led by David Cameron as the new prime minister, seems determined to address the country’s most important problem — the deficit. This is vital given that the euro zone debt crisis could still prove contagious. It should also be positive for sterling.

Mood of cautious optimism in owner-managed business sector

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-David Rankin is managing director of business advisory, tax and assurance at Vantis. The opinions expressed are his own.-

There is no doubt that the economy is one of the most contentious issues in the run up to the election. While politicians argue over who would be able to handle the economy in the best manner going forward, we thought it would be far more telling to ask smaller businesses, those at the hardest end of the coal-face, just what they thought would happen to the economy.

Crisis, what crisis?

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– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

 Crisis, what crisis? That could be motto for the election manifestos published by Britain’s main political parties this week. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives addressed the country’s fiscal crisis head-on.

The benefits of early ISA investment

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Rachel Mason- Rachel Mason is public relations manager at independent financial service providers Fair Investment Company. The opinions expressed are her own. -

The financial media has been packed full of ISA news over the past few months. Most of the advice has been ‘invest in your ISA before it’s too late’. And now it is too late. The media has found something else to write about because the tax year is over, and if you missed it, tough luck.

The UK should not waste its fiscal crisis

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hugodixon–  The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own  –

 The UK should not waste its fiscal crisis. As Britain embarks on its election campaign, this is a perfect opportunity to engage in radical tax and spending reforms designed not just to restore the country’s fiscal balance but to boost its long-term productivity and competitiveness.

Tories panic with tax cut pledge

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NeilCollinsNeil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own

National Insurance contributions make an unlikely battleground for the British election. They lack the sexiness of income tax cuts. But NI is a bad tax and the Tories are right to pledge to overturn Labour’s plan to raise it.

Unfortunately, their timing smacks of desperation as their poll lead melts away. More to the point, it flies in the face of their commitment to cut Britain’s vast budget deficit.

Tax year end – are you ready?

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Rachel Mason is public relations manager at independent financial service providers Fair Investment Company.The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.-

With the end of the tax year fast approaching, now is the time to make sure all your finances are in order and that you are maximising all the annual allowances, reliefs and exemptions available.

Inequality in the UK: the paradox under Labour

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Alastair Murid B0133P 0248-Ali Muriel is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The views expressed are his own.-

Start with two (apparently contradictory) facts about income inequality in the UK:

from Breakingviews:

Europe’s banks will suffer less from U.S. tax

-- Margaret Doyle and George Hay are Reuters Breakingview columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. --

European banks should suffer less than their American counterparts from the Obama administration’s proposed bank tax. The president’s proposed levy on banks’ wholesale funding requirements will hit all banks with a big presence on Wall Street. But assuming that U.S. banks will be taxed on their worldwide operations, the levy will hurt them more. This could be a major bonus for European investment banks -- as long as their own governments don’t follow suit.

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