Displaying items by tag: Finance
The government has begun inviting applications for the Turing scheme, which enables students to study in other countries.
The scheme is named after the mathematician Alan Turing, and replaces Erasmus, a European Union (EU) programme which UK students can no longer take part in.
The UK turned down the an offer to continue participating in Erasmus after Brexit.
Universities minister Michelle Donelan said the Turing scheme would "enable up to 35,000 students throughout the UK to work or study across the globe".
What is the Turing scheme?
The new scheme will provide funding "towards placements and exchanges" of students.
Universities and other organisations in the UK can apply for grants to help cover travel expenses and costs of living as well as the administrative costs of running the scheme.
Applications have to be made by bodies such as universities, further education colleges and schools. If they are successful, these bodies can invite their own students to apply for individual funding.
Britain will be paying the bill for Covid for decades to come after Rishi Sunak’s Budget set the nation on track for the highest tax burden in more than 50 years to pay for total spending of £407bn on pandemic support.
The chancellor announced a further £65bn lifeline for firms and workers, extending furlough, business rate relief and VAT breaks. The £20-a-week universal credit uplift has also been extended for another six months.
But he reversed 10 years of tax-cutting Conservative policy on corporation tax by announcing a hike from 19 to 25 per cent, to be introduced in 2023. And he froze income tax personal allowance thresholds until 2026, dragging 1.3 million low-paid people into paying it as their earnings increase.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies described it as the biggest tax-raising budget since 1993, increasing the state’s net take by £29bn in 2025-26
With lives and livelihoods still at risk, Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget is focused on short-term support for people's jobs and finances.
But there are signs of what will happen next and how this will affect the money in your pocket.
1. Paying the wages of those on furlough
Although it was announced in advance, like many other key measures, the extension of furlough is significant for millions of people.
The scheme - which pays 80% of employees' wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic - has been extended until September.
Young and lower-paid people have been among the most likely to have been furloughed during the pandemic.
While this is designed to protect their jobs from redundancy, many will have found that their income has been a fifth less than they had anticipated over the course of 18 months.
The National Living Wage will rise to £8.91 from April, from £8.72. That is a 2.2% rise and will be for people aged 23 and over.
2. Jabs, then jobs
Money promised for the vaccine rollout does not directly affect the amount of money that goes into the pockets of individuals.
But the extra £1.65bn to help vaccinate every adult by the end of July should mean people can get back to work and the economy can start to recover.
Quicker jabs mean more jobs protected, which means that incomes can recover or be maintained.
3. Support for the self-employed
Furlough supports employed people. The equivalent for the self-employed comes in the form of grants through the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
From next month, claims can be made for a fourth grant worth 80% of three months' average trading profits, up to £7,500 in total.
This will then be followed by a fifth grant later in the year, covering May to September.
However, the amount paid will depend on the amount of turnover lost. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a grant that is equivalent to 30% of average trading profits.
While many self-employed people remain ineligible - the source of considerable debate - those who can show they were trading in 2019-20 from their tax returns will now be eligible for the first time. They can receive the fourth and fifth grants.
UK finance leaders are gearing up for a year of eager investment as Covid recovery prospects boost economic positivity, according to a report by procurement consultancy Proxima.
The survey found that a combination of political change and post-Covid visions are underpinning an overwhelmingly positive outlook.
So, what will the future bring for the UK’s wounded economy?
Will Brexit dampen or boost economic moods? Will work from home become an unorthodox memory?
Almost 80 per cent of UK finance leaders expect to make ‘significant investments’ in the next year as they anticipate financial growth.
Most respondents backed procurement to play an important role in adapting their business to recovery in 2021.
Only 11 per cent vowed to return to the workplace full time.
The office will live on, however, with 42 per cent of respondents expecting to increase their need for space over the next five years.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to use the Budget to change the financial system to better protect the environment.
One group wants him to impose a carbon tax and use the proceeds to protect the poor from high energy bills.
A second petition is calling for Bank of England rules to encourage banks not to invest in fossil fuels.
Mr Sunak is expected anyway to update the Bank’s mandate to include a greater focus on climate.
But campaigners want the new wording to stop the Bank from supporting fossil fuel firms through schemes such as its £20bn corporate bond purchase programme, which involves buying debt issued by firms such as Shell and BP.
The Bank responded to similar calls in January by saying that it has "an ambitious work programme on climate change, from the stress testing of the largest UK banks and insurers against climate-related financial risks through to working internationally with the central bank network for greening the financial system".
Some campaigners also want the Bank to work with the Treasury in funding a National Infrastructure Bank investing in sustainable industries.
The petition comes from Positive Money, a not-for-profit organisation claiming 65,000 supporters that was set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis and is funded by trusts and foundations.
One campaigner, Hannah Dewhirst, said: “The Bank and the financial system it regulates is currently funding catastrophic climate breakdown, which will again see ordinary people paying the price of bankers’ recklessness."
Anna Vickerstaff, another campaigner for the climate group 350.org, said: “British banks are the worst in Europe for funding fossil fuels.
“Banks operating in the UK are fuelling the climate crisis by financing fossil fuel projects from Argentina to Mozambique.”
The petition comes after MPs on the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) last week called on the government to add climate and nature objectives to the Bank’s mandate.
Back in 2015, the majority of GPs were switched into a new pension scheme with a retirement date up to eight years later than their existing scheme. However, those who were near to retirement were able to stay in the previous scheme for longer.
The McCloud judgment has now ruled this was age discrimination, so all members will now be treated as though they will switch back to their old scheme for the purposes of their pension calculations.
James Gransby, partner, accounting services at RSM said: ‘This move effectively puts them back to the position they would have been in if they had not been forced into the potentially less attractive 2015 scheme in the first place, as it will provide them with seven more years of pension accrual in their legacy scheme. All members will be switched to the new scheme in 2022, making things fairer and eliminating any age discrimination.
‘Those who were forced to switch in 2015 will be given the option to boost their pension and tax-free lump sum at age 60 by choosing either to switch back to the old scheme or to remain in the new scheme when they reach retirement age.
‘Some GPs have had to pay tax on their pension growth or use their pension pot to cover the tax charges arising since 2015. This change in legislation will see an unwinding of some of those tax charges with up to five-figure sums being refunded to those GPs affected.’
To give an example, a GP in their early 40’s earning an average GP profit could now receive a tax refund of £11,100, plus interest. Their pension at age 60 may also be boosted from £16,500 per year to £28,800 a year, with an increase to their tax-free lump sum of £36,900.
Granby warned: ‘Armed with a large tax refund and boosted pension at age 60, could this encourage some GPs to accelerate retirement plans after Covid?’
Amsterdam ousted London as the largest financial trading centre in Europe last month as Brexit-related changes to finance rules came into force.
About €9.2bn (£8.1bn) worth of shares were traded on Amsterdam exchanges each day, against €8.6bn in London.
Following new Brexit rules, EU-based banks wanting to buy European shares currently cannot trade via London, meaning a loss of fees for City firms.
Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey has warned the EU not to cut off London.
On Wednesday, Mr Bailey said there were signs that the EU planned to cut the UK off from its financial markets.
Following the new Brexit trading rules coming into effect, there are talks to harmonise rules over financial regulations - so-called equivalence
Both sides are working towards a March deadline to agree an "equivalence" regime under which the UK and Europe would recognise the other's regulations.
Number 10, said it remained "open" to discussions with the EU on the equivalence issue.
"Despite the fact that we've supplied all of the necessary paperwork and are one of the world's most preeminent financial centres, with a strong regulatory system, the EU still haven't granted us full equivalence."
"This has meant that some meant a number of EU shares that were previously traded on UK venues, have moved to the EU venues on advice of the European regulator, but our position is fragmentation of share trading across financial centres is in no one's interest," it added.
It's called invisible trade - but selling services abroad is something the UK excels in, particularly when it comes to banking.
Financial services makes up about 7% of the UK's income in total, and about 40% of banking and investment's business abroad is with the EU.
But its needs were largely invisible from the deal struck with the EU at the end of last year. The diversion of share trading is the first visible, if inevitable, sign of the impact.
And that business may not return to London. Even if the UK government and Brussels can ultimately reach agreement that financial services can get more access to each others markets, on the basis the UK's standards can be deemed "equivalent" to the EU's, share dealing may not be part of that.
The UK government hopes Brexit will enhance the City's dominance, with scope to deepen relationships with other financial centres. But that's a work in progress.
The boss of one share exchange described a recently-struck deal that allows Swiss shares to be traded in London as being like a free kick in a football match rather than an equaliser: it doesn't compensate for what has been lost in loosening ties with Europe.
Banco Santander is to acquire a majority 50.1% stake in Spanish trade finance software house Mercury TFS through a €30 million investment.
The head of Santander's global payments services, Javier San Félix, comments: “The investment accelerates our plans to build a service platform for SMEs and international companies to better serve our customers worldwide. We are also helping to globalise Mercury TFS, a software company with huge potential and a team with enormous talent, by reinforcing their technical and commercial teams and complementing their already broad product range.”
The UK’s cash system will collapse without urgent legislation to protect it, according to a new study.
Panel members behind the Access to Cash Review, which published its final report a year ago, said action is needed to protect cash for as long as people need it.
They say that in the 12 months since their last review, significant issues within the country’s cash infrastructure remain.
The review was set up by ATM network provider Link to help understand how consumers use cash and how their requirements to access physical money will change over the next five to 15 years.
UK inflation in January rose to a six-month high as petrol and house prices rose, official figures show.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stood at 1.8% last month, up from 1.3% in December, the Office for National Statistics said.
"The rise in inflation is largely the result of higher prices at the pump and airfares falling by less than a year ago," the ONS said.
The rise is ahead of economists' CPI forecast of 1.6% in January.
CPI remains below the Bank of England's 2% target for inflation. Wednesday's inflation data pushed the value of the pound above $1.30. Versus the euro, the pound had started the day down 0.25% but rose back to trade flat against the single currency.
However, some analysts said that the new figures were unlikely to "move the dial" on the central bank's next decision on interest rates in March.