The European Union and Switzerland have signed a major accord to end banking secrecy for EU residents and prevent them from stashing undeclared income in Swiss banks. Read more
New legislation, which was announced as part of the Queen’s Speech, means that any future rise in the personal income tax allowance will be linked to rises in the national minimum wage. Read more
A new tranche of businesses have been fined for failing to meet their auto-enrolment pension obligations
Automatic enrolment of workplace pensions has now come into effect for companies with as few as 30 employees and it will soon embrace all employees, regardless of the size of business.
And The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued its first four escalated auto-enrolment penalties, which range from £50 to £10,000 a day depending on the severity of the breach.
Some 198 firms were served fixed penalty notices the first quarter of the year and, for the first time, the daily escalating penalty notices have been used.
As the employers hit with escalating penalty notices are likely to have staged between June and October last year, and the penalties are based upon the size of the employer, fines are likely to be £2,500 per day for every day the employer fails to become compliant.
The basic concept is that everyone must be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme into which they put part of their salary and their employer also makes a contribution.
Workplace pensions have been around for decades, but the big shift is that workers have now to opt out rather than in. This is designed to tackle the growing older population who can no longer rely on the state pension for sustenance into an extended old age.
While employees have the choice to opt out of the workplace pension, it is mandatory for all employers. If businesses don’t comply, they could risk a penalty notice of anything from £400 to £50,000, depending on the issue and the size of the company.
All businesses in the UK must be compliant by 2018 at the very latest.
Auto-enrolment is part of the Government’s wider reorganisation of the pensions system given that many people have so far made inadequate provision for their retirement.
According to a recent poll conducted at the Great Retirement Money Debate (held by the Equity Release Council), many respondents believed that the Government had not effectively promoted the benefits of equity release as a source of retirement income. Read more
The UK’s markets watchdog has set out the issues it will focus on in its investigation into investment and corporate banking competition. Read more
Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market. Read more
Bankers should be paid no more than civil servants, a former senior advisor to David Cameron has proposed. Read more
Deutsche Bank has become the first bank to formally consider what it would do if the UK voted to leave the EU. Read more
This month HSBC launched an £8billion fund which will specifically help finance the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Read more
Scottish devolution proposals which would force Holyrood to seek Westminster’s consent before introducing new devolved benefits “could be considered or perceived as a veto”, a cross-party committee of MSPs has concluded. Read more
The Eurozone economy picked up in the first quarter of the year, overtaking Britain’s GDP figures. Read more
George Osborne returned to the Treasury this week with colleagues predicting that he will deliver his second Budget of 2015 “relatively soon” to mark a distinctive new phase of his chancellorship. Read more
David Cameron will tell his Cabinet the Conservatives are the “real party for working people” as he meets with his most senior ministers for the first time. Read more
A survey conducted following last week’s General Election has revealed the priorities of Britain’s SMEs. Read more
An end to the volatility of the last few weeks was in sight this morning as it emerged that David Cameron would likely be staying on at number 10. Read more