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The Moneyfacts.co.uk Manifesto

The Moneyfacts.co.uk Manifesto

Category: Money

Updated: 31/10/2008
First Published: 17/10/2007

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The recent speculation of Gordon Brown calling an election brought the political parties' manifestos to the fore. However, although Mr Brown made a U-turn after losing an 11 point lead to the Conservatives, the electorate is a starting to be a bit clearer on who stands for what.

"It's the economy, stupid"

Recent events in the financial world have had more of an impact on our wallets, and that is what any future election will be fought on. So, we at Moneyfacts.co.uk thought we join the debate. If we were advising the Government and the Bank of England on personal finance matters - in an ideal world, what would we like to see?

Pensioners

We think that the current pension set-up is certainly in need of some changes. There's no doubt about it, the UK's population is getting older each year and many don't have a sufficient pension for old age.

  • Recent research by Norwich Union shows that many pensioners have to live on less than £10,000 per year
  • To cope with this, the State Pension should be linked to earnings
  • Pensioners should be helped with council tax - either significantly discounted or abolished completely for them.
  • The 125,000 people who lost their company pensions when their employers went bust should be compensated and the State should put in place measures to prevent it happening again.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is certainly unfair. Why should we pay tax when we spend, when we save and then again when we die? Furthermore, the Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold has failed to keep up with house prices, and thousands risk being caught out and liable to a 40% tax bill on all assets over £300,000.

  • Even though Chancellor Alistair Darling has been accused of stealing Conservative policies by increasing the IHT threshold to £600,000, many experts have criticised the move for not saving prudent people a penny - as they can already use a joint IHT allowance of £600,000 through careful tax planning measures.
  • The IHT threshold should therefore be raised for each person to at least £500,000, which will remove the vast majority of hardworking and responsible families.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is a particular bugbear for many homebuyers. First time buyers find it hard enough to get onto the ladder, let alone finding thousands of pounds to line the Government's coffers. In addition, the current level at which it is started to be paid at £125,000 means that virtually no home in the UK today escapes the taxman's grasp.

  • We think that Stamp Duty should be scrapped completely for first time buyers
  • And the threshold should be raised to at least £500,000. This would also take out hard working families, so only the super rich who can afford to pay will.

ISA allowances

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are great tax-efficient ways of saving money, but we think that the current levels are far too low. Look at how successful Personal Equity Plans (PEPs) were.

  • Raise the allowance from the current £3,000 per tax year for mini Cash ISAs to at least £5,000.
  • The current allowance of £7,000 per tax year for stocks and shares ISAs should be raised to at least £10,000.

Financial protection

  • The recent run on Northern Rock proves that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) was woefully inadequate. The recent move to cover 100% of savers' deposits up to £35,000 is a step in the right direction, but it could go even further.
  • Why not increase the FSCS from £35,000 to cover 100% of all savers' deposits? After all, the Treasury has guaranteed billions of Northern Rock's deposits.

Home Information Packs (HIPs)

There's no doubt about it, the Government made a bit of a pig's ear of the implementation of Home Information Packs (HIPs), and many industry bodies partly blame HIPs for slowing the property market

  • According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), new instructions to sell fell by 37% in September.
  • We think that HIPs should be abolished, and the Government should embark upon a proper consultation with industry bodies such as the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Law Society and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to see how the homebuying process could be speeded up more effectively.

Give Green a chance

The Government claims that it's committed to the green cause, championing Home Information Packs (HIPs) and scrapping Stamp Duty for all carbon neutral homes above £500,000. However, people who want to open an ethical savings account or purchase green or ethical shares are still caught in the taxman's net.

  • We'd like to see the Government scrap tax on the interest earned in green and ethical savings accounts, especially those which directly benefit the environment like renewable energy bonds for example
  • Capital Gains Tax should also be lowered for ethical investments too, or an additional tax-free ISA allowance given for ethical investments. After all, making a conscious decision to invest ethically should be rewarded, rather than penalised.

Join in the debate...

We'll be keeping our Moneyfacts manifesto up to date in preparation for when Mr Brown finally decides to call the election.

We want to make sure that all political parties understand and cater for the needs of millions of savers and borrowers in their own manifestos. Please let us know what you think so we can create a manifesto that's truly representative of the needs of the UK's savers, borrowers and investors as a whole.

Please email us at feedback@moneyfacts.co.uk

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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