Economy

New – Election Calculator 2017

With a General Election on the way, The Salary Calculator’s Election Calculator has been updated with the latest campaign proposals from the main parties. This allows you to see an estimate of how the different parties’ policies might affect you if they come to power. Right now, only the 3 parties Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats have produced their manifestos with details of their taxation plans. When other parties such as The Green Party and UKIP reveal their plans, the calculator will be updated.

As explained on the Election Calculator itself, this is a simplified version of The Salary Calculator, and some estimates and assumptions have had to be made. Also, of course, income tax and National Insurance are only some of the ways that governments can raise revenue, and other policy proposals may affect your financial situation. With that in mind, check out the 2017 Election Calculator.

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None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

EU Referendum

With just a few days to go until the “Brexit” referendum, many people are trying to work out whether they (or the UK as a whole) will be better off remaining in the EU, or leaving it behind. Although a lot of people have opinions on the matter, unfortunately know one knows for sure what would happen if the UK left the EU (or indeed, what would happen if it remained).

For those who are still thinking about it, there is a useful article on the excellent Money Saving Expert website which does a good job of laying out the facts for you to consider: How to vote in the EU referendum

If you know what your vote is going to be, but you’re interested in knowing what the polls are saying about everyone else’s vote, The Economist has a poll tracker which shows you how the opinion polls have changed over time, and also allows you to see how the votes split by demographic such as young / old, male / female.

Whatever you think about Britain’s membership of the EU, this is one of the most important decisions we will make as a nation. It is important that you have your say – which means please make sure you vote on polling day!

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Friday, June 17th, 2016 Economy, Stock Market No Comments

Budget 2015

The Chancellor gave his pre-election budget earlier today – announcing his plans for forthcoming years. With an election just around the corner, this budget is even more of a sales pitch than usual – most of the changes he announced would only come to pass if the Conservatives were to be in government for the next term.

From a personal taxation point of view, the most significant announcement was arguably the plan for the first £1,000 of interest earned on savings to be tax free, effective April 2016. This will allow almost everyone to pay no taxes on their savings interest (those with high incomes from elsewhere will have this £1,000 limit reduced, possibly to zero), but the amount saved each year for most people is likely to be only a few pounds – and at most £200. There is also a plan to raise the threshold for the higher rate tax (the point at which income tax increases from 20% to 40%) ahead of inflation – an effective tax break for those on good middle-class incomes.

The Salary Calculator has already been updated with the tax rates which take effect from April 2015 so you can see how your pay packet will change next month. You can also compare 2014 and 2015 tax rates side-by-side to see where the differences come in.

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2014 Budget

Later today, the Chancellor will deliver his 2014 Budget to parliament, setting out his plans for the next few years. The Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to explain his policies and how they will affect the economy as a whole, and also what differences will be felt by ordinary members of the public.

He is likely to make much of the fact that the tax-free personal allowance (how much you can earn without paying income tax) has increased to £10,000 from April 2014, a coalition pledge delivered 1 year early. There is also talk that he might announce plans to raise the threshold for 40% tax (the amount at which you start paying income tax at 40% rather than 20%) in future years. This would probably lower the tax paid by those in middle management positions, say, and those in more senior roles.

The income tax and National Insurance rates which will take effect from 6th April 2014 have already been applied to The Salary Calculator, so you can easily see how your take home pay will be affected by the new tax year. You can also view a side-by-side comparison of 2013 and 2014 so you can see where the differences come from.

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US Government shutdown

I’m sure most people will have heard of the shutdown of the US Government which started on 1st October, due to a disagreement about whether or not to raise the “debt ceiling” (in short, the amount of money the government can borrow to pay for things it has already agreed to pay for). As a result of the shutdown a large number of government employees are on unpaid leave or working reduced hours and much government work is not being done.

One impact of this shutdown which may affect British tourists is that a large number of attractions are federally funded – that is, they are operated by the central US Government. An example of this is the National Park Service, which runs National Parks around the country. Since the shutdown began, all National Parks have been closed, preventing tourists from being able to visit. Some of these are what you might expect “Parks” to be, like the natural beauty at Yosemite, but others are famous monuments like the Statue of Liberty. Tourists are finding that even if they bought a ticket before the shutdown, on scheduled tours for places like the island of Alcatraz or Pearl Harbor, they have not been able to make the visit as planned.

For those who have booked a short holiday to the States, waiting until the shutdown reaches its conclusion and the parks reopen is not an option. If you find yourself in such a position, you can investigate other tourist attractions which may still be open. For example, while National Parks are closed, State Parks (those operated by the state they are in, rather than by the central government) remain open. I spoke to one couple who had planned to see the giant Californian redwoods at Muir Woods National Park – with the park closed they had to make new plans but were able to go instead to Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve, which was open as usual, and see the trees they had hoped to see!

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Friday, October 11th, 2013 Economy, Foreign Currency No Comments

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