Monday, 31 July 2017

Brexit: one year on

The controversial Brexit vote took place on 23 June 2016. One year on from the historical referendum, what has changed?

Since last June, the pound has fallen by about 15% against the US dollar and by about 13% against the euro. Sterling’s weakness has provided a boost for larger UK companies, whose overseas profits have been enhanced when translated back into sterling, and this has been reflected in their dividend payouts and in the performance of the FTSE 100 Index. The day before the referendum took place, the blue-chip index closed at 6,261. Following the result, the market plunged by almost 9%; one year later, the FTSE 100 Index is over 1,000 points higher.

The pound’s weakness has pushed up import prices, stoking inflationary pressures. One year on, the UK’s consumer prices index (CPI) has reached its highest level for almost four years during May, rising to 2.9%, but wage growth is not keeping pace with the rising cost of living and this is squeezing UK households.

Political uncertainty has dominated since the vote; David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister after the decision to leave and was replaced by Theresa May. Her Brexit plans were subsequently thrown into disarray by her decision to hold a snap General Election in order to increase her Parliamentary majority – a move that backfired and resulted in a hung Parliament. Looking ahead, the UK is on the back foot as Brexit negotiations begin.

Monday, 17 July 2017

TPR name and shame those who fail to comply

The latest Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin from the Pensions Regulator (TPR)  makes interesting reading as it sets out cases and the powers TPR have used relating to automatic enrolment and associated employer duties.

TPR are warning employers that ignoring TPR penalties could seriously damage a business’ reputation.
TPR are maintaining a tough approach towards those employers who try to get away with not giving their staff the pension that they are due. The latest development is to publish details of those who have paid their Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN) but remain non-compliant. We will also publish the details of those who failed to pay their EPN, and as a result have been made subject to a court order.

The details published will include the employer’s name, the penalty amount, and the first part of their postcode.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Tax-Free Childcare and childcare options

Tax-Free Childcare, the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare launched at the end of April and is being rolled out to parents, starting with those parents with the youngest children first.

For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs making a total amount of £10,000. Higher limits of £4,000 and £20,000 apply for disabled children.

To qualify for Tax-Free Childcare parents and partners in the household must generally meet a minimum income level of on average £120 a week and each earn less than £100,000 a year.

The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12, or 17 for children with disabilities. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017. Those eligible will be able to apply for all their children at the same time although the government rollout will start with the youngest children first. Parents will need to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.

For those employers who currently offer Employer Supported Childcare, usually in the form of childcare vouchers, these schemes can remain open to new entrants until April 2018. Existing members have the option to remain in their existing scheme or change over to Tax-Free childcare as their child becomes eligible. It is not possible to benefit from tax-free childcare and employer supported childcare at the same time.

A calculator for parents comparing the options and guidance on the other government provided free childcare available are available on GOV.UK.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on