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What does the 2016 Autumn Statement mean for you?
Financial uncertainty has intensified since the British public decided to leave the European Union and tasked the government with Brexit. Forecasters including the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted slow but steady growth before Brexit. Since then the Chancellor has had to admit that the deficit will probably get bigger and debt will peak at over 90% of GDP in 2017-18, wiping out any hope of a surplus by 2020-21. It is in this context that the chancellor announced initiatives to boost productivity and manufacturing.
Personal Service Companies
Unfortunately, contractors working in the public sector may suffer. Responsibility for paying their tax including PAYE and national insurance shifts from the individual’s limited company to the recruitment agencies unless the tax is paid in advance. This may act as a disincentive for agencies to use contractors.
However, the aim is that self-employed workers will pay the same amount of tax as employees and the five percent tax-free allowance (previously used to cover administration costs) will be removed. Please note, Mr Osborne announced in his budget last March that loans to participators will be taxed at a hefty 32.5% to prevent tax avoidance. You can read more about this in paragraph 4.11 here.
If you are a public sector recruitment agency or a contractor with a limited company and are unsure how these changes will affect you, contact xxx for tailored, professional and up to date advice.
VAT Flat Rate Scheme
HMRC’s VAT flat rate scheme (FRS) of 16.5% from April 2017 aims to simplify tax for small businesses. Effectively micro businesses are benefiting now from the corporation tax reduction due in 2020. To qualify, a business or so-called “limited cost trader’s” expenditure must be less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover during a defined tax period or be more than 2% but less than £1000 per year. More details can be found here.
Benefits and expenses
From April 2017 employee benefits will be taxed unless they relate to childcare, pensions, ultra-low emission cars or cycle to work schemes (known as “salary sacrifice”.) Arrangements for cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until April 2021. You can read more at 4.13 here.
Mr Hammond has also announced a clampdown on disguised earnings of self-employed people who must pay tax and national insurance like paid employees. Corporation tax relief for non-cash benefits and expenses may be affected as outlined at 4.13 above but the details need to be confirmed following a valuation of benefits in kind.
If you are self-employed and concerned about how to offset benefits against your tax liabilities, do not hesitate to contact xxx for the very latest developments.
Other headline announcements
- Corporation tax will fall to 17% by 2020.
- Personal allowance will increase to £11,500 in April and £12,500 by the end of this Parliament in 2020.
- Higher rate allowance will increase to £45,000 next year and £50,000 by the end of this Parliament.
- From 2020 the personal allowance will rise in line with the Consumer Prices Index.
- National Living Wage will increase to £7.50 (from £7.20) in April 2017.
- There will be a reduction in capital gains from 18% to 10% but with a lifetime limit of £100,000.
Regardless of whether you are a contractor, recruiter or employer, xxx will give you professional advice about how to work flexibly and maximise your profits while remaining on the right side of the law.
Economists predict growth for the British housing market
Manse and Garret monitors London house prices around the clock and always achieves the very best deals for clients regardless of fluctuations in the market. Three house price indices suggest the British housing market will grow this year.
The Land Registry recorded a monthly increase in house prices of 2.8%. The annual change for London is 13.9%, considerably higher than most other places.
Similarly, according to the Halifax, house prices increased by 3% in the last quarter from December to February than in the quarter before. This rise was the highest since last June. Prices were 9.7% higher this February than February last year.
The Halifax report that in 28% of local authorities, the increase in house prices has exceeded the average employee’s net earnings over the past two years.
However, house prices decreased by 1.4% between January and February this year. Quarterly comparisons are more robust than monthly ones because the market is volatile.
Martin Ellis, Halifax economist, said: “Prices continue to rise at a robust pace driven by a significant imbalance between supply and demand. While this position is likely to continue over the next coming months, there are some tentative signs that the supply side may be beginning to improve. Instructions for second hand properties coming up for sale have increased in the past two months and the level of house building increased significantly in 2015. Further ahead increasing affordability issues, such as house price increases continue to exceed wage growth are likely to curb housing demand and cause price growth to ease.”
Using Nationwide’s index, properties increased by 0.3% making the monthly figure largely unchanged but there was an annual increase of 4.8% since February last year.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist said: “The number of mortgages approved for house purchase increased sharply in January to almost 75,000, up from around 71,000 approvals in December and the highest number since January 2014.
“However, much of the increase is likely to be related to the impending increase in stamp duty on second homes which is due to take effect in April 2016. This is likely to have brought forward a significant number of purchases, which in turn will probably result in a fall back in approvals during the spring or summer.
“Looking through this volatility we expect the underlying pace of activity to increase in the quarters ahead as improving labour market conditions and low borrowing costs provide ongoing support.”
Karelia Scott-Daniels from Manse and Garret monitors the housing market on a daily basis. If you would like a property search company to find your next home or investment and to negotiate the sale, Manse and Garret will offer a comprehensive, professional service.