A round-up of the main news stories from this week.
Data Monitoring to Highlight Potential Tax Dodgers
Credit reference agencies and HMRC are to combine in a new measure designed to combat tax avoidance. Under new proposals, the income declared on up to two million tax returns could be monitored against spending patterns to detect possible tax dodgers. Credit reference agencies will identify suspect candidates, with details passed on to HMRC for further investigation.
FCA to Receive Power to Intervene
The new city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, will have new powers to act where it believes mis-selling to be taking place. The new body, which assumes control from the Financial Services Authority in the spring of 2013, will act to prevent further scandals involving large compensation claims. Moves are being made to implement these powers so that the new body’s responsibilities are clear at the point of takeover.
Fixed-Rate Bonds Hit All-Time Low
Fixed-rate bonds are no longer the safe-haven for savers, after falling to an all-time low. According to financial analysts Moneyfacts, the average rate of one-year bonds has tumbled to just 2.18%. The best one-year products on Which4U have crashed by 70 basis points in just 3 months. The inconvenience of locking money away for a set period is confounded by the fact that bonds no longer match inflation.
Osborne Accused of Targeting the Weakest in Autumn Statement
And finally: chancellor George Osborne has been accused of heaping more misery on the weakest in his Autumn Statement this week. The chancellor announced a number of cutbacks in government spending and welfare as he attempts to claw back what remains a considerable deficit. He said that debt and borrowing were down and described the economy as “healing”; though he confessed that slow growth had extended the austerity measures by a further year, to 2018.