Clever solution to parking headaches

Parking in some cities can be a nightmare. One solution is to use Parkatmyhouse.com. Anyone with spare driveway space or allocated parking that they don’t use can use the site to advertise their spaces to drivers who need somewhere to leave their car. Slots can typically be booked from as little as a few hours, to weeks at a time.

The space I booked recently, ten minutes from Oxford’s busy city centre, cost me £5 for the day – that’s quite a bit cheaper than the nearest public carpark. This is a very sensible scheme that solves a trying problem and could generate handy extra income for those with spare parking space. It deserves to do well.

• “Thousands more families will be dragged into the 40% inheritance tax band,” reports Harry Glass on Thisismoney.co.uk. That’s because George Osborne has decided to freeze the tax-free £325,000 death estate allowance until 2019, rather than raise it from 2015. As many as 5,000 families a year could be pulled into the tax trap as a result.

Inheritance tax is complex and should be discussed with a tax adviser – one solution is to give assets away more than seven years before death, which under the potentially exempt transfer (PET) rules can negate any liability.

• “The TV show Dragons’ Den is looking for a new dragon,” reports Emma Simon in The Daily Telegraph. But if you don’t think you’d qualify for the spot, fear not – with a site such as Seedrs.com or Crowdcube.com you can become an investor in a new start-up from as little as £10. Once you’ve made your original stake back, Seedrs.com will levy a fee of 7.5% of any subsequent profit.

But in return the company offers the chance to back a range of different entrepreneurs. As a bonus there are tax breaks available that offer relief worth up to 78%, depending on your tax status. The flipside is the risk – you could lose every penny you invest.

• The news for first-time buyers in London just seems to get worse and worse. The Centre for Economics and Business Research reckons that prices in the capital will rise by more than 30% by 2020. Prices in Northern Ireland and northeast England will rise 6% and 2.3% respectively.

But we’re not so sure – with prices remaining so far beyond the reach of first-time buyers, tax changes a constant threat, and ‘safe haven’ demand for property in London in decline as money flows back towards Europe, we suspect that prices in the capital will come under pressure in the near future.

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