Merryn’s blog

George Osborne’s message to buy-to-letters: “don’t”

George Osborne © Getty Images

We’ve made our views on buy-to-let pretty clear recently. And it looks like the chancellor agrees, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Bonuses: worse than useless


The idea that bonuses make people work harder is nonsense, says Merryn Somerset Webb. They have little positive effect, but an almost infinite number of negative effects.

Buy-to-let: don’t do it

Property to let board © Getty Images

A lot of people are getting in on buy-to-let with borrowed money. But it’s a risk that isn’t worth taking, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Want the ‘love hotel’ experience? Tokyo’s shortage of lovers means you must head to Japan now

Love hotel sign in Tokyo © Getty Images

Japan’s demographic shift means Japan’s love hotels – which have long been a feature of tourists’ must-do lists – might not be around for much longer, says Merryn Somserset Webb.

Never underestimate the creativity of central bankers

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda © Getty Images

Has your money-printing programme run out of things to buy? Never mind, says Merryn Somerset Webb. The world is full of things to splash out on. Just use your imagination.

Don't rush in to oil stocks

Shell oil tanker © Getty Images

If you’re thinking of buying oil stocks on the basis that the oil price will start to rise soon, you should perhaps think again, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

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Using entrepreneurs’ relief? Sell up fast

George Osborne © Getty Images

We currently give £3bn a year in tax breaks to entrepreneurs, and it is routinely abused, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But its days may be numbered.

Britain is becoming a country of ‘pensions apartheid’

George Osborne © Getty Images

Britain’s pensions system is becoming increasingly unfair, says Merryn Somerset Webb, with public sector workers consistently favoured over private sector workers.

Time to reform Britain’s unfair in-work benefits system

George Osborne © Getty Images

Britain’s tax credit system is horribly expensive and deeply unkind to both those in receipt of benefits and those paying for them. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why.

How to keep your buy-to-let property and keep your tax bill down

Swimming pool and deckchair © Getty Images

There is one way to keep your favourite buy-to-let and to keep your tax bill down, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Change it into a holiday let.

The truth about tax credits

NHS doctor © Getty Images

A family in receipt of tax credits can have one parent work part time and still take home as much money as a barrister or doctor. Don’t believe it? Here’s the proof.

How new technology can save the NHS from itself

NHS nurse using a tablet computer © Getty Images

The NHS is in a terrible state. But adopting new technology could free staff from routine tasks and let them get on with the business of looking after the nation’s health, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Bailing out Britain's steel industry would be a waste of money

Steel works in Cardiff © Getty images

It takes a high level of skill to work in Britain’s steel industry, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But that alone doesn’t mean it’s worth saving.

Why the government's latest wheeze to close the gender pay gap won't work

Mother with shopping and baby © Getty images

Forcing companies to disclose the average pay gap of their male and female staff misses the point, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

New taxes on the rich? There are too many for me to count

HMRC building © Getty images

There are so many new taxes on the rich, it’s easy to miss one, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But anyone who pays themselves with dividends should take note.

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