Merryn’s blog

How the private sector works to help the public sector spend our money badly

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Virgin Trains’ pretend standard-class ticket is very handy for those who prefer to travel first class but need to disguise that fact on their expense claims.

What to do as inflation returns

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Inflation is back. And that’s bad news for savers and borrowers alike, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The chancellor hasn’t finished fiddling yet

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The self employed shouldn’t relax yet, says Merryn Somerset Webb. One way or another, Philip Hammond will be back to tax them.

How to fix the fuss over National Insurance contributions

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The solution to all the fuss over National Insurance contributions for the self-employed is simple, says Merryn Somerset Webb. We all pay the same tax regardless of how we work.

Probate fees: a new back-door property tax

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The dramatic rise in probate fees is a sneaky way for the government to tax residential property, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Top up your pension NOW

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If you can to up your pension before tomorrow’s Budget, do it, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Pensions tax relief: is it so stupidly incomprehensible on purpose?

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The complexity of the comically stupid policy on pensions tax relief means people have given up trying to understand it – and are paying a pile more tax as a result.

How the end of cash will make charities a new fortune

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When using contactless cards, we tend to spend more per transaction than we would when using cash. That’s something charities have taken note of and are now exploiting, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Spotify's salutary example on the dangers of debt

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Long-term investors should steer clear of companies with too much debt, says Merryn Somerset Webb. The case of Spotify shows us why.

Wealth inequality in the UK may be too high, but it is falling, not rising

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Since the financial crisis, the incomes of the poorest fifth of households in the UK has risen by over 13% in real terms and that of the best paid fifth has fallen 3.4%.

Governments don’t need to ban cash, we’ll all just stop using it

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A lot of people worry that central banks and governments will ban cash. But they may not need to, says Merryn Somerset Webb. We might just decide to do without it.

Should companies divert dividends to clear pension deficits?

Boarded-up BHS shop © Getty Images

Most FTSE 100 companies could clear their pension deficits in under two years if they diverted all dividend payments to their pension funds instead. Should they?

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