Merryn’s blog

Merryns blog

The similar lives of the rich and the not so rich

These days, it’s not so easy to tell who’s raking it in from who isn’t, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Income inequality is a problem - but don't expect a revolution

Everybody agrees that rising income inequality will lead to a backlash. But the problem is, says Merryn Somerset Webb – income inequality is actually falling.

A simple solution to pension tax relief

The pension tax relief system is needlessly expensive, says Merryn Somerset Webb. There is, however, a simple solution – cap contributions.

Russia ain't pretty - but it's tempting

The Russian market is cheap for very good reason. But brave investors could be forgiven for being tempted, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

If you think a wealth tax won’t hit you, you’re wrong

A lot of people in Britain seem keen on wealth taxes. They think it’s a way to hit the rich. But it won’t just be the rich that end up paying.

The death of the middleman could restore trust in the financial industry

New ways of investing are cutting out the middleman. That’s great news, says Merryn Somerset Webb. It should make things cheaper, and help restore trust in the financial industry.

Yet more reasons to favour Isas over pensions

If you’re after tax-free dividend payments in your retirement, you won’t get them in a pension. You’re better off with an Isa, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Why Britain has the nastiest new homes in Europe

Housebuilders are building the smallest, meanest properties they can get away with. That needs to be fixed – by regulation if necessary.

One more good reason to completely rethink inheritance tax

Germany’s system of inheritance tax encourages family businesses to grow and thrive. Ours does exactly the opposite, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The bank born from a bribe

RBS was set up with money paid to persuade Scotland to enter a union with England after its Central American empire-building scheme failed.

Disinflation is a very unreliable boyfriend

Most economists seem confident inflation will fall gently to 1%. Their confidence is probably misplaced, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Do we really need so many charities?

Charities do vital work in Britain. But having too many of them is pointless and diverts money away from core services.

There is no such thing as a ‘free’ government service

Scotland’s ‘Yes’ campaign is obsessed with ‘free’ childcare. But it’s not free, it’s funded by taxpayers.

Why the English should care more about losing Scotland

There is a lot of complacency about the Scottish independence referendum. But breaking up the union will mean huge changes for the rest of the UK. By no means all of them good.

Why simplifying our tax system is just too complicated

Any attempt to simplify the tax system is welcome. But merging income tax with National Insurance will be far from easy, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

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