Merryn’s blog

The hell of airport car hire, and how to make it better

Europcar at Heathrow airport © Getty Images

Most people’s experience of airport car-hire isn’t a pleasant one, with long waits, hidden charges and a curious habit of not giving you the car you ordered. It needn’t be that bad, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Cheap labour, not the lifestyle economy, is damaging the UK’s productivity growth

Farm labourers picking daffodils © Getty Images

The UK may have a larger “lifestyle economy” than many countries, but that’s not why our productivity growth is worse than that of other developed nations.

Investment platforms are great, but they need to up their game

Hargreaves Lansdown office © Hargreaves Lansdown

Investment platforms have opened up investing for many people. But their pricing structures are obscure and switching between them is expensive and slow.

Britain’s productivity puzzle solved

Robot tractors © Getty Images

When it comes to productivity growth, Britain has lagged behind most of the developed world. But that is slowly changing. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why.

Five books to cheer you up this summer

Old man reading a book © Getty Images

Merryn Somerset Webb picks five books for those people who think everything is just awful these days.

Invesco is making a mockery of shareholder democracy

Knobbly knees contest, Butlins © Getty Images

Invesco’s bullying of an investment trust is an outrageous example of fund management arrogance, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The campaign to save “one share, one vote”

Shareholder meeting © Getty Images

Good governance and shareholder democracy are being undermined by companies issuing shares with limited voting rights. But investors are starting to push back, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Workplace perks are nice, but nothing beats more cash

People drinking © Getty Images

Employers are offering all sorts of perks to their workers. But one perk they’re not offering is higher pay. That might soon have to change, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The great buy-to-let sell up

Property for sale signs © Getty Images

In a rare example of government action having the intended effect, buy-to-let landlords are selling up, and that could mean house prices falling.

How DIY investing platforms are changing the world of investment trusts

The rise of the low-cost investment platform has changed the shareholder base of investment trusts – and it’s having a dramatic effect on how the sector operates, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Rising wages may bring surprises in Japan

Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan governor © Getty Images

Wages are rising in Japan. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Bank of Japan will end its monetary stimulus. But it does open the door to surprises, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Tax the living, not the dead

Inheritance tax forms © Getty Images

We should abolish inheritance tax, says Merryn Somerset Webb, and replace it with a gift tax, paid at the recipient’s tax rate.

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