Merryn’s blog

Cautionary tales of leaseholder regret

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The dangers of buying a property on a long leasehold instead of a freehold are becoming clearer every day, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Three exciting new small-cap investment trusts

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It may feel like there is very little value to be found in the markets. But these three new small-cap investment trusts are betting against that, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Why you should never buy a leasehold property

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Having bought a leasehold property, you may think you own it. But you don’t, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Your freeholder owns it, and you are entirely at their mercy.

Public shaming – an effective new way of collecting taxes

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Corporations publicly outed as tax dodgers; individuals denied honours. Shaming people into paying their taxes is probably effective, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But the government could go further.

Why you shouldn’t stump up for your children’s house deposit

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Houses are expensive. But don’t sacrifice your retirement income to get your kids on to the property ladder, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The end of the road for insane pension transfer values

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The Pensions Regulator could put a stop to the ridiculously high offers made to people transferring out of their defined-benefit pension schemes.

Adam Smith and the crony capitalist conspiracy

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The concentration of market power in the hands of a few big companies worried Adam Smith. It should worry us too, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But it is fixable.

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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