Merryn’s blog

Probate fees: a new back-door property tax

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

For property investors, Birmingham beats London hands down

For anyone investing in or building property today, Birmingham is clearly a better place to be doing it than London, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Alliance Trust is finally getting its act together

Alliance is finally doing what it should have been doing for the last 20 years – offering low-cost, high-conviction and well diversified investment for the masses.

How to solve the UK’s housing crisis

Houses to let © Getty Images

The problem in the UK housing market is not a shortage of housing but a surplus of speculation called by very low interest rates. Solve that, says Merryn Somerset Webb, and you solve the “housing crisis”.

People don’t actually buy cars any more, and that could turn out to be a very bad thing

The way people buy cars has changed. Most use “personal contract plans” – a form of cheap debt. And that could come back to haunt us, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

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