The normal minimum pension age increase is due to take effect from April 2028 as a single-step change, impacting many people. At present, Britons are able to access their pension at 55 under freedoms rules which allow them to manage their retirement cash. At this age, they will not have to incur any further tax charges related to an “unauthorised payment”.
The increase will be in line with that of the state pension age, which is set to rise to 67 at a similar time.
However, there are also other aspects of the draft legislation which are worth bearing in mind.
An individual member of a registered pension scheme who on April 5, 2023 has a right to take benefits earlier than 57, and the rules of the scheme on February 11, 2021, gave a right to take benefits at an earlier age, can retain the right to take benefits at age 55.
This right to take benefits at an earlier age is retained on a “block transfer”.
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He said: “The confirmation of the timing of the increase in the normal minimum pension age will be welcome to individuals and advisers and give time for appropriate planning over the next seven years.
“However, what should have been a simple process has turned into a hugely complex mess.
“The process to decide which individuals retain a right to an earlier pension age is completely arbitrary, being based on the specific wording within scheme rules, which may have been written many years ago.
“It also leaves open the possibility that people will hunt around for a scheme which gives them the right to take benefits at age 55 and transfer to that before 2023.
“So expect frantic transfer activity over the next few years as people look to secure age 55 as their minimum pension age, irrespective of their birth date.”
Mr Tully also expressed disappointment at the continuation of existing “block transfer” rules currently in place.
These rules are considered by some to be complex, and preventative when it comes to switching to a new contract.
Mr Tully stated these new arrangements can often be more flexible, modern and even cheaper.
But people are hanging on to the idea of taking their benefits at age 55 and so may not switch.
He concluded: “The legislation as drafted adds further hideous complexity to the pension system.
“That might be fine for pension geeks like me, but for the average pension saver will prove nigh on impossible to navigate successfully without the help of a professional adviser.”
The offer means Halifax customers who open a new Ultimate Reward Current Account from July 7 may be able to get a £100 payment. Switchers will need to open the new account through the Current Account Switch Service, and switch from a bank account held with another provider.
Martin Turner, Head of Personal Current Accounts, Halifax, said: “We’re excited to be re-introducing our £100 switching offer, this time for new customers of our Ultimate Reward Current Account.
“The account offers fantastic benefits and rewards – including insurance cover, lifestyle benefits, cashback and more.
“The Current Account Switching Service makes it really easy to join us, transferring direct debits, standing orders and salary commitments, to your new account within seven days.”
New Ultimate Reward account holders will also benefit from a six-month fee free overdraft.
The switching process takes seven days, and Halifax said customers will receive their £100 within that time.
To qualify for the £100 offer, a new Ultimate Reward Current Account must be opened, and the customer must switch from a bank account held with another bank via the Current Account Switch Service.
A new Ultimate Reward Current Account must be applied for – a person cannot change their existing Halifax Current Account or Reward Current Account to an Ultimate Reward Current Account.
This must be opened between July 7 and August 3, and the switch service must be started by August 3, 2021.
Furthermore, a person won’t be eligible if, since April 2020, they’ve received a switching offer for switching to a Reward Current Account or Ultimate Reward Current Account.
People switching to a joint account, where one of the parties to the join account has already received a switching incentive since April 2020, also won’t qualify.
Furthermore, a person won’t qualify if the bank they’re switching from doesn’t participate in the Current Account Switch Service.
Only one offer is available per customer, and joint accounts will only be eligible for one payment.
Almost 13,000 free-to-use cash machines closed between 2017 and 2020 – a drop of nearly 24 percent.
And since January 2015, 4,299 bank branches have shut.
To avoid the nation sleepwalking into becoming a cashless society which ignores the needs of millions of citizens, Age UK is calling for the urgent introduction of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) on banks, to guarantee access to cash for everyone.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “This report demonstrates the continuing critical importance of cash in our society. It’s not only essential for older people but for us all, in a world increasingly compelling us to manage our money digitally.
“Protecting the cash system is essential for enabling millions of citizens to go about their lives, and since it was still widely used during the pandemic, when spending opportunities were few, it’s going to be all the more important for us once we emerge from it and return to some kind of normality.
“Older people who use cash and their local bank branch are finding it increasingly impossible to manage their money because more and more barriers are being put in their way.
“They don’t want to give up their independence by having to rely on a family member or neighbour, they want to keep control of how they do financial things – but they don’t want to or can’t do it online.
Incredibly, it was Elvis who introduced June to Johnny’s music when he used to sing one of Johnny’s earliest hits, Cry Cry Cry, as he tuned his guitar
June later said: “Elvis was stooped down on one knee and grasping a guitar trying to tune it to somewhere near the correct pitch to make a correct chord ring. (He would sing) ‘Everybody knows where you go when the sun goes down, Ah-ummm, Ah-ummm’ and he’d strike the guitar again. Plink, plunk: ‘Ah-ummm …’
“‘What are you trying to do?’ I asked. ‘I’m trying to tune this guitar, honey, and I’m trying to sing like Johnny Cash.'”
“‘Who is Johnny Cash?’ I asked Elvis Presley. ‘What’s the a-um-a-um for?’
“‘That’s what drives the girls crazy,’ Elvis said.
“‘I don’t know this Johnny Cash,’ I said, and Elvis said: ‘Oh you’ll know Cash. The whole world will know Johnny Cash. He’s a friend of mine’.
He is using a bully pulpit on steroids as he tries to defeat a Republican-driven recall.
OAKLAND, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political career has long been something of a white-knuckle roller coaster ride.
So it was fitting that the Democratic governor, in his latest fist-pumping lap around the state, hit the front seat of the New Revolution roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain this week, hands in the air, relishing the stomach-churning jaunt.
It was just the latest example of how Newsom is using a bully pulpit on steroids as he tries to defeat a Republican-driven recall.
The governor announced free tickets to Six Flags and taco giveaways for anyone getting a Covid-19 shot. He channeled his inner game show host persona and delivered massive checks to vaccine lottery winners, backed by a “Big Spin” wheel and appropriately kitschy music. He celebrated the end of pandemic restrictions with Minions and Trolls under confetti at Universal Studios. Between it all, he was on Instagram with musician John Legend and in studio with James Corden on “The Late Late Show.”
His dizzying schedule has made the scope — and optics — of Newsom’s victory tour unrivaled in the annals of modern state politics. Fueled by record tax revenues, business connections and celebrity friends, the governor is demonstrating how he’ll use his official perch this summer to drive his campaign narrative.
“Imagine being in politics and giving away money — that’s about as good as it gets,’’ Newsom told Corden. “Oprah Winfrey, eat your heart out!”
No other governor has duplicated the level of Newsom’s giveaways, most under the auspices of convincing hesitant residents to get vaccinated. But no other governor is facing a recall, either.
His appearances have gotten so over-the-top that longtime political reporters can hardly believe what they’re seeing. “Am I on drugs?” said San Francisco Chronicle reporter Alexei Koseff, marveling at Newsom celebrating with characters in costume. Another, CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall, dubbed a Newsom event “today’s episode of Governor Gives Out Money.”
Just months ago, Newsom was on the ropes, battered by charges of hypocrisy after a tony dinner with lobbyists and other guests at the French Laundry while he told residents to avoid gathering at parties. When California was under siege from the virus in December and January, the situation was so bad that Newsom imposed a curfew and widespread stay-at-home orders.
The state has since seen Covid-19 rates plummet to nation-low levels, and Newsom set June 15 as the state’s grand reopening day. He eliminated social distancing restrictions and capacity limits in most businesses and allowed vaccinated residents to remove their masks.
Newsom has also benefited from a high-wage economy that kept humming through the pandemic, delivering a $ 76 billion surplus, on top of $ 27 billion in federal coronavirus relief. That money allowed the governor to propose $ 600 stimulus checks for two-thirds of California residents, $ 500 checks for families — and $ 116.5 million in prizes for vaccine-hesitant residents.
He has timed the giveaways with jubilant events to promote the state’s reopening. But the governor’s tour is striking some as an unseemly excess of fist-pumping and self-congratulations given what the state has endured. California has an unemployment rate higher than in most other states, a Covid-19 death toll of 62,500, the nation’s longest school closures and a host of small business failures under lockdown restrictions.
“Gavin’s traveling circus is offensive to the nearly 4 million Californians who contracted Covid-19, and the nearly 65,000 who died with it,’’ said conservative Jennifer Kerns, a former spokesperson for the California Republican Party and now a national radio talk show host. “It is also offensive to the more than one-third of restaurants that closed forever — owned by hard-working Californians, many of whom lost their life savings due to Newsom’s yearlong lockdown.”
Newsom’s camp, however, says he’s right to celebrate this emergence from 15 months of pandemic isolation. He’s hugged it up with local officials at iconic family bistros like Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, where he pushed the extension of pandemic-era policies aimed at boosting small businesses — including margaritas-to-go and “parklets” to expand restaurant dining outdoors — as well as grants and tax forgiveness.
On Friday, Newsom boasted that the state is “turning a page” on the pandemic — with the help of small business owners surrounding him. “When we talk about California roaring back, we can’t come roaring back unless small businesses are back,’’ he told them. “The job creators are literally here, in this community.”
Peter Ragone, a longtime outside adviser to Newsom, said the California governor’s tour is a celebration of what the state — and its citizens — have done right in battling back from a deadly pandemic.
With its record budget surplus, jobs rebounding and continued tech sector boom, “there’s just no doubt about the fact here that California is the best run state in America, fiscally,” he said. “And Gavin Newsom has been reflecting the exuberance of the people, who are now coming out of this together.”
That exuberance, he said dryly, “is shared by everybody — except maybe seven people left working the recall.”
Newsom’s recent upbeat demeanor has been a far cry from the grim, and occasionally short-tempered, governor of a few months back.
After being confronted by major wildfires and blackouts that affected millions shortly into his first term, Newsom was slammed in late 2020 with rising panic about pandemic shutdowns. Those difficulties were multiplied by his own ill-timed political mistakes, including the French Laundry dinner with lobbyist friends at the height of the stay-at-home order.
“It’s been humbling,” he said to Corden. “There’s been one word, James: humility.”
Newsom’s most recent poll numbers have been strong, with either a plurality or majority opposed to recalling the governor. A whopping 90 percent of Californians believe the worst of the crisis is behind them.
His opponents have struggled to gain traction, most notably Republican reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who regularly goes on national TV but only had 6 percent of voter support in a poll last month. The governor is in strong enough shape that fellow Democrats have suggested California should have the recall election as soon as possible.
Democrats say Newsom’s undisguised giddiness is not only appropriate — but entirely warranted.
“One of the jobs of leaders is to lead through empathy — to reflect back to people how they’ve been feeling,’’ said veteran California Democratic organizer and strategist Alex Clemens. “California — and the United States, and the world — all need a victory lap. So I wouldn’t begrudge any leader from reminding us that there is joy to be had.”
But Newsom’s opponents say the governor is prematurely dancing in the end zone. They point to a host of lingering problems — millions of public school parents still nervous about the potential for school closures in the fall; growing homelessness and housing problems; an unemployment system plagued by fraud; and small business struggles.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Faulconer, the former San Diego mayor, said Newsom and Democratic legislators must still be held to account for mismanagement. He’s banking on voters having a long memory this year and not being swayed by a fast-opening economy and various giveaways.
“He can stand up all he wants and do the game show routine, but Californians are angry, they’re pissed off and rightfully so,” Faulconer told the KFI radio show “John and Ken” after the governor’s Universal Studios appearance.
“That’s just incredibly tone deaf,’’ Faulconer said in an interview. “At a time when millions of Californians lost their wages and income over the past year, and we still have over a million Californians who can’t get their unemployment benefits. We had $ 30 billion worth of fraud in the Employment Development Department. It just shows how out of touch this governor is.’’
Clemens said Newsom’s celebratory week doesn’t belie the seriousness of his campaign strategy. California faces regular disaster risks, from wildfires to drought to blackouts. The governor already issued an emergency order allowing more fossil-fuel plants to run Thursday to ensure residents have enough electricity.
“I am certain that nobody on the governor’s election team is taking anything for granted,” Clemens said, “that they are treating this race like he is down 20 [points].”
“However, the response of Governments around the world to rebalance their economies in favour of the lower paid who were hardest hit by the pandemic is expected to lead to higher inflation on a more sustained basis.
“The prices of anything from a haircut to a second-hand car are higher than they were a year ago.
“Covid restrictions mean restaurants, for example, can serve fewer customers and they need to charge more to cover their costs.
“House prices are rising in some areas as demand for more space increases as people look to work more from home for the foreseeable future.”
ISA decisions appear to have been forced on savers recently as according to analysis of HMRC figures from Hargreaves Lansdown (HL), coronavirus has sparked a “last-minute” ISA dash. In examining the details, it was found that cash ISAs remain popular among savers, even in a low interest rate environment.
Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at HL, broke down these figures.
She said: “The coronavirus crash sparked a last-minute dash into ISAs in the 2019/20 tax year. Both cash and stocks and shares ISAs took more money than a year earlier, while the number of Lifetime ISAs more than doubled.
“Until the last few weeks of the tax year, stock markets had moved around a little but looked set to end the tax year roughly where they started. The pandemic changed all of that, sparking a massive sell-off that knocked a third off the value of the FTSE 100. Suddenly investors saw huge value in the market, and rushed to buy before the end of the tax year.
“We saw the impact of this rush at HL. In the last week of the tax year, there were 2.96 million visits to the HL website – up from 1.07 million a year earlier. In the final hour, a HL stocks and shares ISA was opened or topped up every seven seconds.
“This was just the beginning too, as the pandemic gave people the time, money and enthusiasm for investment that saw an enormous boost in stocks and shares ISAs. Next year’s figures are going to show another big increase.
“2019/20 was a huge year for Lifetime ISAs, which more than doubled from a year earlier. Whenever a new ISA is launched we see the numbers climb as people get familiar with them, and in its second year, the LISA has boomed. Next year we expect these figures to have jumped again, as people who made lockdown savings ploughed their money into LISAs to help meet their property and retirement goals.”
Sarah went on to examine cash ISA which prove to be popular despite their limited benefits in the current market: “Despite a lacklustre cash ISA season, the number of cash ISAs was up from a year earlier too: almost £50billion was saved into cash ISAs. They’re by far the most common home for our money, and made up 75 percent of all ISAs we paid into during the year.
“Savers are realising that despite the tax-free savings allowance, there are still very good reasons to open a cash ISA. For a basic rate taxpayer with modest cash holdings, you won’t save any tax today: the key is what you could save further down the line as your savings build – especially if interest rates rise, you move tax brackets, or the savings allowance is cut.
“However, although cash continues to dominate, the rush into stocks and shares ISAs at the end of the year can be seen in the figures. For 14 of the past 15 years, cash ISAs have made up a larger proportion of new ISAs than we saw in 2019/20.”
While many experts welcomed the fact that savers are contributing to ISAs generally, some warned savers could lose out by not utilising stocks and shares accounts.
It should be remembered returns from investing in the markets are not guaranteed but over the longer term, sensible investments can generate profits well above what one could get from current interest rates.
Myron Jobson, a Personal Finance Campaigner at interactive investor, commented on this: “The figures show that cash ISAs remain a firm favourite among British savers.
“Despite the low rates on offer, four times as many people opened or contributed to a cash ISA in the 2019-20 tax year than to the stocks and shares equivalent on from the previous tax year (1.2 million versus 300,000).
“However, while the coronavirus crisis highlighted the importance of having cash savings for a rainy day, long term savers should take care to not to keep more than they need in low interest accounts because it can be eroded by inflation.
“Rock bottom savings rates also provide the impetus to invest.
“Investing can be volatile on a day-to-day basis and while the potential for greater returns from the stock market comes with inevitable risk, taking a long-term view means you can smooth out some of those highs and lows whilst benefiting from the long-term potential that comes with this approach.”
Savings accounts are popular amongst people as ways of both keeping their money safe and growing it at the same time. However, interest rates have been shockingly low recently, with a lack of opportunities provided for cash growth. While some accounts are offering a solid return, the options observed prior to the pandemic are not currently on the table.
Many people, particularly women, she stressed, believe they do not know enough to invest, however, this could not be further from the truth.
Ms Currie continued: “It’s the same reason why women won’t apply for a job or promotion unless she ticks every box – women don’t like to blag it, so they don’t want to dip their toe in the water
“What I would say for everyone instead is that investing isn’t rocket science.
“Once you know about the world, for example what you are reading, consuming, doing with your time, you know what companies are working.
“This is particularly the case throughout the pandemic, where companies like Amazon, Netflix and Zoom are being used by more and more people.
“Look at what is happening in the world, observe that, and that can really help you decide the investment opportunities.
“If you are still intimidated by this, you can outsource a lot of those decisions by investing into a fund instead of a stock.
“The fund manager can research those companies and make those decisions in line with what you want.”
Cash accounts which allow Britons easy access to their money are still particularly popular.
However, once a person has built up a recommended sum of three to six months in emergency savings, branching out is encouraged.
As Ms Currie perhaps most importantly highlighted, those who are reticent to starting on investment could face active damage while cash saving.
This, she concluded by stating, is an issue which needs to be tackled head on to ensure individuals aren’t losing out.
Ms Currie said: “A lot of people, and a lot of women particularly, are risk averse so they may not feel as if investment is for them.
“They may feel it is volatile and not the kind of thing they want to get involved in.
“But at the same time, if someone is putting their money in cash savings because they want to keep it safe – are you not taking more risk inadvertently?
“The risk of your money not growing enough and being left with a massive gap when you reach retirement.
“Not having enough to fund the retirement you had originally hoped and planned for.
“You could also be losing money in real terms depending on the circumstances.
“You really need to explore and understand risk, particularly if you are a woman.”
Heart Radio presenter Amanda Holden, 50, left very little to the imagination as she covered her private parts with £50 notes. The Britain’s Got Talent judge put her sensational physique centre-stage as well as her well-defined pins and it didn’t go unnoticed with her fans. Adding to the jaw-dropping display, she wore striking red lipstick and carefully contoured make-up.
The presenter gave a sultry look to the camera as she held onto her glamorously curled hair.
In view of her 1.7 million followers, she wrote: “I’ve checked the notes are real and I’m ready to make someone a millionaire.
“Please join us for the Million Pound Final of @thisisheart Make Me A Millionaire on Friday from 6:30am Anyone seen my frock?”
Many of the star’s followers flocked to her post to share their thoughts.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s government on Sunday denied asking its state-run banks to withdraw funds from their foreign currency accounts abroad on fears that Cairn Energy (OTC:) may attempt to seize the cash in a tax dispute, adding New Delhi was open to resolve the matter.
London-listed Cairn is involved in a long-drawn out tussle with the Indian government over tax claims and was awarded damages of more than $ 1.2 billion by an international tribunal late last year.
New Delhi has filed an appeal against the decision it calls “highly flawed”.
Citing government officials and a banker, Reuters and other media reported on May 6 that the finance ministry had asked state-run banks to withdraw the foreign funds on concern that courts abroad could order that assets in their jurisdiction – including bank accounts – be remitted to Cairn.
The ministry, which gave no comment at the time, called the reports “false” in a statement on Sunday, saying no such instructions had been issued.
“Government of India is vigorously defending its case in this legal dispute … Constructive discussions have been held and the Government remains open for an amicable solution to the dispute,” the statement said.
Separately this month, Cairn also sued India’s flagship carrier Air India to enforce the arbitration award, according to a U.S. District Court filing reviewed by Reuters.
The international tribunal had ruled unanimously that India had breached its obligations to Cairn under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty and awarded Cairn damages of $ 1.2 billion plus interest and costs.
Indian authorities in 2014 had demanded 102 billion rupees ($ 1.4 billion) from Cairn for taxes it said were owed on capital gains related to the 2007 listing of the company’s local unit.
“The Government has raised several arguments that warrant setting aside of the award,” the finance ministry’s statement on Sunday said.