JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Eeyore (sorry, Chancellor Philip Hammond) needs to wake up with the pension issue

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Eeyore (sorry, Chancellor Philip Hammond) needs to wake up with the pension issue
Boxing clever ?: Federal Chancellor Philip Hammond

Boxing clever ?: Federal Chancellor Philip Hammond

Boxing clever ?: Federal Chancellor Philip Hammond

For private financial interested the budget was a bit wet last Monday. More a matter of spending, spending and spending, rather than encouraging us to save, save and save. In a sense, more Red Labor than True Blue.

It was good news, of course, that Eeyore (sorry, Philip Hammond) had announced that he would soon deliver a conservative pledge to raise base allowance and the starting point for higher taxes to £ 12,000 and £ 50,000 instead of April of spring 2020th

But it was a happy tale that got dulled 24 hours later when Steve Webb (a former minister) of Royal London announced that he had found something in the "budget" small change the Chancellor had not mentioned. An increase in the income ceiling for state insurance contributions to £ 50,000 would eliminate half of the income tax profits for higher taxed taxpayers. Eagle Eyed Webb, Deceitful Eeyore.

Overall, the budget was not exciting for long-term savers, though many will be relieved that Hammond has left the pensions alone.

So no departure from a higher interest relief on the contributions, no reduction of the annual contribution payment of GBP 40,000 and no extension of the reduced supplement for additional taxpayers.

With the mountain of speculation about threatened pension cuts now taking place before each budget and spring (formerly Autumn) statement, it is time for the government to purge itself and make clear its long-term intentions to relieve the pensions tax. It is the least long-term savers who earn when they plan to build wealth that will last them a lifetime.

It is a travesty that more than three years ago a consultation of the Ministry of Finance on the future of pension tax relief – ridiculously referred to as "strengthening the incentive to save" – ​​but nowhere, despite 450 responses from individuals, pensioners and think tanks.

Yes, a summary report was published in March 2016, but it has never been implemented to collect dust. One of the key findings was the need for a "permanent pension system". Hammond has not dealt with this key problem yet – and this should urgently happen once the Brexit question has gone to bed.

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Although the relief of the £ 900m business deal granted by Hammond to small retailers was criticized by some for being too little, too late to save the main road, it was a step in the right direction.

One of the reasons for many sinking main roads is the wholesale withdrawal of banks from our towns and villages. The closure of the last bank in a community is often a blow that some can not recover from.

While banks argue that most stores are no longer paying and customers prefer the convenience of Internet banking, this is not the experience of the Coventry Building Society. Last week I went to the household with Mark Parsons, the boss of the company. He says that this year so far more money (new savings) has come through the doors of its 70 branches than via the post office or the Internet.

There are several reasons for that. First, online savers are not promoted by preferential rates. All savings accounts can be operated according to customer requirements. Second, she spends a lot of money to make her branches as welcoming as possible.

That is, to fill them with people who know the company's products inside out. It also means no security screens and, if customers wish, spaces where they can talk privately about their finances. Branches are also encouraged to support local charities.

After all, it is important to give due care to all customers who come through their doors. What happened to the Alzheimer's sufferer Marguerite Hamnell at her local Barclays office would certainly not have happened in Coventry. The Coventrys of this world are helping our communities stay open to business – something we passionately support.

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