Weekend catchup this weeks personal finance headlines – Money Perception

Fears are growing in the insurance industry that the UK election could delay or even derail keenly awaited reforms to personal injury compensation rules, writes Oliver Ralph.

The industry was stunned this year when the government radically changed the formula used to calculate the size of large, lump-sum compensation payments. The change to the formula — known as the Ogden discount rate — will drive up costs for the insurance industry and the NHS.

Shortly after the change was announced, chancellor Philip Hammond promised an urgent review of the rules.

But the future of that rethink is now under threat as the June general election looms, leaving insurers and the NHS potentially facing a longer period of higher payouts than they had expected.

UK financial companies were hit by a near-record 3m complaints about their products or services in the last six months of 2016, writes Caroline Binham.

The figures, published on Wednesday, provide a snapshot of continued customer ire, even as British banks are trying to draw a line under costly mis-selling scandals.

The spike in the number of complaints comes after the Financial Conduct Authority revamped how it calculates official data.

The FCA previously did not count complaints that were dealt with before the end of the next business day in their totals, which would suggest that simpler problems were left out.

Corporate payouts are forecast to increase 7.7% to £84.6bn this year © Bloomberg

Bumper returns for UK company investors after the Brexit vote are set to fade as the “sugar rush” of exchange rate gains wears off, writes Cat Rutter Pooley.

UK-listed groups delivered a record first quarter for corporate payouts, excluding special dividends, according to the UK Dividend Monitor from Capita Asset Services. But without the boost from the lower pound and an unexpectedly large rise in the dividend from BHP Billiton, underlying dividends would have fallen slightly compared with a year ago.

Over this year, corporate payouts are forecast to increase 7.7 per cent to £84.6bn, with three-quarters of that due to the fall in the pound since the vote to leave the EU last June.

Receipts from stamp duty surged to a record high thanks to rising house prices, higher rates on sales at the upper end of the market and the new surcharge on buy-to-let property, writes James Pickford.

Figures published by HM Revenue & Customs showed gross receipts from the tax on transactions of residential and commercial properties hit £11.7bn in 2016-17, up from £10.7bn the year before.

The rise was partly down to big changes in the stamp duty regime in 2014 and a three percentage point surcharge brought in last year for buy-to-let and second homes.

The introduction of the surcharge triggered a rush to complete purchases before it came into effect, but payments completed at the end of March were not received by HMRC until the following month, pushing up the 2016-17 total.

Eligibility for state pension in the UK is based on years of national insurance contributions or credits

The UK should not give a state pension to the rich and instead use the money to boost payments to the poor, the OECD has said, writes Josephine Cumbo.

The Paris-based club of mostly rich nations said cutting payments to the wealthiest 5-10 per cent of pensioners would “free up resources” to raise British state pensions, which are low compared with other wealthy nations, for others.

The UK state pension is not asset-tested, and can equally be claimed by billionaires. Eligibility is instead based on years of national insurance contributions or credits.

Mark Pearson, deputy director of employment, labour and social affairs with the OECD, said the UK, like many other countries, faced pressure from an ageing society, with claims on the state pension growing while the number of workers shrank

Theresa May must abandon a promise not to raise taxes or she will condemn Britain to running a permanent deficit, the former head of the Treasury has warned, writes George Parker.

Nick Macpherson, who stepped down as permanent secretary to the Treasury last year, supported suggestions by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, that the Conservative manifesto should be framed to give him the freedom “to manage the economy flexibly”.

The Conservative party made the promise ahead of the 2015 election, saying that a “tax lock” would prohibit any rise in the income tax rate, VAT or national insurance and that a “triple lock” would see the state pension rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year.

[Source:-Financialtimes]