THE GOVERNMENT has been given a bloody nose from the Treasury Select Committee and been challenged to defend Budget proposals to extend inheritance tax, according to the Daily Telegraph.
A report published by the cross-party group of MPs is said to corroborate fears as many as one million people could be affected by the extension to IHT, so the Treasury must now show MPs how it arrived at figures suggesting only 20,000 would pay more tax.
The Treasury select committee report on the 2006 Budget states: "With respect to the new rules on the tax treatment of accumulation and maintenance (A&M) and interest in possession trusts, we are concerned that estimates of the expected numbers of affected trusts vary so widely between Government and practitioners.
"If the Government's estimate, that the new rules will affect 'only a very small number of very wealthy people' is correct, then the Government needs to provide much more detailed information about its estimates, in order to allay taxpayer and industry concerns."
FORMER STATE telephone operator BT says it has written and oral government guarantees to show three-quarters of its £38bn pension fund liabilities will be underwritten by the taxpayer if it became insolvent, continues the Telegraph.
Trustees of the defined-benefit BT scheme, which at the end of last year had £34bn of assets and £38bn of liabilities, yesterday spoke out, according to the paper, to allay worries about its ability to meet future pension payments and to determine how much the group should be paying in annual subscriptions to the new Pension Protection Fund.
The BT pension fund promise or Crown guarantee relates to the 1984 privatisation of the telecoms group and was enshrined in the Telecommunications Act of that year, and covers 262,000 people who were members of the scheme in 1984 either receiving a pension or working for the company.
BRITAIN’S families have changed their priorities from goods and services to better homes, sending a mixed picture to the Bank of England about the state of consumer demand, suggest the Times.
Banks lent £5.4bn more on mortgages during March, net of repayments, the highest monthly increase since the last days of the housing boom in June 2004 while mortgage debt had been rising at an average of £4.9bn a month over the previous six months, and grew by just £4.7bn in February.
In contrast, unsecured lending, which had been rising at a monthly average of £500m, fell £400m in March and half of that is said to have accounted for people paying off credit card debt.
AND MONEYQUEST, the Scottish telephone and online mortgage brokers, has taken up new residence in the former Scottish Mutual Assurance head office building in Glasgow, says the Scotsman.
The firm is now located within the15,000sq ft floor of Morley Fund Management's St Vincent Street development in Glasgow, redeveloped last year.
(Additional note from IFAonline: Moneyquest’s move to larger premises is part of the company’s expansion plans, which include a move towards face-to-face advice.)
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