call us
Glasgow
+44 (0)141 221 2984
Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 225 6366
Stirling
+44 (0)1786 451745
Dumbarton
+44 (0)1389 765238
Hamilton
+44 (0)1698 459444
Glasgow
+44 (0)141 221 2984

Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 225 6366

Stirling
+44 (0)1786 451745

Dumbarton
+44 (0)1389 765238

Hamilton
+44 (0)1698 459444

French Duncan

Blog

Savings Rates - Hold Your Breath!

I think it would be fair to say that the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has not had a lot of practice at announcing interest rate rises.  In fact, having been in the job for almost 6 years, this is only the second time he has made such an announcement. Given this is only the second rate rise in 9 years this may not come as a surprise to many.

The Bank’s Base rate will now rise from 0.5% to 0.75% which, to those of us who remember pre 2009 rates, will not exactly create a feeling of overexcitement. However thoughts will naturally now turn to consider the implications of this rise and what it will mean for us all.  

Borrowers (especially those with variable or tracker mortgages) should expect to see their interest repayments rise. Hopefully as this is only a modest rise I am hopeful that these increases will not be too painful. If you have a £100,000 mortgage and the rate rises by 0.25% you should expect a rise in your annual payment by around £150.   

Savers should, in theory, be very excited with an interest rate rise. However my instinct is that there may be a wave of disappointment across the country, when the rate went up in November 2017 it was noted that over 50% of savings rates did not move at all. Whilst there may be some movement this time around I suspect it may be modest.

Expectations are that the Bank of England may not be in any hurry to lift this rate again in the near future hence these modest rises may be all we get for a while and the high interest rates many of us remember from the last decade will remain a distant memory. On the other hand, if inflation continues to tick up, then the Bank may be forced to increase the base rate further as a control mechanism against excessive spending. Clearly this is speculation at this point, but it is an area to keep an eye on as there could be knock-on effects in the wider economy.

For now, no doubt the savers will hope I am wrong and the borrowers will be hoping I am right. We may have to write further on this subject - time will tell.     

Don’t take Entrepreneurs Relief for granted

The sale of shares in an unquoted trading company will generally give rise to a capital gain which may qualify for entrepreneurs relief, that is a capital gains tax rate of 10% on the first £10 million of gain rather than the normal 20% rate of capital gains tax.

It is necessary for three main conditions to be met:

• The company must not be carrying on activities, other than trading activities to a substantial extent.
• The vendor must have been an officer or employee of the company throughout the 12 months to the date of sale.
• The vendor must have owned at least 5% of the ordinary share capital and controlled at least 5% of the voting rights throughout the 12 months to date of sale.

In practice, each of these can cause problems.

Many companies have traded profitably and have amassed sums of cash which they have either retained in a bank account, or invested in other areas such as rental properties or shares quoted on the stock market. Generally cash sitting in a bank account will not affect the trading status of a company but substantial property or stock market investments could jeopardise entrepreneurs relief. It may be possible to restructure the company in advance of a possible sale in order that the qualifying conditions are met throughout the 12 months to the date of sale.

Sometimes shares in a company are owned by spouses but only one of them is a director or employee. All is not necessarily lost and, depending upon the level of the gain, the non-working spouse can perhaps transfer their shares to the working spouse so that entrepreneurs relief is available on the total gain.

Where shares are more widely held, there are many circumstances where individuals hold just under 5% of the ordinary shares or hold a class of shares with restricted voting rights thereby denying the availability of entrepreneurs relief.

It is worth carrying out a review of all three of the major criteria noted above, well in advance of a possible sale as not all purchasers are willing to wait for a year until the vendor gets the business sorted out.

In the summertime…how to deal with hot weather in the workplace

With headlines stating “Scotland records it’s highest ever temperature”, how do you ensure you are providing safe and cool conditions for your employees to work during this unusually hot spell?

1. The Temperature
Contrary to popular belief, there is no maximum temperature set by the Health and Safety Executive that allows employees to be sent home from work when the thermometer starts rising.

However, this does not mean that as an employer you shouldn’t be mindful of the temperature in your workplace. The Health and Safety Regulations require ‘reasonable’ temperatures in a workplace. We can all agree that what is reasonable to one person, may not be reasonable to another and that is where you may wish to enlist the help of some expert guidance. We would recommend that you ensure air conditioning is in place where possible, and if not, that you have fans in place and windows opened where permitted by health and safety regulations. You may also wish to have a general conversation with staff and work with them on what the majority view of the term “reasonable”. It is widely thought that a “reasonable” temperature would sit between 16 and 30 degrees.


2. Dress Codes
Dress code will be dependent on the type of business you run. If employees are expected to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to the nature of their role, this doesn’t change if is a couple of degrees warmer outside. However, there may be solutions available to provide the same level of protection which is geared more towards this kind of weather – it would be best to speak with your PPE supplier on this.

If you have employees who are client facing or work within an office environment you could create a “Summer Dress Code” policy. This ensures that in the warmer weather, staff aren’t coming into the office ready to explode due to the temperature in their three piece suit or waltzing in like they are ready to go and spend the day in a beach bar with board shorts and a vest top! A “Summer Dress Code” gives the organisation an opportunity to relax the dress code and allow staff to feel more comfortable but still be dressed appropriately for their working environment.


3. Working Outdoors
During the warmer weather, if you have employees who work outside you must take into consideration Sun Protection. Fit for Work have stated that people who work outside including construction workers, farmers, postal workers and sports people are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer. Therefore, it is advised by Cancer Research UK that employers encourage employees to apply a high factor sunscreen (minimum factor 30), wear sunglasses, broad brimmed hats and particularly to encourage people to cover any freckles and moles. Although, by law, you are not required to provide the sunscreen etc., it may be a helpful employee engagement exercise to do so.

« Previous    1    2    3   4   5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    Next »