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

Boxing clever?: Chancellor Philip Hammond For personal finance aficionados, last Monday’s Budget was a bit of a damp squib. More a question of spend, spend and spend rather than encourage us to save, save and save. In some ways, more Red Labour than true Blue. Of course, it was great news that Eeyore (sorry, Philip Hammond) announced he would be delivering early on a Conservative promise to raise the basic personal allowance and the starting point for higher rate tax to £12,000 and £50,000 respectively – next April instead of…

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MIDAS SHARE TIPS: Online shopping is booming – so try the firm that earns cash on deliveries

Chancellor Philip Hammond may be making a brave effort to save Britain’s high streets but consumer habits are not on his side. According to recent forecasts, online shopping will account for 32 per cent of retail sales within the next five years, compared with around 16 per cent today. The shift does not just mean that giants such as Amazon are growing bigger, while small firms suffer. Many are thriving from the e-commerce boom. One such company used to sell garden furniture, primarily to stores such as B&Q, Homebase and…

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Public sector workers earn 13% more than private sector, says ONS

Public-sector workers bring home more on average than their private-sector counterparts and are likely to have better pensions, according to official figures. Average weekly earnings for full-time public-sector staff were £599 in April last year, compared with £532 in the private sector.  A staggering 93 per cent of those employed by the Government are still in gold-plated defined benefit pension schemes, compared with just 13 per cent of those in the private sector. Median private sector weekly earnings stand at 89.6% of median public sector earnings, ONS figures show, but…

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Is Initiative Q too good to be true? What you need to know about it

Have you heard of Initiative Q?  It’s a new ‘sign-up quick’ scheme spreading around on Facebook and Twitter like wildfire, inviting people to sign up to ‘Q’ – a new form of private currency created by the ‘ex-PayPal guys’. To entice people to join what has been dubbed the next bitcoin – even though it is not a cryptocurrency – the developers are claiming they are giving away significant sums of the currency. In turn, they state it could be worth $2trillion in the future to early users. To join,…

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Ruffer made 23% when shares crashed in 2008, so where is it investing now?

You will have heard the line about keeping your head when others are losing theirs, but do you know about the investment trust that made 23 per cent when shares crashed 30 per cent during the financial crisis? Ruffer investment company is one of the funds that tries to emulate the famous opening line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. It’s aim is ‘consistent positive returns, regardless of how the financial markets perform’, which in practical terms it says means, ‘we try not to lose money in any 12 month period,…

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Our man RAY MASSEY hitching a ride in 1904 Lanchester on annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Arevolution beckons for me tomorrow. No, I won’t be flying the Red Flag; rather, I’ll be watching as one is ripped up — with the help of flame-haired former Spice Girl Geri Horner (Ginger Spice) — to mark the start of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. The run attracts entries from across the globe to celebrate the true birth of motoring in Britain, organised by the Pall Mall-based Royal Automobile Club.  Historic event: Drivers compete in the annual London to Brighton race The event began with the…

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Tapi Carpets to make job cuts as brutal retail market takes its toll

Three-year old floorings chain Tapi Carpets has started laying off staff, as it is struck by the same torrid market conditions that hurt its rival Carpetright and other retailers. The fledgling firm – backed by Carpetright’s founder Lord Harris of Peckham – kicked off consultation meetings earlier this week, and anticipates making redundancies ‘in the near future’, according to documents seen by This is Money. Staff at stores in Gateshead, Slough and Aberdeen are among those impacted by the job cuts, which the firm put down to ‘difficult trading circumstances’ in some…

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BIG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BBC chairman was Rona Fairhead’s first proper public-sector role

Export expert: Baroness Fairhead Rona whoooooo?’ the Groucho Club’s polo-necked barflies unisoned when Rona Fairhead was first announced as BBC chairman. When the opportunity to oversee our national broadcaster became available back in 2015, the former Financial Times chief executive’s name wasn’t exactly the first on everyone’s lips. The plum posting had previously been the preserve of media bigwigs (Lord Grade) silky New Labour apparatchiks (Sir Michael Lyons) or piggy public-sector troughers (Lord Patten). Fairhead was an unknown element, which made cossetted Corporation lifers jittery. As a career businesswoman, there were…

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Is the party about to end for US shares or should investors hold tight?

Over a recent lunch, Peter Hargreaves, the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown said that the one thing wealth managers had always got wrong was America. The wealthy Lancastrian launched investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown from his Bristol flat in 1981 and scooped £80m when it floated in 2007. The 72-year-old last year ploughed £25m of his own money into the first fund from new business Blue Whale Capital. It was founded by Hargreaves’ former employee Stephen Yiu, whom he describes as ‘one of the most conscientious people I’ve ever worked with’. The…

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Edinburgh Worldwide backs companies around the world

Run by investment firm Baillie Gifford, the Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust aims to grow savers’ money by ploughing it into companies around the world.  Though it has a heavy US exposure, it is less weighted towards the FAANG stocks – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – than some of its peers and instead looks for promising smaller companies. WHAT DOES THE MANAGER INVEST IN? Douglas Brodie, who has managed the trust for five years, has weighted the portfolio so 58 per cent of its holdings are in the US. …

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