Wriglesworth News Headlines: 19th March 2013

Personal Finance

Today the Government will commit to boost support for working parents by means of a new voucher scheme providing up to £1 billion per year in tax relief on childcare. Working parents are to get £1,200 per year towards childcare expenses from 2015, if they use approved providers. The scheme pictures a new website where parents buy voucher. For every 80p they contribute the government will add in 20p up to the cap. Overall it is thought to cost £750m in addition to £200m for those with universal credit and will be partially paid for by the withdrawal of the current childcare voucher system. The aim is to help 2.5 million families, and will replace the current voucher system. The government is disappointed so many parents stay at home instead of working and is keen for them to step back into the workforce. (Guardian, Nicholas Watt, Tim Wallace, City AM, The Times, Rose Bennett, telegraph)

Economy

Shares across the world yesterday sank amid fears that plans to raid savings accounts forced on Cyprus by the EU will trigger a run on banks across Europe and plunge the Eurozone back into crisis. British service personnel with savings or property in Cyprus could face losses despite Geogre Osborne’s promise to protect them from a levy on banks there. Greg Clark, a Treasury minister said the Government would only cover “reasonable losses” incurred by Service personnel in Cyprus. State pension payments to some of the thousands of British pensioners in Cyprus have been made late to allow recipients to make arrangements to have the money paid into non-Cyprion accounts. Cypriot ministers yesterday extended a bank holiday to Thursday to stop a run on banks. (Daily Express, Alison Little, the Telegraph, James Kirkup) Tomorrow in the government’s Budget, it is expected George Osborne will use it to announce a further squeeze on public sector spending and pay to shore up government finances and provide money for new projects. The implementation of the changes to the state pension will bring the exchequer a vast sum of almost £6 bn a year from 2016-16, paid mostly by public sector employers and employees, due to increased national insurance contributions. (FT, Chris Giles)

Property

The UK’s biggest estate agent Countrywide is set to be priced at the high end of a 330p-350 pence range when it returns to the public markets after an absence of almost six years. The price range gives the company an overall valuation of between £600m to £750m according to market sources. Countrywide plans to raise £200m from the sale of new shares to repay debt and grow the business. At the peak of the market in 2007, Countrywide was taken private by the buyout specialist Apollo for £1.1billion and now sells one in 11 of all homes in the UK. (The Independent,, Russell Lynch, City A.M., Kasmira Jefford) Deidre Hipwell, property correspondent of The Times won the Property Business Journalist of the Year and property staff writer at the LSL awards last night. In addition the bricks and mortar section won the national property supplement of the year. (Times)

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