This weekend’s money sections saw a sharp drop in pensions-related articles (halving from 20 per cent down to 10 per cent) and this slack was taken up by mortgage and tax stories, which increased from 7 per cent to 16 per cent and from 9 per cent to 13 per cent respectively.
In the Telegraph, Emma Simon (@SimpleSimonEmma) highlighted the difficulties facing home owners who are thinking of remortgaging this year. Many are facing higher interest rates and mortgage lenders now reserve their best rates for those with at least 40 per cent equity in their home. James Charles (@jcharles) also picked up on this theme in the Sunday Times. He warned against the increasingly bizarre criteria that banks are using to refuse loan applications for mortgages – including keeping chickens in your garden.
Unsurprisingly, the VAT increase caused a rise in tax articles. According to Jonathan Moules (@Jonathan_Moules) in the FT Weekend, the VAT rise will hit many business owners hardest in the fuel tank and the increased travel costs will affect smaller businesses the most. However, the VAT rise could actually benefit the self-employed. As Chiara Cavaglieri reported in the Independent, the flat tax rate means that those who have lower than average expenses charged at the standard rate will actually save money under the new scheme.
It wasn’t just the VAT increase that caused the rise in tax stories, the approaching tax return deadline (on 31st January) bumped up the tally too. In the Independent, Neasa MacErlean (@neasam) advised taxpayers to be particularly careful this year in ensuring that their returns are accurate due to a tougher penalties system being in place. The Telegraph also created a handy list of tax deadlines for 2011 and to quote Emma Simon, one should “act now to avoid unhappy returns”.
The full round-up of the scores is as follows:
Credit cards 10%