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Press comment: Conservatives opt for steady as she goes policies

24/11/2019

If you’re covering personal finance policies in the Conservative manifesto please see the following comments from Rachael Griffin and Jon Greer from Quilter.

Rachael GriffinRachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert:

SOCIAL CARE

"The specter of Theresa May’s manifesto of just a couple of years ago loomed large when this election as announced. And somewhat as expected the Conservative Party have opted for a steady as she goes approach in their slim document of just 59 pages.

"A lot of critics point to May’s policy on social care as the beginning of her demise. The seemingly unending criticism the party received left them little wiggle room. So this manifesto takes a pretty uncontroversial, get out stance of having a cross-party agreement. And completely flips Theresa May’s proposal on its head saying they will not make people sell their homes to pay for care.

"This political posturing all sounds lovely, but it does not get away from the hard facts that keep being reported, that unpaid carers are propping up the economy and elderly people are dying as they wait for care.   

"Social care policy must be delivered and there are a number of key pillars that are needed to support a social care system no matter what structure is in place, but it all starts with simplicity and awareness to get the public on board. Inevitably we are going to end up with a structure where the state commits to pay for some and the public will have to self-fund the rest. Financial advisers can help people navigate how much they need to set aside for potential costs and the best products to place that money in but first we need a clear understanding of how much will sit on the public’s shoulders."

TAX

"As a clear play to the voters the Conservatives have promised a “triple tax lock” which says they will not increase tax rates for five years on income tax, national insurance and VAT. Part of that funding will come from their continued campaign against tax avoidance and evasion measures which they expect to add to £200m to government revenue by 2023-24."

INHERITANCE TAX

"The conservatives have made the odd decision to dodge inheritance tax, despite a recent wholesale review by the OTS. Perhaps in the sentiment that they couldn’t make any give always and the prospect of reducing the allowances would be very unsavory when every vote counts.

"However, this is not an issue to be ignored as the complexity of inheritance tax means it’s in the minds of the public."

 

Jon GreerJon Greer, head of retirement policy:

TAPER

"The ‘taper problem’ as the Conservative manifesto calls it, was introduced by the Conservative government, albeit by George Osborne.  The ill-conceived policy has had a disastrous impact on the NHS and has the capacity to bring several public services to a grinding halt.

"Many doctors, and other public sector workers have faced tax penalties for breaching the annual allowance because of the way their pensions are accrued.

"Despite this, Boris Johnson’s Tory party appear to refuse to accept that the taper is not fit for purpose and should be scrapped, instead choosing to look for short term bespoke fixes for the NHS. The manifesto pledge sounds the same, as the Tories commit to work with medical bodies to find a fix. A far simpler response would be to scrap the taper altogether, although this maybe something the Treasury is reticent to do."

PENSION NET PAY ISSUE

"The Conservatives have pledged to end a tax flaw that means that the lowest earning workers, the vast majority of whom are women, miss out on £8,000 in pension savings over the course of their working life.

"This is the scenario when it comes to the 'net pay/relief at source' issue, which means some workers earning £12,499 a year could retire with a pot worth £59,000 while others will end up with £51,000.This is not through any fault of their own, or from any choice made by them individually. The shortfall is purely because a quirk in the tax system means many on a lower pay rung are not receiving Government tax relief into their pension pots, because their employer has put them in a ‘net-pay’ scheme, while other workers who are in a ‘relief at source’ scheme receive the top up.

"Perversely, the increase in the personal allowance to £12,500 had exacerbated this issue for low earners and therefore the issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later."

TRIPLE LOCK

"The pensions Triple Lock was introduced in 2011 to guarantee that the basic and new state pension will rise by the higher of inflation, average earnings growth or 2.5%. With earnings forecast to exceed 2.5% and inflation over the foreseeable future, keeping the triple lock won’t cost much – or possibly anything – over this term. But at some point Government is going to have to make a decision on the triple lock otherwise it will grow faster than either inflation or average earnings of the long term."

For more information contact

Kathleen Gallagher023 8072 629307990 004932kathleen.gallagher@quilter.com
Tim Skelton-Smith02380 916 99807824 145 076tim.skelton-smith@quilter.com

Notes to Editors:

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