Campaigners are calling for tougher sentences for people convicted of acts of cruelty against animals after it emerged the UK has among the lowest jail terms in Europe. Those found guilty of abusing animals in England and Wales face a maximum sentence of just six months. Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Kate Parminter will today ask in the Lords if the government plans to increase penalties for animal welfare offences.

Daily Mail, Page: 10

Posted 16/01/2017

With the self-assessment tax deadline fast approaching, several newspapers offer advice on how to legally reduce your bill by using rebates and allowances. The Guardian highlights several money-saving tax breaks, while the Times publishes its own guide to filing a return. It quotes Jackie Hall, a tax partner at RSM, who advises that accuracy is more important than ever following the introduction of HMRC’s computer system, Connect. Elsewhere, the FT notes that this year is likely to see more people than ever required to file a self-assessment return.

The Guardian, Page: 39   The Times, Page: 63    Independent I, Page: 54-55   Financial Times, Money, Page: 4

Posted 14/01/2017




The Times highlights a trend for divorce inquiries to rise in January, with the number of people “fantasising” about splitting from their partners tending to increase. In January 2016 the relationship charity Relate experienced a 39 % increase in calls and expects the same this year.

The Times, Weekend, Page: 4-5

Posted 14/01/2017

Some 71% of first-time home buyers now pay stamp duty, as the cost of an average first property has surpassed £200,000 for the first time. According to Halifax data the number of first-time buyers hit by the home buying tax has climbed to a ten-year high. Analysis of the data by the Telegraph shows the total number of first-time buyers paying stamp duty has risen from 121,455 in 2013 to 238,382 in 2016.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 2

Posted 13/01/2017


An MP claims leaseholders are being ripped off by £1.4bn a year by unscrupulous freehold landlords. Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for London’s Poplar and Limehouse, based his estimate on figures by consumer group Which? in 2016, which showed leaseholders had been overcharged by £700m a year. However, Sebastian O’Kelly, of the charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, said the figure was likely to be an underestimate: “The number of leasehold properties has doubled since 2007. Millions of pounds are in dispute because of predatory management.” Housing minister Gavin Barwell said the Government was “committed” to reforming leaseholds and would consider changing the law next year.

The Daily Telegraph

P:osted 23/12/2016



Lawyers for three families say Ikea has agreed to pay $50m over the deaths of 2-year-olds in Pennsylvania, Washington and Minnesota, after the company’s dressers tipped over onto them. The Swedish home furnishings retailer has recalled millions of chests and dressers because of ongoing concerns, the Mail notes, and lawyers say Ikea will also make donations to children’s hospitals.

Daily Mail

Posted 23/12/2016

Senior figures in three separate Whitehall departments fear that EU demands for a £50bn divorce settlement are part of an attempt to wreck Brexit negotiations before they even get started. One senior UK official said if the European Commission persists with its position on EU budgets payments “there is a real risk that our side just says ‘forget it, we’ll see you in court’ and the entire process blows up at the outset.” The FT cites officials who believe the tactic is designed to delay a transition deal prompting companies to move some of their business to the EU. Meanwhile, former chancellor George Osborne told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday that close relations with France and Germany should not be sacrificed in pursuit of new trade deals with other nations including China. Speaking on the same programme, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said staying a member of the customs union would, however, mean “limitations” on the UK’s ability to set its own trade tariffs, which would in turn limit the kind of deals it could do with the rest of the world. Writing in the Independent, Gavin Barrett, professor of law at University College Dublin, considers the legal complexities surrounding membership of the single market.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 4   Financial Times, Page: 1   BBC News    The Times, Page: 2   The Independent   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 4    The Independent   Daily Mail, Page: 8   Independent i, Page: 5

Posted 19/12/2016


Tax changes and economic uncertainty are expected to result in fewer people buying homes in 2017, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The number of transactions is expected to fall to 1.17m, the lowest level since 2013. The CML’s figures point to the impact of April’s introduction of an extra 3% stamp duty surcharge for second home and buy-to-let purchases, along with forthcoming changes to the rules around landlords’ tax relief.

The Times, Page: 44   The Guardian

Posted 16/12/2016



The Mail on Sunday highlights a rise in the number of inheritance disputes over recent years. Figures revealed in 2013 showed a 700% increase in these family feuds over the previous five years, while the latest figures show an 11% rise between 2014 and 2015 of people challenging their parents’ estates. Ian Lane, head of wills and probate at Hodge Jones & Allen, says there are several factors behind the figures – including that people live longer, property is worth more, and families are more “complicated.” Elsewhere, the Sunday Telegraph reflects on a 157% rise in the number of unclaimed estates over the past five years. This has resulted in millions of pounds in “orphan” bequests, whereby money ends up with the Government if legitimate heirs cannot be found.

The Mail on Sunday, You, Page: 62-65    The Sunday Telegraph, Money, Page: 4

Posted 11/12/2016