New laws have been introduced to regulate privately run car parks following years of accusations that rogue firms were entrapping motorists and levying excessive penalties. Parking companies will be forced to sign up to a code of practice which is expected to provide vehicle owners with more leeway to pay for parking and put a £100 cap on penalties. Companies will have to ensure signs are clear and there will be a ban on threatening letters demanding payment. Andrew Pester, British Parking Association chief executive, welcomed the move, adding: “This framework will enable greater consistency and consumer confidence.”
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that more people are being dragged into higher tax brackets but are left no better off due to inflation and the loss of child benefit payments. The proportion of people losing child benefit because they earn more than £50,000 was about 13% in 2013 but will soon be 20%, while the number of people losing their tax-free allowance because they are paid over £100,000 is about 1m now – 50% more than at the end of the last decade. Paul Johnson, head of the IFS, commented: “They are paying a 62% marginal rate on more than £20,000 of income. That is a big structural change to the tax system which has just happened as a result of inflation.” A third more Britons earn more than £150,000 than in 2011. Up to £1bn a year may have been raised from top earners because of this, the IFS estimates. If thresholds had risen in line with inflation they would be £120,000 and £180,000.
The introduction of new laws last summer has resulted in a fall in the number of compensation claims for holiday sickness and whiplash, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. Claims companies were limited in the amount they could demand in legal costs and were banned from making cold calls to people who had been involved in car crashes.
Daily Mail, Page: 34