The chancellor's Spending Review has outlined a number of proposed changes to property costings, including higher stamp duty bills for the owners of second homes. Experts have warned that this could fall unfairly on middle-class savers who have invested in property and may dissuade people from the buy to let market. Many people invest their pension pots into properties due to the low annuity return rate; but the chancellor's proposals could see this change.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued additional guidance to manage sickness in the workplace. The Fit for Work service is being rolled out through 2015 to accompany existing occupational health support for employers and employees throughout the UK. For periods of extended sickness, employers or GPs can now refer employees for a Fit for Work assessment if they have been absent for four weeks or longer.
According to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, divorce rates have shown a considerable fall over recent years. Their figures highlight that in 2013, 130,473 couples divorced in the UK: a significant decrease of 3% in a year (42% of marriages in 2012 had ended in divorce in England and Wales).
A chip shop owner from Billericay recently had his parking ticket challenge ruled out by the Supreme Court. Barry Beavis was fined £85 for over-staying 56 minutes on a two hour free stay car park. Mr Beavis challenged ParkingEye, claiming that the charge was excessive and disproportionate.
A new Supreme Court ruling will allow couples who have previously had divorces case resolved to have them reopened in instances where they have not been allowed a fair and just settlement due to their ex partners non-disclosure of their financial affairs.
According to the reputable body The Law Society Gazette, more businesses are trying to provide for greater job flexibility. This includes practices such as alternate working hours, variable shift patterns, working from home, open-plan offices without allocated seating and innovative forms of teleworking.
The number of new private divorce cases has risen significantly for the third month in a row, according to Cafcass, the legal and public advisory service. The latest figures for this July indicate a total of 3,554 new private cases referred to Cafcass, a 23% increase on July 2014. Over the past three months there has been a marked change in trend which had previously seen reductions in year on year changes October 2013.
The London Borough of Islington has recently announced that it will be applying penalties for landlords who cannot prove that their property is lived in for a minimum of 14 days out of a three month period. The measure comes after the increased concern about property prices and rental rates in the London area which have reached what some claim are extortionate levels, attracting widespread criticism. Many blame overseas landlords, or even domestic landlords, who purchase properties for investment purposes and fail to provide a rental service for the public in the area.
The cost of a court hearing for divorce has risen by £140 to £550, as outlined by The Ministry of Justice and highlighted in a recent BBC report. Husbands and wives who wish to terminate their marriage will now find themselves facing an increased cost to end their relationship if they wish to do so through the legal system. The news follows hikes in court fees in other areas including immigration and property proceedings. The increase in divorce fees in particular has caused discontent, due to the fact that many believe divorce is expensive enough already.
According to a recent report by the Department for Education, many young care leavers are living in unsuitable accommodation. The findings, published in their official 2013-14 data, showed that of the 151 local authorities in England, 15 admitted that at least one third of care leavers were living in conditions which did not fulfil the official 'suitable' criteria. This includes young care leavers being allocated bed and breakfast accommodation for extended periods of time, and shelters which do not adequately fulfil their needs.