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Osborne scraps Stamp Duty slab structure in Autumn Statement

George Osborne will abolish the slab structure of the Stamp Duty Land Tax from midnight tonight and will replace it with new layers of tax rates which will lower the cost of buying a home for 98% of the country.

People buying homes will only pay the tax rate on the part of the property which falls within the band instead of paying it on the whole property price.

For homes up to £125,000 no stamp duty is payable then;

£125,001 to £250,000 – 2%

£250,001 to £925,000- 5%

£925,001 to £1,500,00- 10%

£1,500,001 and above 12%

Osborne referred to the old system as a ‘badly designed tax’ which placed the biggest burden on low and middle income families.

The new rules start tomorrow, on 4th December. People who have already exchanged contracts on their new home purchase but have yet to complete will get to choose whether they use the old or new stamp duty rules.

In Scotland the new rates will apply until 1 April 2015 when the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax replaces it.

The Chancellor said that for a home which cost £255,000 the Stamp Duty charge would be £4,500 lower than it would have been under the old system.

Osborne said the new approach to calculating the tax removed the need to revalue the UK’s stock of homes.

The old rates were;

£125,001 to £250,000 – 1%

£250,001 to £500,000 – 3%

£500,001 to £1m – 4%

£1,000,001 to £2m – 5%

Over £2m – 7%.

Osborne said just 2% of the population would lose out under the new structure and rates.

He said someone buying a home worth more than £5m would now pay £514,000 in Stamp Duty compared to £350,000 previously.

To read the government’s factsheet on the new Stamp Duty Land Tax “click here

E-cigaretteWhat are e-cigarettes?

In June 2013, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) estimated there are 1.3 million current users of e- cigarettes in the UK.

Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t contain any tobacco, however almost all contain nicotine.

With smoking being the largest preventable cause of premature death in the UK, e-cigarettes are promoted as a cheaper and safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, to those who are unable, or unwilling to stop using nicotine.

The majority of e-cigarettes contain a battery, an atomizer and a replaceable or refillable cartridge. The cartridge contains the nicotine along with other substances and often flavorings.

What are the health effects of e-cigarettes?

Although cutting out tobacco and moving to nicotine replacement products is a positive step for your health, the majority of e-cigarettes still contain nicotine.

Nicotine is often considered as the most addictive psychoactive drug – equivalent to, if not more so than, alcohol, cocaine and even heroin. It comes with its own health effects which include increasing your heart rate, increasing your blood pressure and slowing down your body’s ability to heal itself, by making your skin dehydrated. Nicotine users are therefore at a higher risk of heart or circulatory related problems, for example heart attack and stroke, than those who use no nicotine products. Currently, there’s limited scientific evidence on the health effects of the other chemicals in e-cigarettes.

 How do e-cigarettes affect your insurance?

Most insurance companies have separate charges (or ‘rates’ as they’re known in the industry) for ‘smokers’ and ‘non-smokers’ – with smoker rates being more expensive.

Due to the health effects of nicotine, and the high risk of using tobacco products again in the future, non- smoker rates are only available for applicants who haven’t used any nicotine products in the last 12 months – including regular cigarettes and all nicotine products including e-cigarettes, patches and gum etc. When you apply for non-smoker rates, we may ask for a simple medical test (saliva sample) to confirm that nicotine hasn’t been used.

If you don’t currently meet the criteria for non-smoker rates, this shouldn’t put you off applying for the insurance you need now. The good news is we can look into changing your policy to non-smoker rates – once you’ve been nicotine-free for at least 12 months. To be able to change your policy, you may be asked for a signed statement along with a saliva sample.

To find out more about Life Insurance and for a personal illustration, please give one of our qualified advisers a call or email us via “Contact Us”  page with your requirements.

 

TestimonialThank you Kevin, for your help and advice. It was a pleasure to have you working on our behalf in such a friendly and professional manner. You explained everything clearly each step of the way and even patiently explained things for us a second and third time when we had any questions. You were always prompt in returning calls and e mails and we would readily recommend you to family and friends.

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