Merryn’s blog

Merryns blog

The death of the middleman could restore trust in the financial industry

New ways of investing are cutting out the middleman. That’s great news, says Merryn Somerset Webb. It should make things cheaper, and help restore trust in the financial industry.

Yet more reasons to favour Isas over pensions

If you’re after tax-free dividend payments in your retirement, you won’t get them in a pension. You’re better off with an Isa, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Why Britain has the nastiest new homes in Europe

Housebuilders are building the smallest, meanest properties they can get away with. That needs to be fixed – by regulation if necessary.

One more good reason to completely rethink inheritance tax

Germany’s system of inheritance tax encourages family businesses to grow and thrive. Ours does exactly the opposite, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The bank born from a bribe

RBS was set up with money paid to persuade Scotland to enter a union with England after its Central American empire-building scheme failed.

Disinflation is a very unreliable boyfriend

Most economists seem confident inflation will fall gently to 1%. Their confidence is probably misplaced, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Do we really need so many charities?

Charities do vital work in Britain. But having too many of them is pointless and diverts money away from core services.

There is no such thing as a ‘free’ government service

Scotland’s ‘Yes’ campaign is obsessed with ‘free’ childcare. But it’s not free, it’s funded by taxpayers.

Why the English should care more about losing Scotland

There is a lot of complacency about the Scottish independence referendum. But breaking up the union will mean huge changes for the rest of the UK. By no means all of them good.

Why simplifying our tax system is just too complicated

Any attempt to simplify the tax system is welcome. But merging income tax with National Insurance will be far from easy, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The mansion tax: opening the door to corruption and distortion

A mansion tax may not be designed to distort Britain’s housing market, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But that’s exactly what it will do.

Transparent, simple and honest – why is it so hard to find a firm that’s all three?

As Wonga demonstrates, it isn’t easy identifying firms in the financial services sector that are not just simple in their businesses and transparent in their charges, but honest too.

Forget HS2 - HS3 is a much better idea

There’s no real need for anyone to get to London faster than they already do. But high-speed rail in the north of England would make a lot of sense.

Separatism: it can be good and it can be bad, but it is what it is

No matter what words you want to use, voting for an independent Scotland means separating from the rest of the UK.

A state-backed equity release scheme should be compulsory for asset rich, cash poor pensioners

A state-backed equity release scheme should be the first step in the rollback of the payment of taxpayer-funded welfare to people who could actually finance themselves.

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