Author: Toby Blume

Toby Blume, Author at NewStart

Better banking moves a small step closer

News this week that the seven largest banks and building societies have agreed to publish information about their lending is very welcome. The voluntary arrangement will see banks publishing quarterly figures on loans and overdrafts to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), mortgage lending and unsecured personal loans by postcode. This is a hugely important first step towards reforming our financial services into a more responsible and properly functioning sector.

The end of a chapter

I am leaving the organisation in good hands with a fantastic staff team, a committed board of trustees and an astounding group of members. It will not be easy, we know that, but I hope the organisation will respond to the challenges it faces with resilience, creativity and positivity as has been the case throughout the time I have been there.

Oh benevolent chancellor! How grateful for these crumbs we are!

The small donations bill will allow charities to claim up to £1,250 on donations a year, where individual donations are less than £20. Of course that amount can make a difference to the lives of people in need and for charities that operate on a shoestring. But it is peanuts compared with the impact on the sector of the cap on tax relief for charitable donations.

Help for citizens in hard times, or just a load of rubbish (collection)?

The decision to offer local authorities cash to freeze council tax, a continuation of arrangements for the current year (2011-12) has been presented as evidence that 'this government is absolutely committed to helping people through these times'. Putting to one side the fact that this will save the average person just £72, there is at least some evidence to suggest that the ‘help’ offered to citizens will actually be negligible.

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