Weekly Update: Budget gets a thumbs up, and Britain isn’t the next Cyprus – phew!

Last week was an important one for the financial world.  George Osborne’s budget announcement received a generally positive reception from the press, but we wanted to know what you thought of it.  In the unbiased.co.uk online poll, our results found the tax allowance increase to £10,000 in 2014, a scrapping of the proposed 3p fuel duty hike, and the Bank’s underpinning of £130billion in new mortgage lending, were the main areas unbiased.co.uk visitors thought would likely affect them most.

These three proposals in particular, show signs of the Chancellor focusing on improving the financial prospects for those on medium and lower incomes.  This is good news for consumers, as it allows greater opportunities for many who may not have considered doing so in the past, to take an interest financial forward-planning and making investments.

In addition to the main budget headlines, a new “Help to Buy” scheme was announced – a policy which will go a long way to help home-buyers.  The proposal, which benefits both first-time buyers and existing homeowners, allows for equity loans of up to 20% of the value of a new build home.  If you are now in a position to put down a 5% deposit from your savings, the government will add on a further 20% at an interest-free rate for the first five years.  If you would like to take advantage of the scheme, talking with a Financial Adviser will ensure that you can get best available mortgage deals for your personal circumstances.  However, with many of us still feeling the sting of recent austerity measures, does this new proposal do enough to reinvigorate the housing market?

And finally, this week’s major international financial news has revolved around the economic troubles of Cyprus.  With increasing concerns about the stability of the Eurozone and the knock-on effect it could have on other member states, many Britons are worried about security of their own accounts.  We needn’t be too worried.  Lucky for savers in the United Kingdom, we have a mechanism called the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects the average consumer from banks going bust.  This means the first £85,000 saved in your FSA approved account per banking institution is guaranteed by the scheme, and up to £170,000 if you have a joint account.  You can check which banking institution really runs your accounts by clicking here.

Consulting a Financial Adviser can assist you in organising your savings so that they are safe, but they probably won’t help you if you have a holiday to Cyprus booked in the next few months. With reports that some shops and petrol stations are only accepting cash, we would recommend you bring more cash than normal and look into upgrading to the ‘all inclusive’ option most hotels offer. Cyprus, it seems, might not be the best destination for your savings right now but could be just the antidote to our current wintry conditions!