Monthly Archives: March 2011

Cameron launches StartUp Britain scheme for entrepreneurs

Under the StartUp Britain initiative new enterprises will be offered help worth about £1,500 in areas such as IT training and internet advertising.

Firms backing the initiative include AXA, Barclays, BlackBerry, Experian, Google, Intel, Microsoft, McKinsey & Co, O2 and Virgin Media.

Launching the scheme, David Cameron said: ‘I want to make a direct appeal to everyone who’s sitting at home or at their desk thinking about starting their own business. Now is the time to do it’.

He continued: ‘If you’re dreaming about starting up the next great British brand – now is the time to make it happen. There are thousands of people out there who are entrepreneurs but they just don’t know it yet. There are millions of success stories that haven’t been written yet.

‘So seize this moment. Take these opportunities. Make it happen – and together we can drive our economy forward.’

The measure follows confirmation that 21 new ‘enterprise zones’ will be set up throughout Britain to help boost economic growth.

It means that targeted areas of the UK will be given tax breaks and other incentives as part of the Government’s attempt to address the needs of local businesses and industries.

Firms within these zones will also benefit from simplified planning rules, discounted business rates and superfast broadband.

Pensioners warned over HMRC error

It is believed that around 146,000 older people who have a state pension and a private income will have to pay back at least £800 each.

The error has arisen because HMRC failed to take account of their state pension when working out tax in 2010/11. HMRC said it was the result of a ‘computer glitch’ and is now writing to those affected.

It added that it would not be fair to other taxpayers to write off the money owed. Taxpayers will instead be expected to pay back in instalments up to 2015.

With letters due to go out in the next few months, some experts are advising pensioners to be aware of a possible rise in fraudulent emails and phone calls from criminals attempting to exploit the situation.

Commenting, Andrew Harrop, of Age UK, said: “Coming at a time when many pensioners are feeling financially stretched, HMRC’s error will be a source of serious concern for older people on modest incomes.

“When the taxman makes mistakes, older taxpayers should not have to pay the price, and we would have liked to have seen the repayments written off. It is essential that those affected are informed as soon as possible, allowing them time to put money aside for the extra cost.”