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Budget Basics – The Budget 2012: Changes That Will Affect You

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

So …. After all the speculation and hype, George Osborne has finally revealed all. The draw down of Afghan operations has given the Chancellor a £2.4bn bonus.

Tax
Income Tax
  • Personal allowance will rise by an extra £1,100 in April 2013 in addition to the increase to £8,105 already scheduled for this April.
  • This means you’ll be able to earn £9,205 before you pay any tax.
  • The 50% ‘high earner’ tax rate will be lowered to 45% from April 2013.
National Insurance
  • The plan to merge Income Tax & National Insurance is still likely to go ahead.
Tax for pensioners
  • The age-related additional personal allowance will be phased out to leave a single personal allowance that applies to all.
  • This will be rolled out from April 2013 and, according to Osborne, no one receiving a pension will lose out because of it.
VAT
  • Loopholes in the VAT system will be closed to reduce tax avoidance.
  • The current VAT exemptions on food, children’s clothes, books and newspapers will not be affected.
Tax statements
  • Personal tax statements will be sent to all taxpayers.
  • These will set out your average tax rate for the year, how much tax and NI you’ve paid in total and how this has funded both public spending and public debt.
Corporation tax
  • Corporation tax will be cut by 1% today in addition to the 1% reduction scheduled for April – together this will take the UK rate of corporation tax to 24%.
  • Two further cuts are scheduled for next year so by 2014 UK corporation tax will be reduced to 22%.
  • To ensure these cuts don’t benefit the banks the bank levy rate will be increased to 0.105% next January.
Other tax
  • Capital gains tax on residential properties owned by companies will be introduced.
  • A cap on tax relief for high earners will be introduced in April 2013. This means anyone that claims upwards of £50,000 in tax relief will be limited to receive a maximum of 25% of their income.
  • A general tax avoidance rule will be introduced to tackle tax evasion, details of which will be set out next year.
Benefits
Child benefit
  • The child benefit cut for higher rate tax payers will stay but changes have been made.
  • Those earning less than £50,000 will get to keep child benefit.
  • Those earning more than £50,000 will have their child benefit payments reduced by 1% for every £100 they earn over the £50k threshold.
  • Those earning more than £60,000 will not receive child benefit payments.
Housing
Affordable housing
  • The Get Britain Building scheme that extends funding to companies that build new houses will be upgraded to encourage affordable property development.
Stamp duty
  • Individual-owned residential properties worth over £2 million will be liable for 7% stamp duty.
  • The stamp duty rate will increase to 15% for residential properties that are bought by a company.
  • The government will investigate retrospective stamp duty charges for residential properties already owned by companies.
Armed forces
  • An extra £100 million will be used to improve accommodation for those in the armed forces.
  • Members of the armed forces serving overseas will also benefit from 100% council tax relief.
  • This will be funded by a £2.4 billion saving on the cost of operations in Afghanistan.
Planning permission
  • Next week the government will publish an overhaul of planning regulations that should make applications for planning permission far simpler.
Alcohol & Tobacco
Alcohol
  • There will be no change to taxation on alcohol.
Tobacco
  • Duty on all tobacco products will rise by 5% above inflation at 6pm tonight.
  • This will increase the cost of an ‘average’ pack of cigarettes by 37p.
Transport
Fuel
  • There will be no additional changes to fuel duty.
  • The Fair Fuel Stabiliser will still apply so fuel duty will go down when the cost of fuel rises and increase when fuel prices fall.
Road tax
  • Vehicle Excise Duty will increase by inflation only.
Trains
  • Rail links to the North of England will be improved.
  • The London underground and train network will be extended.
Flights
  • Additional airports may be built in the South East of England.
Employment & Education
Employment
  • Local authorities will be given the flexibility to introduce local pay rates for civil servants whose pay freezes end this year.
  • This is to bring public sector pay in line with wages available in the private sector.
  • There will be investment in manufacturing with the aim of doubling UK exports.
  • New Enterprise Zones will be introduced in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Education
  • A scheme that extends Enterprise Loans to young people to start and grow their own businesses will be piloted later this year.
Pensions
State pension
  • A single rate, contribution-based pension that pays a minimum of £140 will be introduced for future pensioners in the next Parliament.
  • Plans for an automatic review of the state pension age will be published this summer.
Entertainment
Sunday trading
  • Sunday trading laws will be relaxed for eight consecutive Sundays from 22nd July to coincide with the Olympics.
Broadband
  • Ultrafast broadband will be rolled out in 10 of the UK’s biggest cities.
  • A number of smaller cities will also benefit from ultrafast broadband speeds.
  • Improvements will be made to broadband connection speeds in rural areas.
Entertainment industry
  • UK companies that produce video games, animation or high end TV programmes will be eligible for tax relief.
  • A new gambling duty on games machines will be introduced.

HAPPY 2012! Love and best wishes from Judy Viitanen and PRimage

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•☆☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆

In 2012….I hope the kindness you’ve given to others returns many times to you.
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you’re going,
And the insight to know when you’re going too far.
May hope, love, and warmth be in your heart’s possessing,
And may the New Year bring you and yours many blessings.
Happy New Year!

Judy Viitanen

Pessimism on both sides of the pond? PRimage comment

Friday, July 15th, 2011

In the UK we are going through tough times, but Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll – over 63% believe that their country is on the wrong track.

We found this an interesting article and viewpoint on the dynamics across the pond: This Is No Time for Games – WSJ.com http://t.co/gt6tfTB

PRimage has read that a rule of thumb in presidential polling is that when the “wrong track” number is in the “60s,” the incumbent’s prospects for re-election are sharply diminished.  Watch this space!

Taking politics to the people …. PRimage loves this!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

 

The ‘joys’ of political canvessing! …..

Are you going that extra degree?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Here’s some mid-week motivation and inspiration ….. I loved it.  Hope you do!

Click on this link to view the video ….. http://www.212movie.com/

Day Lewis announces its commitment to the new Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Day Lewis, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy group, has today announced that they will for the first time pay the membership fee for their employee pharmacists, when the renewal for new Royal Pharmaceutical Society takes place at the end of February 2011.  This is a significant step for Day Lewis and signifies their support for the Society in its first 12 months as an independent professional body.

Day Lewis said that membership of the Society is important to encourage professionalism among its pharmacists and to ensure that they have access to the most up to date pharmacy information and guidance materials.  They recognize that their pharmacies need skilled, supported and motivated professionals to maintain Day Lewis’ commitment to helping people in the community to stay healthy and to feel better. Competitive advantage depends increasingly on quality services – and patients’ trust in the professionals delivering them and that trust helps to build customer loyalty.

Kirit Patel, CEO at Day Lewis Pharmacy told PRimage MD, Judy Viitanen:

“I passionately believe that it is important for pharmacists who want to see a ‘leading from the front’ organisation that they become part of the new professional body. I am clear about the benefits of joining the professional leadership body. I hope that other pharmacists will feel the same – and be aware of its value in enhancing their professional kudos and reputation.

I am a great believer that only through one unifying, strong voice will pharmacy ever be recognised and excel. For many years I have long held the opinion that we needed a robust, influential, supportive and unifying professional body that provided comprehensive leadership, and was recognised by its membership and external stakeholders as a leader and visionary in pharmacy affairs. am proud to join the new professional body – and I am confident that it will respect members’ views and aspirations, and support them professionally and educationally.”

Helen Gordon, Society Chief Executive said: “Pharmacists who work for Day Lewis will benefit from Society support and development.  This will ensure they have the knowledge and skills to provide the level of quality needed to encourage patient trust in pharmacy services. Day Lewis have shown a commitment to the profession by supporting pharmacist employees in this way and it is a great endorsement of how being a member of the Society is a fundamental part of a pharmacist’s professional identity.”

The 2011 membership year will start on 1 March.

“12 months to save the NHS” – PRimage comment

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Public services reforms is the headline media story today – as David Cameron defends NHS reform plans, saying: ‘doing nothing will end in tears’ – http://bit.ly/e6T5VU
The key is for Education Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to win over their sternest critics and also win the hearts and minds of the public that these radical changes are what’s needed – and will get results. Everyone in this country faces difficult times ahead – and it’s crucial that that the Government  gets these issues right! …

The Government’s new health policies are aimed at improving NHS performance, reducing bureaucracy and improving the outcomes of treatment for patients. As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage totally agree with this – but Judy Viitanen shares some of the concerns voiced by healthcare professionals that the radical shakeup of the NHS could lead to a two-tier health service.

This country certainly needs to tackle its health and social inequalities – and in our opinion the Dept of Health must start to focus on dealing with health inequalities that those members of the community who either aren’t registered with a GP, or see no value in accessing healthcare, continue to suffer. So in this era of NHS reforms it is critical that reducing inequalities becomes a key focus for frontline health providers: not just GPs, but also community pharmacists.

Interested in acting? Primage recommends the Esoteric Drama Group

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Interested in drama and self-improvement?

Join The Esoteric Drama Group. Next class on October 4th. To enrol and find out more: email: esoteric_drama_group@hotmail.co.uk or phone: 08006128849.

Top Tips for Personal Productivity

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

At PRimage Judy Viitanen tries hard to follow these useful steers to achieving the maximum out of her life – and to increase work time productivity. ideasIf you’re like Judy, with a lot to get through each day, why not try these lifestyle tips and see if they help you?

  1. Make sufficient sleep a top priority. 23082006_clock1Schedule your bedtime, and start winding down at least 45 minutes earlier. Ninety-eight percent of all human beings need at least 7-8 hours a night to feel fully rested. Only a fraction of us get that much regularly, in part because we buy into the myth that sacrificing an hour or two of sleep a night give us an hour more of productivity. In reality, even small amounts of sleep deprivation can take a dramatic toll on our cognitive capacity, our ability to think creatively, our emotional resilience, the quality of our work, and even the speed at which we do it.
  2. Create only one ‘to-do list’ that includes everything you want or need to do, on and off the job. Include everything, including any unresolved issues that merit further reflection. where-nextWriting everything down helps get it off your mind, leaving you free to fully focus on what’s most important at any given moment.
  3. Ensure you do the most important thing first when you start work each morning, when you’re likely to have the highest energy and the fewest distractions. Decide the night before what activity most deserves your attention. creativityThen focus on it single-mindedly for no more than 90 minutes. Productivity isn’t about how many tasks you complete or the number of hours you work. It’s about the enduring value you create.
  4. Live like a sprinter, not a marathoner. 1201749_athletes_at_start_of_raceWhen you work continuously, you’re actually progressively depleting your energy reservoir as the day wears on. By making regular renewal and refuelling  important, you’re regularly replenishing your reservoir, so you’re not only able to fully engage at intervals along the way, but also to maintain high energy much further into the day.
  5. Monitor your mood. When demand begins to exceed your capacity, one of the most common signs is an increase in negative emotions. stressThe more we move into ‘fight or flight’ the more reactive and impulsive we become, and the less reflective and responsive. The first question to ask your self is “Why am I feeling this way, and what can I do to make myself feel better?” It may be that you’re hungry, tired, overwhelmed, or feeling threatened in some way. Awareness is the first step. You can’t change what you don’t notice.
  6. Schedule specific times for activities in your life that you deem important, but not urgent. With so much coming at you all the time, it’s easy to focus all day on whatever feels most pressing in the moment. What you sacrifice is the opportunity to take on work such as writing, strategizing, thinking creatively, or cultivating relationships, which may require more time and energy, but often yield greater long-term rewards.positive-thinking

Good luck!

 

PRimage on the power of positive communication!

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Judy Viitanen and the team believe whether we are communicating with clients/customers, colleagues, or family/friends, we can use positive language to project a helpful image rather than a destructive one.

The impact and importance of positive communication as summed up by Mahatma Gandhi can be translated as:

  • “Keep my words positive. Words become my behaviours.
  • “Keep my behaviours positive. Behaviours become my habits.
  • “Keep my habits positive, because my habits become my values.
  • “Keep my values positive, because my values become my destiny.
  • “There is no dress rehearsal. This is one day in our life.”

We can help ourselves to develop positive language by:

  • choosing words and actions that convey the impression we wish to give;
  • actively listening to the words, tone and intonation we use when we speak and by editing carefully what we write;
  • deleting anything negative and replacing it with something more positive;
  • practising this process until the negative words and phrases are filtered out before they are expressed;
  • when disagreeing with something or someone, giving clearly the reasons for our disagreement before stating that we disagree;
  • offering alternatives or suggesting options and amendments to ideas that we genuinely believe inappropriate or unworkable;
  • asking for support, and challenge, from our colleagues.biz-pic-2