JEFF PRESTRIDGE: End this attack on the finances of the nation’s middle classes
Although I normally have little time for the pontifications of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, its latest report on the financial health of this country’s middle class is required reading.
It’s pretty grim stuff, certainly not a Lynda La Plante page turner.
But at the very least it should provide a wake-up call to the current bungling Government that it must not forget those millions of people (its natural supporters) that every day aspire to build a better financial future for themselves through a mix of hard work and patient saving.
Warning: A new report concludes that the middle class’s finances are now under attack
The report concludes that the middle class’s finances are now under attack from a horrible mix of minimal growth in earnings and a relentless tide of mounting bills, leading many households to sink into a mire of debt.
It opines: ‘The middle class used to be an aspiration. It meant the assurance of living in a comfortable house and affording a rewarding lifestyle.’
But, it warns: ‘The middle class looks increasingly like a boat in rocky waters.’ Ominously, it believes that increasing automation across swathes of industry – including the financial services industry – will also put many middle- class jobs at risk, with adverse consequences for households up and down the country.
With Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour threatening its own brutal assault on middle-class Britain if it gets into power – with a mix of higher taxes and a reduction in savings incentives – it is essential that sooner rather than later the Government gets its head out of the Brexit sand and reassures those who voted for it last time round that it is there for them.
That should mean assurances from charmless Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that there will be no more tax rises, no more stealth taxes like the imminent (and outrageous) hike in probate fees, and no more assaults on the tax breaks available to those who want to put away money for the future.
I cannot let mention of the name Corbyn go without thanking you readers for all your wonderful comments following last week’s eight-page Wealth special on protecting cash from a future Government led by a Marxist.
It was fantastic to get overwhelmingly positive feedback on such a key financial topic – the report even got a mention on the Andrew Marr show on BBC One.
Of course, some Corbyn supporters took to social media to vent their spleen. Among some pretty unpleasant comments was one that said I had missed ‘my calling’ by about 80 years.
‘You’d have been a real asset to Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine,’ it went on, ‘but then you write for the few, not the many.’
For the record, I write for the many, abhor fascism as much as I despise Marxism, and ‘my calling’ is very much now. That means I will continue to expose the financial harm Corbyn would do to this great country of ours if he ever got into power.
The latest research on the ability of the UK stock market to deliver juicy dividends to investors is to be released tomorrow by Link Asset Services.
Although the report’s findings are under wraps, it is likely to confirm that dividend growth from UK-listed companies remains robust – healthily above inflation (the curse of savers) – and should remain so for the rest of the year.
With interest from most savings accounts lagging behind inflation, there is at the moment no more compelling income story in town than dividends.
This is reflected in the increased dividends that some of the country’s leading companies have already confirmed they will pay over the next couple of months.
The likes of Bankers Investment Trust, Greggs, Informa, Legal & General, National Express, Rathbone and Reckitt Benckiser – all FTSE 100 or FTSE 250 listed. A good news, middle-class personal finance story to counter both the OECD’s gloom – and the frightening prospect of Corbyn wreaking havoc with our finances.