High-Earners Lead Self-Employment

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The UK has seen significant growth in self-employment over the past several years, and a recent report has shed new light upon the nature of this trend. According to a study by an economic think tank, it is high-earning individuals who have been the driving force behind the increase in self-employment.

Self-employment undeniably plays a major role in the UK economy at present. It has been a rapidly-growing area for several years now, accounting for half of the employment growth in the UK during that time. There are currently just under five million individuals in the UK who are self-employed (including those who have a second job or “sideline” in self-employment alongside an employed role). This is well ahead of many other types of somewhat non-typical employment. For example, the UK’s agency workers currently number only around 850,000.

The Resolution Foundation examined trends in self-employment, and found that higher-earners were disproportionately represented in the growth of self-employment over the past several years. Since 2009, 57% of self-employment growth has been made up by what the foundation called “privileged” self-employed individuals – those who are well-qualified and work in higher-paid fields. These include professionals in the accountancy, legal, and health sectors among others. These “privileged” self-employed people commonly achieved income in the £45,000-65,000 range annually, much more than that of the average UK worker.

There is such a divide between these workers and other self-employed individuals, the Resolution Foundation says, that the self-employed are now not so much one group as two quite separate and distinct ones. Those who do not fit into the privileged group not only earn less, but are more likely to be underemployed and to receive tax credits.

The Resolution Foundation’s Adam Corlett says: “Rising self-employment has been the biggest jobs story of the last decade… but behind the headlines the real recent growth area for the self-employed has been in lucrative sectors such as advertising and banking.”

Many news stories and much popular discussion about self-employment growth has focussed on typically lower-earning individuals finding new and more lucrative opportunities by striking out on their own. However, this is in many ways at odds with the picture of self-employment painted by the Resolution Foundation’s report, in which individuals who are already well-qualified high-earners are heavily represented. Many of those who have been the subject of public discussion, such as self-employed drivers for delivery services or drivers for Uber, have found themselves in a work situation which the foundation describes as “precarious.”

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Food Prices Expected to Rise

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Significant increases in food prices are expected to take place in the near future, particularly the price of produce grown in Britain. The cost of food is expected to increase as a result of unusual weather conditions, which have caused problems for UK farmers growing common crops such as carrots, potatoes and cauliflowers.

Unusual weather patterns have been particularly significant over the past couple of month, and there were two aspects of December’s weather, in particular, that have caused problems for farmers. The final month of 2015 saw temperatures that were unseasonably warm, causing other crops to mature much earlier than intended. This could leave these groups of crops in short supply later, as the planting of successive waves of crops are usually timed to ensure a consistent supply. When the crops affected by December’s warm temperatures should have been ready for harvesting and distribution, many will have instead already matured ahead of time and and proceeded to spoil.

At the same time, December was exceptionally wet, and this led to further problems as crops were damaged or destroyed by heavy rainfall. Particularly hard-hit were crops such as carrots and parsnips. These crops remain fresh while kept in the ground, so are often grown in large quantities and then harvested for distribution in stages over time. Fields containing crops that were waiting to be harvested in this way have been damaged across much of the UK as a result of high rainfall. Wet conditions also made it difficult for people, tractors, and equipment to traverse the worst-hit fields, severely hampering efforts to salvage crops from damaged land before they became unusable.

All of this points towards a shortage of key food items in coming months, and a resulting rise in prices. Many items of produce that have survived or been salvaged are of reduced quality, and some may be deemed unacceptable for sale by retailers, worsening both shortages and the increase that this leads to in the cost of food.

Similar problems have hit farms in many countries across Europe, and have also led in some cases to additional problems. For example, unusually warm winter temperatures in Spain have not just led to similar concerns about early ripening but also resulted in an outbreak of pests and fungi, affecting key crops such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. This could lead to further price rises in the UK, as at this time of year such crops are often imported due to difficulty involved in producing them domestically during the UK’s cold winter months.

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Tips for Better Bulk Buying

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It is no secret that it is usually cheaper to buy things in bulk, but this approach also has its downsides. For example, many people are put off by concerns about using everything up before it expires, or by the challenges of finding enough storage space for large amounts of food. However, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure that bulk buying works out well.

Focus on Non-Perishable Goods

The simplest way to avoid the issue of use by dates is to focus on non-perishable goods, or goods that will take a long time to actually go off even if the date slips by. Tins are good and oft-cited examples, tough bear in mind that these are also heavy and tend to fill up kitchen cupboards quite quickly. Teabags are another good example. They are lightweight, aren’t  very prone to spoiling, and can be bought much more cheaply in bulk. They can also be fairly easy to store, especially as large packs tend to be flexible.

Also, bear in mind that bulk buying doesn’t exclusively apply to food items but to any kind of item that tends to get used up in the home. For example, toilet tissue and kitchen rolls can both sometimes be bought cheaply in bulk. Large quantities of both these items often turn up on deal websites like Groupon.

Share and Cooperate

Another way to get around the problem of expiry dates is to cooperate with a friend when buying perishable goods. Supposing you come across something that is a lot cheaper through a “buy one get one free” offer, or simply buying a pack twice the size. However, that product will only last a week before it expires, and you will just not get through that much in a week. If you have a friend who uses the same product, you could arrange to split the purchase between you.

The arrangement is simple. One of you actually buys the product, then the other pays back a portion of the price and gets some of the product. This way, you both get a better deal and neither of you is stuck with more than you could use before it goes off.

Extra Storage Space

Sometimes it might be easier than you think to create extra storage space especially for buying food in bulk. If you intend to buy a lot of food, it may be worth simply expanding the area you search for opportunities. Some food will keep quite happily without being in your kitchen, so why not keep it elsewhere?

This might be as simple as using a wardrobe in the spare room or a corner of your attic or cellar for food storage. Alternatively, if you have a shed or a garage that is connected to mains electricity you could try putting a small freezer in there. This will allow you to buy a lot of food that is suitable for home freezing when you want to take advantage of offers or reductions.

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Things to Remember For Successful Mortgages in 2012

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Problematic economies and lower home values continue to pound entire Europe as the Euro Zone crisis continues to swallow one country up to another. However, this can be seen as an opportunity for many home owners who wish to take out mortgage. As long as you keep all these tips on hand, you’ll find that you’ll be much more successful in getting the mortgage loan you deserve.

1. Credit Scores Should Be At An All-Time High

Your credit score is the most important factor when it comes to getting any type of financing. Have your credit scores updated by a credit monitoring bureau and see to it that the copy you receive has no issues to speak of. Your credit score should be higher than 680 but not lower than 620.

2. Have the Necessary Documents Ready

Your income tax returns, pay slips and other documents deemed necessary for the transaction should be ready before you even apply. Be sure to keep spare hard and electronic copies of these documents as well. Should the lender lose any of your information while processing your application, it would be easy to send them another copy. Remember, the more delays you face in making your application, the more your deposits are placed in jeopardy.

3. Shop Around, Don’t Stick to One

More and more attractive rates go with low-value houses, especially those with high mortgage values. Should the economy get better soon enough, you’ll find that you missed some great opportunities with other real estates. Get at least three brokers and get their figures. After gauging your financial capabilities, you can choose to select one of them or combine them, whichever is convenient.

4. Your Financial Capability

Don’t wait for the lender to tell you how much mortgage you can get. Always prepare for the worst. Prepare for both low and high mortgage that you can receive, plan your budget and leave some space for your other expenses. Having your finances organized can help you get out of economic trouble in the future.

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Financial Advisors: Can You Really Trust Them?

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In the United Kingdom today, life became peachy because of mis sold PPI. Millions of UK citizens are filing for PPI claims to get back all the repayments they’ve made for the faulty insurance. One of the key factors that made the mis selling of almost every UK citizen in the country are the insurance brokers and financial advisors. Through their efforts, many were urged to purchase the insurance. This brings up the question if you can still really trust the financial advisors, brokers and other related professions in the country nowadays?

Well, if you intend to make a PPI claim, here’s what insurance brokers usually mis sell the insurance. An insurance broker mis sells the PPI insurance policy by explaining its benefits to you in a detailed manner especially if you have multiple financing. PPI can provide repayments for up to one year for all customers. Then, logically, they mention that the insurance policy’s benefits increases bank confidence in their application for a new loan. Insurance brokers sometimes omit certain parts of the insurance’s terms and conditions to make a sure sale to their customers.

One of the many things customers should watch out from their insurance brokers or financial advisors is how they are paid. Some are paid by commission, especially sales representatives of such financial products. Those paid by commission are poised to have customers purchase the highest-paying product they have. Like the insurance mis selling, they can use such devious tactics to make a sale for such products you don’t actually need.

These professionals can also work for you on a fixed payment rate or an asset based percentage. You can trust your broker on a fixed payment rate only if he or she is not selling any more financial products and earning commission from such. This is because they can recommend the highest paying products for financial aid.

You can still trust your financial advisors. However, it is clear that the way they are paid for their services affects their motivations in helping customers. It is very important that you understand how they are compensated for their services to understand the level of trust and importance you can give them.

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