Autumn Budget 2017- How does it affect you?

No doubt some of you have been closely following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Budget that was announced yesterday, we certainly have.

One of the main changes that will certainly be good news for prospective first time buyers is Government announcing that it will abolish stamp duty for first time buyers up to a limit of £300,000. This is immediately effective and means that 95% of first time buyers who would pay stamp duty will benefit.

80% of people buying their first home will not have to pay stamp duty.
Another welcomed change for first time buyers is that 300,000 new homes will be built over the next 5 years.

The national minimum wage is going to increase from April 2018. The wage for those that are over 25 will increase from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 per hour. Those in work will also benefit from an increased personal allowance for tax purposes from £11,500 to £11,850 from April 2018.

These are just some of the changes. For further information please visit the Gov.uk website that lists all of the announcements made.

The above information will certainly be important to anybody currently in the process of/intend to purchase their first property. As outlined above, the stamp duty changes are immediately effective. JNP Legal have a dedicated conveyancing team who can guide prospective buyers through property transactions including sales and purchases. We would be more than happy to advise regarding stamp duty in general and how the above changes may affect you directly.

We also have an Employment Department who can advise you fully regarding any employment law queries including wage enquiries.

We have offices in Merthyr Tydfil, Nelson and Llanishen, Cardiff . Our Nelson and Llanishen office is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-12pm on a Saturday for clients’ convenience.

As well as the above matters we also deal with: Family and child law, personal injury claims, civil litigation, criminal law and wills and probate. We have a variety of funding methods in place.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require assistance. Our contact details are as follows:
– Nelson office: 01443 450561
– Merthyr Tydfil office: 01685 350421
– Llanishen Office: 02920 763211
We can also be contacted via email on law@jnplegal.org.

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Employment tribunal fees deemed illegal- what happens now?

You may have recently heard in the news that the Supreme Court (the UK’s highest Court) have deemed the Government’s employment tribunal fees to be illegal. The case was brought by the Trade Union, Unison.

The decision means that the Government will have to refund up to £32 million to people who have paid employment tribunal fees since July 2013. The maximum fee previously amounted to £1,200. The idea behind the fees was that they would prevent people bringing malicious or unfounded claims.

The Supreme Court decision was made following a Government review which found that the amount of cases since July 2013 had dropped by 70%.

The Supreme Court did not say that fees are wrong in principle, only that they should be set at a level that people can reasonably afford. It is likely that the Government will now try to set up a more reasonable fee structure.

This means that anybody who wishes to bring an employment law claim at this moment in time will no longer have to pay tribunal fees, which makes access to justice far more affordable. It is likely to, inevitably, lead to an increase in the amount of tribunal claims being brought. Alternatively, rather than wait and see if an employee brings a claim employers may be more keen to settle matters.

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that steps are being taken to prevent any further fees being charged and to refund the sums already illegally paid. The practicalities of how the refunds are to take place and are to be funded are yet to be confirmed.

Unfortunately, the real victims of the illegal fees are those that were unable to afford to pay to bring the claim and might now find that their claim is out of time.

If you require any legal advice in relation to employment matters you should not hesitate to contact our employment team who would be happy to assist.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.

We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

Term time holidays: Can you take your child out of school for a holiday during term?

holiday-picture for ND blog 20.5.16

You may be aware of the High Court’s recent decision regarding a father who refused to pay a fine imposed for taking his daughter on holiday during term time. Figures released by the Government have shown that the number of parents taking their children out of school during term for holidays has risen by more than half since 2011.

The school in question was based in England, where there are strict regulations regarding absence. This has had major implications, with the Government considering closing a loophole allowing parents to take children out of school during term time. The ruling in question allows parents to take children out of state school without the permission of the school providing they have a good attendance record.

The schools minister has pledged to take all measures necessary to overturn the ruling.

So what is the position in Wales? Wales’ Education Minister confirmed in January 2016 that parents can take their children out of school during term time with the head teacher’s permission. Holidays of up to 10 days are allowed. The position was altered after more than 2,000 people signed a petition after hundreds of parents were fined over term time holidays.

Regulations from 2010 gives head teachers a discretionary power to authorise leave for a family holiday during term time where parents obtain express authority. Other than in exceptional circumstances, leave will be limited to 10 days.

Parents have the right to challenge where unlawful penalties have been issued. Until the recent statement from the Education Minister many Local Authorities had been advising schools against allowing term time holidays.

It was hoped that the position in Wales would encourage the Government to reconsider the position in England. Whilst the recent ruling helps in that respect, the Government do not appear to wish to change their policy.

Have you received a fine for taking your child out of school which you wish to challenge or have any further queries in relation to term time holidays? If so, JNP Legal can assist.

We have offices in both Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson, Caerphilly. Our experienced solicitors can assist you with any queries you may have regarding a variety of topics including Family Law, Civil disputes and Crime.

We understand it can often be difficult to find time to attend a solicitor’s appointment mid week and as such our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open between 9am and 12pm on a Saturday.

Contact us on 01685 350241 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) and one of our experienced solicitors will be pleased to assist you.

 

Changes to stamp duty

Changes to stamp duty: Imminent 3% increase on stamp duty for second homes

Those of you that followed Chancellor George Osbourne’s 2015 Autumn Statement might already be aware of the changes that are looming, which could add thousands of pounds to proposed buy-to-let transactions.

The change will affect anyone buying a residential property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland such as holiday homes or buy-to-let’s.

From the 1st of April 2016 the Government intends to increase the current stamp duty tax imposed on second homes by 3%. For example, the current tax levied on a property with a value of up to £125,000 is 0%. From the 1st April 2016 that will increase to 3%.

The final details of the change will be announced in the Chancellor’s March budget which is expected on the 16th March 2016.

In order to avoid the increased charge any property purchases must complete by midnight on 31st March 2016.

The Government consultation proposes that even if a person is buying together with somebody else, providing one of those persons already owns a property the increased tax will still apply.

There are some exceptions to the rule. Stamp duty will not be payable on any properties costing less than £40,000 or on caravans, mobile homes or houseboats. Charities and registered social landlords will be exempt and the Government is also proposing to exempt companies owning more than 15 properties.

The changes will affect prospective buyers intending to purchase a property for their child/children. Tax will not be payable if the property is purchased in the child/children’s name outright and providing that the child/children do not own any other properties.

The Government consultation has provided a flow diagram highlighting who may be affected by the changes:

Any prospective second home purchasers will be keen to ensure that their transactions complete before the deadline.

Whether you are a first time buyer or a property investor JNP Legal can assist you. If you’re looking to buy or sell any kind of property, our thorough conveyancing services can help to make the process as easy as possible whilst eliminating the risk of encountering any nasty surprises further down the road.

Our conveyancing team will be happy to provide you with a quotation over the telephone or via email. Our quotes cover all the payments involved in the conveyancing process without any hidden extras or paying referral fees to a third party.

Contact us on 01443 454913 and ask for Rhiannon or Eirian who can deal with any enquiries you may have. Our conveyancing team’s e-mail address is – House@jnplegal.org.