HOUSEHUNTERS in England and Northern Ireland looking to buy a home usually pay stamp duty on properties over £125,000. But it's £500,000 right now thanks to a stamp duty holiday - so what is stamp duty and how is it calculated? We run-down the rules for stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland, as rates differ for those buying homes in Scotland and Wales . What is stamp duty? Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a lump sum payment most people have to pay when buying a property or land. How much buyers have to fork out varies depending on the price and type of property. A stamp duty holiday was introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic to get the property market moving again. It means there is no stamp duty for properties up to £500,000 until March 31, 2021. But chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday by three months until the end of June. The usual stamp duty rates when there is not a holiday mean first-time buyers … [Read more...] about Stamp duty calculator: how much is it and when does the holiday end?
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As of Tuesday, the German capital is one year into its five-year "rent freeze," and the data collected so far has given both opponents and supporters fuel for their arguments. A survey published last week by property ad portal ImmoScout24 found that while Berlin's average rent has indeed dropped in the past year, by 7.8%, the number of new flats on the market eligible for a rent reduction had dropped too — by some 30%. That has had a major effect on the competition for new apartments, ImmoScout24 said, with an average of 214 people answering each rental advert in January 2021, compared to 128 in the same month last year. Many cities around the world have some kind of rent control measures in place, but Berlin's rent cap law, in effect since February 2020, is unique. It meant that rents for 90% of Berlin's apartments were frozen for five years at the level they were at in June 2019. New rental contracts could not be above that level, and as of November 2020, any existing rents … [Read more...] about Berlin’s revolutionary rent cap — success or flop?
The NHS is facing a legal challenge over its data deal with controversial Silicon Valley firm Palantir, Sky News can reveal. Palantir, which has become notorious for its close ties to security services and immigration agencies in the United States, secured its first ever deal to handle NHS data in March last year for the nominal sum of £1. Legal group Foxglove announced today that it was bringing a court case against the health service to force it to reconsider the contract, which was extended in December 2020 and is now worth £23.5m. Government's failure to publish COVID contracts details was unlawful, High Court rules The lawsuit is the latest challenge over procurement during the pandemic, which has become a highly contentious topic in recent months, with critics accusing the government of favouring its own contacts. It comes as a batch of internal government emails uncovered by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and seen by Sky News reveal that … [Read more...] about NHS facing legal challenge over data deal with controversial Silicon Valley firm Palantir
Reckitt Benckiser has reported record annual sales following high demand for its cleaning products and disinfectants during the coronavirus pandemic. Reckitt Benckiser (RB), which includes the Dettol and Cillit Bang brands in its stable, said group like-for-like sales rose by almost 12% to £14bn during 2020 as consumers sought means to protect themselves from COVID-19 . Its hygiene division saw comparable revenues rise by almost 20% while it also expanded into 40 new markets as production of disinfectant sprays and wipes was ramped up. RB pointed to market share gains for many of its brands, including Durex , and reported that 80% of consumers planned to maintain their purchases of germ protection and disinfection brands. But it predicted group revenues would be flat to slightly higher in the current year as peak demand had been reached - a factor reflected in the share price reaction from investors as the stock was only fractionally up on the day in early … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Dettol-maker cleans up as pandemic demand drives record sales
The maker of top cleaning brands including Dettol and Cillit Bang, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), has reported a recovery in condom sales thanks to relaxed coronavirus restrictions. The FTSE 100 company, which has been among the few winners in the COVID-19 crisis to date thanks to its household hygiene and healthcare products, reported a 9.5% lift in net revenue to £3.5bn during its third quarter. RB said that was mainly driven by continued strong demand for disinfectants - with sales of Dettol-branded sprays, wipes and liquid up more than 50% on the same July-September period last year. Like-for-like sales were almost 20% higher in the company's hygiene business and 12.6% up in its health division, which includes Durex condoms and Mucinex cold medicine. RB had pointed to a sharp drop in demand for condoms during the spring virus lockdowns across Europe. Advertisement But it said on Tuesday: "Following a more challenging first half of the year, … [Read more...] about Coronavirus: Durex enjoys ‘double-digit’ revenue growth in Reckitt Benckiser sales boom