From: Greg Hands M.P. news@greghands.com Subject: News Bulletin from Greg Hands M.P.

#399 Date: 31 March 2014 14:46 To: news@greghands.com

In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: The Fulham Society Greg Hands welcomes new measures to help savers in Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands welcomes George Osborne’s Pensions Revolution Kensington & Chelsea state schools are the best in London Businesses in Hammersmith & Fulham get up to £3,000 for High Speed Broadband H&F and K&C scoop Innovation Award for working together to cut costs Extended Hours for local noise and nuisance services ! How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 399 - Monday 31st March 2014

Since the last edition, Greg:
Voted for George Osborne’s ground-breaking 2014 Budget, in the House of Commons. For more on the Budget measures for pensions and savings, see below. Labour voted against the Budget. Organised the parliamentary debate on the Government’s Welfare Cap. Attended a two day conference in Cambridge of the Koenigswinter group of UK & German politicians, journalists, industrialists and commentators. The highlight was a panel featuring George Osborne and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Carried out his duties as the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip. Held a regular, weekly, advice surgery for local Chelsea and Fulham residents, at Fulham Library, on Fulham Road, close to Parsons Green tube. Greg’s surgeries are generally weekly, on Monday mornings, at either Fulham Library, or Peter Jones, Sloane Square, Chelsea. To make an appointment, email mail@greghands.com or telephone 020 7219 5448.

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Website of the Week:

www.fulhamsociety.org
The website of the Fulham Society, the non-political amenity group dedicated to preserving and enhancing Fulham. Greg is the Society’s Vice-President. Why not join us?

Greg Hands welcomes new measures to help savers in Chelsea and Fulham
Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, has welcomed new help announced in the Budget for savers. The Budget those wanting to save for a home, save for their family or their retirement by making ISAs simpler and abolishing starting rate of tax for savings. dramatic will help save for the 10p

ISAs, or Individual Savings Accounts, are tax free savings accounts available to UK residents aged over 16. The amount that can be deposited into them each year is restricted, currently to £11,520 (or half that if cash).The Budget will make ISAs simpler, merging the cash ISA and stocks & shares ISA into a single New ISA, with an increased annual limit of £15,000. This reform will dramatically help savers by increasing the simplicity, flexibility and generosity of ISAs. 24 million people in Britain have an ISA and millions of people would like to save more. By increasing the annual limit from £11,520 to £15,000 Government will let these people save more tax free, and by allowing savers to transfer all of the ISAs they already have from stocks and shares into cash, or the other way around, saving will be made more flexible. This new, more generous ISA will be available from 1 July. It will make saving simpler and more flexible. 808,000 ISA holders in London could benefit from the New ISA. The Budget also announced the abolition of the 10p starting rate of tax for savings income. The 10p starting rate for saving income was difficult to levy and penalised low income savers. The Government will therefore abolish it and turn it into a zero pence rate – so there will be no tax on those savings whatsoever. This zero-pence band will be almost doubled to cover the first £5,000 of saving income. This will benefit 1.5 million low income savers. Additionally the Budget increased the amount you can put into a Child Trust Fund or Junior ISA to £4,000. This will help people who want to save for their children’s future. Commenting Greg Hands said: “Savers have had a hard time in recent years and it’s time we helped them out. That’s why whether you want to save for a home, save for your family or save for your retirement, this is a Budget for you. These radical changes will help boost economic security for people who work hard and save hard – and show that the Conservative-led Government is on your side.”

Greg Hands welcomes George Osborne’s Pensions Revolution
Greg Hands MP has welcomed measures in the Budget that will help Chelsea and Fulham residents who work hard and save for their retirement. The Budget was voted through by the House of Commons on 25th March 2014, and contained far-reaching reforms to give people more freedom over their pension pots. The Budget also included the creation of a new pensioner bond to help deliver financial security for pensioners. The Budget 2014 gave new pensioners more freedom, through the most extensive reform of pension taxation in a century. 13 million people have defined contribution schemes, but under the old system people with these schemes faced a punitive 55 per cent tax if they chose to draw down their pension pot on retirement. Therefore, most people had little option but to take out an annuity, even though annuity rates have fallen by a half over the last 15 years. From April 2015, however, this will change, thanks to changes made by George Osborne and the Conservatives. No one will have to buy an annuity if they don’t want to. Instead, retirees will be able to take a larger cash lump sum to invest, or otherwise spend, as they see best. Those who still want the certainty of an annuity can shop around for the best deal. There will be no punitive 55 per cent tax rate, if people try and take more than their tax free lump sum. It will still be possible to take 25 per cent of a pension pot tax free on retirement. But anything taken above the tax free lump sum will be taxed at normal marginal tax rates – not 55 per cent, as at the moment. For most people this means they would be taxed at the basic rate of 20 per cent. Additionally, a new guarantee, in law, will mean everyone who retires on these schemes will be offered free, impartial, face-to-face advice. This will make sure people get support on how to get the most from their pension and the choices they take. The Budget also creates a new pensioner bond to help currently retired savers get a better return on their savings income, and that will offer retired savers a return that is better than anything pensioners can get now. The rate will be set in the autumn, but the assumption is that a 3-year bond will pay returns at 4 per cent a year. The bond will be available to pensioners from January 2015. It will help support those who rely on their savings income in retirement. Commenting Greg Hands said: “There are some 12,000 pensioners living in my constituency of Chelsea and Fulham, as well as over 21,000 people aged over 45, who are due to retire in the next 20 years. Many pensioners have seen their incomes fall as a consequence of the low interest rates prevailing in Britain that have supported the recovering economy. It’s time Britain helped its retirees in return. These radical changes will give pensioners more freedom over their pensions and will help deliver economic security for those retiring. We are backing people who have worked hard and saved hard.” The 2014 Budget was just the most recent in a line of measures that the Conservative led Government has introduced to help workers maximise their pensions. One of the most important of these is the introduction of Automatic Enrolment, which means all employers must automatically enrol employees in a qualifying pension scheme. As a result, since October 2012, more than 3 million workers have been automatically enrolled in a pension. Greg added: “Through our previous impotents in the pension system we have secured a basic income for pensioners. Now we are letting them choose what to do with the money they’ve saved. We want to give people more freedom and flexibility, rather than patronise savers by telling them they don’t know how to use their pension pot. It is telling, that in his response to the Budget speech, Ed Miliband did not mention the word ‘pensions’. Not once. Labour had no response to the Budget – they have no plan for Britain.”

Kensington & Chelsea state schools are the best in London
Schools in the Royal Borough are amongst the best performing in London according to a report by Ofsted which rated 59 per cent of the borough's Council maintained secondary and primary schools as `outstanding' - the highest of four category ratings. The statistics, released by the Cabinet Office, show that only the City of London was ahead of Kensington and Chelsea, it scored 100 per cent for the one primary school it had inspected. A further 30 per cent of the Royal Borough's schools were rated `good' and none were rated inadequate. Harrow came third with 51 per cent of its schools rated as `outstanding' in the league table of London boroughs' schools. Cllr Emma Will, the Royal Borough's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "This is great news and reflects our recent excellent GCSE, A level and Key Stage 2 results. We are very proud of our schools and always strive for the highest standards."

Businesses in Hammersmith & Fulham get up to £3,000 for High Speed Broadband
Your business could get up to £3k for a faster broadband connection, usually of 30Mbit/s or more. Here’s some of the stuff you’ll be able to do: Work in the cloud Flexible storage means your business won’t need to buy server hardware when growing Your staff can access all files and applications on the go, so easier to work when and where they need to All your files are backed up, so disaster recovery won’t be a crisis. Really quick data transfer Customer and supplier management systems will work better and be more accessible. Send big files quickly and securely, allowing data hungry companies to benefit the most Super speedy connection Enjoy reliable videoconferencing and make the most of the web Increase productivity, everything you use online will work more quickly and reliably every day. Interested? The next step is to apply for a connection voucher. Department for Culture, Media and Sport is making available up to £100 million to SMEs across 22 UK cities. The scheme in the capital is being delivered by Mayor of London and local boroughs including Hammersmith & Fulham. You can find out more about the scheme on the connection vouchers website. The voucher can also be used for a dedicated business grade broadband service. If you’re not sure of your current business broadband speed, you can check it at: www.speedtest.net.

H&F and K&C scoop Innovation Award for working together to cut costs
Three of the country's low-tax councils have won national recognition for their innovation in making budget savings. By sharing services and reducing management and back-office costs, Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are on target to make £43 million of efficiency savings every year from 2015 onwards. It means all three councils have been able to weather the reductions in council budgets while still improving services. And they have been able to do it while maintaining three of the four lowest council tax levels in the country. That singular achievement has resulted in all three councils together landing the Local Government Chronicle award for public partnerships. Announcing the winner yesterday, the judges said the tri-borough initiative "is replicable and is saving lots of money whilst retaining and developing services... This example of public sector partnership demonstrates that if three large councils can do it, there should be no stopping other local authorities." Hammersmith & Fulham Council has just announced the biggest council tax cut in the country. The 3% reduction this year means bills are now 20% lower than eight years ago and are the third cheapest in the UK. Westminster has the lowest council tax in the country and Kensington and Chelsea's bills are fourth lowest. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, says; "It was rewarding to hear the judges recognised the scale of work needed to make these huge savings while also keeping tax bills low. It also helps to keep the momentum going to hear them say that if we can do it, other councils could benefit from our experience. For us, it's Hammersmith & Fulham residents who really matter, but if people in other parts of the country could also see bills cut through their councils sharing services, that would be wonderful."

Extended Hours for local noise and nuisance services
From Tuesday 1 April 2014 the teams dedicated to dealing with noise and nuisance complaints in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham Council will be merging to form one bi-borough service. As a result of this residents in Kensington and Chelsea will now be able to contact officers up until 3am from Monday to Wednesday and 5am from Thursday to Sunday. There will also be more officers on duty in the borough at weekends. Councillor Tim Ahern, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said: "Noisy parties or inconsiderate neighbours can cause real annoyance and distress so I am very pleased that we have been able to extend the time the noise and nuisance service can be contacted and to have more staff available on the weekends at no additional cost to residents." If you need to contact the Royal Borough's Noise and Nuisance service please call 020 7361 3002.

5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
By Phone: By email: By post: In person: 020 7219 5448 mail@greghands.com Greg Hands M.P. House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Greg Hands M.P.’s weekly surgery

www.greghands.com

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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
Published & Promoted by Jonathan Fraser-Howells on behalf of Greg Hands M.P., both of 1a Chelsea Manor Street, London SW3 5RP

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