Roll on Summer! The unusually cold and wet spring hasn’t dampened our spirits – we’ve had a busy start to our year, and now a careful return to opening our office to client meetings brings real joy to be able to see you again.
The budget headlines have faded with time as it held few surprises for our post-pandemic, post-Brexit recovery with glimpses of optimistic schemes to nudge the economy forward. The race is now on for home buyers to complete before the Stamp Duty holiday (on the initial £500K threshold) runs out on 30th June. That threshold will reduce to £250K from July through to the end of September. This gift from Her Majesty’s Government saw house prices rise by 10.2%, the highest annual growth rate for 14 years.
All of this is keeping the Office for National Statistics quite busy, including the release of data on inflation doubling from March (0.7%) to April (1.5%). Consumer prices driven up sharply by gas, electricity, petrol, clothing and footwear, to name a few, has economists concerned that soaring inflation could result in central banks raising interest rates. However, consumers appear keen to spend post lockdown and vaccination so there’s little hope of putting the brakes on just yet. Financial markets don’t particularly like inflation, so your fund managers are keeping an eye on this and the effects this might have on your portfolios.
Good news does trickle through. Those working from home made significant savings by not commuting and buying that £4 caramel Frappuccino every day. It was the first time many of them had actually been able to save. Good for those who are saving, less so for the hard-hit hospitality industry that will see more than 10% of establishments close their doors.
Closer to home, we had mentioned that we’re working on re-branding and creating a new website. It’s been a longer journey than we expected, but we hope you’ll agree that it’s been worth it. Using client feedback and our own observations, we’ve been updating our documentation and processes so that your experience of Headley is enhanced. It won’t be much longer before we launch and we can’t wait to hear what you think of our new look!
Our investment in the next generation of planners continues. We are very proud to work with Alton College to sponsor a Scholarship for Excellence in Economics. Our two recipients are A level students with a passion for the subject and have written to update us on their studies and share how they have benefitted. Using the money to purchase books and other study materials or IT to enable online classes during lockdown has helped ease the economic burden and keep them focused on reaching top universities to study Economics. We have always been passionate about our subject and believe as an employer we have a responsibility to provide training and mentoring to young people. Currently 25% of our staff are on training programmes that will result in a recognised professional qualification and these, along with the scholars, are the future. We plan to be here for many years to come.
We look forward to talking with you over the year ahead and hope as the weather improves you can feel the benefit of the new freedoms and look forward to a very different 12 months.