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The International Monetary Fund has until now provided an estimate of 188 billion dollars to those nations and regions hit by devastation and crisis since 2008, including Greece which has been offered a massive amount of 40 billion dollars to meet its financial woes. The European community as appealed to the IMF to provide...

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Brexit – The New Scottish Debt Epidemic

The whole topic of Brexit has caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty for people all across the UK. Whether you’re for or against,...

The Brexit Effect – Is The Northern Ireland Economy at Risk?

No matter what side of the political fence you stand on, Brexit negotiations and the uncertainty surrounding it will affect millions of households all...


Brexit – The New Scottish Debt Epidemic

The whole topic of Brexit has caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty for people...

The Brexit Effect – Is The Northern Ireland Economy at Risk?

No matter what side of the political fence you stand on, Brexit negotiations and the...
Student money

10 Money Saving Tips for College Students

Joining as a freshman in college can tend to be overwhelming sometimes. You have to...


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Brexit – The New Scottish Debt Epidemic

The whole topic of Brexit has caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty for people all across the UK. Whether you’re for or against, there’s a lot of questions that need to be addressed. One sector that is of particular concern to many in the financial industry is Scotland’s debt epidemic. Did you know that Scotland has nearly £15 billion of debt, and this deficit is nearly twice the size of UK debt (excluding Scotland), when taken into consideration? Official figures published in recent years have affected one of the key arguments by the SNP that favour national independence. For the first time in more than 35 years, figures have shown that Scotland has generated lower tax per person when compared to the rest of the UK. Although there isn’t a significant difference, the change is important because former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has previously stated that Scotland’s higher tax receipts should support the push for independence, this was during the 2014 referendum campaign. Political opposition of the SNP stated that the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland figures were published two weeks before the date of the country being independent if it had voted to leave the Union, showcase how “devastating” a ‘yes’ vote would be. The figures outline the effect of decreasing North Sea oil revenues on Scotland’s finances display that Scotland’s deficit reached £14.9bn in 2014/15, an increase of more than £1.5bn compared to £13.4bn from the previous financial year. These figures account for 9.7% of Scotland’s GDP, when compared to that of the overall UK deficit of 4.9% of GDP. Scotland raised less tax per person in comparison to the UK average, and spent more than £1,400 per person compared to the rest of the UK as a whole.
  • Scotland tax spend per person: £12,800
  • UK average tax raised per person: £11,400
These stats are often used to fuel debates about Scotland’s potential for becoming independent from the rest of the UK. Although this considers public sector debt, many households are still concerned about consumer debt within the financial industry. With Scotland’s debt potentially rising to £50bn by 2020, this will be an alarmingly high record. High consumer spending has led more and more individuals to turn to personal loans, pay day loans, credit cards, store cards, catalogues, and larger overdrafts than ever before. For those in council tax arrears, they may be faced with a bank account or wage arrestment. The uncertainty around Brexit may leave more people in a potentially difficult financial position, as they may find it difficult to manage their current debt. This will also affect businesses within Scotland too. Debt is collected through a number of different ways in Scotland, in most cases, a debt collection agency will attempt to recover it, county court judgements as well as other legal action taken is another option. However, for some individuals or businesses, a bank account arrestment or wage arrestment (also known as an earnings arrestment) is another option that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Arresting a bank account may mean an individual or business has restricted access, due to it being frozen. A wage arrestment can be used to directly contact a client’s employer and request that a certain percentage automatically be deducted to cover the unpaid debt. This process will continue until the debt has been paid in full. Unfortunately, with everyday living costs rising year over year, the amount taken could be problematic and place someone in financial hardship. For this reason, it’s worth speaking to a wage arrestment expert. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has stated that “the foundation of Scotland’s economy are strong”. Later at a briefing, once official figures had been publicised, she did admit that they show “deterioration” when thinking about the country’s financial situation, this was due to the significant decrease in oil prices at the time. Nicola Sturgeon stressed that the figures must be looked at “in context” before making any conclusions. She went on to say “No country anywhere in the world looks at its fiscal position and makes judgements about it based on one year’s figures. Over the past ten years, the reality is that Scotland’s fiscal position has been broadly similar to that of the rest of the UK.” Opposition parties have stated that these statistics show that Scotland would face a very challenging future if it had voted to leave the Union 18 months prior, they continued to accuse the Scottish National Party of overestimating valuations of North Sea oil, as an attempt to persuade the public back to pro-independence. Scottish Conservatives’ finance spokesman, Murdo Fraser stated that “Had their con succeeded, we would now be only 15 days away from separating the most successful political Union in history in favour of a leap into the dark”. Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale said that “These figures from the SNP Government show once and for all the devastating impact leaving the UK would have had on Scotland’s finances… People were misled by the SNP in the run-up to the referendum and that is unforgivable.” Nicola Sturgeon has said that she would take an “opposite view” and identified that Scotland has contributed £300bn in North Sea oil revenues to the Treasury. She also questioned why UK Government has not developed a Norwegian style oil fund to protect the oil industry in difficult times. “What we are talking about here today is – certainly at least in part – an indictment of the mismanagement by the UK of Scotland’s finances and our oil revenues in particular,” Nicola Sturgeon. Scottish Government has an annual budget of around £30bn, but this amount is not enough due to a spending spree on schools, roads, railways, higher education and hospitals. A Scottish Government spokesman added that “Public sector debt and affordability are key responsibilities for all the public sector. The Scottish Government is committed to sustainable levels of public sector debt – our approach is to use revenue funded methods of investment at a sustainable level while not overly constraining our choices in future years.” As we find out more, we hope to keep you updated on Brexit related news and the UK economy as a whole.      

The Brexit Effect – Is The Northern Ireland Economy at Risk?

No matter what side of the political fence you stand on, Brexit negotiations and the uncertainty surrounding it will affect millions of households all across the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.

The Irish economy continues to grow; however, this could be threatened depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations. The Central Bank has stated that the level of both public and household debt is a concern.

The Central Bank’s first Macro-Financial Review of 2018 indicates the domestic economy is “growing substantially’, however, this has a lot of potential risks associated with it. The organisation’s assessment considers all progress made to reduce both private and public debt and non-performing loans (NPLs) within the financial sector.

Ireland’s economy’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to increase by 4.8% in 2018, and 4.2% in 2019. The review notes that “business sentiment has been improving over recent quarters and increased building and construction is contributing to investment growth”. The report also highlights that, while Brexit is “a key risk to the Irish economy, there’s also a concern that as the economy approaches full employment, upward pressure on wages and skills shortages, as well as infrastructure deficiencies, could threaten competitiveness”. Furthermore, changes affecting international corporate tax rates may hinder overseas investment as well as economic performance.

The Central Bank’s review also highlights the following Brexit-related risks that could potentially harm the Irish economy:

• Both domestic businesses and households are likely to delay any investment decisions until there is a clear trading relationship with the UK. • UK and Irish economic growth could affect Irish bank loans due to Brexit related slowdowns. • Irish banks could face potential challenges when looking to issue debt through the UK. • UK insurance companies may potentially no longer be able to trade in Ireland, this will affect competitiveness and limit the number of available products.

Household and public debt levels

There are a number of other associated risks to the wider economy and financial system, in relation to household and public debt. These include the following:

• International financial market valuations of assets – some have been overestimated and are vulnerable to market sentiment change. • Increased growth in residential property prices. • Property related lending in relation to bank exposure. • Large levels of public and household debt – household debt is the 4th largest amount within the EU. • A small number of companies account for a large share of corporation tax – changes in the political landscape could leave the country exposed financially. • Many international companies bring a large level of direct foreign investment to Ireland, changes in international tax agreements by the EU and the US would pose a threat.


The Macro-Financial Review highlights that the household sector has benefited from an improvement to labour market conditions and low interest rates. However, Irish households, like many other countries, remain highly indebted and could be affected by the following:

• Employment • Household income • Significant changes to Interest rates

Total mortgage lending has become more stable after a long construction duration; however, the use of consumer credit is increasing. Those who are struggling with personal loans, pay day loans, credit cards, catalogues and overdrafts are recommend to contact Refresh Debt Service, the company provides expert impartial advice and guidance.

The report states that “A large number of households remain in late-stage arrears.” Rent and residential property prices are seeing strong growth, a shortage of available residential properties is just one contributing factor. Although construction activity has been increasing, the availability of new properties still remains far below housing demand levels. The number of mortgage accounts in arrears continues to decrease.

As changes take place in relation to Brexit and the overall health of the UK economy, we hope to keep you updated.

10 Money Saving Tips for College Students

Student money
Joining as a freshman in college can tend to be overwhelming sometimes. You have to hustle between classes, assignments, social life and education. Adding to all those are the weight of the tuition cost, housing costs and other expense that is bound to lighten your wallet and bank account. Here are specific handy tips for students at University that can help them tackle this issue of unnecessary spending while not setting aside any for savings.

Borrow, don’t buy

Instead of whiling away the limited money you have on Netflix to watch movies and your favorite series or read your favorite books online. Take advantage and maximize the utility of movie catalogs and magazines available in the college.

Pack a snack

For those hectic days where you may have to sit long hours in college, pack your meals and drinks rather than paying for a higher-priced version of them available in the college. Pack of snack

Stay for refills

Use your time wisely, knowledge and financial wise. Instead of getting top dollar coffees to go, stay and socialize or work as there are specific spots that do provide refills on drinks, having you drink coffee for free while saving cash.

Eat together with friends

Have coordinated meal plans on certain days with your friends where you can pitch in together small amounts of cash to get large amounts of food.

Use coupons

Availing coupons in hand does help save money as they contain certain large amounts of cash or discount available on purchases that end up spending little or no money at all. Always remember to use coupons when in hand.

Work and save

Seek jobs that provide pay accompanied by benefits. Ideal part-time jobs are those that offer reasonable compensation with perks like free food to employees, ending you up with more money and cut down on unnecessary expenses.

Find the free

Be aware of college events that offer free food and drinks as well as restaurants and other eateries that offer student discounts on meals.

Reuse and recycle

Sell off your old clothes and anything you don’t wear for making an easy buck. You can do this by being active in online communities that sell and buy clothes, furniture, book, and other items.

Shop at a dollar store

You can save a lot by shopping in dollar stores. You can seek and purchase cleansers, supplies, and medicines for a fraction of their price.

Stick to your budget

Make time to calculate your income and expenses weekly or monthly and then set a sensible budget plan that is comfortable for you and helps you stick to it.

Eight Tips to Help You Stick to Your Budget

  1. Keep it real

If you give yourself a budget of say 100 dollars, try to remain within the budget instead of winding up spending up to more than three times that figure. Even if you give in to your temptations, do not let it all go, try to meet the budget in the middle by not overly exceeding the limit. The closer you plan and act according to your budget, the more likely are to stick to it and make it a reality instead of theoretical emphasis.
  1. Set up auto draft

This is a relatively easy and straightforward way to tackle your temptation of spending over and beyond budget on anything that lures you, whether it may be delicious food, beautiful clothes or a fancy drink. By setting up an auto draft, your money goes straight into your car fund or Christmas fund directly aiding your aim of establishing long-term fund saving.
  1. Plan your meals

Instead of going on a food frenzy, plan your meals for the week. Plan on what you want to eat for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Being prioritized and focused can help you from spending large amounts for cash for a quick meal.
  1. Break it up

When you have plans to watch new movies, plays and indulge in other sorts of entertainment, do not forget to break up your money earned and set a specific amount for each week. This is a smart manner in dealing from blowing your money off in the first week and enables you to watch every cinema you wanted to see that month or week.
  1. Consult your social calendar

You will have significant social events coming up on your schedule. Birthdays, retirements, anniversaries and those sorts of activities will need a certain amount of money. You can plan accordingly by building budgets for your social events by keeping track of them in your schedule or calendar.
  1. Wait it out

When you find you want that particular jacket, but you don’t have the fund for it, you should take a deep breath and tell yourself you will get it next month. By the time you earn your next paycheck, you will either get better items to purchase or outgrow it.
  1. Drop the credit card

Do not fall into credit card traps. It is an addictive but dangerous method of payment as it allows you to purchase any item of desire and pay only after a few weeks. But when the bill comes due, it is often unbearable to look at the figure causing panic and havoc. An easy tip to tackle this issue would be to drop your credit card and focus on cash and debit card payments that are bound to keep you in check.
  1. Use a budget buddy

When you find yourself consistently overspending, seek help from an account oriented person that can help you create an ideal budget for you and help you with professional advice when you need it.

A no-deal Brexit could cause energy prices to skyrocket

Exiting the European Union will have many positive and negative effects on the UK economy, some big, some small. Energy is one of those areas due to be affected by the political landscape from March 2019.

One major concern for the UK population, aside from currency fluctuations and job security, is rising energy prices. Millions of residents have already faced two rounds of price hikes this year due to rising wholesale prices for gas and electricity. Any additional costs would certainly have a negative impact on household finances. This uncertainty around the energy market is leading more people to question what energy tariff they should be selecting when they compare energy prices.

Right now, part of your energy bill helps to invest in renewable energy sources and facilitate the research of energy improvements, to meet green energy and pollution targets that are set by the European Union. These targets could potentially differ when the UK is set to leave. It is extremely unlikely that they would be scrapped, there is a possibility that initiatives to increase green energy and reduce pollution could potentially be scaled upwards, which may lead to an additional outlay on customers’ bills. Here’s how Brexit could also increase the cost of household and business energy bills:

  • Reduction in EU investment
  • Leaving the EU Emission Trading System
  • No replacement or solution for Euratom
  • Rising transportation costs

The Big Six are likely to be less affected by this change, in comparison to many smaller energy firms in the UK. This is by way of their financial power to absorb fluctuating wholesale prices and currency exchange rates should they wish to do so. Only British Gas and SSE are UK-owned. EDF is French, Scottish Power is owned by Spanish firm Iberdrola, and Npower and Eon are German.

A ‘no deal’ scenario currently remains unlikely when the UK is due to leave the European Union. A fair outcome needs to be negotiated as soon as possible. As negotiations progress, the government will still be required to have a contingency plan for any final eventuality, this includes a ‘no deal’ scenario. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the UK government has been working to ensure there is a plan in place for ‘day 1 in all scenarios…’.

It’s imperative for the UK government to inform residents and businesses what they will be required to do if there was a ‘no deal’ scenario, to help them prepare for the road ahead.

The UK’s gas and electricity trade with the EU27 has an annual value of around £6billion. Natural gas equates to 80% of this. The UK currently imports gas from EU27, but is far more reliant on gas imports from Norway. Right now, electricity is imported from Ireland, France, and Netherlands. These imports account for around 7.5% of the UK’s total consumption. If new interconnector capacity is delivered under new plans, this will likely increase.

UK wholesale prices for electricity are generally higher than those in the EU27. Leading this energy charge is the capital city, London. It is estimated that around 25% of all oil trading across the world takes place in this city. Clearing services, energy derivatives, and physical trading for gas and electricity markets in the EU also takes place in the United Kingdom.

InterContinental Exchange (ICE), based in London, is a leading global energy exchange and trading hub for European energy. London participates in a vital role to determine the energy market reference price.

All European Union rules for energy market regulation will no longer be applicable to the UK, under a ‘no deal’ or a failure to implement trade agreements scenario. All UK based energy operators will no longer be able to participate in the rules that enable physical interconnection of our energy markets.

We’re not suggesting that power to homes will be cut, but the impact could see wholesale electricity prices increase amongst other changes to the energy market. It is worth noting that some government officials have warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could lead to electricity blackouts across Northern Ireland. A shortage of supply and the risk of increasing electricity prices will be a major concern.

The EU does not have a tariff for gas and electricity imports from other WTO members, this means that gas and electricity between the UK and the EU27 would remain tariff-free. Unfortunately, this does not immediately apply to energy plant and materials supply across these borders, these may be subject to a tariff barrier

A solution will need to be found if London wishes to continue to lead the charge for European gas, electricity, oil, and emissions trading under the financial services sector. However, under a ‘no deal’ scenario, UK authorised energy firms may not be able to trade freely within the EU’s Single Market.

At this stage, there is a lot of speculation about what will and will not happen. This will hopefully become clearer as announcements are made while the negotiation process is underway.

How much money does the IMF have?

The International Monetary Fund has until now provided an estimate of 188 billion dollars to those nations and regions hit by devastation and crisis since 2008, including Greece which has been offered a massive amount of 40 billion dollars to meet its financial woes. The European community as appealed to the IMF to provide a more substantial and extensive amount of 310 billion dollars to be offered to Greece to prevent its crisis from crossing its home borders and spreading across other countries. The IMF can deliver up to 1 trillion dollars as its package of loans and credit.

What are the IMF’s sources?

The World Bank’s financial sources can be traced from its member country quotas and subscriptions. These quotas are based and supplied determined on the size of each country’s economy. Among all the member countries, the United States is its largest quota contributor, providing nearly 17 percent of its financial resources, contributing roughly around 54 billion dollars. In recent times, there have been talks and negotiations on the majority of funds contributed and monopoly power gained by the U.S by China and other powerful emerging economies. Dollar

How much does it have currently in its resources?

The International Monetary Fund has about 242 billion dollars in its present pool of financial resources which it can use and give presently as and when needed. For the IMF to mobilize more funds required would take several weeks for it has a lot of procedures and formalities as well.

How much more can the IMF generate?

In addition to the already available 242 billion dollars, the World Bank can initiate and generate an additional amount of 52 billion dollars by activating its reserve crisis fund called NAB or New Arrangements to Borrow. Until recently held in April of this year, the IMF has access to an additional 238 billion dollars by adding 13 new countries as its members. These reserve funds will however only be made available when the countries’ legislatures approve it.

How much can the IMF access from all sources?

The World Bank’s resources are said to reach a record-breaking amount of 850 billion dollars after and when all its member countries have approved and paid money in full since 2008.

Can the IMF sell gold to raise money?

In September of 2009, the member countries had passed a motion in a decision to sell over 400 tonnes of gold which accounts for a total of one-eighth of the IMF’s total gold holdings. This decision was passed to fund the IMF for more extended periods so that it could lend and help developing countries.

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