Despite the relatively benign economic impact to date the impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU has had a big impact on uncertainty among businesses. Add that to a mix of higher costs, weak domestic growth and lacklustre consumer demand and it’s clear that optimism has been dampened among British small businesses.

The Federation of Small Businesses said confidence among members fell to four year low of -2.5 in the last quarter of 2017 (Pension).Against this backdrop the Mail explores how personal pensions could help fund small businesses by an injection of capital. Pension-led funding and it is an option available to business bosses who have either a self-invested personal pension (Sipp) or a small self-administered scheme valued above £50,000 (Pension).

ISA slump

Cash Isas have been a popular go-to savings account for people who are looking to take advantage of their tax-free allowance, but since the Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.5 per cent in March 2009 cash Isa rates and savings rates generally have dwindled. With a historic low of 0.93 per cent returns, Cash Isas experienced their worst year on record in 2017, with average returns at In contrast, the average stocks and shares Isa returned 11.75 per cent. Until either the personal savings allowance is withdrawn or challenger banks shake things up don’t expect much to change.

Income Investing for 2018

Real interest rates globally are hovering around historic lows and although the Bank of England has for the first time in a decade moved interest rates up by 25 basis points, the underlying economic fundamentals indicate that this hike is likely to be a one-off and that rates are expected to remain well below historic norms for the foreseeable future. Against this backdrop The Telegraph looks at the options to achieve meaningful returns without unduly compromising levels of risk within a portfolio. Key Sectors to look at for dividend growth this year are: mining, banking, insurance, oils and gas, tobacco, utilities, consumer staples and pharmaceuticals.

House prices to flatline

While house price growth stayed positive last year (despite the negative mood music) the harbingers of doom (experts) believe that won’t be repeated in 2018, as the twin spectres of Brexit and rising interest rates put the brakes on the property market. Most are warning homeowners to prepare for an underwhelming and subdued 2018, with a number of leading commentators predicting UK house prices will either stay flat or perhaps rise by 1% or so. The FT points out that if growth stays below inflation for the next three years house prices will, though, will revert to their historical averages… which might not be a terrible thing.

Over 65s drive UK spending

U.K. household spending — excluding mortgage payments — rose to £554.20 pounds per week in 2017, climbing back to pre-crisis levels of more than a decade ago for the first time, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics – that’s an increase from £533 the previous year. Transport accounted for the biggest proportion of expenditure at £79, more than housing and recreation. Both transport and recreation rose by more than £5 a week each. Of note, 65-74 year olds spent more than double than under 30’s on culture and recreation (a fifth of their disposable income).

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