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This week’s roundup includes news of a rise in UK house prices, a pay rise for 150,000 voluntary living wage staff, the widespread use of secret tax havens for the super wealthy and the Base Rate increase having a positive impact for some savers.

Base Rate rise ‘leads to early benefits for some savers’

Savers with the Nationwide, the TSB, the Yorkshire Building Society and the Skipton are set to be among the first to benefit from the rise in Base Rates.

According to the Yorkshire, all savers on variable rate accounts will receive the full increase of 0.25%, and the same will apply to the Yorkshire’s two other building societies - the Chelsea and Norwich & Peterborough.

The Nationwide has already promised to increase rates by 0.25% for all those who received a cut in August 2016, and savers with the TSB will see a rise of 0.15%. The Skipton said savings rates would rise by the full 0.25% from 5th December, while savers in the building society’s cash Lifetime ISA will see the rate go up from 0.5% to 0.75% on the same date.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said he expects all providers to increase returns for savers after the Bank’s Base Rate was increased from 0.25% to 0.5% - representing the first rise in 10 years. He said: “Banks did pass on the cuts to their depositors, and we expect competition to push it in the other direction. Obviously we will watch it closely.”

UK house prices ‘continuing to rise’

House prices in the UK have risen strongly and will continue on a path of growth in the coming months. This is according to Halifax, which said house prices increased by 4.5% in October, up from 4% in September, representing the fastest rise since February.

The lender pointed to cheap mortgages and high employment rates, which have continued to support house prices in recent months. It said that last week’s rise in Base Rates was also unlikely to dampen the market.

It brings the average price of a UK house to a new record high of £225,826.

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax Community Bank, said: “We do not anticipate the Base Rate rise will be a barrier to buying a house.”

150,000 voluntary living wage staff set for pay rise

More than 150,000 workers whose employers are signed up to the voluntary living wage rate are set to get a pay rise. The voluntary rate will rise by 45p to £10.20 an hour for individuals living in London, and 30p to £8.75 across the rest of the UK.

Around 3,600 businesses are currently signed up to the scheme, which is separate to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage, including Google and IKEA. The scheme is currently promoted by the Living Wage Foundation campaign group.

The National Living Wage, introduced in April 2016 for employees aged 25 and above, is currently set at £7.50 an hour. Those under 25 are still paid the lower National Minimum Wage.

Living Wage Foundation Director Katherine Chapman said: “In-work poverty is today’s story [...] The new living wage rates will bring relief for thousands of UK workers being squeezed by stagnant wages and rising inflation.”

Paradise Papers reveal tax haven secrets of super wealthy

A leak of financial documents has revealed how powerful and super wealthy individuals secretly invest vast amounts of their estate in offshore tax havens. The so-called Paradise Papers contain 13.4 million documents, mostly deriving from one leading firm in offshore finance.

Obtained by German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, the Paradise Papers follow last year’s Panama Papers leak, which exposed a number of high-profile politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals using a number of complex structures of trusts, foundations and shell companies to protect their money from tax officials.

While the vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing, the German publication has called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to oversee an investigation into the dealings.

The Paradise Papers showed that around £10 million of the Queen’s private money was invested offshore, having been put into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with an income and handles investments for her £500 million private estate.

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