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Our roundup this week includes confirmation that Theresa May will trigger Article 50 to formally begin Britain's divorce from the EU at the end of this month, debates between MPs on whether to introduce a cap on car insurance for young drivers, new findings showing that the cost of a house is now seven times that of the average annual income, and new figures revealing that the average household income crept up last year. 


Article 50 to be triggered on March 29

The UK will formally begin its divorce from the European Union (EU) next week when Article 50 is triggered on Wednesday March 29. Downing Street has confirmed that this is when Prime Minister Theresa May will write a letter to the European Council to notify the EU of the UK's withdrawal.

The move will launch two years of negotiations between the UK and the EU. These talks will include the terms of the UK's exit and future relations between the two.

Talks could begin in May and the EU has said it is ready to begin the negotiations, with European Council President Donald Tusk to send his draft negotiating guidelines to the other 27 member states within 48 hours of receiving the letter. 

MPs discuss young drivers insurance cap

Young drivers have been given hope that a cap could soon be introduced regarding the amount they are required to pay for car insurance. MPs are debating whether to bring in a maximum limit of £1,200 a year for motorists aged 18 to 25 after an e-petition on the matter attracted 185,000 signatures.

All e-petitions that are signed by more than 100,000 people have to be considered for a debate in Parliament; however, these type of petitions are for discussion-only, and so MPs will not have the authority to impose such a cap themselves.

The debate coincides with a change introduced by the government to the injury compensation rules, which mean that insurers will be required to pay out more to accident victims but which could, in turn, lead to insurers raising premiums. 

Cost of a house '7 times annual income'

The cost of a house for the average worker is now more than seven times their annual earnings, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

According to the ONS, a widening of the affordability gap has led to the typical cost of a property climbing to 7.6 times average annual earnings of employees in England and Wales. The figures revealed that while buyers were required to pay an average of 7.2 times their annual salary ten years ago in 2007, this number climbed to 7.4 times in 2015 and 7.6 times last year.

DWP: Average household incomes edged up in 2016

New figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have shown that average household incomes edged up last year. The data revealed that, after adjusting for inflation, the typical household income rose by 1.4% in 2015-16.

It was shown that incomes have increased more markedly for those of pensionable age compared to those of working age over the past decade, with a 10% rise for pensioners recorded since 2007-08. However, it was also revealed that 14% of pensioner households remain on low incomes.


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