The vast majority of firms say they have insufficient assets to meet their pension promises

Nine in ten gold-plated pension schemes are at risk of closure as their combined deficit reached a record high, according to figures published by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The PPF is the body created to bail-out bankrupt pension schemes, and it has revealed a ‘black hole’ of £219bn facing almost 7,800 final salary schemes.

A break from the long-standing principle that an individual receives tax relief on their pension contributions at their highest marginal rate

The chancellor announced during the Budget that from April 2011 the highest level of tax relief will be restricted for those earning more than £150,000 a year, and it will disappear altogether for those with income over £180,000.

Don’t overlook your most important assets

Many businesses recognise the need to insure their company property, equipment and fixed assets. However, they continually overlook their most important assets – the people who drive the business.

The highlights at a glance

Loss-making companies can reclaim taxes paid on profits made in the past three years to November 2010.

Extension of scheme allowing businesses to defer tax bills.

Chancellor increases tax rate on high earners’

The chancellor Alistair Darling unveiled plans during his second Budget speech on April 22, that he would increase taxes for the highest paid, rein in public spending and substantially increase borrowing to restore the public finances.

Reduce the cost of your single biggest debt

The technical definition of a recession is when the economy has shrunk for at least six months, as measured by negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for two successive quarters. There is often debate about when precisely an economy is in recession, as it is possible for certain business sectors such as manufacturing to be in recession when other sectors aren’t.

Welcome news for savers who have seen their savings income fall

Individual Savings Account (ISA) limits have been increased from £7,200 to £10,200, following the chancellor Alistair Darlings Budget 2009 announcement. The news that will be very welcomed by savers who have seen their savings income fall due to repeated cuts to the UK base rate in the past nine months.

You’ll still be able to claim credits towards the basic state pension even if you’re providing childcare

Grandparents who look after their grandchildren so that the parents can go out to work will be able to claim credits towards the basic state pension.

New penalties if you are late in notifying HMRC that you have commenced self-employment

A change in the penalty you will pay if you are late in notifying HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that you have commenced self-employment was introduced from April 6.

Were you a winner or a loser?

The chancellor Alistair Darling unveiled plans during his second Budget speech to increase taxes for the highest paid, rein in public spending and substantially increase borrowing to restore the public finances.

Do you need to sharpen your business focus?

The economic downturn has sharpened the focus of all business managers and owners, especially in the area of managing cashflow. Paradoxically, the profits generated from the success achieved in a previous year, could cause significant cashflow problems when it comes to paying a future corporation tax liability. So here are some areas you could consider to make your corporate life somewhat less stressful.

Cost-effective solutions for today’s challenging business environment

Implementing a successful employee benefits package should not only enable your business to meet its legal obligations in respect of making pension schemes available, it could also help to increase your successes when looking to recruit the best people.

Help for viable firms with cashflow problems

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a Business Payment Support Service, based on its existing “time to pay” scheme, that will listen “sympathetically” to requests from viable firms with cashflow problems. The agency has hired 60 extra staff to its 600-strong debt team and is planning to receive up to 3,000 calls an hour.

Reduction in subscription times

The government has accepted the recommendations of a working party made up of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Treasury to make rights issues quicker and simpler.

Broad support for many of the initiatives announced

The package of measures for business unveiled by Chancellor Alistair Darling during his second Pre-Budget Report last November, included a postponement to increase corporation tax for small firms, the creation of a fund for small business borrowing and a reduction in the rate of VAT.