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Entrepreneur scheme extended to boost enterprise

18 October 2012 •

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme has been extended to give 33,000 extra jobseekers help to set up their own business.

Initially launched in 2010, the NEA is available to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants aged 18 and over. A weekly allowance worth £1,274 over 26 weeks at £65 a week is paid to successful applicants to help them set up an enterprise.

Claimants can also access a loan of up to £1,000 to help with start-up costs as well as expert coaching from a business mentor. Since launch, the scheme has helped to set up 8,180 businesses, and it expects 40,000 to be created by the time the scheme closes to new referrals in December 2013.

Commenting on the extension, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "If Britain is to compete on a global stage, we must do all we can to support budding entrepreneurs and build a nation where everyone aspires to great things.

"I am determined to get behind people who have ideas that will work and a can-do attitude that will turn those ideas into successful enterprises.

"It doesn't matter what your background is or whether you are out of work, if you are prepared to work hard and aspire to achieve more, this Government, through schemes like the Enterprise Allowance, will back you."

The scheme used to require that applicants had been claiming JSA for at least 26 weeks before accessing the finance and support, but it has now been amended to allow access from day one of JSA.

Two in five Brits do not know where their pension is invested - do you?

26 September 2012 •

More than two in five adults (41 per cent) do not know where their pension fund is invested, according to research from Baring Asset Management.

It said the large number - equivalent to eight million people in the UK - highlights a passive attitude towards saving for retirement and warned that people should adopt a more active approach through regular pension planning.

The survey also found that the number of adults who have never reviewed their pension plans is worryingly high - around 45 per cent or 16 million non-retired Brits.

"In spite of the on-going global financial crisis people are refusing to consider the impact it may be having on their long term savings," it said in a press release.

Personal or company pensions are most commonly paid via monthly or lump sum contributions to a pension provider, who will then invest it on the individual's behalf into a selection of investment funds; usually in fixed-interest bonds, property and shares.

However, it seems many are unaware that the choice of where to invest a pension fund often lies with the individual and will largely depend on their attitude towards risk and their investment objectives.

The same survey conducted in 2008, prior to the financial crisis, revealed that attitudes towards financial planning in 2012 have not improved, and in some cases worsened.

Elsewhere, a further 12 per cent could not remember when they last reviewed their pension, while under half had failed to review their pension plans in the last 12 months.

Marino Valensise, chief investment officer at Barings said that people were not taking the necessary action to ensure their pension provides what they will require in retirement.

"It is concerning to think that despite the very high profile global financial crisis that we are experiencing not more people have considered and acted upon the need to address how it may be affecting their funding in retirement."

"A large proportion is happy to accept the default setting which may not necessarily offer the best fit in terms of risk and reward. People who fail to take an interest in understanding the type of pension they have or indeed where it is invested are burying their heads in the sand."

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