It's the start of a new year and a new decade – after the twists and turns of 2019, what does the year ahead have in store for you and your finances?
A new government
The election is over and we finally have a new government in place for the next four and a bit years – assuming nothing drastic changes until then! But with the Institute of Fiscal Studies casting doubt on both main parties’ spending plans during last month’s election campaign, it remains to be seen how much new investment will find its way into public services and how this will eventually be paid for.
Nonetheless, the size of Boris Johnson’s majority in parliament means he has significant latitude to make reforms across whole areas of the country in a way that has not been possible since the Blair-Brown years. We’re expecting a new budget imminently, where the new government will set out its tax and spending plans for the coming year – we’ll cover it in more detail to see how your finances might be affected.
Further uncertainty on the high street
To say the last couple of years have been tough for high street retailers would be an understatement. 2018 saw the collapse of some of our best known stores such as Toys R Us, Maplin and House of Fraser, and the trend continued last year with big names Mothercare and Thomas Cook going under.
With many retailers planning rafts of store closures and a recent spate of profit warnings from some of our biggest names, it’s probably safe to assume the high street’s troubles are not going to be over any time soon. This comes despite last year’s Black Friday leading to an unexpected boost to the high street, confounding analysts who were warning that the streets would be almost deserted as shoppers headed online for their bargains.
Will interest rates go up – or down?
Interest rates have been closely watched over recent years after falling, rising and then rising again after close to 8 years of stagnation at a record low.
Expectations are that now Brexit is almost certain to go ahead, the stage might be set for another rise in the base rate on the assumption that the economy bounces back from its Brexit uncertainty-induced coma. Speaking of…
The Brexit saga continues
The election was billed by many as a chance to have their say on Brexit – not just what sort of Brexit we should get, but whether it should happen at all.
That question is now well and truly settled, with Boris Johnson set to take us out of the EU with his withdrawal deal on 31 January – some 3 and a half years since the original referendum result. While some of the Brexit uncertainty has been lifted, we could now potentially see trade negotiations between the UK and EU right up until the end of 2022 which could prove to be just as much of a drag on the economy as the last three years have been.
Reasons to be cheerful in 2020
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom!
2020 just so happens to be a leap year, which means you’ll get to enjoy an extra day in February (and it also happens to be a Saturday, which is handy).
And it’s set to be a great year for sport lovers with 2020 seeing Europe’s best football teams fight it out in the UEFA Euros from 12 June to 12 July, and just a few weeks later the eyes of the world will descend on Tokyo for the Summer Olympics and Paralympic games, due to take place from 24 July to 9 August.