New scheme to remove age discrimination from the workplace

The government is launching an ‘older workers champion scheme’ to tackle age discrimination in the workplace.

The move follows concerns that older workers have to cope with much higher levels of long-term unemployment than younger people.

The scheme, which will begin trials in April, will offer older jobseekers a career review, online support and a link-up to local businesses with vacancies to fill.

Research suggests that if the 1.2 million people over 50 who are unemployed were offered jobs, it could add £50 billion to the UK economy.

Taxman ‘could inherit your money unless you make a will’

The taxman could take some of the money you want to go to loved ones after you die if you fail to make a will and keep it up to date.

Some may also go to an estranged husband or wife.

That’s the warning from the Law Society, which has just conducted a survey revealing that most people don’t have will and don’t realise the heartache that could cause for their families in the future.

The survey showed that 73% of people aged 16 to 54 haven’t written a will. The figure is 64% for people aged over 55.

Daughter must repay money gained through undue influence

A woman has been ordered to return money she received from her mother after a court ruled she gained it through undue influence.

The case involved a mother who had made a will that included two houses. In the will she shared her estate between her siblings, children and grandchildren.

She had previously transferred £290,000 to one of her daughters and her husband. She then sold her houses and transferred the proceeds - £410,000 - to the couple as a loan on very advantageous terms.

Stamp duty changes provide boost for 98% of homebuyers

Changes to stamp duty announced in the Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne have helped stimulate the housing market, according to solicitors and estate agents.

Mr Osborne said 98% of people in England and Wales will now pay less duty when buying a property. Only those buying homes worth more than £937,000 will be worse off.

‘Homemaker’ wife wins chance to get better divorce settlement

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a judge got it wrong when calculating the divorce settlement for a woman who gave up a lucrative career to look after her children.

The case of Julia Hammans will now be re-tried by another judge to ensure that she is treated fairly.

The court heard that Ms Hammans gave up a high paid job as a financial director so that she and her husband could raise a family.

When the couple divorced in 2004 after 21 years of marriage, she estimated that their joint assets were worth £11m.

Make sure your family business has a succession plan

Handing over a family business to the next generation can prove surprisingly difficult for many people.

Research by the Family Business Place website suggested the issue can be so challenging that 62% of families would consider selling their business because of the difficulties of passing it on to family members. Another 55% said they felt succession issues could be a barrier to future success.

Large firms may have to reveal how quickly they pay invoices

Large and listed firms may soon have to publish details about their payment practices under proposals being drawn up by the government.

Companies will have to provide information about their average payment time and the proportion of invoices paid beyond terms. They will also have to reveal the percentage of invoices paid within 30 days, over 30 days, over 60 days and over 120 days.

The reports will have to be published quarterly and will be mandatory for all large and quoted companies.

Builders win damages from client over contract breach

A contractor that was left more than £100,000 out of pocket when a customer cancelled a building project has been awarded damages by the High Court.

The compensation was awarded even though the firm didn’t have a signed contract.

The issue arose after the firm won a tender to build an extension to a house. During negotiations over final pricing, the customer was sent a blank copy of the proposed contract and the JCT Standard Building Contract which included an adjudication agreement. These were never signed.

Tenancy deposit error prevents landlord repossessing property

A landlord has been prevented from serving a possession notice because the tenant’s deposit had not been placed in an authorised protection scheme.

This was in spite of the fact that that the deposit had been paid before the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) regulations came into force.

The case involved a tenant who had started a tenancy in 2002 and paid a deposit. The tenancy was renewed in 2005. This was after the TDS regulations were introduced. However, the landlord didn’t place the deposit in an authorised scheme as it had been paid at the start of the original tenancy.

Obesity can constitute a disability, says EU court

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that obesity can constitute a disability in certain circumstances if it impairs a person’s ability to work.

The ruling will have major implications for employers in the UK who may have to make adjustments for overweight employees or run the risk of discrimination claims.