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The platinum jubilee: 5 financial changes during the Queen’s 70-year reign

Category: News

A lot has changed in the 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne in 1952.

In that year, the musical Singin’ in the Rain premiered in New York City, while as many as 12,000 people died in London’s Great Smog.

Since then, the Queen’s reign has coincided with humanity’s first forays into space and to the peak of Mount Everest, the rise of the internet, and mounting awareness of our role in determining our planet’s future.

During the last 70 years, a lot has changed in the world of money and finance too.

1. The changing face of British banknotes

While the Bank of England received permission to use the Queen’s image on banknotes in 1956, the first currency to feature the new monarch didn’t arrive until 1960.

The £1 note, and the 10-shilling note that followed in 1961, displayed a portrait by banknote designer Robert Austin. Unfortunately for Austin, his austere image was widely criticised and a new design soon followed.

Notes featuring an improved, and more relaxed portrait were issued in 1963 and known as the “C Series”. Further updates followed until in 1990, E Series notes arrived.

The familiar Series E currency began with the £5 note and featured a mature portrait of the 64-year-old Queen, designed by Roger Withington. The image has been carried by all Bank of England notes since, including the polymer notes issued in 2016.

2. Decimalisation Day

Occurring on 15 February 1971, the so-called “decimalisation day” marked Britain’s turning away from pounds, shillings, and pence – not to mention farthings, crowns, and thruppenny bits – to the decimal system.

The question of a simpler form of currency first arose in 1847, when the Queen’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, was on the throne.

The idea of decimalisation “day” oversimplifies a process that saw 5p and 10p coins enter circulation in 1968. The florin meanwhile – Britain’s first decimal coin – arrived in 1849 and didn’t leave circulation until 1993, some 144 years later.

3. Britain’s changing fortunes: Economic boom to “Big Bang”

Four years after the coronation, in July 1957, Harold Macmillan declared that “most of our people have never had it so good.”

This warning came after a decade of unprecedented growth following the end of the second world war. A strengthened economy saw tax cuts and low unemployment across Britain.

In 1970, the Conservatives won a shock election, bringing Edward Heath into power – until Harold Wilson succeeded him – and both oversaw the country’s sharp economic decline.

During the 1970s, inflation twice exceeded 20%, and unemployment exceeded 1 million, rising to 1.5 million by 1978. The public sector strikes that followed marked the Winter of Discontent, and the next General Election saw Margaret Thatcher enter Downing Street.

Thatcher cut back the government’s role in the economy and weakened the power of the trade unions. She also oversaw changes to the London Stock Exchange on 27 October 1986 that would become known as the “Big Bang”.

It is these structural changes that led to the formation of the Financial Services Authority, known initially as the Securities and Investments Board (SIB). This same organisation became the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2013, and it is this body that Fingerprint Financial Planning is regulated by today.

4. A-day and pension tax simplification

One of the most sweeping, post-Big Bang changes to the financial landscape occurred on 6 April 2006.

Announced in 2004, the rule changes created a single tax regime and introduced the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) and the Annual Allowance. Simplification also allowed you to contribute to a personal, and an occupational pension scheme at the same time.

The LTA determines how much you can contribute to pensions during your lifetime, without an LTA charge being applied. The LTA was set at £1.5 million in 2006. It is currently frozen at £1,073,100 until at least 2026.

The Annual Allowance – the amount you can contribute to your pensions each year – began at £225,000 before shrinking to its current amount of £40,000.

5. The launch of Fingerprint Financial Planning

Just one year shy of the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012, it was in 2011 that Ben and Paul launched Fingerprint Financial Planning.

Combining the expertise of professional mortgage advisers and financial planners, the team has continued to amass decades of combined experience ever since. We keep our eye on the markets and the regulatory landscape so that you don’t have to.

Truly independent, we understand that everyone who comes to us is as individual as their fingerprint. That’s why we create financial plans that are tailor-made for you and your circumstances.

We might have some way to go to match the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, but we’re here for you whenever you need us.

Get in touch

If you’d like any help with your pension or mortgage, or any other aspect of your long-term financial plan, speak to us now. Get in touch by emailing hello@fingerprintfp.co.uk or calling 03452 100 100.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article.

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