News

Plain English campaign news articles

Proposed pension changes:- Tax-free or not tax-free – that is the question…

You can tell it’s nearing election time – political parties start to make all kinds of impressive-sounding promises that might not be quite what they seem.

One promise is that from next year people over the age of 55 can use their pension pot like a bank account. They will, whenever they like, be able to withdraw lump sums from their pension funds. Of these withdrawals, 25% will be tax-free but the rest will be taxed at the normal tax rate. So, if you’re over 55 and you want to withdraw money from your pension, you won’t have to pay tax if the amount you withdraw, plus your income, equals no more than £10,000. However, if your income and withdrawal amounts combined are over the £10,000 mark, you should expect to pay tax on any money you earn or withdraw over that amount.

Read more: Proposed pension changes:- Tax-free or not tax-free – that is the question…

Last call for awards entries

If you are planning on submitting a nomination for our plain English awards for 2014, the closing date is 31 October 2014. You can see more details about submitting an award on the entry details page of this site.

Government regrets NHS gobbledygook

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was on the defensive this week as 400,000 NHS staff went on their first strike in 30 years.

And it turns out that the Government’s biggest regret is the 'unintelligible gobbledygook' in NHS reforms overseen by Andrew Lansley MP.

Read more: Government regrets NHS gobbledygook

Boris talks sense shock?

In an unlikely move, Boris Johnson has admitted that he and Westminster in general are full of empty waffle and jargon. To listen to him speak uncharacteristically clearly on the subject, watch this interview on Newsnight with Evan Davis on Newsnight.

How the campaign began

In 1971 a small group of activists including Chrissie Maher created the UK’s first ‘community’ newspaper called the ‘Tuebrook Bugle’. This was a newspaper that was written and owned by the people of the Tuebrook neighbourhood in the city of Liverpool. Having their own newspaper meant that they could write articles demanding that organisations start using plain English. And through the newspaper, they were able to pass on valuable information, written in easily understood language, to the rest of the people in their neighbourhood. The success of this project led to the creation of over 50 other community newspapers which fulfilled a similar role.

Follow this link to see rare archive footage from the early days of the Tuebrook Bugle (Chrissie interviewed at home by Arthur Dooley, 1971).

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