Review of 2013: what happened in the news in April


David Beckham Sighting - Manchester

April kicked off with a footie story: French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët wanted reassurance from President François Hollande that his new supertax tax - which was to apply on earnings more than €1m - would not impact football players.

David Beckham's tax arrangements for his five month sojourn with PSG wouldn't be hit. But would France's long-term football prospects?


"I don't think it's good for French football, it's not good for French clubs and it's not good for the place of (France's) Ligue 1 in the world," Nasser al-Khelaifi, PSG's chairman, told French radio station France Info in an interview.

Then, new stats in early April claimed the buying clout of eurozone expats, on average, had plummeted by -22%. But the greatest buying power hit has been endured by UK expats in Australia. Currency gusts has seen their buying power decimated by up to 47%.

Morning, Lavender bay, North Sydney, Australia.

Equiniti claimed people who moved to Australia had seen their pension plunge from AUS $13,625 to AUS $7,253, a drop of 47%. They were also additionally penalised because their UK pension is frozen - a double blow - despite, in many cases, a long history of building up state insurance payments.

However, it's a bit apples and pears, particularly for British expats who'd bought Australian property. Australia has seen property prices surge massively in the last five years. Meanwhile places like Melbourne and Sydney look increasingly like super-prosperous London and Paris: places where people on ordinary wages are more or less locked out.

Skimming threat

Then, new concern on credit and debit card 'skimming', where your card details are unlocked and stolen using a small electronic device. But the practice was increasingly being adopted for parking ticket meters and even transport ticket machines, claimed new research.

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Algorithms embedded in a chip on Visa, MasterCard and Europay bank cards made them tougher to crack. But stolen data can still be exported to the US and used on cloned cards - with cash taken out of US-based ATMs.

Top-up cash

Later in the month we looked at the rising numbers of elderly people being supported with cash hand-outs from family and friends to meet local authority care home fees. The issue of top up fees affects the poorest and most vulnerable older people, said Age UK.

Care home analysts Laing & Buisson claimed the number of state-funded older care home residents paying top-up fees has risen to 56,000 - almost 30% of the UK's 199,000 local authority-funded older care home residents.

St Thomas' Hospital

Age UK Charity Director General Michelle Mitchell said long term underfunding and recent austerity cuts to social care budgets resulted "in local authorities stretching their budgets and paying unfeasibly low fee levels to care homes. This in turn undermines the residential care sector, forcing homes to cut costs."

More austerity worries caused an ache in the mouth: NHS England boss Professor Malcolm Grant warns free NHS treatment could be axed if the economy failed to revive. He said the NHS is expected to see demand rise by up to 5% a year despite having to make £20bn in savings - or cuts, in real terms - in the next three years.

Bitten Apple

April finished with a bashing for Apple shares. The iPhone-to-iPad-to-iPod maker saw its shares sink below the $400 barrier following worries Apple could miss revenue targets. Both iPhone and iPad sales have been revised down by Wall Street watchers.

LONDON - OCT 4: Apple store logo on a store exterior in central London as the US technology giant launches the new iPhone 5 in t

Contrast that with Apple's share price hitting $705 last September. What went wrong? Several issues: the death of Steve Jobs, fewer, innovative products and the disastrous in-house launch of its Maps app. Not to mention increasing ethical worries about its Asian supply chain, tarnishing the Apple's sleek lustre.

Apple's share price however has since increased to $554 (mid December). Close to a 40% appreciation. Rather better than your Post Office Premier Cash Isa.