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Cat in the Hat

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  1. Oh it's far far worse than the Guardian article. Look at the picture at the top of the article. That's the luxury development where a 3-bedder will cost you £2m. See the small building over the road on the right hand side with the blue hoarding? That's the £705,000 affordable housing bit. No luxury water gardens for you, just a nice view of the back of the King's Square kebab shop and the noise of the rat run that is Lever St. On the other side of King's Square, you can get a 3 bed ex-Council flat for £420,000 and two minutes up the road you can purchase a 3 bed Council maisonette for £495,000. And yes, those 3 bedder ex-Council flats in EC1 were going for less than £70k in 2000, but were hitting £250k by 2006. Foxtons have kept inflating prices up, so you won't get much change out of half a million, but flats aren't selling and haven't sold for years as just about every local property is ex-Council and is therefore 1950s/60s concrete paneling construction which can only be sold to RTBers who can't get mortgages at that price. As a local resident (renting from a landlord with dozens of ex-LA flats) I can say that KingBIngo is spot on. It's not rough, but it's not salubrious. Very down at heel. It's near the City, and the Barbican is 5 mins away, but it's Islington which is the least green borough in London, and it's Bunhill ward which is the least green part of the borough, with some of the highest density housing in the UK. It's the last vestige of the London white working class, and the only reason it's relatively low crime is because about a third of its residents are pensioners. It's 99% LA building. Clerkenwell/Bunhill is not the loft-dwelling luxury area of popular imagination, despite the fact that private property prices are currently rivaling Belgravia at £10k per square ft.
  2. Here - it's about escaping the credit card debt rather than the mortgage. http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2847330&page=2&highlight=bigianw I suspect after several days of mockery on MSE, he's now wise to the fact he's being monitored. However his online presence dates from 2005, and his posts on MSE go back months. He started multiple threads in an attempt to separate out the different strands of his dodgy dealings, but was stupid enough to use the same name throughout. Not as stupid as the bank that gave him a mortgage though.
  3. Well, he's posted again today on MSE. He's getting his mate to ring HSBC to tell them he's passed away. Nicko, would you mind predicting the lottery numbers for me this weekend?
  4. I dunno, he's also posted this thread in which he says that he's taken out life insurance and mortgage protection and thinks that if he dies his wife will get £98,000. http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2961558&highlight= If he never posts again it not necessarily because he's been caught. He could be under the patio.
  5. Oh, they haven't removed it all yet. In November Big Ian revealed his plans to move house, giving a false forwarding address to the credit card and electric companies, and signing up with fresh providers under his wife's maiden name. http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=38281116 Yesterday NPower tracked him down and hit him with a £550 bill. http://forum.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2961580 "its not right!"
  6. He's getting a complete kicking there too from people pointing out that he's asking how to pay less to support his first family, whilst not only boasting about committing mortgage fraud, but of changing address and dropping off the electoral register to avoid all the huge gas and electricity bills he's run up, as well as the £20k credit card debt.
  7. I wouldn't worry too much. He's so thick he's used same online name not just on MSE in order to boast about committing mortgage fraud, but across all his internet dealings - including Facebook and Flickr. Took me 10 seconds to find his real name, his wife's name and their location. It would just take one bank worker to read that and alert their Glasgow branch and he's stuffed.
  8. Of course. One must have standards. Have you seen the bathroom? Sadly, I'm a priced-out renter like most people on here, outbid by BTL landlords, which brings me on to..... Now as this was composed in the wee early hours, I was unsure whether you were posting with a heavy dose of irony or were merely squiffy. However this isn't the first property in the Islington area you've bigged up as CHEAP, or a bargain a just over £1,000,000, and you've previously mentioned that you've "invested" in property in the N7 area because there's lots of renters and a Waitrose. A brave decision in this current climate. Let's look at how CHEAP this flat is. It's utterly squalid. It's 30 square meters in size. There's only 49 years left on the lease. It's down a dank alley in a high crime area, in one of the most deprived parts of the borough. It's off a very noisy main road, opposite an estate with 70% unemployment. Even the most ardent "postcode whore" might flinch at this particular EC1 location. It's £185,000 - that's over £6000 per square meter, before you start your complete refurbishment, install a security system and invest in a baseball bat. If its price has risen in line with other properties in the area, it's gone up from £37,000 since 2000. It's now 15 times the salary of a minimum wage worker. Nope, this particular hovel is certainly overpriced and definitely a sh*thole.
  9. Foxtons, in their desperation, have opened a Clerkenwell office and started aggressively marketing ex Right to Buy flats in my area. Look at this one bedroom beaut. Tiny living room with carpet-tile flooring and plug-in radiator. I'll ignore the terrible art. Disaster-area kitchen. Third-world bathroom. Location down an alley which is adjacent to a large estate stairwell, and "sought after" only as a toilet by local scooter-riding chavs. I've been better bail hostels. Yours for the bargain price of £185,000. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-28409287.html Still, they're trying to flog a studio in a private block at the other end of the road for £320,000.
  10. This is a completely bogus survey. It was commissed by a lobby group opposed to the housing benefit cuts. If you go and look at the methodology, the results have been completely manipulated.* The lobbying organisation London Councils emailed and wrote to 6300 landlords registered with the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme. They had 270 replies - a response rate of 4.2%. Only 181 (2.87%) had a relevant property portfolio and were asked what action they would take if faced with a shortfall in rent. All 270 were asked to guess whether future HB changes would affect the size of their portfolio. So a mere 2.8% of potential respondants selected themselves to take part in a survey, the results of which could lead to legislative changes to their financial benefit. And from this tiny self-selected sample, a lobby group extrapolates that HB changes will result in the eviction of 82,000 housholds/250,000 people. I *http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/housing/briefings/landlordsurvey.htm Look at Annex 2 of the full report on P27.
  11. While an Advisory Committee is technically constituted as an arms-length body (NDPB), it's not a traditional quango with funding/staff/offices etc. They are virtually costless entities. My point is that the Government is claiming it's saving money by abolishing scientific Advisory Committees when (1) they don't cost anything anyway and (2) they'll just continue to exist under a different name if government needs the technical expertise. A pointless grandstanding exercise? The worst case scenario is that they really are abolished and government loses easy access to cutting-edge scientific advice. There are virtually no MPs with a science background, ditto most senior civil servants. They don't 'get' science.
  12. I'd disagree strongly with this. Advisory Committees tend to be made up of the very best experts in a particular scientific field. They are not presenting arguments to government, making policy, or acting as "thought leaders", but just giving the most up to date scientific advice in their niche area. For free. Government is free to disregard this scientific advice when formulating policy (David Nutt anyone?) and civil servants can make suggestions based on the science, but they're not scientists working at the cutting edge. It's a completely different job. Here's the membership list of Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens which is for the chop. http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/ACDP/DH_087541 I'd agree with you that these are "elite experts" - some of the best people in the country working day-in day-out on infection control, microbiology and virology. I think that's a good thing and I'd trust their advice to government on protecting farm workers from hazardous chemicals far more than a civil servant interpreting a scientific journal. My main point though was that whilst we need a bonfire of the quangos, and there's huge amount of waste in central government, cutting virtually cost-free expert advisory committees is a making up the numbers exercise.
  13. That's exactly my point. The Department of Health does pay the negligible costs for this advice out of their budget and make the arrangements. They are called Advisory Committees just to emphasise their independence from government. They are not separate entities as such with additional costs. Culling advisory bodies which don't cost anything is just a smoke and mirrors exercise. Government will (hopefully) continue to seek the same expert advice under a different name.
  14. The abolition of the advisory committees is problematic as they provide excellent independent scientific advice to government at virtually no cost. Take the apparently doomed Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance. It meets three times a year to look at potential risks to humans and animals through overuse of antobiotics and other resistance-building drugs in medicine and farming. The expense is negligible. Panel members aren't paid and the only cost will be the travel expenses paid to Professors travelling from academic departments outside of London. Ditto the Advisory Group on Hepatitis - probably the best medical advice in the UK direct to the Chief Medical Officer. Same for the Advisory Committee on HIV/Aids etc etc. They don't 'hold government to account' as such, but they provide a sound scientific basis on which to base policy. (The exception to all of this being the Homeopathic advisory committee. "Could you overdose?" "Yes you could drown.") So is government going to completely dispense with informed advice on niche science matters? Or are they going to carry on as before but call the committee something different to hide it within a department in order to bump up the numbers on the abolition list?
  15. Do you have any idea of why that is, given they appear to be cutting off their nose to spite their face? You've been really committed to this, and they have completely faffed you about.
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