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Everything posted by Shotoflight

  1. UK http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/health-workers-forced-take-second-4418132 One in five health workers have taken second jobs because they cannot survive on their NHS salary – and half of staff are overdrawn every month. A Unison survey of 3,300 health workers found they took extra jobs as hairdressers, driving instructors, gardeners and dog groomers. The findings were released ahead of a four-hour strike by health workers from 7am on Monday in protest at the Government’s decision not to accept a recommended 1% pay rise for all staff. Unison’s Christina McAnea said: “A full-time hospital cleaner should not have to deliver pizzas to make ends meet.
  2. NIPSA warns that scheme could see 6,000 jobs gohttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29582182 A proposed voluntary redundancy scheme for public servants in Northern Ireland could result in the loss of 6,000 jobs, the union NIPSA has warned. On Thursday, First Minister Peter Robinson said such a voluntary scheme would save £160m a year. NIPSA said the civil service would bare the brunt of job losses. It said it had been advised by civil service management that it is about to begin work on a "workforce reduction plan". "It may also be the case, as referred to in the note from the head of the civil service, that recruitment and promotion freezes and greater pay restraint could, as well as a voluntary exit scheme, feature as part of the measures that the NI Civil Service intend to take to address the financial situation," the union said. "There can be no doubt that any substantial reductions in civil service numbers will have a major detrimental impact on the delivery of services and will adversely affect the public. "In addition it will increase the pressure on staff who will be expected to continue to deliver high quality public services.
  3. What letting and estate agents really meanA bijou home? That’s a boxroom to you and me. A sea glimpse? Crane your neck. Letting and estate agents come clean http://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2014/oct/10/what-letting-estate-agents-mean-home Reduced for a quick sale It’s been on the market for ages, it was overpriced and nobody has been to see it. Cash buyers only Don’t even think about seeking a mortgage. No bank in its right mind would lend on this. Easily maintained garden Concrete paving as far as the eye can see. Full of history Try to ignore the fact that the plumbing and electricity don’t work. No onward chain Someone died there. No photo available Once we put the pictures up on Rightmove absolutely nobody will come and view it. Sought-after area The greasy caff has been replaced by one selling mochachinos, so we added £30k on to the price. Internal viewing recommended The outside looks like something Stig of the Dump would reject. Will allow the motorist quick and easy access There’s a major road junction right outside the property. Perfect for a first-time buyer We know you can’t afford to be choosy. Compact Glorified cupboard. Can be used as substitute for “bijou’” or “cosy”. Convenient for transport links The tube will start rattling past your bedroom window at 5.30am. Period property Semi-derelict and possibly haunted. Put your own stamp on it The last buyers abandoned it half-built. Renovation required Watch your money magically disappear. Quirky Nothing matches and the doors are 4ft high. Competitively priced It’s a tatty old place and has never been updated so we’ve had to chop a bit off the price. Potential for good rental income No buyer in their right mind would actually live there. Established residential neighbourhood The houses on the other side of the road are nice. This one isn’t. In the same family ownership for many years Get ready for swirly carpets and an avocado bathroom suite. Stunning/spectacular Stunningly and spectacularly average. Charming The rooms are weeny but they have had a coat of Farrow & Ball. Fifteenth floor apartment with brilliant views It’s ex-council and no lender will touch it. But if you’re disposed to thinking “why is the lying liar lying to me” as soon as an estate agent opens his or her mouth, there is something worse. It’s when a letting agent starts talking: Fully furnished There is an Ikea nearby and the landlord realised there are tax breaks for wear and tear. Part furnished The last tenants couldn’t get their sofa out. Unfurnished If we put a bed in it you’d realise how little space there is. Mezzanine sleeping area Bunk beds. Would suit students You are lambs to the slaughter. May attract extra fees Will definitely attract extra fees. Close to amenities It’s above an all-night kebab shop. Pets allowed It really is an absolute toilet and your dog/cat/croc couldn’t make it any worse.
  4. UK Problem debt costs the UK economy £8.3bn, charity warnsI thought we'd all agreed it was called credit, and we need lots of it (very cheap and accessible) to get the economy moving.............. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29524628 Problem debt is defined as debt that people have taken on but cannot afford to repay as required. StepChange estimated that the strain it puts on mental health, employment and housing amounted to £8.3bn each year. The biggest cost caused by problem debt, the charity said, was having to rehouse - and provide higher housing benefit payments for - people who lose their home after falling behind on mortgage or rent payments.
  5. McAleer & Rushe buys two major development sites in Belfasthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29531712 The property firm, McAleer & Rushe, is understood to have bought two major development sites in Belfast. The sites are the former Belfast tech building at Brunswick Street and Clarendon House office block on Adelaide Street. Both have planning permissions to demolish the existing buildings and construct new office blocks. McAleer & Rushe, based in Cookstown, County Tyrone, is one of Northern Ireland's biggest property firms. However, it has not embarked on any major local projects since the downturn. The firm has remained active across the rest of the UK, particularly in the construction of hotels. It has also worked on a large scale on student accommodation schemes and recently sold two sites in Bournemouth and Portsmouth to a student housing firm. Very little new office accommodation has been developed in Belfast since the property crash. However, a significant number of inward investors will need high quality offices over the next three to five years.
  6. Despite low incomes Northern Ireland is a great place to livehttp://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/opinion/john-simpson/despite-low-incomes-northern-ireland-is-a-great-place-to-live-30644394.html One of the headline features of money management is that 58% of all households here have no appreciable amounts of savings. Fewer households hold current bank accounts than in any other region: 88% compared to a UK average of 93%. Only 6% of local households hold any ‘stocks and shares’ which compares with a UK average of 15%. Combined DLA benefit numbers are, proportionately, nearly 45% higher here than across all of Great Britain. Within Northern Ireland, the number of successful claims for DLA ranges from under 7% of all households in Carrickfergus and North Down to over 20% of all households in Limavady and 22% in Londonderry. (The Derry Living Allowance - as one wag put it!) Ten years ago, in 2002-2003, only 17% of household heads aged 25-34 lived in private sector rented housing. More recently, in 2012-2013 this figure had more than doubled to 37%.
  7. UK Where does Working Tax Credit go? Where does Working Tax Credit go? http://npi.org.uk/publications/social-security-and-welfare-reform/where-does-working-tax-credit-go 80% of WTC is attributable to workers who work in the private sector, 10% to those in the local government and 5% to those employed by a Health Authority or NHS Trust. Only 1% is attributable to those workers employed in central government. The rest is attributed to charitable organisations, universities, and other organisations such as the armed forces. 80% of WTC is attributable to workers who work in the private sector, 10% to those in the local government and 5% to those employed by a Health Authority or NHS Trust. Only 1% is attributable to those workers employed in central government. The rest is attributed to charitable organisations, universities, and other organisations such as the armed forces. - See more at: http://npi.org.uk/publications/social-security-and-welfare-reform/where-does-working-tax-credit-go/#sthash.wL6rjIP3.dpuf
  8. Central Bank proposes new mortgage lending restrictionshttp://www.rte.ie/news/business/2014/1007/650641-central-bank-mortgages The Central Bank has proposed new restrictions on how much banks can lend to home buyers in an effort to reduce the risk of a new property bubble forming as prices recover rapidly from the property crash. The bank said it was appropriate to bring in limits on new lending at high loan-to-value (LTV) or loan-to-income (LTI) ratios as house prices in Dublin jumped by 25% in the year to August. Today's proposed measures will require banks to restrict lending above 80% of the value of a home to no more than 15% of the aggregate value of all housing loans. They will also restrict lending above three and a half times the borrower's income to no more than 20% of that aggregate value. The proposals are contained in a consultation paper and banks have until December 8 to respond to them. The measures also include a lower threshold for buy-to-let properties.They require banks to limit loans of over 70% of the value of investment properties to 10% of all buy-to-let loans. The head of financial regulation at the Central Bank, Cyril Roux, said there was concern that the market was getting back to a place where some borrowers were taking out loans where their ability to repay was tenuous.
  9. Northstone: NI construction group reports fall in profitshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29512468 Northstone, one of Northern Ireland largest construction groups, reported reduced turnover and profits in 2013. The firm said market conditions "continued to be challenging" but that they anticipate a return to growth in 2014. Northstone showed a pre-tax profit of £6m on turnover of £239m, compared to 2012 when profit of £8m was achieved on a £299m turnover. Its best-known trading business is the Farrans construction firm.
  10. Will our living standards ever recover? It's been described as the 'biggest threat' to our economic recovery but what does the productivity puzzle tell us about our pay and living standards?http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11142987/Will-our-living-standards-ever-recover.html This means that British workers produce about a fifth less for every hour worked than other leading economies. If the productivity gap is measured at 16pc, the Bank thinks that nearly half of this may be attributable to some underlying damage to the economy’s productive capacity after the crisis. It puts forward reasons such as low levels of business investment, and a tendency for inefficient 'zombie' firms to be kept alive after the crisis - so people find themselves working for firms that should not exist - as some of the "persistent" factors that have contributed to our poor working output. All in all, our standards of living are likely to improve gradually as confidence in the recovery grows and new and innovative businesses begin to emerge. In the immediate term however, we should perhaps expect our pay to remain a little lower for a while longer.
  11. Churches band together to open food bank in south Belfasthttp://sluggerotoole.com/2014/10/06/churches-band-together-to-open-food-bank-in-south-belfast
  12. Ballymena cigarette factory JTI Gallaher to closehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29527169 Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher is to shut its factory in County Antrim with the loss of about 800 jobs. Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the move was "bad news for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole".
  13. UK Workers on the breadline: the families struggling to eathttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29507825 Last year 3.3 million households claimed what are now called tax credits. When this sort of financial support was introduced in the 1970s, it was claimed by just 71,000 people. In-work benefits now cost taxpayers £28bn a year, so why do so many workers in Britain find it impossible to pay their own way? In the past six years, the cost of basics - including bills, food and clothes - has risen 28%, but average earnings have only gone up 9%. And the world economy has shifted; the sort of work available in the UK has changed. Chris Goulden from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: "There is a longer-term trend, particularly here in the UK to have more lower-skilled, low paid work." Even people working for some of Britain's biggest companies rely on large state payouts. Mark Payne and Agnes McFadyen both work for Tesco in Port Glasgow. He's a full time delivery driver and she works part-time on the checkout, as well as looking after their three children. Together they earn about £15,500 a year, topped up by the government with tax credits of around £7,000 a year.
  14. Belfast house prices rising 'as fast as London' Northern Ireland property prices increased by 10.2% in the last yearhttp://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/belfast-house-prices-rising-as-fast-as-london-30627328.html House prices have increased in Belfast at the same rate as London - with a massive 21% growth in the last year, says Nationwide.
  15. UK cuts to last five more years, ex-civil service boss sayshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29373230 The outgoing head of the civil service has predicted another five years of UK government spending cuts - and he said making the cuts would be "even harder". Sir Bob Kerslake said one of the difficulties was that "easier" savings had already been made.
  16. Consumers face 'lost decade' as spending squeeze bites http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29406079 British consumers face another three years of squeezed spending, an influential report suggests, amounting to a "lost decade" for households. Annual wage growth is likely to remain well below the 4.5%-to-5% rises seen before the financial crisis struck in 2008, the EY Item Club survey says. This will slow consumer spending growth over the next two years. Median pay in real-terms is forecast to fall from £18,852 in 2008 to £17,827 by 2017, the survey suggests. The Item club, a non-governmental forecaster that uses HM Treasury's model of the UK economy, believes that record numbers of people in work - currently 30.6 million - will act as a brake on wage rises. The report expects the pace of consumer spending growth to be 2% over the next two years, compared to the annual average growth rate of 3.7% during the pre-crisis decade. "Total household incomes have strengthened because more people are in work, but individuals do not have extra money in their pockets," said Martin Beck, the EY Item Club's senior economic adviser. "Real wages are being held back by strong growth in the supply of workers and the fact that firms are facing increased non-wage costs, such as new pension schemes," he added. Mr Beck believes the so-called "squeezed middle" - households containing neither highly-skilled nor low paid workers - will continue to see limited growth in disposable income as pay rises remain below the rate of inflation - currently 1.5% - and competition for jobs remains strong. Younger people in particular face the most pressure on spending, the report concludes, as unemployment among people in their 20s and 30s remains above average and the cost of buying a property continues to rise.
  17. Ticking time bomb: Interest rate rises are coming, so start preparing nowhttp://www.independent.co.uk/money/mortgages/interest-rate-rises-they-are-coming-so-start-preparing-now-9758790.html The Independent has learnt that regulators are also concerned that there is a generation of borrowers who not only don’t understand the effect of a rate rise, but actually believe that their standard variable rate won’t ever rise. That’s according to a senior official at one of Britain’s biggest lenders, who contacted us to voice his concerns. He said there are fears that up to a fifth of borrowers who have taken out a mortgage since 2008, and been on the same variable rate ever since, believe any climb in interest rate won’t affect them. He warned that could mean tens of thousands of people are sleepwalking into a rate shock next year because they have no experience of mortgage payments changing. In fact a shock survey published this week warned that almost half of mortgage borrowers don’t even know the interest rate they’re being charged.
  18. Return of the £1 million house: Sale of two homes at double asking price a sign of Northern Ireland market on risehttp://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/return-of-the-1-million-house-sale-of-two-homes-at-double-asking-price-a-sign-of-northern-ireland-market-on-rise-30607271.html After months in which analysts claimed that the house price recovery would not be felt until the 'des res' homes at the top of the market were selling, it seems Northern Ireland's dearest houses are now being snapped up. "There is massive pent-up demand for good quality housing in established areas such as BT9, especially among families who weren't negatively affected by the property crash," the estate agent told the Belfast Telegraph.
  19. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy! Buy-to-let borrowing gets cheaper as lenders cut mortgage rates A range of high street lenders have slashed landlord loan rates this week - we highlight the best mortgage deals for buy-to-let http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/11109381/Buy-to-let-borrowing-gets-cheaper-as-lenders-cut-mortgage-rates.html Buy-to-let investors have had a bumper year according to data published this week. Landlords are making a 12.7pc total return in a year, taking rental income and a property’s capital gain into account. This year, landlords have seen a gross average return of £8,233 in rent and £13,066 in capital gain, according to the buy-to-let index from LSL Property Services, which owns chains Your Move and Reeds Rains. However, this is before taking tax, mortgage repayments and maintenance costs into account. In other words, landlords could see their income falling short of mortgage costs – particularly if rates rise in the future. But there’s a lifeline for new landlords. This week a flurry of new mortgage deals from high lenders have cut the interest rates paid by buy-to-let borrowers, thanks to market expectations that a rate rise is some way off (see tables, below).
  20. 10% of all workers in NI on National Minimum Wage. Amongst the highest in the UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342381/NMW__jobs_UK_2013.pdf
  21. Sloppy reporting by the beeb. The rise does not relate to the month of July as the headline and story suggest, but over the 12 month period to July. Twats. Northern Ireland housing: Prices rise in July by 4.5% House prices in Northern Ireland rose by 4.5% in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
  22. Job fears at North West Independent Hospital in Ballykellyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29214176 Up to 60 jobs are at risk at a private hospital in County Londonderry. The North West Independent Hospital in Ballykelly has confirmed it has started redundancy talks, and up to a third of its 180 staff could be affected. In July, the Health and Social Care Board told health trusts to "pause" referrals to private clinics as part of a move to save money. The clinic said the threat to jobs was directly linked to the cut in NHS referrals.
  23. Home ownership becoming 'exclusive members' club' (UK)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29198736 The National Housing Federation (NHF) says first time buyers need 10 times the deposit they did in the 1980s. It says home ownership is becoming an "exclusive members' club". The NHF, which represents housing associations, says only the wealthiest of the next generation will be able to buy a home if current trends continue. Its report, Broken Market, Broken Dreams, says the average first time buyer needs a £30,000 deposit and to borrow 3.4 times their annual income. The NHF says that in 1979 the average amount needed to buy a home would be 1.7 times annual income. It points out that first-time buyers have to earn more, borrow more, stump up a larger deposit and rely more on family wealth than even a generation ago. Two thirds of first-time buyers receive financial help from parents - a figure that has doubled in the past five years.
  24. Phones 4U's 96 Northern Ireland staff's jobs at riskhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29215011 Almost 100 jobs at Phones 4U's Northern Ireland stores are at risk, after the retailer went into administration. Accountancy firm PwC has been appointed to see if any of the 560 stores and 160 concessions can be re-opened or sold. It said 96 staff were employed at its 16 Northern Ireland outlets, which include four concessions within Dixons Carphone stores. Phones 4u's Northern Ireland stores are in: Belfast - Donegall Place and Castle Lane Londonderry Lisburn Newtownabbey Newry Bangor Ballymena Newtownards Omagh Craigavon Coleraine The retailer, owned by private equity firm BC Partners, also has concessions at Dixons Carphone outlets in Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Derry and in Belfast's Forestside Shopping Centre.
  25. LPS rates non-payment legal action rises by 5%http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-29211504 The number of court actions started for non-payment of rates is on the rise, according to figures provided to the BBC. Legal action was launched almost 49,000 times last year; a rise of 5%. More than £1bn is collected in rates annually by Land and Property Services (LPS) and court actions have helped it to reduce arrears to £162m. The Housing Rights Service, which helps those in payment difficulties, said it was "not surprised" by the figures. "We would welcome a review of recovery practice to afford ratepayers more time to repay arrears and avoid costly court action," said one of its managers, Ursula Toner. LPS said that in about 50% of cases, notification of court action was enough to result in either payment of arrears in full or by another arrangement. However, the rest ended up in court. The figures relate to the 2013/14 financial year, which saw rates arrears by households and business reduce by £6m on the previous 12 months. The amount of debt written off - money owed that could not be recovered - increased by £2m to £31m. The rise is said to reflect companies going into liquidation or administration, in what remains a challenging economic climate for many businesses.
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