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Everything posted by Dorkins

  1. Total private rent bill in the UK is about £50bn pa I believe, take off the amount private landlords spend on repairs and that leaves you with £49.999bn pa.
  2. The UK is not a particularly big spender on food, most of the rich European countries spend 11-15% of income on food while the UK spends <9%. The UK does stand out on housing costs as a share of income though where together with New Zealand it spends the most in the OECD: https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/housing/
  3. If Boris Johnson was serious about engineering megaprojects he would get the Severn Barrage built but of course he isn't serious, he just likes waving his arms around talking about airports/bridges/tunnels that everybody knows will never be built.
  4. Children are basically designed to absorb as many of their parents' resources as they can without quite killing them. The problem is that parents also have an employer, a mortgage lender/landlord and the taxman who are doing the same thing at the same time.
  5. I think east Asia are the real trendsetters here, Japan's population has been falling for a while now, South Korea's has just started and the fertility rates of places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and PR China are all below 2 children per woman.
  6. Judging by my 30-40something acquaintances it's hard to see how the UK will ever hit replacement fertility again. A lot of people have no children at all (lifelong singles or dual income couples that for whatever reason don't start the baby game), a fair few decide around 40 to pop one out and that's it, and the most family-oriented have 2 kids and stop for economic reasons. However you weight those 3 groups the fertility rate is going to come out at less than 2 children per woman. In b4 somebody with Daily Mail brainworms starts banging on about chavs and teenage pregnancy, have you seen the data lately? Teenage pregnancy fell off a cliff after 2007: http://www.independentnurse.co.uk/article-images/image-library/124/fig_2__6cc8c664.jpg
  7. The housing element of UC is the LHA rate which I believe pays the 30th percentile rent for a property in your area with the number of bedrooms your household qualifies for e.g. if your household is assessed as needing 2 bedrooms the UC housing element will pay you enough to rent the cheapest 30% of 2 bedroom properties in your area. If your actual rent is lower than the LHA rate you will receive the lower amount, if your actual rent is higher you will have to make up the shortfall.
  8. Sounds good to me, they can forget about the rent cheques though.
  9. Turns out that switching off the economy for 1-2 years was bad for the economy.
  10. Dairy cows are like magic self-replicating machines that turn easily cultivated grass into huge quantities of milk, they will even walk back to an automated milking stall to self-milk. What factory process is ever going to beat a cow on cost? The material inputs will almost certainly be more expensive than a field of grass, the bioreactor capital will cost more to build and maintain than a few milking sheds. Where's the saving?
  11. I'm not convinced of the economics of insect protein, whenever one of the UK supermarkets dabbles in insect burgers or similar they always cost something ridiculous like £15/kg. Pigs will eat anything too.
  12. Quorn is about as easy as fermentation gets - fungal cells with a nice strong cell wall that can tolerate being bashed around inside a huge stainless steel stirred tank bioreactor and all they need is corn starch and some fixed nitrogen as a feedstock. Price in the supermarket after decades of process development is £7/kg, about 50% more expensive than chicken breast. Animal cells are much more difficult to cultivate in stirred tank bioreactors due to the lack of a cell wall. If people want cheap protein I'd suggest eating more beans, maybe learn how to make seitan.
  13. The Tories are a bit stuck in the middle on housing. Their developer donors would do well out of more housebuilding but their voters, party members and MPs would hate it.
  14. The minimum viable policy a housing minister might actually be able to deliver would be better security for tenants as was done in Scotland without the sky falling down and which the Tories repeatedly promised to deliver for England but which has been dragging on for years now and has all the signs of them wanting it to quietly go away without announcing a policy change. No doubt the fact that a high proportion of Tory MPs are landlords is a significant obstacle to this.
  15. The sad thing is that HMRC seem so passive on the issue of landlords not declaring rental income. Any amateur with a mild interest in UK property can think of half a dozen ways to generate a list of people who are probably landlords, so why aren't HMRC doing this? Where are the scare ads like the ones they do for benefits cheats saying "if you're a landlord who's not declaring rental income, we're onto you"? Need a proper left wing government to come in and sort this out as it feels like HMRC and/or the government are content to just let sleeping dogs lie as they consider landlords not declaring rental income to be a socially acceptable form of tax evasion.
  16. You say that like it's a surprise. Ardern is a pro-status quo centrist, not some radical who was planning to take the system on to help those who have been on the losing side of asset prices racing ahead of wages. She's just like Blair or Obama, basically going to run the economy the same way as the local Tories would.
  17. Housing is just like DoSAC in the Thick of It, minimal budget and all PMs want out of that ministry each year is 364 days of no news and 1 day of PM+minister walking around a building site in hi viz saying how great the Treasury's latest government-subsidised mortgage scheme is. It is not possible to be a successful housing minister because the PM doesn't want them to achieve anything.
  18. Oi less of that please, downstairs toilet coming straight off the kitchen and front door opening directly onto the street is a millionaire lifestyle dontchaknow. When the London/SE bubble finally blows up the explosion is going to be visible from space.
  19. No need to be rude, I could buy a house now thanks but all I see is poor value. e.g. this house is a couple of streets away from where we are renting something similar for £1250pcm, I see no value at £595k: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/112737065#/?channel=RES_BUY
  20. My large (FTSE100) employer recently weaned the last of its older staff off the legacy DB pension scheme saying their contributions from now on would go into a DC pension. They grumbled and carried on coming to work.
  21. Just like the NI hike, more money spent on other things equals less money available to spend on housing.
  22. Or going back to the top of the thread, it would be available to provide more services or reduce council tax.
  23. The claim that the monetary value of (public sector salary + DB pension) = (private sector salary + DC pension), it's just the proportions of wage and pension are a bit different in each sector does not seem to me to pass the sniff test. If DB pensions were just another form of saving you would be able to buy them as an individual just as you can buy your own DC pension in a SIPP, but the fact is that product doesn't exist and nowadays it is pretty much only the state that is willing to take on that liability. Perhaps it would be fairer if everybody could buy a DB pension from the state for the same price public sector employees are buying theirs. I don't see why public sector employees should be the only ones with access to the state's longevity/stability/financial muscle.
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