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About Debbie568

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  1. I'm inclined to agree with you. Countries with a much less regulated market than ours illustrate the perils of a true free market. Places like Columbia and Somalia come to mind. With no safety net of social welfare, people are deprived of housing, so set up on common ground, some kind of shanty town. Since there's no price regulation in the labour market, employers could offer work at 50p an hour. There would be plenty of takers at this price, since to not work could mean dying of starvation. While we do already have this situation, i.e. people are already free to work for however little them want, it's enabled by massive subsidies from other taxpayers, to top up their incomes to a living wage - so much for the market economy in Britain. The self employed running micro businesses come to mind.
  2. Let's see. His unfortunate health situation aside, he had plenty of servants, a big enough home to be able to go somewhere within the castle walls and not be disturbed for a couple of hours, loads of first class entertainment - theatre, music, hunting just outside the castle gates, books, poets, horse riding, archery - all available to him day or night at his command. He could not only have a hot bath whenever he wanted, he probably had a few women folk who could wash his back for him.... he probably ate handsomely, all fresh food, prepared by a retinue of servants. When he went to sleep he probably had the luxury of true darkness. Not many urban centres these days where you would have that luxury.
  3. We can already tell what happens when the free market, without a welfare state, operates, with minimal government intervention and minimal taxes. There's plenty of countries around the world to illustrate how it would work. Columbia and Somalia come to mind. As you say, those no longer required get nothing. With no resources available to them to pay rent, they would become homeless, and have to find some common land somewhere to camp out on. In places like Hong Kong, with insufficient land to permit this, you get to live in cages for a nominal fee. So even for that dubious "secure place of accommodation" you would still have to have a little bit of work. In a truly free market, there are no price controls for labour, so it would be possible to hire someone for 50p an hour. At the moment, there probably are plenty of people, self employed, who do work for profits equivalent to 50p an hour, because other taxpayers top up their incomes to a living wage. But in a free market, with no social welfare, wealth would become more and more concentrated at the top of the pyramid. Since the choice is work, whatever the rate, or starve, there should be plenty of takers at this rate.
  4. Lived on benefits any time recently, have you? I'd rather be a king in medieval times. The benefits system is a giant breeding scheme, - maybe someone weird and wonderful in the government thinks that if we could just get to the same population as the USA, we too could go back to being a world power.....
  5. I think he should get a second job. A couple of nights a week, pulling the pints in a local pub, - he'll have the extra income he needs, a bit of congenial company on the way, and be able to leave his credit cards alone for a while in no time. With tips he should be able to clear £150 a week. What on earth does he spend his money on? Is he a shopaholic? Britain is one of the most boring places to shop I have ever lived in.
  6. Yes, being constantly on the move when you rent is one of the less appealing sides of renting. I dread the day we move on, because we have accumulated so much stuff since we have been here packing it is going to take at least a week. But unlike the rest of Northern Europe, where tenants have plenty of rights, we're more of a place where people buy rather than rent, - egged on by every government since, and including, Maggie Thatcher's - and the only people who rent (and are therefore deserving of shoddy uncaring treatment?), are people who can't afford to buy. It's possible the landlord only wanted to rent to a "professional couple", as in one without kids.Children can play havoc with the state of the property, from a landlord's point of view. Not to mention the public liability issues. Good luck with finding another place to rent. What about buying instead? It doesn't always work out more expensive than renting, and you get a better quality property a lot of the time.
  7. Greece might well be able to withdraw from the Euro of their own volition, but I don't see how any other country like Germany can force them out of the Euro. So far, both Greeks and the Greek government are saying they want to stay with the Euro. Say they do default on all their loans. What exactly does Germany think it can do to then stop them using the Euro as their currency? Say the same thing happened here. Currently the wealth of London subsidises the value of our currency for pretty much every other country in the UK. Say all the countries involved become independent. How exactly would Westminster prevent, say, Scotland, from using the pound sterling as its currency? It's a relatively simple matter for a country, e.g. Zimbabwe, to withdraw its currency and declare that from now on, only US dollars will be legal tender and for a certain amount of time, citizens can exchange their currency at the rate of 1 million Zimbabwe dollars - or whatever they current use = one USD. But I don't see how, if the US objected to this and didn't want Zimbabwe to use their currency, they could prevent it.
  8. Yes, you may well get all of your money back.....eventually. By the time you get it, you could have aged several months. As for their "firewall", they still have a parent company who presumably could help themselves to Santander UK's money at any time, assuming they have some lying around, through an intercompany loan. Why take the risk?
  9. Some of the suggestions turned out to be quite interesting - thanks for posting them
  10. If you bank with an RBS branch outside Scotland or a Natwest branch outside England and Wales, then now would be a good time to move your accounts if you want to stay within the RBS group, because it has just been announced that Santander is taking over RBS branch network outside of Scotland and Natwest's in Scotland (not sure about which other country's Natwest branches they are taking over.) RBS staff (not sure about Natwest) have been told under the agreement terms with Santander, they are NOT allowed to advise customers about their options if they don't want to go with Santander. But relatively painless options do exist. You can ask to transfer all your business to a branch in Scotland, and then everything on your account will continue as usual. The alternative is allowing all your accounts and deposits to be transferred to Santander. While transactions like direct debits and standing orders out of the account can be transferred fairly easily, it woill be up to the customer to make sure they transfer any automated incoming funds into the account. That alone would be a huge hassle for us and I'd rather support a British bank than a Spanish one, albeit I do have a few reservations about RBS. The downside? If you live outside Scotland, RBS branches are going to disappear, so if you do have cash banking, or things you like to do within a branch, transferring your business to a branch in Scotland may not suit you. One alternative could be to transfer to a Natwest branch in England. I believe this is also possible, but again, under the terms of the agreement neither Natwest or RBS are meant to be advising their customers of this possibility. Would I bank with Santander instead of RBS? Not a chance. Santander's call centre is awful. At least with RBS you get to speak directly to the branch. And anyway, it's unpatriotic. I want to bank with a bank that pays British taxes and isn't having to forever prop up their parent company in another country with British taxpayers' deposits.
  11. That's the inevitable result of ever higher prices in low wage economies like Britain, combined with a "I want it, and I want it now" culture.
  12. It may be the case in Britain that the standard of living of the bottom decile of the population has risen throughout most of our history, but for vast swathes of the world is this really the case? Poverty is on the rise in the western world, and has been for years. The real income of the poorest members of our society has been falling, nor rising, year on year. America, Nigeria, Britain, Fiji, - there are more and more people according to reports in the media (not always reliable, I'll admit) falling through the cracks. How do you figure, in Britain for example, that while we are losing out on a relative basis (say this is true), we are at the same time gaining on an absolute basis? Our standard of living is falling and nowhere is this truer than for the poorest members of our society. For the poorest in Britain, incomes are now stagnant, and may even be declining for some poor households (e.g. those with children who no longer receive EMA in England). Meanwhile, the pound's purchasing power continues to decline and prices of essential items continue to rise. You say the market will figure it out? Well, if it is the free market that prevails, then this will become the survival of the fittest. In the free market economy, with little or no state intervention to allocate resources forcibly from the rich to the poor, you get the shanty towns on the outskirts of Madrid, Seville (no housing benefit in Spain for the vast majority of the population) and the hills of Rio de Janiero. Brazil is at least trying to redress the balance through child payments, but countries like Spain and Britain are doing the opposite - pulling back from, rather than increasing, welfare payments. Is the free market really something to aspire to?
  13. Those self certified loans are, and have been, coming up for redemption. The banks' preferred position, realising they should never have lent the money in the first place, is to refuse to refinance the loan into another fixed rate contract, forcing all these borrowers onto the STV. For many of these borrowers the "killer" effect of this is because the remaining term is also reduced. We know someone who self certified and has a 25 year mortgage at a fixed 3.3% for 5 years and now has to go onto a standard variable rate of 5.69%. He was saying his repayments have gone from £880 a month to £1086 a month! He says it's because the bank say they can't (more like won't, I'll bet) extend his mortgage term because in 20 years time he will be already 65. And how about someone on a fixed term interest only mortgage, set to revert to repayment at the STV just about now? The bank are going ahead with this - he has NO idea how he is going to make the repayments because what he wanted was another interest only period and , lo and behold, his bank have withdrawn that product - that is leterally what they told him; that they no longer offer interest only mortgages! - but, (could it get any worse?) because his property, according to the bank (I think they do seem to have some factual basis for this, because it is based on land registry recorded sales for his area) has fallen in value, they want him to make a lump sum payment to reduce the total amount borrowed to keep the loan to value ratio at or below 80%. To say he is gobsmacked would be an understatement. He didn't self cert. He's locked into the current lender because if he went elsewhere he wouldn't be able to raise enough to pay off his current mortgage, due to the fall in the property's value. Then there's the standard variable rate. Our bank's rate is a very reasonable 3.94%. His provider also wants over 5%! Oh yes, and even though he doesn't have an age problem, being still in his late 30s, they also don't want to extend the term past the original term. So while neither of these people have taken on any more debt, their ongoing ability to repay that debt is being greatly affected.
  14. We all need somewhere to live. If, in the place we want to live, it is cheaper to buy than to rent, - and this would be the case in many locales in Britain - then surely it is practical to take on some debt and buy a place to live? If you want to work, but can only afford to live in a place that doesn't have good enough public transport links to get you to where the work is (Merthyr to Cardiff is a good example, but I am sure there are plenty of others) then surely it is practical, if you have insufficient savings, to borrow some money to buy a car? My point was that a lot of debt is incurred not to support a lifestyle with unnecessary luxury goods but to pay for essentials that can be afforded over a period of time but not in one lump sum. Say you are out of work, and move to another place where you have an offer of work. How are you going to pay the security deposit and first month's rent on a property to live in without incurring any debt? A lot of people - probably most people, don't have well heeled parents they can go and tap for the few thousand pounds it could cost you to relocate. Or say you want to set up a business but don't have sufficient capital to get it off the ground. Is it so imprudent to get a loan from the bank to see you through the start up years of your business? You seem to be of the view that the majority of debt incurred is frivolous and unnecessary. I wonder how many businesses are being put out of business because the bank is suddenly, and arbitrarily, calling in their overdrafts? I'd like to see a law where banks, having signed up to provide an overdraft for the next 12 months, cannot increase the interest rate, reduce the overdraft or cancel it. AND one where if they want to do any of these, they need to give the business or person 3 months notice so they can either get their affairs in order or move their banking to a more appropriate to their needs supplier of such services. While I don't think the banks are ever going to be able to have lending criteria as stringent as in the 1960s and survive, I have seen some lending models recently which seem imprudent on the part of the lender. For example Barratt Homes and their 4% deposit for first buy customers. Looking at the terms and conditions, the maximum price of the property is restricted to £280k for this particular deal, but the household income has to be below £60k per annum. No 3.5 to 4 times earnings for the mortgage in this case.... The actions of a builder desperate for cash flow? From a buyer's point of view, these terms would probably look great in today's market. But I was alarmed to see, in the terms and conditions, an interest model for the 20% equity contribution that reminded me of adjustable rate mortgages in the States. No interest for the first 5 years, and then: "After 5 years an annual fee of 1.75% of the outstanding balance of the Equity loan is charged. This will be increased annually by RPI +1%." On the other side of the coin, most people borrowing, I would have thought, do want and expect to repay the debt. But what if circumstances come about that mean this isn't possible? What I object to is the banks suddenly pulling the plug, forcing the business into liquidation or the individual to become bankrupt. Or rate jacking, in the case of credit cards. I would like to see a situation where a bank offers a rate for a credit card and then cannot change that rate for a certain period of time, regardless of whether the customer uses the maximum amount of credit and only chooses to pay off the minimum amount each month.
  15. No riots in Spain? Really? How about this in Barcelona at the end of March this year: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-30/austerity-measures-prompt-riots-in-spain/3924254
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