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Quicken

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Posts posted by Quicken

  1. It's worth noting that wholesale energy prices are actually at a year low:

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-2023723/Wholesale-gas-prices-year-low-day-E-ON-puts-bills.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/latest/2011/08/07/wholesale-gas-prices-at-year-low-115875-23327363/

    But gas has fallen by 22% and electricity by 19% since their March peaks amid the slowdown in the global economy.

    The companies buy their wholesale gas and power a long time in advance but the price of buying ahead is also at five-month lows and still falling.

    Omar Rahim, of Energy Trader Daily, said: "The wholesale electricity and gas markets have fallen consistently since March, this is not something that has happened suddenly.

    "It's ironic that on a day when suppliers are again raising their prices, gas prices are at a year low and electricity prices are also at multi-month lows."

    I am going to switch to a fix with a small supplier (probably Ovo) before my supplier's price hike in September. See this page for further details of price hikes:

    http://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/price_updates

    Q

  2. 13. No reductions on council tax for 2nd homes - Double, triple, etc..

    I think that came under 2.

    EDIT: In fairness, my 8 and 12 could come under 1. Full list with OP and my suggestions

    1. Restricting lending;

    2. Increasing tax for owners of multiple properties;

    3. Removing tax breaks for buy-to-let;

    4. Easing planning restrictions;

    5. Encouraging building of more houses;

    6. Getting rid of local housing allowance entirely;

    7. Cancel SMI

    8. Ban liar loans (in all forms)

    9. Licence and regulate landlords

    10. Introduce Jingle-mail.

    11. Cancel right-to-buy on council housing

    12. Ban IO mortgages

  3. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/faq

    "If your e-petition reaches the 100,000 signatures, it is eligible for a debate in the House of Commons."

    So, let's decide on some wording. I think we need something for each of these points:

    1. Restricting lending;

    2. Increasing tax for owners of multiple properties;

    3. Removing tax breaks for buy-to-let;

    4. Easing planning restrictions;

    5. Encouraging building of more houses;

    6. Getting rid of local housing allowance entirely;

    7. Whatever else I've forgotten.

    7. Cancel SMI

    8. Ban liar loans (in all forms)

    9. Licence and regulate landlords

    10. Introduce Jingle-mail.

  4. I do sometimes wonder how much the nation spends on coffee. My filter coffee at home is about £2.50 for a pack and that does about 20 cups. From the coffee shop that would be about £40!

    Without pay rises (and I didn't get one), who can keep spending money on coffee?

    Coffee shops are a rip-off and it's amazing how many of them you see on high streets these days. I love coffee and I won't give up the good stuff, but I don't want to overpay either. I used to own an espresso machine and that was pretty good, but my current solution is an aeropress and it's better.

    These little presses make really smooth, quality coffee in the espresso style (I drink black, unsweetened Americano style most of the time). All you need is a little elbow grease. Everyone I know who has tried coffee from the press has been impressed by it. I have one at work and one at home. My parents, brother and sister now all have them. A friend at work got one for her husband. My mum's friend got one for camping. etc.

    The cost of aeropress filters is negligible so you just have to pay for the coffee, which I now buy in bulk from Amazon strangely enough. B)

    Q

  5. Was the bit about consumer spending IN the IMF report or dreamt up by the BBC? If dreamt up then I too shall complain. Link?

    Yep. It's a pretty punishing 76 pages of modern economic double-speak but here are some quotes:

    This slowdown partly reflects intensifying fiscal consolidation—most notably with a

    2½ percentage-point VAT hike on January 1, 2011—and weak consumer

    confidence in the wake of spiking import prices and a soft housing market.

    Private consumption

    7. Private consumption has remained weak as households have faced a marked

    tightening in real disposable income. Nominal wage growth has remained sluggish over the

    past year given low productivity growth and continued slack in the labor market. Higher

    commodity prices and indirect taxes have further reduced households’ real incomes. These

    factors, along with a weak housing market, pushed consumer confidence in early 2011 down

    to levels last seen during the depths of the crisis, though it has rebounded somewhat in recent

    months (Figure 1).

    8. House prices are likely to weigh on consumption going forward. During the boom,

    rising house prices helped boost consumption and cut the household saving rate to only

    2 percent (Figure 3). Although these trends sharply reversed during the crisis, housing

    valuation ratios are still about 30 percent above their historical averages. Some softness in

    house prices thus seems likely going forward. But unlike the US or Spain, new home

    construction in the UK remained relatively muted during the boom due to the UK’s tight

    planning restrictions (Figure 4). As a result, supply constraints are likely to prevent house

    prices from fully falling back to their historical averages. In addition, if real interest rates

    remain below their historical average—as expected by markets even in the medium term

    (Section IV.B)—then housing valuation metrics are also unlikely to revert fully to their

    historical averages. On balance, staff’s central scenario assumes a reduction in the house

    price-to-income ratio of 12 percent over the medium term (though house prices still rise

    slightly in nominal terms). Indeed, house prices have already started retreating again in

    recent quarters. An econometric analysis of the UK’s saving rate suggests that upward

    pressure on the saving rate from subdued house prices should be offset by the fiscal

    consolidation, which should depress private saving, resulting in a broadly flat household

    saving rate over the medium term (Box 1 and companion Selected Issues paper).

    Another key risk is that house prices may differ from central scenario

    assumptions, with large effects on residential investment and consumption (via wealth

    effects). These risks exist in both directions and reflect uncertainty regarding both the path of

    real interest rates and the degree to which price rises over the last decade reflect structural

    versus cyclical factors.

    In particular, growth remains vulnerable to a steep drop in house prices

    (as discussed earlier), which in turn are highly sensitive to short-term interest rates—

    variable-rate mortgages account for 70 percent of the market. With household debt levels still

    elevated by historical standards (see companion Selected Issues paper), rapid interest rate

    hikes could also cut directly into households’ disposable income (and therefore

    consumption), though this effect would be partially mitigated by households’ higher interest

    income.

    However, the pace of recovery will be moderate, as headwinds from fiscal

    consolidation, a soft housing market, and the ongoing process of household and bank balance

    sheet repair continue to weigh on growth.

    In the central scenario, the pace at which monetary stimulus is withdrawn should be measured, given the extended period of

    fiscal contraction and the high sensitivity of house prices (and hence consumption and

    residential investment) to short-term interest rates.

    Q

  6. you don't need to buy pre 1940s or whatever to avoid VAT, you just need to buy silver coins which are legal tender. Eagles are legal tender and you can import them without VAT. Clarify with HMRC first, since you can spend eagles in the shops. The problem is Eagles have such a high premium it cancels out the VAT.

    Yes, price proximity to spot and CGT exemption seem to be the key parameters to me.

    What about Austrian metal? Philharmonics are legally Euros. e.g.:

    http://www.bullionuk.com/products/silver/coins/austria/wiener_philharmoniker_2011_vienna_philharmonic_2011_1oz_silver.html

    I am going to Vienna on business briefly in September. I'd be keen to pick up some metal there if there are price/tax advantages, but I see they also have 20% VAT. Austrian gold would also be of interest of course.

    Cheers, Q

  7. So you think the teachers dont earn too much then and we arent wasting too much on pensions?

    Yet we know education could do with more equipment hence schemes exist like Sainsburys and Tesco doing their schemes to help supply equipment for schools.

    I dont think the country gets the ROI from education at the moment simply becuase the exams have been dumbed down during labours terms making on the surface students appear to be better educated when in fact they are not. Biggest complaint from business is that school leavers are under educated.

    Teachers need to stop being so greedy afterall if they were so good they would be in the private sector proving a point.

    We're going off topic here but I was talking specifically about higher education and tuition fees as a ladder pulling exercise. I got my cheap University education and I pity the youngsters facing enslavement. It's not as if we are facing a demographic time-bomb on University funding.

  8. I think every agrees the taxpayer funding them are both unsustainable, and whilst there are not the jobs to go with the degrees, the number of drop outs of degree courses is at an all time high and is crippling the taxpayer.

    Not so. University education is easily affordable with current participation rates. According to this site, the total tertiary education budget for 2011 is 13 billion

    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/classic#ukgs302

    Drop in the Ocean. Fees are all about debt slavery starting young. :ph34r:

    Edit: Here's a spending table on higher education specifically: 0.9%

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8491729.stm

  9. Its not, its a case of thinking what are the implications with so many people being kicked out in such a short space of time and the problems that will cause.

    Put another way, if house prices continue to fall over the next two years, would someone in a private tenancy want to be competing with social tenants looking for property to buy or rent? Private tenants who want to buy are better off as the competition wont be so extreme.

    Just to be clear, I don't begrudge social tenants some security of tenure, and 5 years is probably fair enough. It would be nice if they would take a look at AST's some time though. Dreaming I know.

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