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Free Thinker

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About Free Thinker

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  1. Low price (I'll use that term, rather than affordable as that's been hijacked) housing is a massive issue where I live as well. But when new "affordable" flats or houses are built in developments they are far from low price. My point is that perhaps people from London/other wealthy buyers will purchase the large, high spec, desirable houses in the new developments, rather than buying up the existing housing stock. Thereby leaving that existing stock for local buyers. I'm not sure at all what the answer is. I only know that I have yet to see one of these "affordable" houses that any local first time buyers, even a good local wage (although locals working in London may be a different story), would be able to buy without significant assistance. So why bother?
  2. Not sure if I understand the point of building "affordable*" homes. What is the benefit? What is the argument for not building only high spec, large houses? Wouldn't that help to ensure existing housing stock remains more "affordable*". At least it may avoid building slums of the future. *Just being clear I'm using the housing policy/planning specific meaning, rather than the generally understood dictionary meaning.
  3. Is it the case that (some) Christmas spending would have occurred during the rest of the year if Christmas didn't exist. I'm just thinking along the lines of a previous poster who said that if their child needed a new bike, for example, they wouldn't wait until Christmas to purchase one. My daughter has asked for a new Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas (which she may or may not get as she understands there will be little else under the tree as it would require us and both sets of grandparents to chip in) but if Christmas didn't exist, would she still get it? We would probably end up giving her more pocket money so she could save and buy it herself, or we would spend more on her birthday. Anyway, to answer the question, I would estimate that we spend something like £600 all told on Christmas. Including presents, food, drink, Christmas parties (with work and friends) new decorations (we always seem to have to replace some) etc.
  4. Yes, good question. As you say, it does help to provide for my children. But that is only for the short time they are children and I will still be able to provide for them without child benefit - My wife and I will ensure any sacrifices we make will affect only us wherever possible. I believe that a, long term, balanced government budget would benefit them for far longer and to a greater extent. Although I do not believe that I was part of the cause of the financial situation we find ourselves in (I did not vote for the Labour party, nor was I involved in inflating the housing bubble) I still want to see it fixed. For me, a reduction or removal of (previously) universal benefits has to be part of this. I do not agree with the way it has been implemented, but I do agree with the principal (a much better option would be to have tied it to the tax credits system, which already has a mechanism for determining household income, to remove the inherent unfairness of the new rules). I do not necessarily believe that we will ever have a balanced budget, there are so many problems and we do not have a suitable form of government to allow hard decisions to be made, but that's probably a discussion for another thread.
  5. In my opinion: It is not fair that a person earning 50K of taxable income should be in receipt of child benefit. It is not fair that a household with 2 people with a total taxable income over 50K, but neither singly above the threshold, should be in receipt of child benefit (especially since they will actually be paying less tax so are probably more wealthy than the individual tax payer). it is not fair that a person who has worked hard (I've assumed people do not earn that much money without working hard - although I'm sure there are some exceptions) to allow their children to be brought up by a parent rather than being left in childcare should pay for a household with 2 lower earners to receive benefits for their children. A final point, and this is from my own experience, a family with a single "high" earner can indeed feel poor. Yes, I never have to worry about where the next meal will come from. However; I know people who earn far less than I do who also do not have these worries and can also afford family holidays, new cars, big televisions etc. that I cannot afford. By the time I have paid for all the things that some lowers earners can get for free or at a discount (housing etc.) there really isn't much left. having said all that, I repeat, I do not believe I should be in receipt of child benefit. But that does not mean that it will not make my life, and life for my wife and children, a lot more difficult without it.
  6. I didn't say that they should get it. In fact I completely agree that they should not (I actually fall into this category and will suffer from the new rules). I was just pointing out what I believe to be flawed reasoning. I'll try to be clearer. The less well off are not paying for the more well off people to receive child benefit.
  7. What I find interesting (this may have been covered but I'm not going to read all 130 replies on this thread) is that many people see a person on £50K plus receiving child benefit as a "hand out" rather than seeing it as a very small rebate on the significant amount of tax they pay. It is very likely the case that people on these levels of income are actually (but probably only just) net contributors so no-one else is paying for this benefit. They are! In other words, to those asking "why should I pay for them to have children, visit the dentist, have music lessons?" the answer is, you aren't. FT
  8. Are you suggesting that, for example, someone might own one property that they rent out, then purchase a second and deliberately not rent it out? They would have to believe that keeping the second property off the market would allow them to raise the rent on the first to higher than that which could be achieved by renting out both. Sounds unlikely. Or is this something that only works for landlords with many properties? At what point does keeping 1 property empty work out to the benefit of the landlord? When the landlord has 10 properties? 100 properties? FT
  9. From direct.gov.uk "If you don't agree, your employer is not allowed to just bring in a change. However, they can terminate your contract (by giving notice) and offer you a new one including the revised terms - effectively sacking you and taking you back on."
  10. Surely they are simply giving all staff notice that they are changing their contracts. If the employee isn't happy with the change then the contact is terminated. The same way, for example, that changes to pensions will go through.
  11. I know a member of the family that used to own the business. They did very nicely out of the sale! It will be a real shame if they go. In my town, they are pretty much the only place you can get a decently priced book. Also great for stationary and art materials, even the local art and craft shop doesn't stock some of the things they do.
  12. Actually, I thought he made some good points and I found the item quite refreshing. He asked if it was better to keep the affected schools open so the pupils are not wandering around potentially spreading disease and the doctor replied that the children were on Tamiflu so would not be excreting the virus. If that's the case, then surely there is no problem with them going to school and it should remain open. Of course she then did go on to concede that the children might not actually take it because it can cause unpleasant side effects.
  13. Wasn't the offer based on the value of Santander shares? I.e one Santander share for three A & L shares. Therefore if the Santander shares drop, then does the value of the offer as well? Or was it fixed at the relative values of the shares at a specific time? Or am I completely wrong?
  14. Oh yes, that's right. I must remember that my kids don't need any sleep, they don't need any time to play or engage in any social activities, no eating, washing, travelling etc. etc. etc. If you are suggesting that teachers are only responsible for 10% (according to you laughable calculations) of our children's education, then we may as well sack them all immediately.
  15. Who the hell does? I work for a company that employees 20000+ people and every year I've worked for them (over 6 now) there has never been above 2.5% average pay rise. How much has minimum wage gone up? That probably has the biggest impact on this statistic.
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