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Posts posted by kjw

  1. New Labour played a big part in reshaping the NHS into a market system ready for privatisation and it is clear who is now running the show. From the various Acts of Parliament since 1990 to the de-funding and hospital closure plans it is McKinsey, the 'Big Four' accountancy firms, United Health of America and an assortment of MBAs who know f-all about healthcare and everything about profit lines who have been calling the shots. And they have got it all in place. Accountable Care or 'place based care' will be coming to the NHS near you any day, along with charges of various sorts and exclusions from the NHS offer. It's the end of the NHS as a comprehensive, universal and accessible service. Say hello to Kaiser Permanente, your new health provider from the USofA.

  2. Building a million homes by 2020 could be a pipe dream without urgent housing reforms, according to a new report from homeless charity Shelter.

    Analysis by research company Capital Economics, commissioned by Shelter, projects an eight per cent fall in housebuilding over the next year, as Brexit uncertainty has seen developers hit the breaks.

    This would mean falling 266,000 homes short of the government’s target, unveiled last September, to build one million by 2020.

    Britain would be building houses at the same rate as the time of the financial crash in 2008, it adds. [more at link]


  3. Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for more councils to follow the lead of Manchester, Sandwell and Warrington councils which offer local authority backed mortgages.

    McDonnell said " we have to meet the aspirations of people to own their own home.”

    The idea of councils offering loans for property goes further than George Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme, which guarantees part of a mortgage to enable people to buy with smaller deposits.


  4. Npower is in deep trouble with it's debts because it invested a vast fortune in renewable and nuclear energy. Customer services went to Bangladesh about 2 years ago and the finance department went to Poland shortly afterwards because it was a less expensive workforce. They're looking to sell off some parts of the company so it might be a good time for Jeremy to get his twopenneth in. :D

  5. The London Land Commission (LLC), a body set up by the Mayor of London to identify public sector land that could be redeveloped into houses, says at least 130,000 new homes could be built on surplus public sector land in the capital. [More at link]


  6. The property investors mounting a legal challenge to the Government’s proposals to increase tax on buy-to-let investments have raised over £42,000 in just six days.

    Private landlords Chris Cooper and Steve Bolton are leading the challenge. They set up a crowdfunding page via website Crowd Justice on Boxing Day and have already almost met their £50,000 target. More than 600 people have so far contributed money to the challenge.

    They hope a judicial review will overturn the controversial “Clause 24” of the 2015 Finance Bill, in which the Government introduced plans to prevent landlords offsetting mortgage interest costs against rental profits before calculating tax.

    The tax changes, which will apply to existing investment properties and future purchases, will result in some investors paying tax even where they generate no profit or are loss-making.

    The judicial review – a legal process in which a court reviews legislation or administrative decisions – needs to be submitted by February 17, 2016.

    The challenge will be based on the argument that the Tory’s tax move flouts “a long-established principle of taxation that expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business are deductible when calculating the taxable profits”. [more at link]


  7. The Bank of England has again expressed concern about the UK's buy-to-let property market.

    The Bank's governor, Mark Carney, said he was concerned about high levels of lending to landlords and that the Bank would take action.

    "There are a number of things happening ... we are watching it closely and we will take action," he told the FT.

    Mr Carney said the problem was that investors might sell their properties at the same time if house prices fell.

    In September, the Bank's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) made a similar warning about the buy-to-let market.

    The committee, which is led by Mr Carney, said the growing market posed a threat to the UK's financial stability.

    "The stock of buy-to-let lending might be disproportionately vulnerable to very large falls in house prices," the FPC said. [more at link]


  8. Many of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords are planning to sell off their homes, blaming George Osborne for effectively raising their tax rate to more than 100%. Some warn interest rate rises will tip them into bankruptcy.

    Ajay Ahuja, 43, who owns 200 properties – plus two Bentleys and his own 7,000 sq ft house in Cambridgeshire – says he has already begun to sell some of his homes: “Osborne is getting what he wants. He is forcing me to sell.”

    The author of The Buy To Let Bible, which has sold more than 100,000 copies, Ahuja claims that planned changes to the taxation of buy to let to be phased in between 2017 and 2020 could leave him paying £1.20 in tax for every £1 he earns. In a second blow to landlords, the chancellor raised stamp duty on buy-to-let homes by 3% in the autumn statement, which will add £5,250 to the bill when buying a £175,000 property.

    Last week the Bank of England threatened a clampdown on lending to landlordsamid fears that a mass sell-off of buy-to-let properties could prompt a renewed financial crisis. In a report on the financial stability of the UK it warned that six out of 10 buy-to-let landlords could be vulnerable if interest rates rise by 3%. [more at link]


  9. So rather than making all housing more secure and cheaper, they are going to make the SRS as insecure and expensive as the PRS. Presumably so that the plebs won't put up a fight when forced to work in zero hours contracts and make sure they are incentivised to take out a whopping great mortgage from the bank so they can have a bit of security in their old age.

    How would they secure a mortgage on a ZHC?

  10. People will no longer have the right to live in their council home for life in future after ministers moved to impose a five-year limit on new tenancies.

    In a move condemned by Labour as likely to break up communities, the government has quietly tabled an amendment to the housing and planning bill that sets a maximum of five-year terms for new secure tenancies.

    The policy brings an end to the principle of council tenancies for life in which people were sometimes allowed to pass on the right to live in the property to their next of kin. Although it does not apply retrospectively to current contracts, those who inherit tenancy of council housing will be subject to the new regime.

    In an explanatory note to the bill, Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, said: “A secure tenant can currently live in a property for life. This amendment phases out lifetime tenancies.”

    David Cameron first signalled he would like to make such a move as long ago as 2010, when he suggested it could help increase social mobility. [more at link]


  11. The whistleblower who exposed wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss private bank has been sentenced to five years in prison by a Swiss court.

    Hervé Falciani, a former IT worker, was convicted in his absence for the biggest leak in banking history. He is currently living in France, where he sought refuge from Swiss justice, and did not attend the trial.

    The leak of secret bank account details formed the basis of revelations – by the Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde and other media outlets – which showed that HSBC’s Swiss banking arm turned a blind eye to illegal activities of arms dealers and helped wealthy people evade taxes. [more at link]


  12. Gordon Ramsay has submitted plans to demolish his £4.4m house in Cornwall and replace it with a luxury villa.

    The chef reportedly plans to build a five bedroom villa with a swimming pool, and a three-bedroom boathouse.

    Ramsay bought the property in Rock earlier this year.

    Councillor Carol Mould said St Minver Lowlands Parish Council was notified of the pre-application at its last meeting.

    Fashionable address

    Mrs Mould said: "Rock is notoriously a place for second homes, and particularly high-end second homes."

    However, she said she did not foresee any tension with local residents. [more at link]


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