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Everything posted by kjw

  1. London is being "skewed in dangerous ways" by the world’s rich using its property market to dodge tax and make money, an award-winning New York Times columnist has claimed. Roger Cohen, who recently left London after living here for five years, warns that the use of “real estate as investment and tax dodge” instead of homes is a “life-sucking force” that is blighting the capital. He claims that the trend has already turned Belgravia into a “mausoleum” reserved “for the occasional use of the globe’s peripatetic rich” and that there is a “reek of something amiss … and wrong” on London’s streets. In an article for his paper, Mr Cohen also claims that London is a capital “of inequality and tax evasion” in a wide-ranging critique that will reinforce concerns highlighted by David Cameron’s warning about the use of London property by money laundering criminals. [more at link] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/worlds-rich-are-turning-london-into-capital-of-inequality-and-tax-evasion-10423185.html
  2. Accelerating GDP growth rate further fuels talk of an interest rate rise despite a flat construction sector and a 0.3% dip in manufacturing Britain’s economic growth bounced back in the second quarter of the year, according to official data on Tuesday, fuelling the debate about the first rise in interest rates since the financial crisis. There were also signs that living standards are returning to their pre-crisis levels as the Office for National Statistics said that GDP per head was now “broadly equal” to the first quarter of 2008, before the economic crisis drove the UK into recession. Live UK growth accelerates to 0.7%, but manufacturing shrinks - live updates All the latest economic and financial news, including new UK growth figures showing how the economy fared in the last quarter Read more After a slowdown in the first three months of the year to 0.4%, the first estimate for second quarter growth stood at 0.7%, in line with City expectations, but just off the pace of growth recorded at the end of 2014. The growth was fuelled by the service sector, which will stoke fears that the recovery is not spreading to all sectors of the economy. Manufacturing, one of the sectors targeted by the government, fell by 0.3%. [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/28/uk-economy-gdp-growth-07?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Facebook
  3. David Cameron lectures on corruption from a position of authority...
  4. QE finances government spending. This is just another option of HOW to spend it. A better one too in my view.
  5. Oh the irony http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/24/john-bercow-expenses-claim-chauffeur-journeys?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Facebook
  6. An architect has come up with a novel method to help London’s homeless. James Furzer designed a series of off-the-ground pods to give homeless individuals, of which there are more than 750 on any given night in London, a safe space to sleep and shelter from the British weather. The 26-year-old architect’s project, titled ‘Home for the Homeless’, won the top prize in Farko’s Space for New Visions competition and has been lauded for its imaginative design. [more at link] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/architect-designs-awardwinning-floating-pods-to-shelter-londons-homeless-from-elements-10414041.html
  7. Londoners are leaving the capital in droves. But it looks like young people are still being attracted by the bright lights of the city. According to data released by the Office for National Statistics between August 2013 and June 2014, 68,634 more people left London than moved in. And that is up 10% on the year before. Could it be the fact that landlords are basically now trying to flog ‘mattresses with walls’ as studio flats? {more at link...] http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/16/londoners-are-ditching-the-city-in-droves-5299198/?ito=facebook
  8. Buying a property with a sitting tenant and paying them to live there sounds like an odd investment, but the practice has been around in France since the 9th Century - and bizarrely it's getting more popular. Why? We all know what it takes to sell a home: freshly brewed coffee, the smell of baking bread in the oven - but if you're buying under the ancient French system of viager you'd do better with a pile of medicine bottles in the bathroom cabinet and a nasty-sounding cough. In a viager deal, the buyer pays a knock-down price - but only takes possession when the owner dies. What complicates matters is that the buyer must pay the new tenant a monthly fee for the duration of their natural life - which could be months, years or even decades. And if all that sounds a bit like gambling on how long a stranger has left to live... well, it is. [more at link] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33326787
  9. The Euro elites think they can handle a Greek default economically but what they can't handle is the domestic politics of taking a voluntary haircut and *forgiving* Greek debts. They would prefer to tell their constituents that they are only going to get 10% of what Greece owes them because the lazy Greek bast**ds stiffed them than tell those same constituents that they are only going to get 50% of what Greece owes them because they forgave the other 50%.
  10. Tom Copley, the housing spokesperson for the Labour London Assembly, has accused the government of ‘stealing’ over £90m of funding for new council homes in the capital. In November, Copley wrote a letter to Danny Alexander MP asking him to explain how capital from Right to Buy had been spent. Housing minister Brandon Lewis replied in March, admitting that between 2012 and 2014 the Treasury had diverted over £90m of Right to Buy income from London boroughs to other projects. Lewis said that the money had been put into the ‘general pot’ of treasury finding and that it was ‘not possible to set out specifically’ how the proceeds were spent. Copley said the money should have been used to fund new homes in the capital, and accused the government of intentionally cutting the number of council homes in London. He wrote: “Given the scale of need for new social housing in London, as well as the predictions of London councils who believe they will sell more homes then they will build in coming years, I ask that you return the £90m top slice so that councils have the best chance possible to replenishing their social housing stock.” The last government promised that every ‘home sold under Right to Buy will be replaced by a new home for affordable rent, with receipts from sales recycled towards the cost of replacements’. But a recent report from Tom Copley found that councils in London expect the number of homes sold under Right to Buy to far outstrip the rate they are able to build replacements over the next decade. [more at link] http://leftfootforward.org/2015/06/government-accused-of-stealing-over-90m-of-funding-for-new-council-homes/
  11. The UK housing affordability crisis is a serious concern. A recent poll by Ipsos Mori found that 15% now mention housing as among the most important issues facing Britain, up from 5% in 2010. The crisis is particularly acute in London and the South East, where housing is most unaffordable. In 2014, a year after the introduction of the government’s Help-to-Buy in scheme, the price of the average dwelling in London increased by almost 26% to £400,404. That’s £82,190 or to really get a sense of what this means £9.38 every hour of the day and the night. While many London homeowners and private landlords may be delighted to make more money from their houses than they do from their jobs, housing has become ever more unaffordable for young would-be-buyers, which is probably why, according to the same survey, 26% of Londoners think housing is an important issue, much higher than the national average. Still, government figures show that the rate of home ownership peaked at above 69% nationally in 2002 but has fallen steadily to almost 63% in 2013, largely because fewer young people are buying homes. Other statistics show that in 1991, 67% of 25-34 year olds were homeowners but, by 2011, this had declined to 43%. In a recent report, I showed that there is strong evidence that the planning system, as well as strong demand in some areas, is the main cause of this affordability crisis. Our planning system restricts urban areas with the use of green belts, with ‘development control’ by local authorities and strict controls on height. There is also a lack of tax incentives at local level and a preponderance of ‘not in my backyard’ behaviour, facilitated by the planning regime. This is largely why house building has been in decline or, some might say, in free fall since the late 1960s. We build about a third of the homes each year today than we did in the late 1960s. In short, the planning system does not allow the supply of homes to rise no matter how high prices rise, which essentially suggests that demand-focused policies proposed by the various parties are attacking symptoms but not causes of the problem. [more at link] http://spatial-economics.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/deep-rooted-vested-interests-are-to.html
  12. Cherie Blair and her business partner had hoped to open 100 health clinics. Instead the venture is in liquidation with customers and staff owed money Oh dear... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/11688937/Cherie-Blairs-health-business-goes-spectacularly-wrong-as-company-goes-bust.html
  13. It is the one point on which all people and parties agree: Britain’s housing problem is one of supply and demand. The solution is to build more homes. It doesn’t matter who owns them: once we have more supply, the normal market – where perfectly equal individuals reach great deals through mutual self-interest – will resume. This orthodoxy on house-building is so ingrained that if you query it you are regarded as a person who doesn’t understand supply and demand. Last week the economist John Kay argued that, at the current rate of building – 100,000 homes in 2014 – even to replace existing stock will take 270 years, given that there are 27m dwellings in the country. But this is not accurate – there were actually 141,000 built last year, I guess he was rounding down for ease of arithmetic. It is not enlightening – like a TV chef filling a bus with sugar and yelling “Milwaukee consumes this much sugar every quarter”, the extension is supposed to give a sense of scale, but instead bestows senseless impotence. Ultimately, it is misleading; houses aren’t people, or crops: they don’t have to be replaced every year. Indeed, if you make them really well, you might expect them to last 270 years. But the supply argument is not a simple mistake; it is deliberated and dearly held. Once you accept it, other things follow: supply is too low because planning is too stringent, because people are selfish and they would prefer to have a large garden than to help their fellow man. It follows also that supply wouldn’t be a problem if demand were lower, so now there are people to blame: immigrants, baby boomers with their great big houses, divorcees who have perverted the supply chain with their toxic personalities, people living alone, whose atomised existences are unsustainable in our tiny jewel of an island. [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/22/housing-crisis-ban-ownership-foreign-non-residents?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Facebook
  14. I'm no fan of Ed Balls but I'd wager he's forgotten far more about economics than anyone on this forum will ever know.
  15. I wouldn't be so sure about that.. https://speye.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/the-benefit-cap-ive-only-ever-asked-you-think-housing-people/
  16. "I’d like to believe the government’s rhetoric – that this is a policy aimed at improving the lives of deserving individuals who can currently only dream of owner-occupation. The difficulty is that those people live in private rented accommodation, and can currently only dream of council or housing association occupation. The government’s plans only make those ideas even more distant. If anyone needs the right to buy, it’s people who are renting privately" [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/29/housing-policy-buy-to-let-disaster?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
  17. I never tire of posting this one. Along with the list of £100,000s of 'donations' made by PwC to all the Parliamentary parties in the form of SPADS and researchers. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/report-tax-avoidance-the-role-of-large-accountancy-firms-follow-up/ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/pwc-the-accountancy-giant-that-promoted-tax-avoidance-gave-386605-to-labour-10057763.html
  18. Overall, the manifestos confirm that all parties are unwilling to face up to the political problems they perceive would follow if they advocated solutions that might effectively address the crisis of housing supply. The illness is real but all that is on offer is snake oil; displacement activities treating some symptoms but not the underlying causes and – paradoxically – having the net effect of making the housing crisis worse, writes Paul Cheshire. All the party manifestos are published now. All agree there is a housing crisis. The most recent data for housing starts in England show a fall of 19 per cent in the last quarter of 2014 compared to the post-2008 high or the 2nd quarter of 2014; and completions and planning applications have been flat-lining since 2009. The latest English Housing Survey Headlines showed a continuing rise in age for first time buyers and that the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds who were owner occupiers had fallen from 59 to 36 per cent over 10 years; and for the first time ever, more owner occupiers did not have mortgages than did. In other words all the evidence shows that house building is not significantly rising from what was a 100-year peacetime low in 2010, that the supply and affordability crisis continues – even gets worse – and the redistribution of housing wealth to the elderly continues. A CentrePiece article last year explained that there had been a shortfall of building during the past 20 years of between 1.6 to 2.3 million and far too many of the houses that had been built were in the wrong places or the wrong type to satisfy demand. But – even worse – that the crisis was self-inflicted by longstanding policies. Now we have Alice in Wonderland proposals: solutions that require us to believe six impossible things before breakfast and that words mean exactly what the manifestos say – not what they really mean. This will not build houses. Nor will promising to build 200,000 new houses a year (Labour), 230,000 starter homes (Conservative) or – any advance on 200,000? Yes, 300,000 a year (Lib Dem). Targets and promises do not build houses. The experience of London demonstrates this. Since 2004 housing targets for London have risen from less than 20,000 to 42,000. There was a slight upturn in actual building in the boom conditions of 2004/05 to 24,000. Since then, as targets have risen, so building has fallen. In 2013/14 completions dipped to less than 18,000. To build houses one has to have land to put them on, a realistic diagnosis of the underlying causes and mechanisms for delivering them. Just raising targets or promising more houses simply means a larger shortfall between promise and delivery and an ever increasing unaffordability of housing. [more at link] http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/a-real-housing-crisis-but-only-fake-solutions/
  19. Goldman Sachs are at it as well now "The bank raised specific concerns that Labour would abolish zero-hours contracts and freeze energy prices, arguing that such a move would be likely to compromise the “flexibility” of British capitalism." The "flexibility of British capitalism" - classic bit of doublespeak. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/us-investment-bank-goldman-sachs-warns-that-a-labour-government-would-be-problematic-for-big-business-10194492.html
  20. "How can it be affordable. Bennett would bankrupt the country in no time...." Chris Dillow did the sums some time ago... http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2005/04/the_case_for_ba.html
  21. "Natalie Bennet with her fairy tale economics...." Land Value Tax, Citizens Income and Monetary Reform. Sounds good to me.
  22. Griffin has been publicly critical of some of the more prominent Federal Reserve policies that were implemented on Bernanke’s watch. He particularly took some shots at those policies in 2013, as Bernanke was coming close to finishing his run at the Fed. Many hedge fund managers have objected to quantitative easing and low interest rates. Sometimes these criticisms seem like sour grapes from money managers who missed the booming stock market, but that cannot be said of Griffin, whose hedge funds have performed very well since escaping a near-death experience during the financial crisis. Griffin has called QE3, the third wave of the quantitative easing bond buying program that the Fed implemented while Bernanke was chairman, “a terrible idea. http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2015/04/16/billionaire-hedge-fund-critic-of-the-fed-under-ben-bernanke-hires-bernanke-for-advice/
  23. Laurence Kotlikoff's Full Reserve Banking proposals are more wide ranging than others I've seen, cover not only shadow banking but also insurance. However, even his version is flawed in various ways and I personally remain unconvinced Full RB would improve anything, could even make it worse.
  24. Seems to work fine in Sweden.. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8339465.stm
  25. He had a keen eye for scoring goals, but now Dion Dublin will be able to focus on his other love - property. The ex-England striker has been named as a new presenter of the BBC's popular morning TV show Homes Under The Hammer. The 45-year-old, who played for Manchester United, Coventry and Aston Villa, will join Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander for the 19th series. "I still want to achieve. I want to learn the art of presenting," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "I sat down with Lucy and Martin, who gave me words of advice." The four-times capped England international started playing in 1988 and retired 20 years later. Dublin, who invented an instrument called a dube, was asked if he will have an influence on the music used in the show. "I've put a lot of CDs on the desk of the series producer." http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/32053046
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