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Everything posted by kjw

  1. What was that Ed Miliband said about the tories being the party of hedgefunders?.. . Labour’s mystery £600,000 donor named Martin Taylor has been revealed as a Mayfair hedge fund manager after pressure was brought on him and Ed Miliband following publication of a Bureau investigation earlier this week. He confirmed his identity tonight, three days after the Bureau published an article highlighting concerns over potential hypocrisy on the part of Labour which had been unable or unwilling to give any details about his background. The Bureau can reveal that Labour’s third largest individual cash donor since the last election helps run Nevsky Capital, a hedge fund based near Bond Street in Mayfair, west London. It has previously held significant stakes in controversial Russian energy companies Gazprom and Lukoil. And according to its latest filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, it held $15m of shares in United Health at the end of last year. United Health, a huge US health insurance firm worth £76bn, is one of several companies currently bidding for a £1.2bn NHS contract for end of life care. The stakes are under the control of Nevsky Capital and not Martin Taylor himself. There is no suggestion of any inappropriate action by either Mr Taylor or Nevsky Capital. [more at link] http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2015/03/20/labours-mystery-600k-donor-martin-taylor-revealed-as-mayfair-hedge-funder/
  2. Housing minister Brandon Lewis has vowed to block councils who deliberately try to thwart the Government’s “reinvigorated” right-to-buy policy, if he is still in post after the general election. The Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth is furious that local authorities, such as Labour-led Enfield in north London, are exploiting a loophole exempting their properties from right-to-buy, one of Margaret Thatcher’s signature policies, which enabled council tenants buy their houses at a discount. The councils are setting up private companies, allowing them to buy up properties and then rent them out. The Coalition revamped the policy in 2012, letting tenants who have lived in their homes for three or more years buy them at a £77,000 discount on their actual value in English boroughs. In London’s red-hot housing market, the discount is £102,700. As a result, right-to-buy sales have rocketed, from 2,638 in England in 2011-12 to 11,238 in 2013-14. [more at link] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-minister-promises-to-take-on-councils-who-try-to-thwart-governments-reinvigorated-righttobuy-policy-10125348.html
  3. Tenant pays £10,000 up front to rent bathroom-sized apartment and moves in two hours later - without seeing it first. A Mayfair flat the size of a bathroom has been rented within 40 minutes of appearing on the market. The tenant paid £10,000 in advance to secure the tenancy for the 301 sq ft flat - and didn't even view it in advance. She moved in two hours later. The lightning-fast deal has set a new record for the London lettings market and shows just how overheated the capital's rental sector has become. WIthin 15 minutes of the flat appearing on its website, the lettings company EJ Harris had received more than 200 email and telephone inquiries about the property. Within 30 minutes there were five serious offers and 10 minutes later the flat had been let. The winning tenant a is woman in her 30s who works as a manager in one of the five-star hotels on Park Lane. She needed a home close to work, and was looking in Mayfair and the wider West End. She was adamant that she did not want to buy, but instead wanted to take a six-month tenancy. She didn't even see or visit the flat before she offered on the deal – in order to beat the other four serious bidders she paid all £10,000 up front – the deposit, the full rent and the lettings management fees. The normal practice is deposit and one month up front, but she was so desperate to get a home and didn't want to buy, so to beat the other potential tenants she offered the full six-month tenancy up front in advance. The flat is on Pollen Street, just off Regent Street, near Oxford Circus Tube station. It has a small living area which leads into a compact open plan fully fitted kitchen / dining area. There is also a bedroom with wardrobe space and a shower room. Elizabeth Harris, Managing Director of E J Harris said: “The speed of this deal and the battle to secure the tenancy is the clearest indicator yet to me how buoyant and hot London’s letting market is at present. The tenant has a highly successful career working in the hospitality industry in the West End and needed a home nearby, she was very firm about wanting to rent not buy. "If it was a s*****y flat in Mayfair’s posh western district I would expect it to fly out of the door, but this is an “ordinary Londoner” apartment on the eastern Soho border by Regent Street. Its the ordinary nature of this that makes it so extraordinary.” It follows another recent deal in which a young woman paid a £4m lump sum to rent a luxury apartment in One Hyde Park. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/11458478/London-flat-the-size-of-a-bathroom-let-in-40-minutes.html
  4. Report says young adults suffered 36% drop in savings since 2005 while top 20% of earners ‘more financially secure today than going into the downturn’ Britain’s younger workers have few funds in the bank and are vulnerable to higher interest rates following a prolonged slump in incomes, according to a leading thinktank. The Social Market Foundation found that 26 to 35-year-olds were among the worst affected by the financial crash in terms of lost wealth while other groups emerged in better shape. Chancellor George Osborne is expected to say in next week’s budget that young workers have been helped by increases in the income tax personal allowance to £10,600 from April and initiatives like the help-to-buy scheme, which allows first time buyers to purchase a home with a relatively small deposit. However, unlike older workers and those in the top half of the income scale, younger workers mostly missed out on the rising stock market values and the recovery in the property market. According to the SMF report, the 26 to 35-year-old group has suffered a 36% drop in savings since 2005 – from a median £461 to £296 – while the top 20% of earners “are far more financially secure today than going into the downturn”. Across the UK, fewer individuals are weighed down by non-mortgage debts than in 2005 after seven years of consolidation and repayment. But those who remain in debt have seen a 17% rise in their liabilities, making them more, not less, vulnerable to another crash. Younger workers, weighed down by student loan payments, are also more likely to have unaffordable credit card bills, car loans and overdrafts than other age groups. [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/10/young-and-low-paid-workers-in-uk-most-vulnerable-to-interest-rate-rise
  5. FURY has erupted after it has been revealed MPs will NOT have to pay a proposed mansion tax. Instead, taxpayers will have to foot the bill of the swingeing annual levy, under current MPs expenses rules. Last month, Ed Miliband pledged to impose a new 'mansion tax' on homes worth more than £2million if his Labour party win power at next year's general election. The proposal, designed to raise more cash for the NHS, would see a new charge introduced - based on a series of estimated property-price bands. However, it has now emerged MPs who own a second home worth more than £2million will dodge the controversial tax. Although politicians may have voted for the levy, it is likely they will not have to hand over any extra cash because they will be "covered by expenses". Under current rules, MPs can claim back Council Tax owed on their second homes. [more at link] http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/527728/mansion-tax-MPs-expenses-Labour
  6. The HSBC statement released in relation to this latest news confirms that he is UK resident for tax purposes (and a non-dom). I think I call ******** on the non-dom thing for this bloke, but there is no way of proving it of course and the Panamanian company seems at best 'sketchy', given that all the completely legitimate/legal things could have been achieved solely involving entities in Hong Kong and Switzerland.
  7. "Please can we have some names of politians that have not succumbed to temptation.." Dennis Skinner...
  8. Apparently Straw has 'suspended himself' from the PLP. I got rather excited when I read it, thought it was going to say from the nearest lampost.
  9. Empty dwelling management orders used only 17 times last year, despite 600,000 homes lying empty Powers designed to help English councils bring empty homes back into use were used just 17 times in 2014, according to figures obtained by the Green party MEP Keith Taylor. Empty dwelling management orders (Edmos) were introduced by the Labour government to make it easier for local councils to take possession of properties that had fallen into disuse. The orders allow a council to take temporary ownership of an empty home while it works with the owner to make it habitable and bring it back into use. However, councils said they were too complex to use, and the housing minister described them as an “ineffective” policy from the last government. The latest government figures show that more than 600,000 homes lie empty in England. Councils are using powers like council tax charges and compulsory orders to help to bring them back into use, but the scheme designed for the purpose is not being used. When Edmos were launched in 2006, councils could apply after a property had been empty for just six months, but in 2011, the Conservatives overturned these “heavy handed rules”, and extended the period to two years. Figures obtained by Taylor, an MEP for south-east England, show that the orders have never been widely used. Last year, just 17 homes were brought back to use through the scheme – the lowest figure for three years. Since the policy was introduced just 108 properties have been the subject of Edmos. In London, where the housing crisis is an its most acute, just one Edmo was made in 2014. In the north of England, councils have made 15, and the remaining one was in the east of England. Councils do use other devices to encourage and eventually force owners of empty properties to act. Some serve compulsory purchase orders, rather than using Edmos, however Edmos are designed specifically for this purpose. [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/feb/11/powers-empty-houses-ignored-empty-dwelling-management
  10. Long past time since London and the South East was freed from the loony left in Northern England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland. There, fixed it for you...
  11. I have bought these from B&M and they are definitely legit, though I didn't get them for £1
  12. Lending to landlords is up 9pc over the year, while lending to mainstream homeowners and first-time buyers falls Landlords are the only group borrowing more than a year ago, according to the latest lending industry data, while first-time buyers and ordinary homeowners are taking out fewer loans than at the same time last year. The Council of Mortgage Lenders figures for November, published today, confirmed the general slowdown in the housing market already evident in much data from other sources. But they also highlighted the fact that buying-to-let remains in rude health, with lending to landlords up 9pc compared with the year before. Overall lending to mainstream home-buyers fell by 7pc over the year to 55,600 loans in November. Lending to first-time buyers was 3pc down on the year before. On a monthly basis lending to all borrowers fell in November compared to October, although this could be ascribed to a seasonal slowdown. The CML's figures are not seasonally adjusted to factor this in. Remortgaging - where existing borrowers remain in their home but switch lender - is also in decline, down 16pc on November last year. This is despite the continuing fall in mortgage rates during the period, and the emergence some lowest-ever rates for re-mortgagers. [more at link] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/buy-to-let/11344772/Buy-to-let-borrowing-grows-while-other-buyers-struggle.html?WT.mc_id=e_3833706&WT.tsrc=email&etype=frontpage&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FPM_New_2015_1_14&utm_campaign=3833706
  13. Swapping CPI for the productivity norm would increase economic stability and help dramatically reduce booms and busts.... By Allister Heath Inflation is tantamount to taxation without representation - so said Milton Friedman, and he was right. The state owns the currency; so any decision to allow the internal value of the pound and thus its purchasing power to decline is a tax on people’s assets. Yet it is a levy that is pushed through by stealth; it is hard to work out exactly who gains and who loses, and especially not in advance. When the Chancellor delivers a Budget or Autumn Statement, the decisions are analysed in minute detail and the distributional impact assessed to the point of boredom. Not so with inflation. The fact that those with large debts are in effect given a handout by savers and those on fixed incomes is rarely discussed. Prices have risen by 28.2pc since 2005, according to the consumer price index. So a £20 note that fell down the back of a sofa 10 years ago would now be worth just £15.60. A tax of £4.40 has been levied without any real accountability. Of course, the public can protect itself at least in part against expected inflation - companies push up prices, individuals get pay rises, interest rates often contain an inflation risk premium and the value of many assets tends to go up in real terms. But the Government was nevertheless almost right when it said on Tuesday that the collapse in inflation - down to 0.5pc on the consumer price index - is equivalent to a tax cut. In fact, it is equivalent to a much smaller tax hike - the value of the money in our pocket is falling far less quickly, but it is still falling. Does that mean that inflation should be zero, or that we should actually want prices to fall as much and as quickly as possible? Perhaps paradoxically, the answer is no. Some forms of deflation are good but others are very bad for the overall economy; and while much of the inflation we have seen in recent years and decades has been of the malign variety, increases in the overall price level can actually be benign and even necessary in certain circumstances. [more at link] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11343822/Its-time-to-ditch-the-Bank-of-Englands-obsolete-inflation-targets.html
  14. The inter-generational impact is usually invoked by the mainstream with regards to fiscal deficits. It’s silly, as it is based on Ricardian equivalence, and the maths behind Ricardian Equivalence simply does not work. So Cameron is either a fool or a liar. [my money is on the latter]
  15. Every generation consumes the goods and services which are produced in the economies of their time. Its just not possible for us to steal anything from future generations. Nor can we leave them much that will be directly useful to them except whatever it takes to ensure their future economy is in as good a shape as possible. So a good education system, a good health system, good housing stock, a good transport system, a clean and healthy environment etc etc. There is certainly no point saving up money on a national level and leaving them a pile of Government IOUs. Those IOUs would be just as inflationary, when used, as if they printed their own. So whether their economy will have a surplus of 3.5% or a deficit of 3.5% is neither here nor there by comparison to the other problems they will have to face such as resource depletion, the adverse effects of climate change, robotisation and so on.
  16. Aaah, suddenly things appear a little clearer, Myleene has only gone and bought herself an 8-bedroom 'garage' [apologies for source] MANSION tax campaigner Myleene Klass has snapped up a £3million eight-bed house in an upmarket London suburb.Myleene — recently took on Labour leader Ed Miliband to task over his plans to tax homes worth £2million or more — saying 'you'll get just a garage' http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/6252926/Is-this-why-Myleene-got-so-cross-with-Ed-mansion-tax.html?CMP=spklr-129050142-Editorial-TWITTER-TheSunNewspaper-20150111-Showbiz%2FCelebrity
  17. The Coalition’s current mandate is based on the votes of less than 39% of the electorate... and if we were to apply the 50% rule to GEs, we’d never get a government at all... [Hurrah!! ] There's another way in which parliamentary, mayoral and council elections are different from strike ballots though and it’s arguably a much more important one than the argument about majorities. Political elections are binding on everyone [unless you decide to emigrate, you have to abide by the laws the new government makes... regardless of how small its percentage of the vote was] strike ballots, on the other hand, are binding on absolutely nobody, ie. if your union votes to strike, you are perfectly free to ignore it. As lots of public sector workers often do of course. There is nothing the union or anyone else can do about it since unions are prevented by law from disciplining members who refuse to go on strike. So there is no need whatsoever for more legal restrictions on strikes. Not that the tories will ever allow common sense to get in the way of a nice eye-catching policy.
  18. In a blow to Tory Prime Minister David Cameron former Bank of England chief admits that Labour were not to blame for the recession The Labour government was not to blame for the financial ­meltdown, the former Bank of England chief said yesterday. Mervyn King, now Lord King, said “no government” could have prevented the recession which followed the global economic crash in 2008. He said: “The real problem was a shared view across the entire political spectrum and the financial markets that things were going pretty well. “I don’t think it is easy to go back and say any one country on its own could have found their way through it.” Lord King was the Governor of the Bank of England from July 2003 and July 2013 and his comments will come as a bitter blow to David Cameron. The Tory PM has frequently accused Labour of “crashing the economy” while in power in a bid to scare voters into backing the Tories instead. But Lord King, a crossbench peer with no political allegiance, insisted: “We as one country could not have stopped the financial crisis.” Problems in the banking sector had not been spotted by any major Government or federal bank around the world, he said. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bank-chief-admits-recession-not-4891142
  19. I don't think Farage addresses the problems, the psychology behind populism is always fairly straightforward. Populist appeals generally don't offer a set of policies to solve existing problems (they do offer policies, but that's simply window dressing). Instead they offer a target group to blame for existing problems - and merely getting rid of this group's influence is therefore assumed to magically improve society via addition by subtraction. It does annoy me that UKIP are described as an 'anti-establishment' party. They don't advocate abolition of the monarchy or unilateral nuclear disarmament, and they certainly don't stand up for the socially and politically excluded. Their 'unique selling point' is that they reject traditional electoral strategies of trying to entice small sections of the 'middle ground' in favour of coming out and saying what they think. Radical, eh? Essentially, this is one of the few things that differentiates them from wide swathes of the Tories, much of whose policy and opinions UKIP share as a party (if not all their voters). I personally find UKIP repellant, but people have their reasons for voting for them, and that is all part of politics.
  20. One explanation might be that it's normal for meanspiritedness and racism to increase in hard times and Ukip are tapping into this. The failure (or complete unwillingness) of the 'establishment' parties to address poverty is pushing those at the bottom into the arms of those who offer scapegoats.
  21. Duh, sorry didn't notice, must be the after effects of christmas drinky-poos!
  22. Despite recent fluctuations in the market, purchasing property is still regarded as one of the safest ways you can future-proof your savings More than 14 million people in the UK own their home, either through a mortgage arrangement or outright. While the number is slightly down from a decade ago, bricks and mortar are still seen as a safe investment. The housing market is subject to peaks and troughs, but in the long-term, residential property prices will rise. Indeed, forecasters predict a 30pc increase in key areas over the next five years. Demand for rental properties in the right areas also remains high. In the three months to September 2014, average rental values for new tenancies in the UK were 8.2pc higher than the same period last year, with seven tenants chasing each property. For thirtysomethings stepping on to the property ladder, the argument for hanging on to a first flat or starter home is compelling as it can provide a regular rental income and a long-term investment with an almost guaranteed return. [Reads like a paid advert for BTL landlordism ] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/finance/future-proofing-finances/thirties/11298783/benefits-becoming-landlord-buy-to-let.html?WT.mc_id=e_3791791&WT.tsrc=email&etype=frontpage&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FAM_New_TEST_V2_2014_12_27&utm_campaign=3791791
  23. Nigel Farage has been named “Briton of the year” by The Times, which hailed his “game-changing” politics. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nigel-farage-named-briton-of-the-year-by-the-times-9946110.html Someone please stop the world, I want to get off!!
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